Villarreal knock Arsenal out of Europa League – 5 Talking points

Mikel Arteta-Arsenal

Villarreal have advanced to the finals of the Europa League after defeating Arsenal in the semi-finals with an aggregate score of 2-1. Perhaps, the second leg turned out to be a goalless stalemate as the Gunners failed to score a crucial goal, which could have taken them to the finals instead. Here are the major talking points from the semi-finals second leg.

An eventful night for Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seemingly returned to form in last week’s game against Newcastle United. And many thought the Gunners were having the biggest advantage while Aubameyang is around. But the Gabonese striker experienced a difficult night at Emirates Stadium against Yellow Submarine. In fact, Aubameyang had a shot denied by the woodwork in the final few minutes of the game, much to the disappointment of the North Londoners. 

The most baffling thing was Aubmeyang’s substitution with only ten minutes left in the clock and Arteta did so when his side was desperate for a goal. Gunners and their captain ended without a goal, which could ensure qualification to final if they were to keep clean-sheet.

Lacklustre attacking display from Arsenal

While the defence is not a matter of concern for tonight, the Gunners were disappointing in their attacking department. Despite boasting the likes of Aubameyang, Saka, Pepe and Odegaard, they managed to register only two shots on target out of 14 total attempts. They knew that a goal could have taken them to the finals, but none were ready to provide it.

Disappointing performance from Partey

Thomas Partey looked like a shadow of his former self as Villarreal easily nullified the threat of the former Atletico Madrid man. From messing up his line-breaking passes to not being effective in the defensive transitions, everything Partey did tonight was not going in his way as well as Arsenal’s. He wasn’t the only scapegoat, as almost the entire squad has been criticized heavily for such a second-string display against the Yellow Submarine.

More pressure on Mikel Arteta.

The latest failure will be doing no good to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in his repertoire, and perhaps, the Spanish boss has hit rock bottom, and there are bigger chances for him to leave this summer. The Europa League remained their only ray of hope to make up for an otherwise turbulent season, but that isn’t the case now. Arteta must be feeling the pressure for being on the losing side for the umpteenth time this season.

Unai Emery beats his former club

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery kept his dream run in Europa League with fifth final appearance in last eight Europa League tournaments.

In spite of a difficult year and hostile circumstances, he He made it to Europa League final fourth time, as Arsenal boss, which he lost to Chelsea. He has won the cup in all his first three attempts with Sevilla.

Unai Emery has now progressed from each of his last five Europa League semi-finals:
2014 Sevilla 
2015 Sevilla 
2016 Sevilla 
2019 Arsenal 
2021 Villarreal