Arsenal face Villarreal in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals and the Gunners need to win this if they wish to return to the UCL next season.
Villarreal have not been in the best of forms this season and they go into this match having lost three of their previous five La Liga games. They are currently seventh on the league table but still have a pretty decent chance of qualifying for the Europa League next campaign.
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Owing to their average form, in the La Liga some would feel that Arsenal have a walk in the park but Mikel Arteta is well aware of threats that the Spanish side poses.
Arteta said in his press conference: “I’d say the main thing is the clarity of idea that they have both with and without the ball, and in transition and set-pieces they have very clear ideas and some great connections between the players.
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“They have some fantastic individual players in the final third and they can decide a game at any time. They compete throughout the game and they also have an ability to change system using either the same players or different players during a game, and that makes them a very difficult to read.
“Unai’s brought them a lot of experience in this competition and they have a very clear identity in terms of their play style.
“Obviously it’s a two-legged affair and there’s obviously always a bit of uncertainty in terms of the first leg, who is going to be more dominant and who is going to take more risks, but we will see that tomorrow.”
Villarreal are obviously not the strongest side in the La Liga but Arsenal are also not at the peak level. This season, the North London side have drawn seven and lost 13 Premier League matches.
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The Gunners are currently 10th on the league table and there’s no way they will be able to finish in the top-four this season. So now the Europa League is their only hope since if they are knocked out of this competition as well then they will not even be in Europe next campaign.