Arsenal host Villarreal in their most important game of the season on Thursday evening when the two outfits are set to battle it out in the UEFA Europa League semifinal second leg.
Arsenal’s entire season hinges on Thursday’s fixture at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners will not feature continental football at all next season in case of a failure here.
They have a minimum deficit to overturn on the occasion, following a 2-1 defeat seven days ago at Estadio de la Ceramica.
Mikel Arteta’s troops can even be satisfied with such a result as their chances of progressing to the grand final increased only after Pepe’s late penalty-kick goal.
The Gunners further raised dressing room spirits with a comfortable 0-2 victory at Newcastle United on Sunday. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard were both included in the starting eleven and their presence will clearly represent a significant boost against El Submarino Amarillo as well.
Nevertheless, overcoming the minimum deficit will be a very tough challenge for the hosts. Multiple reasons confirm such a statement.
First of all, Arsenal conceded at least a goal in each of the last nine home matches across competitions.
Villarreal have been almost impeccable in this term of Europa League, going unbeaten since their very first game of the campaign. They celebrated the ninth subsequent victory in this competition last Thursday. Finally, they are led by a manager who has won Europa League three times so far.
Arsenal vs Villarreal Head-to-head
We’ve witnessed an evenly-matched contest as Arsenal and Villarreal mustered nine shots apiece last week at Estadio de la Ceramica.
Arsenal will rely on their fine home record against Villarreal as they have defeated El Submarino Amarillo in both previous encounters in London (4-0 in 2009 and 1-0 in 2006).
Arsenal vs Villarreal Prediction
Despite their negative tradition in London, we don’t quite see Villarreal as underdogs here, at least not to the extent the bookies do. Arsenal are 1.83 to win the match in 90 minutes and we struggle to find any value there.
Remember, Villarreal are yet to suffer a defeat this season in Europa League and Arsenal are winless in the last five outings at Emirates Stadium. Instead, we find the Both Teams To Score bet as a much more appropriate option at the odds of 1.75.