Looking to overturn their one goal deficit from the first leg, Arsenal welcome Villarreal to the Emirates Stadium in the second leg of their 2020-21 Europa League semi-final.
Arsenal come into this return leg with a 2-1 deficit meaning that they simply must win in order to reach the final, with a 1-0 result being enough to advance on the away goals rule otherwise they will need to score at least twice if Villarreal score.
Villarreal meanwhile know that a win or draw would be enough, although they will need to score to stand any chance of advancing if Arsenal find the net first.
Arsenal could have David Luiz in contention if he is declared fit after being substituted in Sunday’s win at Newcastle with a hamstring injury.
Kieran Tierney (knee) and Alexandre Lacazette (hamstring) could also be in contention if pass late fitness tests, but Dani Ceballos is suspended after being booked in the first leg.
Villarreal will be without Juan Foyth after the on-loan Tottenham defender suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg of this semi-final tie last week.
- Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Villarreal in the first leg was their first ever loss to the La Liga club in five meetings (W2, D2, L1).
- Villarreal are winless in two previous trips to Arsenal with four conceded goals across both visits without scoring themselves (L2).
- Three of Nicholas Pepe’s five Europa League goals for Arsenal this season have come at home, with all three such goals coming after half time.
- Two of Villarreal’s ten away Europa League goals this season have come from the penalty spot.
- Slovenia’s Slavko Vincic is refereeing a game involving Arsenal or Villarreal for the first time this season.
Having looked lethargic for much of the first leg against Villarreal despite scraping what could be a crucial away goal, Arsenal looked much better at Newcastle because they were simply dominant throughout but they currently are unpredictable in their mood.
Villarreal meanwhile were made to work for their domestic win over Getafe but the La Liga club have conceded just twice in six away games in this competition, so I expect them to come here and cause real issues for Arsenal like they did in the first leg.
Arsenal though really have to turn up on the front foot with confidence from Sunday’s result, especially given their inconsistency because if Villarreal score first despite their poor away form in this fixture then I can’t see the Gunners winning this tie.
This is therefore a difficult one to call but I have a feeling that Arsenal will find a way through by hook or crook, even if it means extra time in order to get the job done.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Villarreal (After Extra Time)
Result: Arsenal 0-0 Villarreal (Villarreal win 2-1 on aggregate!!)