Friday, June 25, 2021

Prediction: Arsenal vs Villarreal

Verdict: Villarreal to qualify 

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Needing a real Europa League turnaround on Thursday night, Arsenal will welcome Spanish outfit Villarreal to an empty Emirates in midweek.

Arsenal

Starting with the hosts, while the pressure might still be firmly on Mikel Arteta’s shoulders, Arsenal would have at least been glad to make a much-needed return to winning ways last time out. Gaining some welcomed momentum ahead of Thursday’s must-win showdown on home soil, The Gunners were last seen over the weekend when picking up a 2-0 win against a sluggish Newcastle. Bringing an end to their three-match winless run across all formats and a side that are still seeking some stability, Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man will have a headache over his side’s extended issues at The Emirates. Knowing that they need a real European turnaround after their 2-1 defeat out in Spain seven days ago, Arsenal have failed to win any of their last five home fixtures on the spin. More concerning, they have also played out a 1-1 draw against Slavia Praha and a shock 1-0 loss against Olympiakos in their last two Europa League contests in the capital.

Team News

Given his marching orders out in Spain last week, Arsenal will be unable to call upon midfielder Dani Ceballos.

Sadly for The Gunners, they also look set to once again be without the injured duo of Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette.

Villarreal

As for the visitors, while Villarreal would have been disappointed to have seen Arsenal snatch an away goal in the first-leg last week, the Spanish outfit know that their fate remains firmly in their own hands. Making the trip to North London on Thursday night, The Yellow Submarine landed a 2-1 victory at The Estadio de la Cerámica and the mood in their camp should be at a real high. With it looking like their back-to-back La Liga defeats against Alaves and Barcelona last month were just a minor blip, Unai Emery’s side also picked up some perfect momentum over the weekend. Picking up a deserved 1-0 win against Getafe on home soil, the one-time Arsenal boss has seen his side win 10 of their last 13 matchups across all formats. With Emery desperate to finish off the job in midweek and get one over on his former employers, it should be noted that Villarreal hold a rampant Europa League record this season. Including that first-leg victory last week, Thursday’s guests have won each of their last nine European outings.

Team News

Also receiving his marching orders seven days ago, former Watford midfielder Étienne Capoue will miss out on Thursday night.

Likewise, the duo of Juan Foyth and Vicente Iborra will also miss out due to injury this week.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides faced off in Spain last week, Villarreal picked up a 2-1 victory.
    • Arsenal have failed to win any of their last five matchups on home soil, playing out three defeats and a pair of draws.
    • Villarreal have won each of their last nine straight Europa League contests.
    • Likewise, The Yellow Submarine have scored over 1.5 goals in seven of their last eight Europa League victories.
    • Four of Arsenal’s last five Europa League matchups at The Emirates have finished with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    While Arsenal might have managed to snatch that away goal out in Spain last week, The Gunners find themselves in a real uphill battle on Thursday night. Suffering that 2-1 defeat seven days ago and ahead of what is by far their most important game of the season so far, Mikel Aretat’s side might face another stern test on home soil. Showing a string of issues at The Emirates and without a win in their last five matchups in North London, former Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be smelling a chance to finish off the job in midweek. Gaining some perfect momentum with that 1-0 win against Getafe over the weekend, it should also be noted that Villarreal have remarkably won each of their last nine Europa League contests on the spin. Holding an advantage on Thursday night, we’re backing The Yellow’s to book their spot in the final this week.

    Verdict: Villarreal to qualify 

    Best Odds: 7/10

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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