Villarreal have got the better of Arsenal 2-1 at home in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie.
The Yellow Submarine took the lead at Estadio de la Cerámica on Thursday evening after just five minutes when Manu Trigueros fired in an angled drive.
Raul Albiol doubled the advantage in the 29th minute when he slammed the ball home following Gerard Moreno’s flick-on from a corner.
Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal in the 57th minute when Spain international midfielder Daniel Ceballos was sent off for a second bookable offence.
However, Arsenal found the back of the net in the 73rd minute when Nicolas Pepe scored from the spot.
Villarreal ended the game with 10 men following the sending-off of Etienne Capoue for a late tackle on Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal are now rated at 13/2 to win the second leg 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium and progress to the Europa League final, according to Betfair.
This is what we learned from Villarreal’s win against Arsenal on Thursday evening:
Daniel Ceballos is simply not good enough
Ceballos is not having a good season, and it is hard to see Arsenal make his loan deal permanent this summer. The Spain international could not have any influence on the game against Villarreal, and it was clear that there was no understanding between him and Thomas Partey in the middle of the park. The former Real Betis star does not really add much to Arsenal and is simple not good enough to play week in and week out for the Gunners.
False number 9 does not work
Emile Smith Rowe was deployed as the false number nine against Villarreal, and it simply did not work. The attacking midfielder could not play the role, and understandably so. After all, the 20-year-old has never played in that position. Gabriel Martinelli and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were on the substitutes’ bench, and although both the forwards came on as substitutes later in the game, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta should have started at least one of them.
Arsenal can still go through
When Villarreal were 2-0 up inside the opening 30 minutes, Arsenal fans must have been fearing the worst. However, the Gunners halved the deficit in the second half, and the away goal does give the Premier League club a huge chance. The Gunners will know that they can win the game at home and go through to the final.
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