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Villarreal vs Arsenal: Europa League Gamethread

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Unai Emery looks to qualify for yet another final on the wings of Gerard Moreno and co.

Villareal CF v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

So here it is then. We’ve more or less self hijacked our La Liga table position to be ready for this match, and the day has arrived. Unai Emery was hired to win a trophy for Villarreal, specifically, to win this trophy. With hopes of finishing fifth or sixth complicated and hopes of top four totally gone, the success or failure of our season comes down to whether we can get past a team with a far far far larger budget than us in a two legged knockout tie.

Lineups

The person in this lineup that makes me the most nervous has the captain’s armband. I trust Albiol’s mind, but I don’t trust his pace, and he is facing forwards today who can really move. If we have a bad turnover near midfield, and Albiol has to turn and sprint, we could find ourselves in an absolute world of hurt. That said, I think this lineup can also control a lot of the game and apply pressure on the Arsenal goal, so we’ll see how it goes.

Lacazette is missing for this one, which I think is good for us. Nicolas Pepe has some talent but frankly he’s not someone I’m that scared of (unless he gets in a footrace with Albiol). Odegaard will get a lot of attention but don’t sleep on Emile Smith-Rowe. The kid is good.

There’s a lot of recognizable names on the Arsenal bench but most of them are past it. I think we match up pretty well here as long as we keep their speed in front of us.

Thoughts?

Drop your thoughts and opinions in the comments as always.