Arsenal’s tie very much in the balance after non-stop action encounter

Arsenal will go back to North London needing to overturn a 2-1 deficit to earn a place in the Europa League final.

Unai Emery’s Villarreal came shooting out the blocks to take the early lead inside the opening five minutes, and it was an uphill battle from then on.

We were struggling to deal with the threat of our rivals early on, and were causing little trouble at the other end of the pitch, and on the half-hour mark our troubles worsened.

A Villarreal corner was swung in from the left, and their player was able to lift himself unchallenged to knock the ball onto Raul Albiol at the backpost, who was also alone in space to poke home into the empty net.

We did look like we’d been given a lifeline shortly after their second, with the referee blowing up to award us a penalty, but VAR spotted a handball in the build-up.

We started the second half with more impetus, we was moving the ball around much better and working our way up the field, but within 15 minutes we were hit by another hammer blow.

Dani Ceballos was disciplined with a second-yellow card just before the hourmark after he trod on the defender who had played the ball away, and you can be for believing the worst at this point.

While there was little to be excited about in the following moments, Bukayo Saka’s picked up the ball on the edge of the box with less than 20 minutes to go and gets brought down. Penalty, and no reason for VAR to step in. Pepe sent the keeper diving as he played straight down the middle for 2-1.

We tried to build on our goal as we began to push further and further up the field, before our rivals then suffered their own second-yellow card offence to join us on 10 men.

We continued to try and resurrect the result, and in the dying moments I thought we’d made the breakthrough.

Thomas Partey looked to have carved out the perfect opportunity for Aubameyang to level the tie in injury time, but despite a nice turn into goal and a shot, the goalkeeper denied us.

2-1 after that 90 minutes is certainly nothing to complain about, and I can’t help but feel we will have the momentum going into the home leg.


Tags Europa League Villarreal


  1. At least we still have the chance to go to the final, thanks to Saka who forced Villareal to foul him multiple times. Saka is my MOTM and Pepe is the second one because of his hard work

    1. I didn’t watch the 1st half but if the 2nd is anything to go by then Leno is clearly the MOTM. I believe we were 2-0 down in the first.

      1. We conceded the first goal too easily. Xhaka and Ceballos were too nervous to rob the ball in our penalty box, so Villareal took the advantage

        Xhaka and Ceballos couldn’t block the shot, but Leno should’ve done better to deflect that

        1. Tie was really entertaining with big performances from Pepe, Leno and Saka. Next leg requires at least one striker to start and if fit a left back so Xhaka can play his proper position. Yes MA should have replaced Ceballos but he didn’t and despite the ref being poor we came away with a chance to make it which what we all wanted. Yes Leno is no Martinez but he is the best we have right now.

        1. That penalty was one of the most incompetent refereeing decisions I’ve ever seen. That was the oldest trick in the book. I only hope we don’t fall victim to such incompetence one day and more so at a crucial instance like that because the referee may have cost Villarreal the tie.

          1. Val, thing is here, they had VAR and the kind of confidence with which the ref and even those in the VAR room quickly called it a pen for me makes it worse. I mean how do they even call it a pen on 2nd watch?? That was horrible and worthy of punishment

          2. It’s because they watched the first one they denied Pepe, which should’ve stood.
            Two people were holding hands when the ball hit both of their hands. You can charge one person and leave the other, so no handball. The penalty should have stood.
            In order to compensate for that error in judgement, they gave us the flimsy one from Saka, otherwise Saka would’ve received a matching order for diving at a time we were already one man short.

      1. Look at the VAR from both ankles.
        Saka was touched twice. One seems a dive but not the second.

    2. Yes the results isn’t that bad all things considered. I think we are going to have a hell of a game in the second leg.

      I won’t sleep good tonight because of Man utd though.

      1. I’m scared of Man United now. They switched off momentarily, but they demolished Roma afterwards

        1. Roma are notoriously awful in england I believe man utd beat them 8-0 at old trafford before but they did lose 3 players to injury in the first half which unsettled them… But admittedly the way we’re playing they would smash us too 😆

    3. At least, we have a guy who can convert a penalty.
      But, Arteta has a problem honestly. This was the important game of the season. And yet, he could not start Martinelli. Ceballos should never have started at all. I dont know what Arteta Smokes. He is high on something.

      1. You are not for letting him 6 more months into 2021-2022. Some days it is the fault of players. I agree that we can’t blame him for everything but he seems stubborn and i think he is really showing not enough as a coach but that’s just personnal opinion.

        1. I did start to think Arteta out in that game. Before the game even started I was thinking why are we playing with no strikers, we find it hard to get goals anyway, then after Ceballos was yellow carded, I started thinking bring him off, as he’s not contributing to the game and is a risk. The second yellow shouldn’t have been a yellow, it was unavoidable, and the pitch seemed slippy. Why did he bring on Willian and Elneny when we were building up for a 2nd goal? If I can see these things , surely he should be able to with a life in football?

    4. Villareal’s failure to kill off the game when we were a man down will come back to haunt them.Hope Laca will be fit by then?

  2. I missed the entire first half of the match but I checked out our line-up and I was like why were we playing without a natural striker?? I’d rather not ask how we played in the 1st for obvious reasons. When I watched the 2nd half I saw that up until the point of Ceballos’ red I saw that we had no outlet. All I saw was all midfielders doing some random moves and hoping for an opening somewhere. Arteta cost us the match with that move. I didn’t watch the first half but from the 2nd I feel we would’ve scored one goal had we started with a natural striker from the 1st half. There were spaces in that Villarreal defence but no outlet. Saka’s penalty was also a dive for me and its laughable they bought it. Leno is the MOTM for me, for keeping us in it. It was a pathetic performance and we deserved nothing from this game.

    1. Arteta obviously wanted to prevent the attackers from losing the ball too often, hence Smith-Rowe as the CF. De Bruyne has also been doing this for Man City

      1. We’re not good enough to play that yet. It requires a different player entering the opposing box during every passage of attack.

        1. I still think we could’ve scored if not for that decision. Even Nketiah would’ve given us an outlet. These are the little overlooked decisions that cost teams matches. Another example is Emery going for the 3-5-2 in our UEL final against Chelsea. By the time he realized we could’ve won by switching to a four back it was too late. I always say the formation cost us that match and not because Hazard was great.

      2. Calling ESR Croydon de bruyne, does not make him de bruyne. They are both completely opposite player. De Bruyne likes to shoot while ESR is more of a give and go player. Another problem playing city formation is city has goal scoring midfield on Gundagon De Bruyne Silva, we don’t. City were lucky with their goals as well. First one was a pass which went in straight and second was actually a poor free kick in to the wall mid rift but the wall splitted. Team formation and strategies should be based on your team players not some other team which is much better then you in quality.

  3. We or going out because we or so bad at home hopefully MA will get the sack and stan will cave in and sell up before the fans will go and do something bad

  4. Ceballos and his Europa league nightmare continues. Thought arteta would sub him in the second half…

    All to play for in the second leg.
    I think Manu are already in the final except something crazy happens in Italy next week.

    If we pass the semi final stage, then manu won’t be easy to beat. Yes, we have a decent record against them recently but you just don’t know the arsenal that will turn up. Well, let me not be faster than my shoulder. We still have Villareal to play first…

    1. Man utd have found their formula. Meanwhile, we keep on tinkering, adjusting and manipulating the team.

    2. Well the good news is Ceballos made himself unavailable for next week😂😂
      From the moment the game started and I saw him doing those his 360° turning, I was like here we go again with this dude who’s gonna put us in trouble

  5. Not the worst I’ve even seen us play. By FAR the worst managed game by us, in probably over a decade. I cannot recall a manager being so inept, missing so many obvious signs, getting a lineup so wrong, getting subs so wrong. Everything was just WRONG. It’s a miracle we even have a slight chance to advance. Someone tell my why Arteta deserves to stay please? How much time does he need to get things even Sunday League coaches would get right. And no MOTM for Arsenal today, because they were all truly awful.

    1. Normally I stick up for MA but I cant tonight RSH. It was an awful performce all round, we just got out of jail. Main culprit was Arteta – wierd lineup, we are NOT Man City we cant play with no striker at all – even Auba who I don’t rate would give a focal point. Ode was off the pace actually he wasnt as we HAD no pace. Unmotivated no pressing awful defence Partey truly abysmal. Only Pepe and Saka played at all. Chambers poor Holding bad timing all game Mari couldnt hit a barn door with passes, Xhaka looked sooo off his game, Ode shouldnt have started. Last 10 mins bring on a striker and tell the team to defend and invite a goal. Such a lucky result

      1. Exactly, I’m with him but tonight it’s tough to defend him. I’m still supporting him till next season tho, but tonight he clearly messed up the whole thing. We are away, and getting an away goal is very crucial yet he started with no striker

    2. I agreed with you RSH, I used to say we should give arteta a chance before last night but that tactics and line up last night is dumb, no recognize striker and I don’t know the kind of believe he has in ESR that warrant the boy to remain on the pitch ahead of odegaard when he was sub for Martinelli, for me ESR made no impact in that game and should have been off for Martinelli and odegaard should stay for creativity. Last night I completely agreed with every critics towards arteta, he shouldn’t be managing Arsenal if we want to challenge other top European teams. He is amateurish

  6. Second leg at home is more dangerous, because conceding one goal at home is like conceding two. If we go out which I hope not, there is a small positive that is we will finish season in worst ever position with out of Europe all together so probably that will bring down the club value, this might change kronke’s mind to sell the club.

  7. We were terrible again tonight and just got a life line with the penalty.Our home has been awful this season so I don’t see us winning at home next week and even if we do Man U will thrash us in the final

  8. From today I won’t defend Arteta again ‘cos he’s so stubborn (like Emery before his sacking). But I’ll still support him anyway.

    1. funny how you had faith in arteta. trust me next season this poor form will continue under arteta. see how chelsea is fairing with new coach same players

  9. Another tinkering, another defeat. Can’t even say we played better.

    It’s obvious Xhaka at LB is a weakness when playing against quality side and Emery took advantage of it.

    And what was Arteta hoping for with the final minute subs?

    Oh, someone should tell Partey to stop trying a long-range effort. Xhaka should take that responsibility.

    Imagine the embarrassment if Arsenal become the only English team that didn’t make it to the European final. Oh lord.

    1. Xhaka played pretty well I thought. Stood his ground against a dangerous winger who never once got outside him. He’s never a full back snd I’m astounded Arteta played him there with Cedric fit and Xhaka should have been next to Partey in midfield, but surely nobody is blaming Xhaka for this are they?

      1. Arteta décision. Always trying new things. Might be genius masterstroke but it is usually the opposite…. Why not staying more classic with a more regular lineup. At least now that Ceballos booked we will have maybe xhaka in midfield and cedric LB.

  10. Positives:
    Crucial away goal
    Auba’s hair

    How long have you got? 🤣

    Yes, we’re still in it, but I can’t help feeling really disappointed. I expected so much more. And on top of that the Mancs scored 6!!! 😞

    1. I would prefer us to go out on this stage then get thrashed by Man United in final as I have zero faith in Arteta.

      1. Don’t know why y’all are so worried of Man Utd. Rivals of the same league playing against each other in a European Cup final is a totally different ball game regardless of form. Its would be a 50-50 affair if it were to be the case

        1. 👍 Kev, apart from the difference in current form. Arsenal have to turn up in the home return match first. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

        2. it wasn’t a 50/50 affair when we came up against Chelsea what makes you think after this performance we have a chance?

          1. Emery cost us that final and it was 50-50 before the game. is what I mean Arsenal even bossed them in the first half and arguably should’ve been ahead. Emery cost us that match. You can’t just use form to determine the outcome when league rivals play in a European final.

          2. kev, Emery didn’t cost the Arsenal the final against Chelsea in Baku; the players didn’t turn up and “dogged it”.
            Please explain why you think Emery lost it? .

          3. Emery lost it because he used the wrong formation which allowed Chelsea to dominate us centrally. I watchd with a friend and told h8im before the game that Arsenal 2were already at a disadvantage system wise. I also told him if he brought on Iwobi the whole game would. I hope you dont forget that we beat Chelsea that same season using 4-3-3 and Hazard played too. Even the away loss was a close one.

    2. We were sooooo bad Sue and soooo lucky. I have to blame a lot of this on Arteta trying to be too clever again.
      I really have no idea how we lost by only one.

      1. It was unacceptable, Guy. I stupidly thought the idea of no European football in 26 years might have motivated them – maybe next week hey?! Sheesh!

    3. Sue what a shocking naive tactical mess by Arteta, he got it so wrong again, OUTCLASSED by Emery, we were very lucky on that display to still be in this.

      1. It was written in the stars, Reggie!
        God only knows what we’ll be served up next week… sideways/backwards passing I’m sure of though 😄

  11. Well that was terrible… Not playing with a striker backfired big time.
    I know our strikers were out, but I was also expecting Martinelli to start there..
    Smith Rowe as false 9 wasn’t it.
    Good news is we’ll have Laca, Tierney back next week. Worrying news is will our defense shut them out from scoring? We need to score early just like they did today.
    Arteta got this one wrong big time to experiment at the semis.
    Mari was pretty poor today, terrible.
    There was nothing Leno could’ve done bout the goals.. Ceballos should’ve come off since but I don’t know why Arteta keeps on trusting him despite him always putting us in a shîtty position. At least we got that away goal…
    This cup clearly belongs to United, sorry but they’re very good.

    1. Arteta is NAIVE and ARROGANT. I have a feeling that we will best Villareal by 4 goals to 1 next week. If Lacazette plays. As for Man United, If we meet them in the final, we will beat them.

  12. Away goal crucial but that was an awful performance, never looked like scoring from open play against a very very ordinary team! Under any other owners Arteta would be on his bike… Didn’t even make a sub at halftime when we needed a sub in the first half, it’s just naive management! I do not trust this process! We all knew Ceballos should have been hooked at halftime but the manager didn’t and he’s the professional, very poor.

    1. The process is dead right? Auba at least showed how dangerous he can be in open play from the middle when he got a decent service from the midfield with a great first-touch to shoot on goal. That alone is better than the 70 minutes of false-9 that doesn’t help with anything.

      1. The process never got off the ground 😂 yeah the false 9 whoever that was because it confused me backfired spectacularly. Maybe we have a false manager? Hopefully Auba and Lacazette fully fit next week alongside Kieran Tierney

      1. It’s becoming the weekly theme with Arteta, Guy, it’s painful to watch I’m not holding out much hope next week I’ll be watching the game with no expectations.

    2. Kev a better manager could have realized this, their was a warning sign earlier which he escaped a yellow and that’s the point I thought well sub him now! It didn’t take long before the invitable. We have a long way,manchester in the finals??? I should not even imagine

      1. Definitely Kenya I think we all saw it which just makes me further believe Arteta is not the man to lead this club forward. Yes even if we do find a way to get through, I can’t imagine any of us feeling confident of winning it, our record against english clubs in europe is awful.

      2. Gosh, you fans with this new hate against ceballos, same fickleness like guendouzi
        …the 2nd yellow against ceballos SHOULD NEVER have been given, it was a poor performance by the idiot ref and the var idiot. Pepe handball, ok but free to us as their no 8 holding AND not a penalty, but take that charity anytime

  13. Well that was so so poor, 95 minutes against an unai Emery team to get a shot on target from open play. Arteta got this one wrong and was outfoxed by Emery and his prem league and la liga cast offs. We are still in this game with a massive stroke of luck from a dodgy penalty but after a really poor effort, we are still in it. We have to do a whole lot better in a weeks time because tonight was a shambles and im not at all confident of turning this even with the precious away goal. If we go out Arteta has to be sacked, for me he has to win this thing but there is a massive mountain to clime before that happens.

    1. Oh but Reggie, how can the penalty be dodgy when we have VAR. And as you already said VAR brings consistency… So this has to be 100% penalty. You should not have any doibts about it.

      1. It was given but it was taken off because the ref didn’t make an obvious error, the contact was “debateable” and yes they do get more ” obvious ” decisions right, the figures say so, im only going on the figures.

        1. And I think the only reason VAR gave this penalty is because they have already canceled one. And that is because VAR is actually a group of people watching replays in a backroom taking the subjective decisions instead of the referee. And these people are different in every match like the ref, so .. you get my point.

    2. Sorry reggie doing a whole better is an old record for me, so is the word ‘unacceptable’ which Arteta often used after bad performances.

      1. You have no need to apologise to me kenya, we need a big chunk of luck to win this Arteta is a novice swimming in mud, he is struggling to get a tune out of this squad with his awful tactics.

      1. It did ozzie but i didn’t think the ref was poor, most things he got right, except neither were penalties and he didn’t see the pepe handball but Var could change the first because it was obvious from a different angle and could chalk the penalty off, the other wasn’t a claring error but wasn’t a penalty.

  14. If it were up to me Arteta should stay in spain looking for a job. I thought ceballos will not come in 2nd half, and subs coming in too late doesn’t make sense

      1. That’s the point hh, even worse we are a goal down! And it’s our corner to take seemed to me he was satisfied with us loosing.

  15. We (arteta) just about got away with it.

    Doesn’t bode well though when you play with no recognised LB and no striker.

    If we scrape past a pretty average Villarreal we will most likely get spanked by MU unless Arteta plays players in their proper positions and stops with the stupid tinkering.

  16. Thanks to God we got one goal. If we get it right at the Emirates, we will qualify. We can only hope Arteta gets his plan right for the game on Thursday.
    I don’t see the Villarreal teamnas being so spectacular really. But again, we have not been convincing at home lately, even in Europa.
    Fingers crossed

  17. The jail house door is now slightly ajar! We were in chains but Saka and Pepe helped unlock us. As a committed MA supporter, honesty compels me to say he picked the wrong team tonight.

    To play without a proper striker was plain stupid and why oh why does MARTINELLI never start a game? Also XHAKA AT LEFT BACK WAS A DISASTER, esp against THAT winger , whose name I forget, but whose perf I cannot forget!
    For Gods sake sign a left footed player to play LB who actually IS a LB. BAD SHOW TONIGHT ARTETA and getting out of jail was no thanks to you.

    LENO PROVED TONIGHT HE IS WAY, WAY, WAY BETTER THAN RYAN, WHO HAS BEEN STUPIDLY FAN OVERHYPED. Based on nothing but blind hope and ONE decent Prem game only.

    1. Arteta looked happy and Unai uncomfortable in the dying minutes. Doesn’t that say something?

    2. Please, leno juat flaps his arms around.

      No composure, no commanding presence, no distribution skills and cant jump to claim a ball, nevermind error prone.

      Until Ryan gets a chance and does worse I would rather want to him in goal.

      All i know is Arteta has a big ass, he manages to fit his head in there plus that of Jon and GAI.

    3. The question people aren’t asking themselves is if Ryan is so good then why did Brighton allow us to loan him?? Ryan has been poor for Brighton this season and thus has been displaced by Sanchez. Do people watch only Arsenal?? Arsenal making his move permanent would even be more laughable than the signing of Runarsson. Lets be honest that would be typical Arsenal wouldn’t it??

      1. I dont think people are saying he is good, only that at this point in time he is better than Leno.
        Leno has been a joke this season, he is like that guy Liverpool had a few seasons ago before they got a decent keeper.

        The Leno of this season should not even be a 2nd choice. He worse than Schezny and he was sold at that time when he was error prone.

        1. Nah some people are saying he is good and I’m not even saying Ryan is not good. They actually have hope in him and I’ve seen some who want us to sign Ryan. They judge from his match he played for us.

    4. Jon
      UE as an experienced manager showed us what we were not missing
      Down to 10 and the tie ready for them to wrap up he blundered…thank god
      MA as an inexperienced manager showed us what we have…a long slog ahead of us
      I am a MA supporter as he is our manager but some of his team selections have me baffled at times
      Playing with a false 9 I was happy with at the start but not having the right players in the right position counter acts this
      Xhaka after getting to grips with the position played ok
      Pepe played well I thought and down a lot of tracking back to try and help out which was good to see
      I don’t think we have anything to fear from them and KT is back next game which will stiffen us on the left defending and going forward.
      It’s nailed on we will concede but we should take away a fair few

    5. Jon, you obviously didn’t watch any of Ryan’s displays for Brighton over the seasons he played for them, did you? I can remember some good performances against Arsenal in particular. Arteta’s choice who he selects.

      1. Ozzie
        I am not a Leno fan
        He has never filled me with confidence and we need to do better but that position is not a priority right now and as for Ryan, he is not a patch on Leno which really says it all about our goals keeping situation

        1. Leno is a good shot stopper the rest he is not good at. Too nervy and unsure to command his area.

        2. Allan, as I stated “Arteta’s choice who he selects.” I didn’t claim Ryan is better than Leno, but where would you find a better #2. Some Brighton fans argue that they loaned the wrong keeper. As far as the game is concerned Leno kept Arsenal in the semi final.

      1. I did see that Saka clearly wrapped his right leg around the defenders leg. I do not lightly acuse people of cheating and I do not say Saka is a cheat either.There are grey areas, as we all know. But I write exactly what I saw. Hope that answers your question. I confirm that I DO THINK CEBALLOS TO BE A CHEAT.

  18. Wow the clubs biggest mistake was employing this farce of a manager, Arteta. This guy is clueless and our worst manager in history.

    No matter what the season brings at closure this guy needs to get out of the club. He have his head stuck so far up his own ass he cant see past his nose.

    1. “our worst manager in history” according to stats that is a fact but if he manage to win this competition it should give him another chance like the FA Cup did.

      Kudos to him to even reach this stage even though I would prefer to have a proper manager.

      1. HH, IT IS NOWHERE NEAR A “FACT”. Plainly your version of “history” does not go back even as far as the latter GEORGE GRAHAM years.


  19. Never seen a player try so much to get his team eliminated than Ceballos these last 3 matches. His list of mistakes is getting ridiculous, at least he won’t play the next game.

    1. His red card is a blessing in disguise, because it will also force Arteta to put Xhaka back into midfield.

  20. I back our chances next week but the performance will need to be far far better, both by players and especially Arteta.

    Play Luiz, Tierney and Laca against Newcastle and if match fit they all need to play next Thursday. Xhaka cannot continue as makeshift left back.

    Two big talking points second half – Leno with a massive save at 2-nil and a horrible reffing performance capped off with our penalty for a Saka dive.

  21. I would have taken that before the game, and especially after what happened!

    An away goal, only one goal in it, and Ceballos is not available for the 2nd leg, not a bad night overall!

    There will be question marks directed at Arteta for that first half display, and fair enough, but yet again, another brain fart from one of his players that is out of his control. I have never known so many crucial individual errors in just one season! It’s never ending!!

    1. 😂😂😂😂
      I actually scrolled down to find your cringe excuse and there it was .

      1. Hahaha, just goes to show how much of a troll you are then. Thank you for proving my point! Although what’s worse, months of excuses or a over decades worth like with Wenger?

    1. The man was hopeless utterly hopeless poor touch worse positional sense no threat in and around the box… he has no footballing brain cells … need to cut our losses and move on

  22. Arteta fan boys will blame anyone, wont they? First it was Leno’s fault for that pathetic first half when all his players did was pass it sideways, backwards and hail Mary’s hoping that the wingers would perform miracles. Their idol Xhaka gets out sprinted and again its all down on Leno. Chambers gives nothing on the overlap, but that’s Leno’s fault too. Finally the two loanees are off the pitch and ESR has room to breathe in his natural position, things start to improve. Areta got away with murder this game. I’m certain I’m not the only Arsenal fan who believes that he does not deserve to keep his job, regardless. Terrible team selections and shite football.

    1. Read the comments Joe S. Dozens of messages criticising Arteta from the “fan boys”. Only a couple say anything bad about Leno, so stop trying to “spin” things just to get a dig in.

  23. Arteta’s inexperience is showing soldiers glaringly. As for Martinelli, did nothing all the while he was on, maybe that’s why he has been on the bench, really a shadow of last season. Hopefully its just him taking time to rediscover form after an ACL

    1. Bro, you gonna be beating your head all night save yourself from the migraine and let it go. No rational explanation.

  24. This was en embarassing. We were bossed around by VR. I think Arteta should go if we don’t win this tournament . I feel he can’t motivate this lot and just makes them nervous. I don’t think his up to a job at this level yet. I really like him and I think if he started and learnt his trade as a manager somewhere else he would’ve eventually been the real deal. Done with Ceballos too.

  25. Leno played well in the second half but I think he should have done better for first goal and at least come out to try to catch the cross on second goal. Pepé worked hard and was fouled so many times. Martinelli must start the return game and hopefully we have seen the last game from Ceballos. Tierney defo back for return.

  26. As Napoleon said “Give me a lucky general over a good one.”
    All to play for at the Emirates, with a crucial away goal and Leno’s save to avoid 3-1.

  27. Without Pepe’s goal it would be over pretty much. Now there is a glimmer of hope

    I still think Emery is better than Arteta but we can still go through with a good performance in 2nd leg

  28. So three things
    1…Ceballos has no love for Arsenal. He virtually doesn’t care. How can he play?
    2…Xhaka is not a left back. What the F is going on.
    3…Why was Martinelli not playing? What is this false 9 shite. C’mon people Arteta hasn’t got a clue. He is authentically clueless.

  29. I disliked vampire looking Emery but I am getting to think he is still better than Arteta although both are horrible player managers. MA must think he is the sharpest tool in the shed pulling shit like fake 9’s when a simple line up with a forward to put pressure on their defence. Foyth was dangerours the entire first half and Albiol scores a goal. What does he MA really see that we don’t ?

  30. Happy with the result with that performance
    It could have been 3-0 or even more if not for leno,saka,pepe
    Also is that a penalty?I dont think thats a foul on saka.

    And whats wrong with that ref,he loves a strict disciplined game.Dude loves yellow cards.I personally believe Villareal losing their guy Foyth really changed the game for us.Also xhaka defended quite well agaunst that tricky winger in the dying stages which i believe was super important in the tie.
    We do go for players over 30 tgen how did we miss CAVANI😒

  31. I believe we are in this tie. Our pressing need to be better. in the first half our pressing was poor , we sat off leaving Villarreal with too much room to make there passes and it gave them all the confidence to build from the back and take us on. We need to press them hard from the front in the 2nd leg and they will make mistakes which we can score from. We need Laca to be fit for second leg, he presses better than auba. The midfield need to change with xhaka partnering partey and ESR and Saka inter changing on the left. with the forwards doing there job up top. We can win if Arteta set this team up the right way.

  32. Martinelli really made a difference when he came on. Martin Keown asked the question as to why Arteta doesn’t select him and claimed that Odegaard has said that in training he is the best young player he has seen (and he is at Real Madrid). Keown believes Arteta mustn’t like his play.
    Hopefully, Arsenal will be a totally different team personnel wise at the Emirates. If they turn up to start well with a fast tempo, Villarreal don’t have the players to match Arsenal.
    Emery missed a chance to put the tie to bed by bringing on Coquelin to replace a forward, which reduced pressure on Arsenal.

  33. A lot of people are betting on Laca’s return would ignite some sort of thrilling win at home and we will go through. My question, did Laca not play in any of the 13 defeats we have suffered in league along with other competition also Tierney and Luiz was part of the team as well. It’s the same Laca that ppl cursed and wanted him gone in January. All I am saying don’t pin your hopes too much in Laca making him into some sort of Lavendoski or Messi only to be get disappointed then throwing him under the bus. We have this habit at our club if hyping someone to clouds and then when they don’t match our unrealistic high expectations we drop them right onto ground. We did it with Auba, he was the saviour/massiah not too many months back but now ppl want him to be sold or brand him as incompetent. Laca playing does increase our chance of winning as he brings that balance to team but don’t expect magical performance from him as he does not have that ability.

  34. By the way Arsenal played Everton on Friday and Villarreal played Barcelona on Sunday. Which team looked the fresher of the two?

  35. We saw the usual bad performance with:
    . Leno foot on the ball, trying to play from the back with clueless dangerous pass to Partey or Ceballos
    . Ceballos believing he’s a very talented technical player, but missing simple controls and losing the ball away
    . Xhaka switching off and passing several passes in a row to an opponent
    . Partey shooting in the air from a back pass (I don’t recall a single shot on target since he joined us)
    . Chambers playing 90% backwards (including from the touchline)
    Arteta didn’t correct any of these mistakes but added new challenge, copying Pep with his no striker idea.
    We’re just lucky we could get a goal from nowhere.

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