Arsenal only had to win by one goal at the Emirates last night to get through to the Final of the Europa League, but for the umpteenth time this season our strikers have failed to put the ball in the back of the net.
Yes we came close twice through Aubameyang, but simply not close enough, and considering how both teams played over the 180 minutes, one would have to say that Villarreal were the better team by a good margin, especially in the first leg where we were very lucky to only end up with a one-goal deficit.
Before the game, Arteta refused to think it was possible for us not to reach the final, so it is a massive setback for the Spaniard. “We are all devastated,” he told Arsenal.com. “We wanted to deliver something for this football club and get to the final and reach the Champions League next season and give something to our fans.
“Unfortunately, today we came up short. There were moments in the second half, we hit the post twice, then we had an empty goal to put the ball in the net.
“Small margins define these ties and today we came up short.
“When you lose a semi-final or a final you’ll always have things you wanted to do differently. We haven’t played at our best over the two legs.
“Certainly in the first half an hour in Villarreal and the first half here. Even still, we were in the tie after all that, and we could have been easily through to the final.
“We haven’t arrived individually in the best possible way in the defining moments when the big players have to step up.
“Today we have to swallow a huge disappointment for everybody but we had a terrific run in the competition with the very difficult teams that we’ve had.
“Now we have a game on Sunday and our responsibility is to go and win the remaining games and give us a chance to see where we finish.”
So, we can only wonder how Arteta is feeling this morning, having ended the season as the coach that has failed to bring European football to the Emirates for the first time in 25 years.
That is a bitter pill to swallow…