Considering that the Europa League semi-final were the most important matches in Arsenal’s season, it seems very strange that Mikel Arteta tried using completely new tactics in both matches against Villarreal.
In the first leg in Spain, Arteta didn’t have Aubameyang available and decided to play without any attacker at all and using a “false 9”, which is something we have not seen him try before.
That thoroughly backfired and we were extremely lucky to still have a chance to progress out of the second leg, and we could have dne it with a simple 1-0 home win after getting the away goal in Spain.
But Arteta decided to go all out for goals, starting the match with Pepe, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe, Aubameyang and Saka in a 5-man attack force, but leaving Thomas Partey as the sole midfielder.
Again that back-fired with Aubameyang hardly getting a sniff of the ball. Can you believe our captain only had 9 touches in the whole 80 minutes he was on the pitch, whereas Willian came on for the last ten minutes and had 7 touches!
“And that might excite Arsenal thinking ‘we are “going for it’.
“But sometimes you can have too many attacking players on the pitch because you cannot get the ball back. And that was the problem.
“Aubameyang hardly touched the ball in the first half because there was no one in midfield to win the ball back and give them the ball, so again, I thought he (Arteta) got it massively wrong again (tactically), really, and almost played into Villarreal’s hands.”
Despite all our strikers, we only had two shots on target and two that came off the woodwork.