Confirmed Arsenal team to take on Villarreal for first-leg clash

The teams are out as Arsenal look to earn an advantage from their opening leg of their Europa League semi-final clash with Villarreal.

This will be the first time that the Gunners have come up against their former manager Unai Emery since he quit the club 16 months, and also the first time that the two sides have met in the Europa League.

We will be hoping that there isn’t another first this evening, with us unbeaten against the Spanish side in four previous encounters.

Mikel Arteta revealed important team news when revealing that all of David Luiz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette were all in contention to feature this evening, although how fit they are remains to be seen.

With our understanding of the team news, we predicted the following XI to take to the field from kick-off.

Predicted Arsenal XI from earlier on today:

Chambers Luiz Gabriel Xhaka
Partey Elneny
Saka Odegaard Smith Rowe

How do you see this encounter playing out after seeing the line-up?


Tags Europa League Villarreal Villarreal v Arsenal


  1. Declan says:

    Pepé at CF?

    1. Kedar says:

      False 9

      1. HASS says:

        False dribbler as well.

    2. gotanidea says:

      Maybe Smith-Rowe, like what De Bruyne did for Man City lately

      1. Ken says:

        It looks good but Arteta might panic and give us a fake line up

    3. Skills1000 says:

      Yes Declan. I have always wanted this. he is a better finisher than Lacazette. We are winning this match

      1. Ayo says:

        Based on what

    4. Oluw0 Ajibola says:

      Arsenal 2 villreal 1

    5. says:

      God we’re sh8t!
      2 down already men against boys and we look lost and unable to gel.
      What was Partey doing back post ball watching!
      This isn’t Arsenal so so far from it!

  2. Highbury Hero says:

    The winner of this tie is this season Champion. We beat Villarreal we are champions.

    1. Dunchirado says:

      HH, I don’t think any of them can beat Man Utd in the Final, tho Emery can surprise anyone when is come to Europa

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        Hi Dunchirado. I am in the opinion that the winner of this tie will beat Roma in the final 😉🤣

  3. Kedar says:

    Pépé is playing as False 9

    1. Declan says:

      Or Ødegaard is playing as false 9 maybe.

  4. Lord Denning says:

    Pepe as a no.9 in a 4:3:2:1 Just copying Mancity yesterday by playing without a striker, possession based football.This is experimental Arteta doesn’t trust his decisions.An away win wll be vital but tome it seems like a defensive gameplay.Coyg!

  5. Sue says:

    No striker… Well it worked for City last night 😉

    Tonight is huge!!!! COYG

    1. Goonerboy says:

      I support Arteta but I think this is the wrong match for experimenting and I hope it works out. COYG!

    2. Lord Denning says:

      Seems like the choice of the lineup was advised by Pep, I understand we are in a desperate moment to save the season.

      1. Ken says:

        I wish Aub played even for 30 minutes,Arteta game plan is wrong and wont work,why cant he go for usual way so that we can win or lose while fighting

    3. Kenya 001 says:

      Good ebening then! I’ll be behind the boys and say Arteta out later if we loose this one. COYG! 4-0 to the Arsenal

  6. Gmv8 says:

    Hmmm … we have trouble scoring with strikers!

  7. Roachie says:

    Not sure today is the time to be trying new tactics. However, lets get at them and win this tie.

  8. Declan says:

    According to Arsenal official site “Pepé is leading the line” which looks more like a CF than a false 9. Anyway it’s all speculation until we kick off.

    1. Ken says:

      Bring back Terney on left,mari ,holding and chambers on defense.Bring all xhaka ,Elneney and Thomas in mid,Bring in willian to supply balls to Auba and lacazette.Rowe,saka,ooda,pepe,Bellarine should be put on standby for any eventuality

  9. Dan kit says:


  10. Crixus says:

    i dont see hope with this selection. leno again? c’mon dis dude is filled with bad luck

  11. Sue says:

    Foyth is a spud, right?

    1. Kenya 001 says:

      Xtra motivation then sue if we don’t want him to do an ozil on Twitter later!

      1. Sue says:


    2. Declan says:

      Yes and isn’t Capou one too?

      1. Sue says:

        Sure is, Declan 👍

  12. Trudeau says:

    Bless Xhaka as he’ll put in the shift wherever he plays but he is no LB. I expect Emery will know that so look for Villarreal to attack down the right. Really think Saka needs to play there in the absence of Tierney but an away goal is crucial so can see Arteta wanting to keep his top threat up front. COYGs!

    1. RSH says:

      i cant believe he is STILL at LB. cant say im happy with the lineup not that i had high expectations.

  13. gotanidea says:

    Hopefully Smith-Rowe plays as CF or false nine. De Bruyne has been doing it well for Man City lately

    Smith-Rowe’s hold-up play and aerial ability aren’t bad, so he could be good to lead our front-line. If Pepe plays CF, he’d likely stay in the front, try to beat the offside trap more often and lose the ball like Aubameyang

    1. Splendid says:

      You knowledge of football is shocking at times.

    2. Khadii says:

      Gotnoidea has to be the most daft and naive football analyst i’ve ever seen

  14. Twig says:

    Always wondered how Pepe will fare through the middle. I hope it works.

  15. durand says:

    Guess Arteta is still saving Martinelli from further injuries?

    Surprised to see Xhaka still at LB rather than letting Cedric have a go.

    Arteta is manager not me, but then again I am currently undefeated in League play.

    1. Dan kit says:

      Haha Durand on the Martinelli line ,exactly what I said earlier .we might see him again in 2026 .

  16. John Legend says:

    I’m still confused as to the formation really. When the game starts, we’ll know who plays where, especially in full back or wingback

    1. gotanidea says:

      It’d likely be 4-2-3-1. But it could also be an asymmetrical 4-3-3, if Arteta wants to counter Emery’s formation

    2. Kenya 001 says:

      Truly confusing I hope the players won’t be that confused!

      1. John Legend says:

        I’m telling you.
        Well, let’s hope it confuses Unai Emery and his players and not us.

  17. Eddie says:

    Everyone seems to be complaining and ignoring the fact that Laca just got back from an hamstring Injury, Auba just resumed training too.. Odegaard resumed training way before them. Exdiy can’t start this game, Martinelli maybe, but I guess he prefers Pepe there since he’s bigger than Martinelli.
    All in all good luck to the boys.. Hope everyone performs. There’s nothing defensive about this lineup like some are saying up there.
    A line up of Saka-ESR-Odegaard-Pepe-Ceballos is defensive??
    I’m off to Twitter to watch Livestream of the game, so I won’t be able to comment here till halftime

    1. Andrey says:

      Link please

      1. Eddie says:

        Follow @LiveHQ2 on Twitter, they have affiliate pages, so sometimes they retweet the stream from their other pages..
        They’ll post links, don’t click the two links.. they’ll post a link with a picture of the game.. click the picture, it’s actually the video. It’ll play on the Twitter app.

        2nd half, they’ll post a new one to stream it from

        1. Andrey says:

          Thank You

      2. Dan kit says:


  18. Mickmematethemasterfarter says:

    Arteta hasn’t a bulls notion 🤔 subs 2 keepers 2 rb’s 2cb’s unfit Luiz but no balogun

    1. Eddie says:

      Now it’ll be spammy Balogun not starting.. damn!! This fanbase

    2. Adajim says:

      Every team field 2 keeper in Europe this days

  19. RSH says:

    im so confused…..ok Arsenal…

  20. JACKSON says:

    Lets hope it works 4 us may be martinel will come in to replace pepe at some point time is about.

  21. Declan says:

    Leno is playing as false 9.

    1. Sue says:

      Thanks for clearing that up, Declan 🤣🤣

  22. Sue says:

    That blue kit 😬 At least its days are numbered!!

  23. Reggie says:

    Right! Come on Arsenal, last chance saloon time, prem form is not a bearing on tonight, lets stuff em!

  24. Phenom says:

    I think the formation is 3511
    3 at the back. ESR and Saka as wing backs.
    Thomas, Xhaka and Ceballos in middle and Odegaard behind Pepe.


  25. Perry ames says:

    We need to start with quick ball and press them high up the pitch. Dont let them settle and take our chances. 2-1 to us

  26. bwambale says:

    we r good to go , what we need is early goals in order for us to go through failure to score we r out. all the best

  27. babasola says:

    where can i stream live abeg ooo

  28. Sue says:


  29. Oluw0 Ajibola says:

    Arsenal 2 villreal 1

  30. Jimmy Bauer says:

    And some say Arteta>>> Emery

  31. babasola says:

    where can i stream match please

    1. Jimmy bauer says:

      Better save yourself the time…Do something useful.. Read some book or do some exercise..

  32. Sean Williams says:

    Xhaka left back….insanity.

  33. Jah son says:

    They will still insist Arteta needs more time.

  34. Ramterta says:

    Our home form is very poor we have to win today to have any chance of qualification

  35. Pco says:

    Karen Carney knows that xhaka in the left back is crazy. How does Arteta not?

  36. Gooner525 says:

    Granit leftback👏🏽

    1. RSH says:

      it’s comedy. at every turn Arteta keeps making the wrong choices.

  37. OZGooner says:

    Zhaka held up his man. Look further up the pitch in the build up. Pepe didn’t come across and cover…….lazy.

    1. ToluCOYG says:

      Pepe? Lazy? Your bias stinks.

      1. OZGooner says:

        Haha…. And your bias is blind.

        1. ToluCOYG says:

          You expect Pepe to come cover all the way from the other end? Ceballos, Partey, Rowe and even Xhaka that got shaken easily by Chukwueze could not be pointed by you but Pepe. Nonsense.

    2. TheJuhi says:

      Bootleg-Pep getting found out, like the 20th time this season.

      Cant believe we replaced Emery with someone whos experience consisted of 2 years as Citys water boy.

  38. Cliff says:

    Its Artetas reign, he does it his own way.Just sit back and take your chill pills.

  39. ArseOverTit says:

    Xhaka at LB!? Really..

    This is gonna be costly…Emery will target this.

  40. Dan kit says:

    Imagine being the 8th richest club in world football and our opponents see chambers ,holding ,Mari and Xhaka as our back four .

    1. Sean says:

      Its abit unlucky that Luiz, Teirney are injured and Bellerin has one foot out the door but do agree doesnt look one bit solid

    2. ArseOverTit says:

      It is..quite..incredible.

      Still stan and josh will spend loads the summer , you wait!;)

    3. Mambo says:

      Chambers, Holding and Mari im fine with, but Leno and Xhaka ahould not be there.

      I suspect we will miss Laca today

    4. ken1945 says:

      Nowt wrong with the first three names Dan, but to play Xhaka at left back in a semi final with everything riding on a positive result, is mind boggling.
      Xhaka should have been playing next to Partey and Soares at left back.
      UE must be enjoying this, 2-0 now!!!!!

      1. Dan kit says:

        Disagree Ken
        Holding -abit part player since he’s been here
        Chambers – same as above
        Mari -Man City reject plying his trade in Brazil
        Xhaka -saka should have been put there .

        Emery probably is Ken but we all know him and this fraud manager shouldn’t have ever been anywhere near this club .

  41. Sean says:

    Gutted to see this game start this way. 1-1 at old Trafford also… Roma away goal. Cmon Arsenal

  42. Ramterta says:

    When is Daniel ek taking over.
    Our soul is gone the board the manager the players absolutely incompetent and the owner an absolute parasite

  43. Mambo says:

    Well when we get knocked out Arteta must resign or get fired

  44. Mambo says:

    Arteta should not be at Arsenal, but cant blame him, he should go with whoever hired him.

    1. Mambo says:

      Tie over, we done.

  45. OZGooner says:

    I am convinced this line up was selected to nullify Vil, rather then to pose toomany threats going forward. Obviously didn’t expect to be 1 down after 5 mins.

    1. Perry ames says:

      Game and tie over
      Arteta will not be at the club next friday morning if the owners are to be taken seriously. Also how crap is party

  46. Sue says:

    At least someone’s happy, hey Unai

    1. blue17 says:

      Man’s on cloud 9 right now…

      1. Mambo says:

        I would be too

  47. blue17 says:

    Perhaps if there were two goal posts above one another Partey would hit the bar… Mediocre

    1. Ackshay says:

      Partey would make a great kicker in rugby 🤣🤣🤣

      1. blue17 says:

        Dead right man 😄

  48. OZGooner says:

    FARK……. 😔

  49. siamois says:


  50. RSH says:

    And that’s that. 😂😂😂😂😂😂. Bye Mikel!

    1. Mambo says:

      Never worth losing, but surely tie is over and we can sack Arteta tonight and plan for next season

      1. RSH says:

        with Kroenke still here he’ll stick around like a bad smell until at least December when we blow another season.

  51. PJ-SA says:

    Trust the process

  52. Ramterta says:

    Xhaka can never be anything more than a mid table player.
    The defence is championship level
    And the manager is sunday league.
    These are cold hard facts.
    We as fans deserve better but the reality is the team and the manager and the people who run the club should be nowhere near the champions league

    1. ArseOverTit says:

      But what about the SUPER-league!?

  53. Kobin says:

    2-0. I am going to bed now. Thank you Arsenal.

  54. OZGooner says:

    Geez we are ordinary at the back.

  55. Declan says:

    Leno needs subbing off now that’s two goals he should have dealt with.

    1. MartinelliTheBench says:


  56. Cliff says:

    Its embarrassing to sometimes.
    I wonder which stuff Arteta smokes.

    1. Mambo says:

      The strong stuff, Rogers already knows we smoke atrong sh1t there at emirates

  57. blue17 says:

    No touches in the opposition box yet, no attempt yet….

  58. Gooner525 says:

    Joke. Everything about tonight
    Hope Arteta gets the sacking!

  59. RW1 says:

    Our quality left back solid again … you can’t build a football team on a wing and a prayer .. and sadly that is all arteta brings to the game and make no mistake we are not up against a quality opponent here

    1. Quantic Dream says:

      Trust the pwoses..

  60. Jimmy Bauer says:

    Good night..

  61. Sean says:


  62. Tom k says:

    Please mikel pick your things up in the morning and never to be seen at arsenal again

  63. siamois says:

    Buenas noches!

  64. Danny says:

    Arteta is a clueless clown how he has kept his job is a miracle if he is not sacked after this then it just shows the yank doesn’t give a …. about Arsenal!!

  65. Nifty says:

    We Xhaka in midfield and Martinelli upfront but our coach thinks otherwise

    1. P.doff says:

      Lost me at xhaka

  66. TheJuhi says:

    Bootleg-Pep getting found out, like the 20th time this season.

    Cant believe we replaced Emery with someone whos experience consisted of 2 years as Citys water boy.

  67. Sean Williams says:

    Can’t watch. I’ll watch proper drama at 9.00. Kroenke..

  68. ArsenalWhy says:

    Is over folks. See you next season.

  69. Sean says:

    Time for Mikel to go I’m afraid….

    Tried & failed. C
    Good coach not a manager.

  70. Palash says:

    Good ebening

  71. Sue says:

    Come on Roma

    1. Sue says:


    2. Sean says:

      Sue 😂😂 better watching that game. This is really painful

  72. Mambo says:

    No pen, blatant hand ball

  73. David says:

    Arsenal are being completely dominated. The quality of passes from the back have been aweful. This is the problem with having holding and mari at the back, they might be our better CBS defensively but they both suck at playing out from the back. Partey and caballos aren’t helping either.

  74. Mambo says:

    Cant Arteta atleast make a freaking sub, is watching a different game to us. Does he think we ining 2 nil. Clearly something needs to change but this noob thinks he is pep.

    1. RSH says:

      What has Pepe as false 9 added? This guy wants to be Pep Guardiola so badly. He can’t even get us to muster a shot on target. Total joke.

  75. says:

    True to say good players come here and become poor, okay to middle players leave here and do well……..AMN and Willock playing well and with confidence.

    There is something wrong internally with the connection of being an Arsenal player, is it the ‘Arsenal are a big club and should be doing better noose?

    1. Mambo says:

      We seem to be a club which is better at brining in a nobody or youth and making something from that, rather than being able to manage established names.

      Maybe we lack EQ and cant handle the players, mind set seems to be all wrong.

    2. RSH says:

      Partey has become bang average shockingly fast. There is something about this clubs mentality that everyone who comes here suffers from. You just kind of know when your employers care about winning or not. It is clear to anyone that is not the case in North London.

      1. Ackshay says:

        What’s more worrying is that had been happening for a very wrong time. We had new coaches, new people in charge, new trainers and still the same freaking results. Something rotten here and it’s deep rooted.

        1. RSH says:

          It starts at the top. There’s no passion for football by the owners. Not sure what the clubs culture has been since Kroneke takeover either. It seems like it has been civil war amongst us fans over and over again and nothing more. I think the intentions behind Arteta hiring were honest and they truly believed in him, but he’s SO far off from being ready for ANY Epl side. The fact he’s managing Aresnal is such a bad situation.

    3. Sue says:

      👍👍 spot on, Kieron

  76. Ramterta says:

    Im lost for words

  77. Sekman says:

    Smith Rowe useless

    1. Perry ames says:

      How much money did we waste on pepe and party both crap and obviously dont give a toss

    2. P.doff says:

      He not a striker. Our novices plays layers out of position and you expect s messi performance? Look when he is moved back to his natural spot. Saka should not be on the right….but the penalty you say…i think it was the idiot refs apology to us for sending off ceballos. Not a penalty but I’d gladly take it.

  78. Ackshay says:

    Villareal is giving us a lesson in playing from the back ☹️☹️☹️

    1. blue17 says:

      Its very shocking how they’re easily beating our press… I mean WTF, this isn’t City is it?

      1. MartinelliTheBench says:

        What press??

    2. Kedar says:

      Villarreal or Emery??

  79. OZGooner says:

    Foyte is tearing us a new one. Marauding down that side.

  80. Mambo says:

    I think he needs that link up, just ahows how important laca is to the team chemistry.

  81. PJ-SA says:

    No forward, no pressing, no direction

    Arteta thinks he’s Pep

  82. RSH says:

    Ceballos a total nub. GET HIM OFF!

  83. Reddb10 says:

    So it looks like no European football for us next season. Maybe with even less money coming in the yank will f### off.

  84. says:

    Also got to.say it the minute I see cebalos high fixing and hugging opposition players in the tunnel prior to the game he goes and sits on the bench. It gives the wrong impression.even they looked fairly surprised.

    Just heard the words ‘Foyth getting forward with his pace and power!’
    What Juan forth pace and power!?!?
    We must be poor to turn him into a rolls Royce.

  85. Quantic Dream says:

    Dracula is finishing us

  86. Sean Williams says:

    Ceballos doesn’t care. He is genuine rubbish.

  87. Sekman says:

    Please just play Cedric at the left and let xhaka come middle. Take ceballos out

    1. OZGooner says:

      That wouldn’t help. We need our forwards to hold up there wing backs. We have no pace in midfield.

  88. Dan kit says:

    Dam Ceballos reminds me of Lindford Christie ,well done Arty another masterstroke in our most important match in years .

  89. RW1 says:

    Big 45 coming up for arteta … sloppy at back no threat up front … Pepe and esr off martinelli and aube on

    1. Sekman says:

      Pepe off ?? WhAt about Saka ?!?!

      1. RSH says:

        at this point the entire XI. They’ve been awful. So awful. Emery is Guardiola in disguise, because it’s surely not Arteta.

    2. Mambo says:

      Maybe switch to back 3, move xhaka to mid and take cellaboa off.
      Bring on Martenelli and Auba for cellabos and smith rowe.

      Chambers Holding Mari
      Saka Partey Xhaka Martenelli
      Odengaard Pepe

      Maybe even replace Partey as he has been pathetic and drop smith rowe along side xhaka or move chambers to mid as he has played there

    3. Adega Olatunji says:

      What is the meaning of big 45?😀😀you better don’t deceive your self. For this season I have given up on Arsenal immediately after Fulham game.

  90. Kev82 says:

    Absolute pitiful! Bizarre formation by peps cone man! Arteta said the kroenkes are excited by the project? Haha clueless

    1. Dan kit says:

      Been told Kev that we have another 3 years of this form some of our expert footbal fans

  91. Gily says:

    Can someone just remove Partey and Ceballos from this team?


  92. DaJuhi says:

    Arteta is clueless. Total clown when it comes to managing.

    They gave Arsenals managing position to someone with ZERO experience. ZERO.

  93. Declan says:

    I still think we will turn this game around but we need to get Martinelli on and Pepé and Saka need to swap wings. Get Cedric on at left back,get Ceballos off and put Xhaka next to Partey. I still blame Leno for his part in both goals though.
    We can do this!

    1. Eddie says:

      Lol… Declan I don’t think there’s anything Leno could’ve done. The players we shitty and there’s no pressure on Villarreal’s defense up front

    2. PJ-SA says:

      What?? Leno partly at fault? Come on man

    3. Dan kit says:

      Declan to blame Leno mate is pathetic to put it nicely ,take the bloody blinkers off buddy

    4. P.doff says:

      @declan. Really? The 1st, maybe but at 10 yards and thru players, cant blame the keeper. The second? How can you blame leno?? Usual arsenal tactics at cormers which usually concedes a goal

  94. Gmv8 says:

    Luiz and Gabriel are better at the back, what genius thought we could play with no strikers? I just don’t believe this lineup

    1. RSH says:

      haven’t got a clue how Arteta thought we could solve the issue of having no goal scoring threat in the box by just removing the striker positions al-together. Let’s see how many shots on target we’ve had? How many shots have Villarreal even had to sweat? None. I’m convinced the lineup was made by somebody who hates us.

  95. Perry ames says:

    We need a year out of Europe otherwise the clowns who back arteta will get there way and we will be stuck with him for another year

  96. gotanidea says:

    That was an awful performance from our defenders and midfielders. They played with a bag of nerves and didn’t ooze any confidence whatsoever

    If we get kicked out of EL, I believe Arteta will get the boot from Kroenke. Our attackers actually possessed the ball quite well, so there’s still hope to score at least one goal in the second half

    1. Kev82 says:

      Even if he shockingly won europa league I would give him the boot he’s taken us backwards!

      1. gotanidea says:

        I really hope a miracle happens tonight

        1. Kev82 says:

          As do I but one thing is for sure Arteta needs to go, we have had some shocking performances this season but that tops all of them lol

    2. RW1 says:

      Wtf … partey ceballos ostegaard the best players on pitch the midfield wasn’t where we are losing this … sloppy defending and Pepe saka esr clueless and zero threat

  97. Eddie says:

    That was shít, from manager to players… This performance is unacceptable at this stage.
    Playing without a striker when we are away and getting to score is very vital.
    I had expected Martinelli to start… But Pepe has been on the LW so there’s no way ESR is striking..
    It needs to change, ESR has been a ghost, take him or Odegaard off and bring on Martinelli or Auba.
    An away goal is very vital here… Lose 2 zero and we are out because there’s no way Villarreal won’t score at the Emirates.
    This team is embarrassing.
    This one’s on Arteta so far

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      “This one’s on Arteta so far” we are coming around aren’t we? What about Martinelli protection? Not expired yet?

      1. Eddie says:

        Dude go bait someone else…. Discuss the game or don’t reply me post. I said what I said already.
        This is the semis and it’s unacceptable.. go bait someone else

        1. Highbury Hero says:

          You are the only catch I want. Doesn’t your judgment start next season? What is stressing you then?

        2. Krish says:

          well you are one to talk after every win you were baiting all the arteta critics as if he were a messiah so dont try to turn it onto HH he was always levelheaded and objective in contrast to your baits and provocations

          1. Highbury Hero says:

            Glad to see someone else seeing his tendency to make up stories about anyone he want.

          2. Krish says:

            Yeah Highbury Hero he has always been like that through the whole summer he was attacking people who posted rumours while he claimed that Aouar was absolutely 100% done and even got into a fight with me but as soon as Aouar didnt come he disappeared and changed the narrative.. he likes to make up stories

  98. Highbury Hero says:

    One more goal and Villareal are going to the final to beat Roma. Hopefully Arteta back to Man City if he can’t make his players get something in the second half.

  99. Trudeau says:

    Poor poor first half but we only need one to make next week meaningful. Move Saka to LB, Xhaka replaces Ceballos in the midfield and Martinelli up front. Bring on Auba with 20 to go.

    Down 1-2 with Laxa, Luiz and Tierney next week and I like the odds. This is not out of reach by any stretch.Huge 45 minutes coming up

    1. OZGooner says:

      Away goal very important now, and to obviously stop them from scoring again.

  100. OZGooner says:

    We need some pace in midfield both with the ball and tracking back. We are getting overrun.

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