Unai Emery has started the mind games ahead of his Villarreal team’s semi-final return leg against Arsenal this evening.
The Spanish side won the first leg of the tie, but they conceded an away goal, which Emery wasn’t happy about.
Arsenal could be boosted by the presence of Kieran Tierney, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, none of whom started the first game.
The Gunners are also expected to play the game with the seriousness of a team that has everything to lose.
This is because the one guaranteed way that they will play in Europe next season is if they win the Europa League.
Despite his side winning the first leg and his reputation for being a specialist in the competition, Emery insists that Mikel Arteta’s team is the favourite for the game just as they were in the first leg.
Emery said via Mail Sport: ‘I consider the first leg result does not change how I see the initial competition. Arsenal started as a favourites and they are still favourites at this stage.
‘We are candidates to be able to play against this kind of teams and we’ll try to compete against this kind of team, those favourite teams but the first-leg result is really narrow to make anything change.
‘Why? Because of history, because of the present, because of the ability and the level from the budget to the players that they have in this squad. I consider them as favourites.
‘We are the underdogs but our team has been acknowledged in Europe. We have certain recognition and have been showing our level for years.
‘We have played a semi-final of the Champions League. We are a solid team with an ability to reach these heights but I now think Arsenal in that respect are one or two notches above us.’
Whether or not Emery thinks Arsenal should win, the Gunners simply have to beat Villarreal in this game.