Arsenal v Villarreal Betting Tips: Tie in the balance as Emery returns
Preview and odds for Europa League semi-final
Nicolas Pepe’s away goal from the penalty spot means this Europe League semi-final is hanging in the balance heading into the second leg at the Emirates Stadium.
Villarreal were in control of the tie as first-half goals from Manuel Trigueros and Raul Albiol preceded a Dani Ceballos red card just before the hour in the first leg.
Thursday’s second leg kicks off at 8pm and is live on BT Sport.
Arsenal v Villarreal Match Odds
Villarreal boss Unai Emery is returning to the club where he endured an ill-fated 18-month reign after replacing Arsene Wenger.
He did at least lead them to a Europa League final, which they lost 4-1 to Chelsea in 2019.
The Spaniard has won the competition an unparalleled three times during his career and is looking to add to that impressive tally this season.
A draw would be enough to take Villarreal through and they are 13/5 to achieve that result, which is worth noting in terms of Arsenal v Villarreal betting tips given only one team has drawn more games in La Liga this season.
A 1-0 victory at 7/1 is the simplest way for Arsenal to progress but they have conceded in five of their six home Premier League wins this season as well as against Benfica, Olympiakos and Slavia Prague in their last three Europa League games here.
Arsenal v Villarreal Head-to-Head
Last week’s 2-1 victory was Villarreal’s first against Arsenal at the fifth attempt.
The teams met in the Champions League in 2006 and 2009 with Arsenal winning on aggregate on both occasions, drawing the away leg and prevailing on home soil.
The Yellow Submarine lost 3-0 on their last visit here with Arsenal easing through thanks to goals from Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie (penalty).
Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka, Saka, Ceballos, Partey, Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Pepe.
Villarreal: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Alfonso, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros, Moreno, Alcacer, Chukwueze.
Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney could make his return from a knee injury, while striker Alexandre Lacazette has overcome a hamstring issue and may also be involved.
Centre-back David Luiz suffered a hamstring injury of his own in Sunday’s win over Newcastle and is unlikely to feature, while midfielder Dani Ceballos is suspended after being sent off in the first leg.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opted to play no out-and-out striker in the first leg and they struggled to create chances from open play.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came on late in the game, though, having recently recovered from malaria and then started against Newcastle on Sunday so he can provide his team with much more of a goal threat and is 3/1 in the first goalscorer odds.
He should give Villarreal centre-backs Pau Torres and Raul Albiol much more to think about while Arsenal’s defence will be wary of in-form striker Gerard Moreno, who has scored 28 goals for club and country this season but was denied by a fine save from Gunners keeper Bernd Leno in the first leg.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication