Good evening! Arsenal’s season pretty much hinges on the Europa League now, but a very familiar face will be trying to stop them tonight. I’ll bring you build-up to Villarreal v Arsenal followed by live text commentary from 8pm.
Europa League / Semifinal
Estadio de la Cerámica / 29.04.2021
End of 2nd Half
It’s all over in Spain where 10-man Villarreal have beaten 10-man Arsenal 2-1. It could have been far, far worse than that though for Mikel Arteta’s side, and Nicolas Pepe’s penalty has given them something to worth with ahead of the second leg.
Aubameyang very nearly grabs an unlikely equaliser right at the last, but is denied by Rulli from a tight angle.
Xhaka goes high with his boot to clear inside his own box and then the ball strikes his arm unintentionally moments later. Neither is given though, rightly so.
There will be five minutes of added time.
Aubameyang goes into the book for a clumsy tackle in midfield.
Villarreal are taking the sting out of this game as much as they can, keeping hold of the ball as much as they can and looking for gaps in Arsenal’s depleted defensive shape.
Aubameyang replaces Saka for the final few minutes.
Partey dangles a leg in the box but thankfully for Arsenal he doesn’t make contact. It remains 2-1.
It’s an absolutely fascinating game right now. There’s space at both ends and the two teams each seem to sense that this is their moment to get a goal that will transform the tie.
Villarreal respond with a double change. On come Moreno and Gomez.
Very strange moment that. Capoue hurt himself in the challenge and was carried from the field on a stretcher, with the ref almost apologetically waving a yellow and then red over the shoulders of the medics.
Capoue lunges in on Saka and it’s a second yellow for the midfielder. He’s off! It’s 10 vs 10.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Pepe slots it straight down the middle and 10-man Arsenal are back in this tie. 2-1!
Penalty! Is this a lifeline for Arsenal? Saka is tripped in the box and the referee points to the spot.
Saka, who has been quietly impressive tonight, finds Chambers to cross, but it’s cut out.
This is a blow for Villarreal. The excellent Foyth has pulled a hamstring here it looks like. It was off the ball and his reaction suggests that he knew straight away. The on-loan Spurs man will have to make way, with Gaspar replacing him.
It’s Moreno again, cutting inside onto his left and shooting straight at Leno this time.
What a save by Leno. A no-look pass finds Moreno and his effort from close range is brilliantly tipped over the bar by the Arsenal stopper.
Smith-Rowe sees a shot blocked as Villarreal fail to deal with a corner, but Holding can’t take advantage as the ball breaks to him, hitting a follow-up effort well wide on the turn.
Arteta makes a change, sacrificing the tidy but largely ineffective Odegaard for Martinelli.