UEL Match Preview: Villarreal vs Arsenal Predictions

Villarreal vs Arsenal

Villarreal vs Arsenal predictions and match preview for Thursday’s game in the UEFA Europa League. Read on for the team news, analysis and predicted lineups as the Yellow Submarine come up against Unai Emery’s former club.

  • DATE: Thursday 29th April 2021
  • KICK-OFF: 21:00 (CET)
  • VENUE: Estadio Ceramica
  • COMPETITION: UEFA Europa League Semi Final, 1st Leg

Villarreal vs Arsenal Preview


Villarreal match action

Villarreal start one of the most important ties in their history this week as they entertain Arsenal at the Ceramica in the UEFA Europa League Semi-Finals. Their biggest until this point was also against the Gunners, who they were defeated by in a Champions League Semi-Final in 2005/06 by a slender 1-0 aggregate margin.

There’s likely to be a few more goals in this one. Both sides like to play positive football but neither are without defensive flaws and it has the potential to be a fascinating tie. Villarreal will go into it as slight underdogs you sense but by no means without an opportunity to progress, and they have made fine progress in this competition up until this point.

Indeed it has been close to the perfect Europa League campaign for the Yellow Submarine with 11 wins and 1 draw from their 12 matches. While they’ve not had to play any absolute giants, they’ve beaten two teams who dropped out of the Champions League along the way and have carried a goal threat throughout with Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer having both netted 6 times in the competition.

Arsenal also breezed through the group stage winning every match, but they’ve had to battle at times in the knockout stage. They edged out Benfica 4-3 on aggregate before a strong away showing saw them past Olympiakos despite defeat in the 2nd Leg in London. They also did the damage on the road in the Quarter-Finals with a very impressive 4-0 win away to a competitive Slavia Prague side which had secured a draw at the Emirates in the 1st Leg.

Villarreal boss Unai Emery will of course know plenty about this opposition having only left Arsenal in 2019. This tie will have extra significance for him and it’s also huge for his opposite number Mikel Arteta. With the Gunners languishing in 10th in the Premier League, this looks like it will be their only realistic path to securing European qualification for next season and their success or failure in it, will have a big impact in terms of what they are able to do this summer in the transfer market.

Head to Head

  • Last 4 Meetings: 2 Arsenal Wins, 2 Draws.
  • The sides met in a Champions League Semi-Final in 2006 with Arsenal winning the 1st Leg 1-0 at Highbury while the return ended goalless.
  • They also met in the UCL last eight in 2009 with Arsenal advancing 4-1 on aggregate.

Team News

Long-term absentee Vicente Iborra is likely to be the only man missing for Villarreal.

Key men Kieran Tierney, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang have been carrying injuries but could all be fit to feature for Arsenal.

Predicted Villarreal Starting Lineup:

Rulli – Pedraza, Torres, Albiol, Foyth – Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo, Chukwueze – Moreno, Alcacer (4-4-2)

Predicted Arsenal Starting Lineup:

Leno – Tierney, Mari, Holding, Bellerin – Xhaka, Partey – Aubameyang, Rowe, Saka – Lacazette (4-2-3-1)


Villarreal vs Arsenal Predictions


Score Prediction:Villarreal 2-2 Arsenal

This has the makings of a really good tie and both teams are capable of having some joy in the final third. This represents a step up in class for Villarreal on their previous opponents but in Gerard Moreno they will have the most dangerous attacking player on the pitch and he should have some joy but the pace in this Arsenal side could exploit weaknesses in the Villarreal back-line and a score draw could be the outcome.

UEFA Europa League Betting Tips (18+)

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Spanish football writer
About Mark Sochon 1603 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has also lived in Seville and Barcelona and has written extensively about Spanish football. His work has been published by the likes of Guardian Sport & World Soccer.