- Emirates Stadium
- BT Sport 2
- Arsenal haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine home games.
- Both teams have scored in five of Arsenal’s last nine home matches.
- Arsenal haven’t won any of their last five games at The Emirates Stadium.
- Villarreal are unbeaten in 13 Europa League fixtures this term.
Pressure is on for Arsenal
Few could argue with the notion that Arsenal’s entire campaign hinges on their Europa League semi-final clash with Villarreal on Thursday evening, where a defeat would almost certainly end the Gunners’ chances of securing continental football for next season.
Arsenal have a deficit to overturn following a 2-1 reverse in a heated first encounter in Spain last week where both sides had a player sent off at El Madrigal. The Gunners’ away goal, struck late on from the spot by Nicolas Pepe, gives them plenty to work with in Thursday’s climactic contest.
Mikel Arteta’s charges warmed up for their crucial Europa League encounter with a solid 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday and though Arsenal’s performance in the north-east could act as a timely confidence-builder, their poor form at home could easily cancel any new found self-belief out.
Villarreal hoping to make advantage count
Villarreal’s victory last week was their ninth straight win in the Europa League and the Yellow Submarine have yet to taste defeat in the competition this term, a full 13 games into their campaign.
Manager Unai Emery – a three times winner of the tournament – is a UEL specialist, and the former Arsenal boss will be desperate to show his old employers what they are missing by crushing their dreams of winning silverware.
Goals at both ends in London?
Arsenal and Villarreal looked well-matched for the majority of last week’s first-leg, where the Gunners shaded the possession stats and the teams mustered nine attempts on goal each.
Mikel Arteta’s charges became only the third team in nine Europa League matches to find the net against Villareal when Pep converted his spot-kick in Spain, and the Gunners’ record of notching in all but one of their fixtures in the tournament this term suggests they can breach their opponent’s defence again.
Arsenal’s form at The Emirates has been worryingly abject however, and they haven’t kept a clean sheet on their own patch in their last nine attempts, while five matches have passed in North London without a single victory for the hosts.
With that considered, backing both teams to score in Thursday’s second-leg is advised, while our 1-1 correct score prediction tips Arsenal to fall short at home again in a result that would see their Europa League hopes shattered in London.