Soccer owes a final to Villarreal. After four lost semifinals, the “yellow submarine” wants to break the spell against an Arsenal with whom he has pending accounts. Never before has the Castellón team managed to overcome this instance, neither in the Europa Legue (3) nor in the Champions League (1), where it was precisely deprived of the final against its rival today, so the mission of the Unai team Emery is clear.
Despite the fact that 15 years have passed, the memory of that second leg of Cahmpions’s ‘semis’ against Arsenal is still vivid in his mind. In La Cerámica, the same scenario, the penalty wasted by Juan Román Riquelme in the last breath is still planned, a maximum penalty that would have forced an extension against a melted team and would have given the ‘submarine’ the possibility of playing the final of the finals against the Barça of Frank Rijkaard.
Villarreal is entrusted to the experience of Unai Emery – three times champion of the Europa League – to break down the wall of the semifinals and reach a final that would be historic for the yellow team. In addition, the Gipuzkoan coach is also looking forward to Arsenal, from which he was fired before assuming the reins of the Castellón team this season. Emery will be able to line up his typical team, as the only casualty of the yellow team is that of midfielder Viente Iborra, who was injured for a long time and ruled out until the next season.
Crispation at Arsenal
On the side of Arsenal, the third semifinals in four years come in a climate of tension. Added to the poor results in the Premier (it occupies the tenth position 9 points behind the European competition positions), is added all the controversy caused by the adherence of the ‘Gunners’ to the Super League and the energetic protests of their fans, especially against the current owner, Stan Kroenke.
It is no coincidence that Mikel Arteta’s previous press conference was marked by rumors about a possible purchase of the club by billionaire Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, along with legends such as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira, something denied by the Spanish coach himself.
Arteta recovers Aubameyang, Lacazette and Tierney for this match, although the Gabonese is not expected to be from the game after having overcome malaria.