Unai Emery previews Arsenal v Villarreal Europa League clash
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Unai Emery previews Arsenal v Villarreal Europa League clash

Villarreal coach Unai Emery believes his team has what it takes to knock Arsenal out of the Europa League and reach the final.

On Thursday night, the Spanish side will host the north Londoners in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final clash, with Emery facing his former club for the first time since his dismissal in November 2019.

Arsenal enters the game believing that the Europa League is their only chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

In May 2019, the Gunners reached the final under Emery, but were defeated in the final by their London rivals Chelsea FC.

Arsenal will now attempt to defeat Villarreal in the first leg of their semi-final tie on Thursday night in order to advance to a final match against either Manchester United or AS Roma.

Emery has a lot of respect for Arsenal, but he believes his team has enough potential to reach the final.

Speaking in an interview with Uefa, Emery said: “When Arsenal are in form, they are a top team. We’ve seen that this season. But so are we when we find our form.

“So in terms of confidence, the demands, the respect we have for the opponent, this semi-final will be full of tension and both teams will do their utmost to get through, which is what makes this competition such a great one.

“I want to win for myself and for Villarreal. [Two years ago] I was defending Arsenal’s red [and white] colors in that final against Chelsea, now I feel that affinity for the yellow of Villarreal.

“I have that competitive instinct, that responsibility I owe the club and everyone I represent with my decisions. I did that proudly when I was at Arsenal, now I’ll do that at Villarreal.

“I will have to put aside my feelings for Arsenal, and I will have to put all my energies into making sure that the Yellow Submarine gets the upper hand in the tie.”

Arsenal is currently ranked 10th in the Premier League standings.

  • Villarreal - Next Match
  • 13, May - 7:00pm
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