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Villarreal v Arsenal Live Commentary, 29/04/2021

FT
2 - 1
VIL
ARS
Manu Trigueros (5)
Albiol (29)
N. Pépé (73 pen)
Estadio de la Cerámica

Commentary

That's all from us today folks, we hope you enjoyed the game!
Arsenal now have a vital away goal to take into the second leg at the Emirates next week. However, before the return fixture, both teams will return to domestic action, with Arsenal facing Newcastle United in the Premier League. While Villarreal welcome Getafe in LaLiga.
Villarreal hold the advantage after a 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Europa League semi-final first leg. They led 2-0 at the break and looked like they would go on and extend that lead, after Ceballos was sent off for Arsenal. However, the Gunners kept pushing and got their reward when Saka was fouled in the box and Pepe converted the resulting penalty. Both teams ended the game a man down, with Capoue also shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Saka. The visitors almost equalised in stoppage time, after Aubameyang turned and found space in the box, but he slipped at the wrong moment and Rulli made the save.
90' + 6' FULL-TIME: VILLARREAL 2-1 ARSENAL
Willian
N. Pépé
Arsenal
90' + 5' Pepe also heads off and Willian is his replacement.
Mohamed Elneny
E. Smith Rowe
Arsenal
90' + 5' Late changes for Arsenal now, with Smith Rowe one of those coming off and he has been replaced by Elneny.
90' + 4' CHANCE! Aubameyang with an opportunity to equalise right at the end of the game! They work it quickly up the pitch and Partey finds the striker in behind, who turns away from his marker and only has Rulli to beat. However, as he goes to strike the ball, he slips and this takes some of the power out of his shot, allowing the keeper to make a strong save.
90' + 3' Decent chance! Moreno gets up and powers a header towards the far corner of the net after a cross from the right wing. However, Leno reads it well and makes a comfortable save.
90' + 2' The other Europa League semi-final is being played today and Manchester United are currently beating Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford. So it could be an all English side final.
P. Aubameyang
Yellow Card
Arsenal
90' Aubameyang has hardly touched the ball for Arsenal so far, but he has just been booked for a challenge on Albiol.
90' There will be a minimum of five minutes added time played at the end of the second half.
89' Only a minute, plus any stoppage time left to play now, Arsenal are enjoying possession, but they can't seem to get it into the final third to test Rulli.
87' Neither team is really showing much urgency to get forward and score another goal, there are a few tired players out there now. Especially Arsenal as they have had to play much of the second half with 10-men.
P. Aubameyang
B. Saka
Arsenal
85' Aubameyang is back on the pitch for Arsenal, he has been out for a while and the Gunners supporters will be pleased to see him back. He replaces Saka.
83' Pepe has been involved in more Europa League goals than any other player this season (6 goals 4 assists).
Alberto Moreno
Pedraza
Villarreal
81' Double substitution by the hosts, with Pedraza is heading off the pitch and he has been replaced by Alberto Moreno.
Moi Gómez
Manu Trigueros
Villarreal
80' The second change by Villarreal sees Trigueros replaced by Gomez.
80' RED CARD! Capoue dived into a challenge with Saka and caught the Arsenal man late and both players went down injured as a result. Capoue has come off worse, with the referee having to wait a few minutes while he received treatment, before showing him his second yellow card.
79' Capoue is still down injured and the stretcher is coming onto the field to take him off, it looks like a serious one for the Villarreal midfielder.
77' Stoppage in play here as Saka and Capoue collide and the two players are receiving some medical treatment on the pitch. Capoue caught the Arsenal man late and it looks like he will be shown a second yellow card once he stands up, so both teams will be a man down.
75' There is still plenty of time left on the clock for Arsenal to push forward and get an equaliser, can the 10-men complete the comeback?
N. Pépé
Penalty Goal
Arsenal
73' GOOOAAALLL! Arsenal have pulled one back and have a vital away goal, it’s 2-1! Saka was fouled by Trigueros to win the spot-kick and Pepe coolly converted, firing it down the middle of the goal as Rulli dived to his right. Could they go on and turn this game around now?
72' ARSENAL PENALTY! The Gunners have been awarded another penalty and this time it looks like it will stand! Saka dribbles into the box down the right, taking on a couple of Villarreal defenders and Trigueros sticks a foot out and brings him down. The referee immediately points to the spot.
71' Good move! Pepe feeds Saka out to the right, who flicks it to Chambers on the overlap and he drills a good low cross into the box, but Albiol cuts it out before Pepe can get on the end of it.
Mario Gaspar
J. Foyth
Villarreal
70' Villarreal have made their second change, with Foyth coming off and he has been replaced by Gaspar.
69' This is the first European semi-final tie that Villarreal will contest since losing 1-3 on aggregate to Liverpool at the same stage of this competition in 2015-16; in fact, they have been eliminated from all four of their major European semi-final ties.
E. Capoue
Yellow Card
Villarreal
67' Capoue is booked after his high arm strikes Pepe in the face.
66' CHANCE! Villarreal counter quickly and Moreno should make it 3-0! Coquelin spots the run of Moreno in space in behind the Arsenal defence and picks him out perfectly. The striker then only has Leno to beat, but the keeper makes a great save, tipping it over the crossbar.
64' Decent chance! Rulli fails to deal with a corner, just palming it away to the edge of the box and it comes straight back, there is a bit of scramble in the penalty area, before it falls to Holding, who turns and shoots. However, his strike flies well wide.
Martinelli
M. Ødegaard
Arsenal
63' Here comes the first Arsenal change, with Odegaard the man coming off and he has been replaced by Martinelli.
61' SAVE! Villarreal work the chance well down the right wing, with Chukwueze eventually picking it up inside the box and he fires a shot towards goal. However, it is too close to Leno, who makes a good stop.
61' It will be very difficult for Arsenal to pull a goal back now, they are camped inside their own half, with everyone back behind the ball at the moment.
59' Ceballos argued the decision on the sidelines for a while after his sending off, but he has now been escorted away. Will Arsenal be forced into making a change to boost their midfield?
T. Partey
Yellow Card
Arsenal
58' Partey has also been booked for dissent after arguing the red card decision with the referee.
57' It has gone from bad to worse for Arsenal! Ceballos has been shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Parejo and the midfielder has been sent off. The Arsenal players are furious with the decision as there didn’t seem to be an awful lot of contact. However, the referee won’t change his mind and Arsenal are down to 10-men.
56' Despite their dominance in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Arsenal have struggled to carve open the Villarreal defence, who look pretty comfortable.
54' Arsenal have reached the semi-finals of European competition for the 10th time (including Fairs Cup), with the Gunners getting to the last four in three of their four Europa League campaigns.
52' It will be interesting to see how long Arteta leaves it before making some changes to try and get Arsenal back into the game. They do have Aubameyang back on the bench.
50' This is better from Arsenal, they are showing more intent in the opening few minutes of the second half. Villarreal haven't seen much possession themselves so far.
48' CHANCE! Villarreal fail to clear the danger, with Torres only half clearing a cross and it falls to the feet of Pepe, who drills an effort towards the near post, but Albiol gets across brilliantly to make the block. Not too far away at all.
46' The second half is under way!
F. Coquelin
Paco Alcácer
Villarreal
46' Villarreal have made a chance ahead of the second half, with Alcacer the man coming off and he has been replaced by Coquelin.
Arsenal have struggled to get going, with Rulli yet to be tested in the Villarreal goal and they seem short of ideas in attack, with no real striker out there on the pitch. Getting an away goal in this second half will be a big task.
Villarreal look very comfortable and hold a 2-0 lead at the break, thanks to an early strike from Trigueros, before Albiol doubled their lead from close range just before the half an hour mark. Arsenal thought they had the chance to pull one back from the penalty spot, after Pepe was fouled by Foyth and the referee pointed to the spot. However, after a VAR check it was overturned after Pepe handled it in the build-up.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: VILLARREAL 2-0 ARSENAL
45' There will be a minimum of one minute added time played at the end of the first half.
Dani Ceballos
Yellow Card
Arsenal
44' Foyth once again races forward from the back and Ceballos clips his ankles in order to stop him from breaking into the final third. A deliberate foul and he is booked.
43' CHANCE! Brilliant run from midfield by Foyth, he skips past a couple of Arsenal players and then feeds Moreno in behind the Arsenal defence. The striker rounds Leno, but then just runs out of room and can't quite reach the ball to turn it towards goal from a tight angle.
41' There isn’t long left to play before the end of the first half, can Arsenal pull one back before the half-time whistle?
39' Arsenal are yet to beat Villarreal away from home, drawing on both previous visits (2006 and 2009). Their one goal in those games was an Emmanuel Adebayor overhead kick assisted by Cesc Fàbregas, while Robert Pires appeared as a substitute for the hosts.
Pau Torres
Yellow Card
Villarreal
37' The first yellow card of the game is shown to Torres for his late challenge on Saka deep down the right wing.
35' NO PENALTY! The referee has changed his decision after looking at the replay, as Pepe is shown to have handled the ball in the build-up. Foyth had also been booked due to the penalty award, so this has been wiped out as well.
35' VAR CHECK! The officials are checking this penalty decision, as it looks like Pepe may have handled the ball as it came over the top. The referee is going over the monitor.
34' ARSENAL PENALTY! It comes after a long ball over the top of the Villarreal defence by Xhaka towards Pepe and the Arsenal attacker gets in front of Foyth and the two players get their legs tangled up and the Villarreal right-back brings him down just inside the box. The referee immediately points to the spot.
33' Decent chance! Moreno finds a little bit of time and space on the edge of the box and he fires a low strike towards goal, but he doesn't get enough power on it and it flies wide of Leno's goal.
31' Arsenal have a huge task ahead of them now, they are 2-0 down with a lot of time left to play here. Can they nick an away goal at least?
Gerard Moreno
Assist
Villarreal
29' Moreno didn't try and fire his header towards goal, instead just flicking it on towards Albiol at the back post, who simply couldn't miss from just a few yards out.
Albiol
Goal
Villarreal
29' GOOOAAALLL! Villarreal double their lead, Albiol fires them 2-0 ahead! It comes after a corner is whipped into the box from the left by Parejo and Moreno flicks it on towards Albiol at the back post, who fires it into the back of the net from close range. The centre-back was completely unmarked, poor defending by Partey, who was supposed to be picking him up.
28' Decent effort! Partey lines up a shot from the edge of the box, after Odegaard flicks it to him. However, the midfielders effort doesn't trouble Rulli.
27' There are a few frustrated Arsenal players out there on the pitch, with a few silly fouls being given away at the moment, which is handing possession straight back to their opponents.
25' Well wide! Odegaard is found in space on the edge of the box and probably could have a go at goal himself, but instead he opts to pass to Saka to his right, who cuts inside and curls an effort towards the top left corner. However, it flies well wide of the Villarreal goal.
23' Almost! Arsenal try and counter quickly after defending a corner at the other end. Ceballos tries to feed Pepe in-behind the Villarreal defence and he would have been through on goal, but his pass is poor and Rulli comes out and clears the danger.
21' Villarreal and Arsenal will play for the fifth time in European competition, with the previous four games taking place in the Champions League (semi-finals in 2005-06 and quarter-finals in 2008-09) – Villarreal are yet to beat the Gunners (D2 L2).
19' There isn't a great pace to the game at the moment, with Villarreal showing more intent to push forward, but apart from their goal, they haven't tested Leno at all.
17' Saka whips a good ball into the penalty area looking for Pepe at the far post, however, Foyth gets across and makes the clearance. Arsenal just don't look threatening in the final third at the moment.
15' Good move! Pepe does well down the left wing, he takes on Foyth and manages to get a good low cross into the penalty area, but it is well blocked at the near post.
13' Arsenal are yet to get going, they haven't settled into their rhythm and the hosts look far more comfortable, especially with their early lead.
11' Trigueros' strike was the earliest Arsenal have conceded in European competition since September 2016, when Edinson Cavani scored after 42 seconds for PSG in the Champions League.
9' Villarreal look full of confidence and are constantly getting at the Gunners down the wings. Pedraza has just taken on Chambers down the left and whipped a good low cross into the box, but Leno comfortably gathers.
7' Arsenal haven't touched the ball much so far in these opening few minutes, they've got it all to do to get something out of this game. An away goal is vital.
S. Chukwueze
Assist
Villarreal
5' Chukwueze tried to work space for the cross of shot himself, but couldn't find a way through, so his team-mate picked it up instead and Trigueros produced a fine finish.
Manu Trigueros
Goal
Villarreal
5' GOOOAAALLL! Villarreal take the lead after just five minutes, it’s 1-0! It comes after Chukwueze does brilliantly down the right wing, taking on Xhaka and he races into the box and tries to trick his way through, but can’t quite find the gap, with the Arsenal defence nicking it off his toes. However, it falls perfectly to Trigueros who drills it into the bottom left corner of the net from a tight angle. What a start by the hosts!
4' Villarreal are enjoying more of the early possession here, but it is all in their own half of the pitch as Arsenal are playing a high pressing game and are keeping them penned in.
2' Offside! Good move by Arsenal, they open up the hosts defence with a quick move as Smith Rowe feeds Pepe in behind, but the flag goes up for offside. However, after looking at the replay, it looks like Pepe was just onside.
1' We're under way!
The teams are out on the pitch and kick-off is just a few minutes away, stay tuned for all the match action!
Meanwhile Mikel Arteta only makes one change to his Arsenal side, with Odegaard coming into the team and Nketiah drops to the bench. There is no Alexandre Lacazette for the Gunners and Aubameyang is on the bench, so Pepe leads the line.
The hosts have made two changes to their starting line-up, with Rulli replacing Asenjo in goal and Pedraza comes into the team at left-back, with Alberto Moreno dropping to the bench.
ARSENAL SUBS: Mohamed Elneny, Mat Ryan, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Arthur Okonkwo, Cedric Soares, Hector Bellerin, David Luiz, Willian, Gabriel, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
ARSENAL (3-5-1-1): Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari; Emile Smith Rowe, Dani Ceballos, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka; Martin Odegaard; Nicolas Pepe.
VILLARREAL SUBS: Jaume Costa, Carlos Bacca, Ramiro Funes Mori, Moi Gomez, Alberto Moreno, Sergio Asenjo, Mario Gaspar, Alex Baena, Francis Coquelin, Fernando Nino, Yeremi Pino, Pervis Estupinan.
VILLARREAL (4-3-3): Geronimo Rulli; Juan Foyth, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, Alfonso Pedraza; Etienne Capoue, Daniel Parejo, Manu Trigueros; Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcacer, Samuel Chukwueze.
Neither side are in good form coming into this game, with Villarreal losing their last two LaLiga games, against Alaves and Barcelona, which sees them sit seventh in the table. Meanwhile the Gunners are winless in their last two Premier League games, having drawn against Fulham, before a 1-0 defeat against Everton last time out.
Villarreal secured their place in the semi-finals after a 3-1 aggregate victory over Dynamo Zagreb, while Arsenal beat Slavia Prague 5-1 over two legs, following a 4-0 away win.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE match commentary of the Europa League semi-final clash between Villarreal and Arsenal.