Villarreal vs ArsenalUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Apr 29, 2021, Estadio de la Ceramica
AN intriguing Europa League semi-final first leg sees Unai Emery face his old side Arsenal as both sides look to maintain outstanding recent European records.
Something has to give on Thursday with the hosts undefeated by non-Spanish opposition in 21 European matches, winning their last six at home.
And the Gunners also take a proud record of being undefeated in their last 12 Europa League away games – a record in the competition.
In the battle of Basque coaches, Emery knows this competition better than anyone – he led Sevilla to three victories in this competition. However, he suffered a chastising loss with Arsenal in the 2019 Final when his side were crushed 4-1 by Chelsea in Azerbaijan.
The pressure is mounting again on Mikel Arteta at Arsenal with just two wins at eight in all competitions, with one of them at relegated Sheffield United.
But both sides have reserved their best form for Europe this season with Villarreal aiming to reach their first ever European final, having being knocked out five times at this stage.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to heads
The sides have met four times in the Champions League semi-finals and quarter-finals and Arsenal are unbeaten in them. Here's their meeting back in 2009 where the home side won 4-1.
Players to watch
With 28 goals for club and country this season, there's little doubt that Villarreal's start man is Spain striker Gerard Moreno, who is 13/8 with bet365 to score anytime. He hasn't scored for a whole two games, but still has ten goals in his last ten games.
Alexandre Lacazette netted a double in the last round as Arsenal romped to a 4-0 win at Slavia Prague and still has 17 goals to his name this season despite Arsenal's indifferent season. He's 9/5 with Paddy Power to score anytime.
Anything else catch the eye?
Neither side are to be trusted in recent form and their league campaigns. Arsenal are tenth and Villarreal are seventh. Both sides have failed to win in their last two games in the league and their seasons have been punctuated by off-days.
Villarreal have the second most amount of draws in La Liga and Arsenal have had as many wins as defeats – 13 apiece – in the Premier League. But they have both been outstanding in Europe – Villarreal are unbeaten in 12 Europa League games and Arsenal have lost once. It points to the draw being a runner.
There should be goals here too with neither side boasting watertight defences. The 9/10 with SportNation must have a good chance.
This UEFA Europa League match between Villarreal and Arsenal will be played on Apr 29, 2021 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Villarreal vs Arsenal prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.