Europa League: Villareal Hold Off Arsenal To Reach Final

Villarreal held out for a 0-0 draw on a nerve-jangling night at Arsenal on Thursday to reach the Europa League final 2-1 on aggregate as visiting manager Unai Emery returned to haunt the London club that sacked him in 2019.

The Spanish side, who had lost their four previous European semifinals, one to Arsenal in the 2005-06 Champions League, protected their first-leg advantage with a disciplined display.

Mikel Arteta will come under intense pressure with his side in ninth spot in the Premier League and no chance of winning any silverware this season.

Arsenal, who now face the prospect of having no European football next season for the first time in 25 years, looked flat and never managed to exert any sustained pressure.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck the post with a volley but it was a rare moment of threat in a display strangely passive for large parts.

Nicolas Pepe and Emile Smith Rowe both fired efforts wide early in the second half and Aubameyang hit the post again with a downward header later in the game, but such moments were few and far between.

But the Spanish visitors were calm and composed in possession and might have put the tie to bed had Gerard Moreno made more of a glorious chance early in the second half instead of shooting straight at Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

They will now play Manchester United in the 26 May final in Gdansk in what will be the biggest night in their history.

 

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