Europa League: Villarreal Gain Narrow Edge In Semi-Final First Leg Win Over Arsenal
Unai Emery won his big reunion with Arsenal but 2-1 might prove a small reward for Villarreal, who failed to take advantage of Dani Ceballos being sent off in a frantic Europa League semi-final first leg on Thursday.
Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol gave Villarreal a dream start at La Ceramica and the tie looked to be slipping away from Arsenal when Ceballos was shown a second yellow card early in the second half.
But 10-man Arsenal rallied and grabbed an away goal when Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty in the 73rd minute, before Villarreal’s Etienne Capoue also saw red with 10 minutes left to play.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might even have snatched a late equaliser for the visitors but Mikel Arteta will be delighted his team are not just in the contest but in a healthy position too, with an away goal to take back to London next week.