Arsenal clashed heads with Villarreal CF at Estadio de la Cerámica earlier tonight as they looked to secure a win in the first-leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie. The Gunners made a poor start to the game and conceded the opening goal in the fifth minute when Manu Trigueros found the back of the net with a powerful volley. Raul Albiol doubled the home side’s advantage when he scored from close range in the 29th minute. Mikel Arteta’s men struggled to come up with a response and went into the half-time break two goals down on the scoreline.
Dani Ceballos was sent off in the 57th minute which made life worse for the Gunners. However, Arsenal didn’t let their numerical disadvantage stop them as they got a goal back courtesy of Nicolas Pepe’s successful penalty in the 73rd minute. Etienne Capoue was sent off soon after for Villarreal as the contest finished with the North London giants suffering a 2-1 loss on the road.
Let’s take a look at how each Arsenal player performed during the clash against Villarreal.
GK: Bernd Leno – 6.5/10
The German keeper made some decent saves to keep his team in the game but won’t be pleased after letting in two goals within the first 30 minutes.
RB: Calum Chambers – 6.5/10
Chambers won the ball back on a few occasions and was strong in the air. However, he offered very little in the final third.
CB: Rob Holding – 6/10
Holding cleared his lines when needed but struggled to make any interceptions for his team. It was a tough night for him.
CB: Pablo Mari – 6/10
The Spanish defensive ace made a slow start to the game and was far from convincing in the first half. However, he produced a much-improved display in the second 45 minutes.
LB: Granit Xhaka – 7/10
The Swiss international got stuck in with a few tackles and made a couple of important interceptions for his team. He also completed two encouraging dribbles in the opposition half.
CM: Thomas Partey – 6/10
He struggled to get a foothold in the game but deserves credit for creating a great chance for Aubameyang late in the game.
CM: Dani Ceballos – 4/10
Ceballos flattered to deceive with his performance in the first half. He let his teammates down by getting sent off in the 57th minute.
RM: Bukayo Saka – 6.5/10
Saka was relatively quiet in the first half. However, he was a bit more effective after the half-time break and was responsible for earning the penalty which Pepe converted to give Arsenal some hope in the second leg.
CAM: Martin Odegaard – 6.5/10
The talented playmaker created some decent openings for others around him. He ran out of energy and got replaced after the hour mark.
LM: Nicolas Pepe – 7/10
Pepe kept his composure to convert his penalty in the second half. Otherwise, he was mostly ineffective during the game.
ST: Emile Smith Rowe – 6.5/10
He made a couple of promising runs but didn’t get a sniff at goal.
ST: Gabriel Martinelli – 6/10
Martinelli struggled to get into the flow of the game.
LM: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – N/A
He missed a great chance to score a late equalizer.
CM: Mohamed Elneny – N/A
Elneny hardly had any time to influence the game.
RM: Willian – N/A
The Brazilian attacker came off the bench to run the clock down.
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