- Arteta warned his players that they risk being knocked out if they played as they did in the first half against Villareal
- Unai Emery’s side dominated the first half, scoring two goals, but Arsenal clawed themselves back into the tie thanks to a Nicolas Pepe penalty
- The Arsenal boss believes his side can still overturn the tie to make it to the final
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has warned his superstars that a repeat of the performance on Thursday, April 29 will result in an exit from the Europa League.
The Gunners were second best for large spells of the game, although were handed a lifeline in the time thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s penalty which gave them a crucial away goal heading into the second leg.
Arteta spoke in a press conference after the game where he expressed admitted his side looked disorganized in the first half, but also exuded confidence that the tie could be turned around.
"Well it changes completely the tie obviously.
"It makes a huge difference and we know that we are there. We have to better than we were today for 95 minutes.
"If we don’t do that we don’t have the chance to be in the final."
Arsenal trailed 2-0 in the first half as their former boss Unai Emery took full advantage of some defensive lapses in the opening exchanges.
"They were two different halves. We started to be us. In the first half, there were so many moments that we weren't us. We weren't clear with our high press, we were disorganised, we were not precise with the ball and we didn't have enough control."
Despite criticizing his stars, Arteta was full of praise for one man in the man – Bukayo Saka.
The youngster was a constant threat and was responsible for Arsenal’s penalty as he was brought down in the box late on.
"We are very used to that (Bukayo Saka playing well) this season, but it tells us we need to do much more as we cannot always rely on him."
Fans noted that Arteta did not start a recognized striker in the game, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was available for selection from the bench.
Explaining his decision, Arteta said he initially believed that was the best set up but “the game was different after four minutes”.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Nicolas Pepe gave Arsenal genuine hopes of making the Europa League final after his penalty have the Gunners a crucial away goal against Villareal on Thursday, April 29.
Arsenal looked done and dusted after going 2-0 down to their former boss Unai Emery’s side and things took a turn for the worse when Dani Ceballos was sent off in the 57th minute.
Mikel Arteta’s boys had a poor start to the game at the Estadio de la Ceramica, and some lazy defending allowed Manuel Trigueros to smash home the opener from inside the box as early as the fifth minute.