Arsenal 0-0 Villarreal (1-2 agg): Europa League – 06/05/2021

The last chance Arsenal had of achieving European football next season has evaporated after the team slumped to a 0-0 home draw to Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

It was a disappointing tie for Arsenal, who seemed to treat the first-half of football as an exercise in fear. Too scared to get forward and work the shaky Gerónimo Rulli, Arsenal seemed to be offering a sense of what playing the new Resident Evil Village will be like, rather than what a game of football should be like.

In fairness, Arsenal came close on a few occasions, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the post twice and Emile Smith Rowe’s cute little chip just glancing past the post in the second-half.

Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah commiserate Arsenal’s appalling performance.

Other than that, Arsenal were utterly bereft of ideas. At a time when the team needed their best players to show up, they seemed to recoil. Héctor Bellerín was once again average at best and terrible at worst, Thomas Partey seemed to be on a different planet, Martin Ødegaard seemed totally uninterested and Alexandre Lacazette was completley isolated.

The game management of Mikel Arteta once again seemed to expose the manager’s total lack of game management experience. Bellerín was hooked off with four minutes to go rather than forty-five, Gabriel Martinelli wasn’t started from the get-go and was then brought on too late to have a meaningful impact and the hapless and totally useless Willian was thrown on for reasons probably best kept to himself.

It was a total masterclass in cluelessness. Mikel Arteta and co. have spoken at length about Arsenal needing to be daring in the transfer market this summer, but it begs the question of who would even want to join this mess of an Arsenal side?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came close twice.

The team looks highly unlikely to qualify even for the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, they are likely to be hit with a pretty huge fine from UEFA for their part in the proposed European Super League, which will likely have a further impact on signings and available funds and it also begs the question of who on earth would want to buy these players?

Unless there are some serious changes in the team’s tactics moving forward, Arsenal look dead in the water and their match against Villarreal was just a microcosm of that.

Arsenal team:
  1.) Bernd Leno
  2.) Héctor Bellerín (Nketiah 91’)
16.) Rob Holding
22.) Pablo Marí
  3.) Kieran Tierney (Willian 80’)
18.) Thomas Partey
32.) Emile Smith Rowe
  7.) Bukayo Saka
11.) Martin Ødegaard (Martinelli 66’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c) (Lacazette 80’)

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
53.) Arthur Okonkwo
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
21.) Calum Chambers
17.) Cédric Soares
25.) Mohamed Elneny
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Villarreal team:
13.) Gerónimo Rulli
2.) Mario Gaspar
  3.) Raúl Albiol (c)
  4.) Pau Torres
24.) Alfonso Pedraza (Moreno 91’)
11.) Samuel Chukwueze (Pino ’30 (Moi Gómez 91′))
19.) Francis Coquelin
  5.) Dani Parejo
14.) Manuel Trigueros
  7.) Gerard Moreno
17.) Paco Alcácer (Bacca 72′)

Villarreal subs:
  1.) Sergio Asenjo
21.) Jaume Costa
  6.) Ramiro Funes Mori
20.) Rubén Peña
15.) Pervis Estupiñán
18.) Alberto Moreno
30.) Yeremi Pino
32.) Álex Baena
23.) Moi Gómez
34.) Fer Niño
  9.) Carlos Bacca
12.) Dani Raba

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