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It wasn’t what one would call an easy ride as former Arsenal Manager Unai Emery was bent on putting a loss through the hearts of Arsenal fans given his experience in the competition.
Mikel Arteta on his part didn’t make things easy for Arsenal as he went to the game without a known Striker, a decision that shocked many Arsenal faithfuls around the world.
The game eventually ended in favor of Unai Emery’s Villarreal side and Arsenal clinching a Vital away goal from a dive by Bukayo Saka.
Fans from both clubs were quick to slate the referee over making that decision to award Arsenal the penalty when it was very obvious Saka dived. Nevertheless Pepe scored the goal to give Arsenal a vital away goal that might prove to be decisive in the 2nd leg of the tie.
Arteta Tactical Disasterclass against Villarreal – What he did wrong.
Playing with No Striker
Arteta pulled a massive shocker to the world of football playing a against Villarreal with no known Striker. Maybe he wanted to pull off a pep against Unai Emery. We just do not know.
Arsenal looked clueless upfront as they had no Striker to convert chances created.
Trusting Leno again
Bernd Leno has been a shadow of himself this season and has been responsible for so many errors leading to goals against Arsenal and yet again he didn’t relent to make another error that led to a goal.
Leno from all indications have been showing signs of being fatigued, Arteta must try to give Leno that needed rest in the second leg of the tie if he really wants to take the Europa League to the Emirate stadium.
Pepe is not a Striker
Due to no known Striker being on the pitch Nicholas Pepe assumed the role of a false Striker, Scored a goal from a penalty but didn’t do much to really help the team.
His positioning was plainly off-point and that showed Arteta made a big mistake trying to use Pepe in that role.
Forget the hype Dani ceballos have always been bang average even during his with Real madrid, he showed that mediocrity against Villarreal as he took up a red card and Arteta saying he ignored first half instructions.
Ceballos shouldn’t have started a game as important as this given he hasn’t really proved to the club of the class and hype the Media gave him as he returned for his second loan spell at the club.
Ceballos during his first loan spell with Arsenal rarely played games one would wonder what made Arsenal decide to go for him again.
MATCH OF THE MATCH ?
Despite the loss some Arsenal players played to keep the winning margin on a very small difference.
Who do you think deserves being the man of the match vote with this poll 👇.