- Villarreal host Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday, April 29th at 3:00 pm ET
- The match will mark Unai Emery’s first match against his former club, Arsenal, as he looks to give his side an advantage in the first leg at home
- Currently, the favorites in the first leg are Villarreal with moneyline odds of +148
Europa League fans are in store for a great matchup this week as Arsenal travels to Villarreal for the first leg of their semifinal tie. This fixture has so many storylines both on and off the pitch, which should make for a captivating contest. First, this game could be sweet revenge for Villarreal gaffer Unai Emery. This is the first time the Spaniard has played Arsenal since his departure in 2019. In a game of this magnitude, a win would make it all the sweeter for the decorated manager.
Meanwhile, off the pitch, Arsenal will try to deflect their ownership drama into a good performance on the pitch. It has not been easy for the Gunners as of late as they have had to deal with obvious Super League drama, a possible owner takeover and a plethora of injuries.
Villarreal vs Arsenal Odds
|Matchup||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Villarreal vs Arsenal||VIL -0.5 (+148) | ARS +0.5 (-180)||VIL +148 | ARS +190 | DRAW +230||Ov 2.5 (+102) | Un 2.5 (-125)|
Odds as of Apr 27
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After a draw to Fulham and loss to Everton in the Premier League, it is tough to tell whether the Arsenal players will have much confidence before this match. Nonetheless, in their last European contest, they trashed Slavia Prague by a score of 4-0. Alexandre Lacazette was the standout, but as he remains unlikely to play on Thursday due to a hamstring problem, Arsenal’s chances dwindle.
Villareal have been a mixed bag as of late as well which does seem to make this match a little bit more even. However, with Emery’s pedigree in the Europa League, it is easy to make a case for Villarreal to cruise at home in the first leg.
Arsenal’s Injury Problems are Too Big to Ignore
This season for Arsenal has been nowhere close to the standards they usually set for themselves as a club. Fans have lashed out at not only the players but first-time manager Mikel Arteta as well. As they sit in tenth place in the Premier League, the Europa League is their only hope at Champions League football next season. But, Villarreal sits in their way and make for no easy contest.
Fresh footage from Colney 📺
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 27, 2021
Villarreal vs Arsenal Statistics
|2.27||Goals per game||2.67|
|12.2||Shots per game||14.7|
After various inconsistent spells, Arsenal now faces what might be the hardest stretch of their season. With Kieran Tierney, Alexandre Lacazette, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all missing recent contests, they have had to rely on players deeper down the bench. Their last two games are proof of the lack of quality depth in their squad. As Luiz rejoins training, he could be a potential pick for Arteta, but the other three will remain out.
Emery’s Europa League Success Will Help Villarreal
Furthermore, fans and pundits can say what they want about Unai Emery, but his accomplishments are undeniable. Emery won three straight Europa Leagues and made it to another final with Arsenal. While he has a different squad of players, it is obvious that he knows how to approach these two-legged ties in Europe.
— Villarreal CF English (@Eng_Villarreal) April 27, 2021
Despite two straight losses in La Liga, Villarreal are hanging around near their normal position in the table. While they have never beaten Arsenal in European competition in five tries, they have a player that could most definitely hurt them. Gerard Moreno has 20 goals this season, and everyone knows a good striker can have Arsenal’s defense at sixes and sevens. Bernd Leno has had a tough go of it lately, so putting anything on target gives Villarreal a good chance to win the first leg.
Villarreal vs Arsenal Best Bet
Overall, the best bet for this match is the Villarreal moneyline at +148. These odds have great value and make sense with the form these two sides have been on. If Arsenal does win this tie and advance to the final, I see them doing most of their work in the second leg at the Emirates in London.
Pick: Villarreal moneyline (+148)
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