Unai Emery previews Arsenal v Villarreal Europa League clash

Unai Emery looks ahead to Arsenal's clash with Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals this week

Unai Emery
Arsenal manager Unai Emery (Photo: Screengrab)

Unai Emery is confident that his Villarreal side have what it takes to knock Arsenal out of the Europa League and reach the final.

The Spanish side are preparing to host the north Londoners in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday night as Emery comes up against his former club for the first time since his sacking in November 2019.

Arsenal head into the game knowing that the Europa League represents their last remaining hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

The Gunners reached the final under Emery in May 2019 but were beaten by their London rivals Chelsea FC in the showpiece.

Arsenal will now attempt to get past Villarreal in the first leg of their semi-final tie on Thursday night as they look to take a step closer towards setting up a final clash with either Manchester United or AS Roma.

Emery is full of respect for the Gunners but he feels that his team have enough talent to make it through to the final.

Speaking in an interview with Uefa, Emery said: “When Arsenal are in form, they are a top team. We’ve seen that this season. But so are we when we find our form.

“So in terms of confidence, the demands, the respect we have for the opponent, this semi-final will be full of tension and both teams will do their utmost to get through, which is what makes this competition such a great one.

“I want to win for myself and for Villarreal. [Two years ago] I was defending Arsenal’s red [and white] colours in that final against Chelsea, now I feel that affinity for the yellow of Villarreal.

“I have that competitive instinct, that responsibility I owe the club and everyone I represent with my decisions. I did that proudly when I was at Arsenal, now I’ll do that at Villarreal.

“I will have to put aside my feelings for Arsenal, and I will have to put all my energies into making sure that the Yellow Submarine gets the upper hand in the tie.”

Arsenal are currently in 10th place in the Premier League table.

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