Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw by Spanish side, Villarreal at the Emirates Stadium in their UEFA Europa League semifinal second leg, confirming Villarreal’s progression to the final of this season’s competition on a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.
After losing 2-1 away to the Spanish outfit, Arsenal and their manager, Mikel Arteta knew that a lone goal victory would send them through to the final. Captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang led the line for the Gunners following his complete recovery from malaria. It was however Villarreal that started much better than expected, with Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze proving to be a thorn in the flesh of Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney. The youngster was Villarreal’s brightest star before his night was cut short by injury inside 30 minutes. Arsenal tried to find the net, but Aubameyang hit the frame of goal twice and couldn’t find the back of the net. Villarreal defended resolutely, protecting their slender advantage till the 90th minute.
Arsenal’s failure to progress means the team would miss out on UEFA Champions League football for a fifth consecutive year. They would miss out on all of European football for the first time since 1992. Currently seated in 9th place on the English Premier League table, it looks like a very long way back to return Arsenal to the top of English football.
Villarreal, led by former Arsenal coach and Europa League expert, Unai Emery will now take on Manchester United in the final of the competition in Gdansk on May 26.