Arsenal have struggled in domestic competitions this season and they can erase all of that, if they go on to win the Europa League.
To achieve it, the Gunners will have to first overcome Villarreal in the semi-final.
In his pre-match press conference, Villarreal manager Unai Emery was asked what he fears most of Mikel Arteta’s side.
“Arteta is a great manager and you can see a clear identity of their game plan in the way they play. I’m sure they will have grown and Arsenal will have been able to grow with Arteta,” Emery said.
“They have very important footballers that have a lot of experience but it’s a club that always brings up young players. The minute you give those young players opportunity they show tremendous quality.”
Although Emery mentioned ‘important’ players, the Yellow Submarine manager didn’t categorically name any of the players his side should be wary of.
When asked which Arsenal players Villarreal should take special care of, he said: “(Laughs) With the whole team. Arsenal have a great squad and staying with just one player would detract from the great virtues of the other teammates.”
“We all know his [Bukayo Saka] conditions, yes, but also those of Smith-Rowe, Aubameyang… There are many who have great qualities.”
Lauren’s comment suggests he believes Villarreal are no match for Arsenal, and Emery and his men are set for a tough battle against the English club.
The Premier League side’s representative further stressed the two-legged tie is more important for Arsenal than Villarreal.
“A great match between two great teams, yes, I would say that the semi-final is at 50%. It is clear that our [Arsenal’s] goal this season is to qualify for that final and of course win it. We play a lot, all the attention is on there,” Lauren explained.
“The truth is that Arsenal arrive with more means than Villarreal, which is a team that plays magnificent football but is also irregular at times.”