- End of 2nd Half
- 2nd Half
- Smith RoweElneny90'
- Pépé (P)73'
- FoythMario Gaspar70'
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
Villarreal CF - Arsenal
Follow the Europa League live Football match between Villarreal CF and Arsenal with Eurosport. The match starts at 20:00 on 29 April 2021.
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It’s all over in Spain where 10-man Villarreal have beaten 10-man Arsenal 2-1. It could have been far, far worse than that though for Mikel Arteta’s side, and Nicolas Pepe’s penalty has given them something to worth with ahead of the second leg.
Aubameyang very nearly grabs an unlikely equaliser right at the last, but is denied by Rulli from a tight angle.
Xhaka goes high with his boot to clear inside his own box and then the ball strikes his arm unintentionally moments later. Neither is given though, rightly so.
There will be five minutes of added time.
Aubameyang goes into the book for a clumsy tackle in midfield.
Villarreal are taking the sting out of this game as much as they can, keeping hold of the ball as much as they can and looking for gaps in Arsenal’s depleted defensive shape.
Aubameyang replaces Saka for the final few minutes.
Partey dangles a leg in the box but thankfully for Arsenal he doesn’t make contact. It remains 2-1.
It’s an absolutely fascinating game right now. There’s space at both ends and the two teams each seem to sense that this is their moment to get a goal that will transform the tie.
Villarreal respond with a double change. On come Moreno and Gomez.
Very strange moment that. Capoue hurt himself in the challenge and was carried from the field on a stretcher, with the ref almost apologetically waving a yellow and then red over the shoulders of the medics.
- Red cardÉtienne CapoueVillarreal CF
Capoue lunges in on Saka and it’s a second yellow for the midfielder. He’s off! It’s 10 vs 10.
- Goal by penaltyNicolas PépéArsenal
GOOOAAALLL!!! Pepe slots it straight down the middle and 10-man Arsenal are back in this tie. 2-1!
Penalty! Is this a lifeline for Arsenal? Saka is tripped in the box and the referee points to the spot.
Saka, who has been quietly impressive tonight, finds Chambers to cross, but it’s cut out.
This is a blow for Villarreal. The excellent Foyth has pulled a hamstring here it looks like. It was off the ball and his reaction suggests that he knew straight away. The on-loan Spurs man will have to make way, with Gaspar replacing him.
It’s Moreno again, cutting inside onto his left and shooting straight at Leno this time.
What a save by Leno. A no-look pass finds Moreno and his effort from close range is brilliantly tipped over the bar by the Arsenal stopper.
Smith-Rowe sees a shot blocked as Villarreal fail to deal with a corner, but Holding can’t take advantage as the ball breaks to him, hitting a follow-up effort well wide on the turn.
Arteta makes a change, sacrificing the tidy but largely ineffective Odegaard for Martinelli.
The ball breaks for Chukwueze in the box and he is denied by Leno. This could get really messy for Arsenal now, they’re in danger of losing touch in the tie tonight.
Partey also picked up a booking during the protests that followed the decision. There wasn't particularly much he seemed to do above and beyond his team-mates, but it's he who gets the yellow for some reason.
VAR takes a look at it as Ceballos protests on the touchline, but the decision will stand.
- Red cardDani CeballosArsenal
Ceballos is off! The Spaniard is absolutely furious protesting the decision as Arsenal crowd around the referee, but he’s been shown a second yellow and Arsenal’s night goes from bad to worse. He lunged in and stood on Parejo there, it probably is a booking.
The hosts counter and immediately look to isolate Xhaka at left-back. Pepe does superbly though to get back and help his team-mate out.
It’s so much better from Arsenal this, but it hasn’t led to much in the way of clear-cut chances yet. This time it’s Smith-Rowe who gets around the outside, but the youngster is shepherded out of play.
Arsenal continue to press, but Foyth does well to clear a cross and Villarreal win a free-kick to relieve some of the pressure.
Arsenal have started the second half very brightly, controlling the game and probing dangerously in the final third.
- OffPaco AlcácerVillarreal CF
- OnFrancis CoquelinVillarreal CF
There’s been a change for the home side, a player Arsenal know plenty about.
- 2nd Half
Arsenal get the game back underway.
That’s the end of a bruising first-half for Arsenal. The visitors have some serious questions to answer, not least how on earth they are going to shackle the surprise attacking threat posed by the full-back Foyth. There’s plenty of time left for Arteta’s side to get back into this tie, but at half-time in the first leg they’re 2-0 down. Catch you back here in 15.
It’s Foyth again who marauds forward from right-back – he’s having a right old time here the on-loan Spurs man. This time all Ceballos can do is trip him up and take the yellow to avoid anything worse.
Almost another huge chance for Villarreal as Foyth bursts forward down the right, drifts in-field and then slides a pass through for Moreno. Leno charges out to make it difficult and does just enough to force the attacker to lose control.
Chambers looks for Smith-Rowe in the box with a deep cross, but it’s overhit and the chance goes begging.
Pepe did indeed handle the ball as he tried to bring it under control at the start of that incident, and the penalty decision is overturned. That's a pretty clear one in truth, no real arguments.
VAR is taking a look at this decision. Foyth had looked to touch the ball away from Pepe, but he caught the Arsenal man with his trailing leg. There could have been a handball in the build-up though.
PENALTY! Pepe goes down on the corner of the box under pressure from Foyth and the referee points to the spot.
Villarreal spring a counter and work it to Moreno for a shot. He’s under very little pressure and really should do better than a shanked effort that drifts well wide.
- GoalRaúl AlbiolVillarreal CF
GOOOAAALLL!!! It’s another for Villarreal and Arsenal are in trouble here. The Gunners completely fail to deal with a corner and Albiol is left all alone at the back post to volley home a flick-on. 2-0!
This time it’s Partey who has a pop, but his shot from range never looked like troubling the Villarreal keeper.
Arsenal threaten again as Saka looks to make space for himself out on the right. He does manage to get a shot away, but his curling effort doesn’t dip in time.
Ceballos has a chance to slip Pepe in on goal, but the pass is a tricky one and he gets it slightly wrong.
Ceballos and Saka threaten to cut Villarreal open, but the final pass just isn’t quite right. That’s better from the Gunners though.
Arsenal are enjoying a tidy period here, controlling the ball well and probing for gaps in the final third.
That’s better from Arsenal as Pepe gets around Foyth and attempts to cut a cross back, but the right-back recovers well and makes the tackle.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand, and it’s still Villarreal who are looking the slickier of the two teams in the early stages. Arsenal haven’t really clicked yet.
Ignoring the football for a second, every single bit of Arsenal clothing is outrageously nice these days. This kit is fire, and the training top before kick-off was a gem too.
Villarreal’s tails are up here and they’re really targeting that left-back area for Arsenal. Chukwueze, who was heavily involved in the build-up to the goal, has moved out to that side to really test Xhaka.
- GoalManu TriguerosVillarreal CF
GOOOAAALLL!!! It’s an early strike and Villarreal have the lead. Arsenal were all over the place defensively down their left and the ball broke for Trigueros to hit first time beyond Leno. 1-0!
Contrary to expectation it looks like Arsenal are in fact lining up with a back-four with Xhaka at left-back… very unusual. Smith-Rowe is operating as a false nine and it’s Saka and Pepe out wide.
- 1st Half
Here we go then. Villarreal, kitted out in their trademark all-yellow, get the game underway. Arsenal are in their dark blue away strip with pink trim (an absolute peach of a kit).
And Emery of course is a bit of a dominant force in the Europa League.
One of the fascinating angles of tonight’s match is of course that it’s Mikel Arteta against his Arsenal predecessor in Unai Emery. The Villarreal boss has been very complimentary about his old club, but you imagine he’d quite fancy getting one over the outfit who cut him loose.
There’s no Tierney or Lacazette in the squad for Arsenal tonight, with the absence of the former meaning that the Gunners look set to use Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe as wing-backs. Martin Odegaard replaces Eddie Nketiah.
Villarreal make two changes that lost 2-1 to Barca last time out, with Alfonso Pedraza and Gero Rulli replacing Alberto Moreno and Sergio Asenjo. Juan Foyth, on loan from Arsenal’s north London neighbours, starts.
Good evening! Arsenal’s season pretty much hinges on the Europa League now, but a very familiar face will be trying to stop them tonight. I’ll bring you build-up to Villarreal v Arsenal followed by live text commentary from 8pm.