Villarreal lets Arsenal escape alive

Raúl Albiol celebrates Villarreal's second goal against Arsenal.

In football heraldry weighs heavily. That of Arsenal has substance, without admitting comparison with Villarreal, a village team that is becoming a classic in Europe and which lacks a final and a title that rewards good work.

But life is the present and, today, Villarreal appears to be more of a team. So it seemed for more than an hour of the game in which the yellows got a two-goal lead and found one more player shortly into the second half due to the expulsion of Ceballos. But a disputed penalty called in favor of Arsenal converted by Pépé and the subsequent expulsion of Capoue reduced the local euphoria. Arsenal’s currency has its rank and hierarchy.

Few secrets hid Emery, with his eleven of gala, which is recited by heart in the last important commitments, and with Gerard Moreno as the flag. The Catalan forward was not decisive this time. Mikel Arteta did play hide and seek by bringing Lacazette and Aubameyang into the expedition. The French attacker, with muscular problems, did not dress short; the Gabonese, who has overcome malaria, waited on the bench. Pépé was the only forward in the attack gunner.

He wanted to intimidate Arsenal with the pressure he advanced. The English dynamism in the offensive part has its obverse in the defensive section, which was portrayed in minute 5. Foyth, a central converted into a winger, advanced without anyone from Arteta giving importance to the rise of the Argentine, who yielded the ball to Chukwueze. The Nigerian attracted rivals who were paralyzed. After a couple of rebounds, Trigueros, arriving from the second row, hit Leno’s goal.

Arsenal took the blow with personality, but their elaborate plays barely transcended. And, half an hour later, after a corner kick, Gerard Moreno combed the ball that was finished off by Albiol: 2-0.

After the break, Arsenal put the direct. Sensing the English flood, Emery fortified the center of the field with the entry of Coquelin by Alcácer. Villarreal lost sight of the ball and Arteta’s men began a siege that was nipped in the bud when Ceballos received the second yellow for a reckless stomp on Parejo. And Gerard Moreno was able to put one more pike after a point-blank shot that Leno deflected as best he could.

The German goalkeeper’s stop was momentous. In inferiority, Arsenal did not lose face. And he found a dubious penalty that Pépé converted. In London is the destination of Emery’s team, who will have to validate his meager income to reach the final.

In the other semi-final, Manchester United beat Roma 6-2, who went on to win 1-2. Bruno Fernandes and Cavani, with double goals and assists each, and Pogba and Greenwood, with the icing on the fifth and sixth goals, canceled the Italians.

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