Anne-Elise Carreau

Updated 05/05/2021 at 5:34 pm –
Posted on 05/05/2021 at 5:26 p.m.

With Arsenal losing 2-1 in the Europa League semi-final first leg against Villarreal, Arteta is under pressure ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium (Thursday at 9pm).

Arsenal have virtually no chance of playing in a European Cup next season. There is only one solution to avoid this: winning the Europa League. Ranked ninth, 12 points behind Chelsea so far qualified for the Champions League and 5 points from the Europa Conference League, the Gunners are heading for what could be their worst ranking since 1994-1995 (12th).

After a season and a half in London, Arteta’s record is hardly more satisfactory (42 wins, 15 draws and 22 losses) than that of his predecessor Unai Emery (43 wins, 15 draws and 20 losses), and future opponent this Thursday. With a fairly young workforce, many doubts around his 11 holder and a lack of clarity on his game plan, the Basque technician is often criticized across the Channel. The Villarreal manager himself defended his replacement on the Arsenal bench: “Arteta is putting his mark on things. In their way of playing, it is easy to detect that he is renewing this Arsenal tradition of playing an attractive game. “

Arteta’s men still have their fate in their hands for the second leg. Having lost 2-1, after conceding a goal in the fifth minute and playing 10-11 for 25 minutes, the meager goal gap remains. In a press conference, Arsenal coach spoke about one of the keys to the game: “We have to be more specific than we were at Villarreal and we were at the start of the game.” Although he admits that his team concede a lot of goals at home, following “individual errors”.

“It’s an important game for the club and if we win we will be much closer to getting a trophy,” Mikel Arteta told SkySports. A victory to save the club? The goal is to at least save the season. Having won only two trophies (an FA Cup and an FA Super Cup) since his arrival at Arsenal, the former Gunners midfielder sees the Europa League as an “opportunity that does not come all the way. days”.

Absent in the first leg at Villarreal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be back, cured of malaria. Very good news for Arteta, but a little less for Unai Emery, who is wary of the Gabonese before Thursday’s meeting: “He’s a killer and always will be. (…) It is very difficult to stop it. We are working while waiting for the best version of Aba. ” The former Saint-Etienne striker carries the hopes of all Arsenal fans in the cold war with club leaders on his shoulders.

With the championship already missing, only this Europa League remains as the only hope for the London team. And for Mikel Arteta. Yet the Gunners’ leaders do not seem to question his work. While the English press recently spoke of making contact with former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, he would ultimately not be threatened and could benefit from a large package of 130 million in the offseason. An amount to which must be added the sums of sales of many players, who will leave to completely rebuild the workforce.

The Arsenal board have therefore decided to give time to the former assistant to Pep Guardiola, still a novice and having to manage a team with very young players this season: Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe or Gabriel Martinelli. Against Villarreal in the first leg, Arsenal’s average age was only 25.4, compared to 28.2 for the Yellow Sub.