Arsenal Starting XI Prediction vs Villarreal (Europa League Semifinals)

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Arsenal will be heading to Spain for the first leg of their Europa League semifinal against Villarreal. Now that we know the latest team news updates, let’s take a look at what changes we should expect from Mikel Arteta for this game.

After seeing off Slavia Prague in the UEL quarterfinals, the Gunners have had a couple of disappointing domestic games against Fulham and Everton. What must have upset Arteta was the manner in which they lost to the Toffees. A better performance will be needed when they face the team managed by former boss Unai Emery.

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The hosts have lost their last two games, but still remain a dangerous side. For the North Londoners, they will have to focus on converting the chances. If they do this, they will be returning to London happy with their position in the tie.

Despite his error over the weekend, Bernd Leno will keep his place in goal. The only change that Arteta will be making is Hector Bellerin coming in for Calum Chambers.

Rob Holding and Gabriel will continue as the centre backs with Granit Xhaka starting as the left back once again.

The central midfield partnership will be the same as the one from Friday. Thomas Partey and Dani Ceballos will be given the responsibility of keeping the team ticking along. The Ghana international will play a bit deeper, primarily to counter the threat of Spanish midfielder Dani Parejo.

As for the players playing ahead of them, there won’t be any changes. Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Nicolas Pepe will form the crux of the attacking threat. These are three players who work well with each other and will have to be at their best to trouble the hosts’ defence.

Arteta will have to decide whether to go with Gabriel Martinelli or Eddie Nketiah as the centre forward. They tried the Englishman in the last game, but that didn’t really work out. Having the Brazilian youngster in this position would give the club a more direct route to goal.

It won’t be easy beating a team managed by Emery, but if the London side can be clinical in front of goal, the tie will swing in their favour.

Predicted Arsenal Starting XI Against Villarreal (4-2-3-1):

Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli

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