Manu Trigueros, scorer of Villarreal’s first goal in their 2-1 Europa League semi-final win last night, says his side should have killed off any hope Arsenal had ahead of the second leg.

However, a characteristic Unai Emery substitution at half-time, when he introduced defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin for attacker Paco Alcacer, allowed Arsenal to stay in the game.

The Gunners were marginally better after the break, and the red card for Dani Ceballos didn’t hurt the side as much as it might have done, but Emery’s cautious approach certainly handed some initiative to an Arsenal side who could have been dead and buried.

“They got out of hear alive,” said Trigueros. It is clear that we have won and it is a good result, but seeing how the game went we should have killed them.”

The midfielder was also the man deemed to have fouled Bukayo Saka for Arsenal’s penalty, adding to the frustration felt by Villarreal’s players.

“I couldn’t describe what happened to you,” he continued, “but they have found a penalty that .. I haven’t seen it but my feet were still. They have had a big reward for what they have done.”

Former boss Emery was furious at the award of the spot kick afterwards, saying, “The penalty is not a penalty. VAR is there to do justice and you are upset by details that you do not control, such as the referee.

“There is no explanation. I have seen it and I have not understood it. Having VAR you can’t go wrong twice.”

And on the second leg: “We have to be optimistic and think that we have beaten a great team. We have to go to London in that spirit. We must give continuity to the things we did well and improve those that we did not.

“There are 90 minutes left.”

Read today’s Arseblog: Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal: Gunners get lucky as Arteta gets it all wrong

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Hurensohn

The referee was absolutely useless. People bemoan VAR for it’s negatives but just as frustrating for me are the lack of positives due to officials. It was never a penalty and never a red card for us either, VAR should be overturning both of those in my opinion. That’s what it’s supposed to be there for.

Eazy Deezy

Yup. Until we improve the quality and consistency if refereeing, more VAR just means more shit referee decisions.

For me, we have to move past the idea that any contact is a foul. Referees need to have the guts to actually assess whether it’s a foul, but it’s easier for them to just fall back on whether there is contact.

And they really need to award fouls where a player is impeded, but manages to stay on his feet. Again this requires more judgment from referees – something they aren’t brave enough to do at the moment.

Guns Up

Couldn’t have said it any better. In the words of Qwalitee, “top post.”

Welsh Gooner

Thank you! You’re right, it was never a red card for Ceballos. He should have been pulled off though but the second yellow was just unlucky. Two players going for a ball, both got a nibble, let it go.

Daveo

He should have been off before that. His previous foul was a clear yellow. The ref gave him (a very generous) benefit of the doubt, then he fouled again (stepped on the opponents foot) and he was done. Based on those three fouls (including the first VERY cynical yellow) he deserved a red.

atom

Whether that particular foul merited a red or not is kind of besides the point as you mention. He was a bit of a disaster (at least led to 1 goal) & it was obvious to everyone but Arteta a red was coming. Why he was still on the pitch is beyond a head scratcher.

That really has to be the biggest valid criticism of Arteta at this point – he refuses to admit when he got it wrong.

Daveo

100% on the last sentence. It’s like he stumbles onto something (usually due to injury forcing his hand – i.e. finally playing ESR, Xhaka LB, Auba only being a winger, then Auba only being a striker, and then Auba only being a winger again!? WTF…) and we win a game he thinks he’s come up with some genius tactic and he plays the same thing into the ground until the next forced change happens.

Lanre

Anyone still thinking Arteta isn’t out of his depth needs his head checked. All season it’s been one terrible decision after another, starting with the choice to kick himself in the teeth by benching Ozil when the team was crying out for creativity. I struggle to think of a single thing he has been proactive on this season, ESR emergence was sheer luck because Arteta sat him on the bench for months after his return until he had absolutely no choice. Even if we get past villareal it’s clear as day Man utd will stuff us, lets not kid ourself.… Read more »

Futsboller

I’ve stopped reading and commenting here because everyone is so miserable, but I really miss discussing Arsenal with fellow fans, so I’ll wade in one more time. Anyone who expected a rookie manager with no real experience to keep up with his peers in his first full season at a club still struggling to re-order itself is more fool than me. When we hired Arteta, we knew it was going to take a few years to clean up the mess, and I see much progress in that department with a leaner squad and the pipeline from the academy well and… Read more »

KiwiMoors

Exactly. I’ve watched arsenal become a shambles for the past 15 years. Arteta may not be the most experienced guy, however if you think for one second that a new manager is going to come in and fix this mess than I’m afraid you’re a little naive. Arsenal fans just scapegoat the manager for some reason. #sellarsenal #kroenkeout

SarcasmB0t

A lot of excuses and false assumptions. The biggest one is that the fans were okay with handing the team to a baby coach who’d use the job to take his first uncertain steps into the big, scary football world. We were resolutely told from a number of sources that Arteta was “ready”. 11th ain’t ready. You may be okay with Arsenal Football Club being used for future Barcelona managers’ potty training, but I’m not. The most disingenuous argument you make, however, is that fans were happy with the line-up. Yes, they were (I will always hate Xhaka at LB,… Read more »

Lego Stare

To be fair…ESR was hurt all season up to that point. He played him over Pepe which would have been the safe option. Ozil thing is hit or miss…I don’t think we REALLY missed him. Yes he’s creative, but he’s a liability in his own right. Basically the whole team is super average – including the coach.

Once a gunner

Even Auba’s yellow card was not closed to a free kick let alone a card

Cranky Colin

The ref was losin it by then for sure

Andy

Yes it was a blatant dive, if we’re honest.

Daveo

Xhaka committed a handball, which was a stonewall penalty too. If both penalty decisions were given correctly it would be 3-0. We can have ZERO complaints, we are extremely lucky it’s 2-1, because based on the performance 3-0 was a much better reflection of the game.

Wiltoooooooooord !!!

That’s not a handball by xhaka .. he has to have arms, and also respect laws of physics

Daveo

And this is why there is no clarity on handballs. The ball hit is arm away from his body. That should be a handball. If the arm is on the body it is a part of the body and no handball even if it touches the arm. If the arm is away from the body and it touches the arm it’s a handball. Tell me, at what point does it go from ball-to-hand to hand-to-ball when the arm is away from the body? 2m? 4m? 6m? Subjective distance? See the Grey area here? “a player will be penalised for handball… Read more »

Lego Stare

“Extended laterally”. He was getting up not reaching out. No way is that a PK.

KiwiMoors

^^ And these are the type of guys screaming arteta out… Don’t even understand the rules of the game or the meaning of laterally.

Joy

Stonewall penalty me hole. He was on the ground trying to get up and the ball travelled all of two metres before hitting his arm which was planted on the ground. 3-0 would have been a much better reflection of the game but not for that reason.

ClockEndRider

You mean the one where he laying on the floor at the time? Sorry but that is nonsense,

David C

The handball rule was introduced so players wouldn’t pick up the ball and run with it like a rugby game. The handball rule now is insane. Pepe’s wasn’t a handball and we should have had that initial penalty as well. If your arms are still attached to your shoulders then they are in a natural position.

onenil

Sorry the Pepe one was handball. He controls the ball with his arm and benefits from it. Pepe didn’t even argue it.
We could solve this nonsense by making all footballers play in straight jackets from now on. 😉

Daveo

Your version of hand ball is all subjective opinion in which ball hitting the arm such as pepe’s that gave him a distinct advantage is open to interpretation. This is exactly why the handball rule is insane, because it is ruled one way by one referee in one game and another way by another referee in another game – heck even the same referees make completely different decisions on it all the time. Why is it some defenders can defend with their arms by their sides, but others can’t because it’s not “natural”? If the rule is: arms by side… Read more »

Awesomesauce25

Agree. The bottom line is that VAR still requires a referee to make a final decision and an incompetent referee is an incompetent referee. A few cases the ref has seen and admitted his error and used VAR to correct it, but most often VAR just adds to confusion and frustration. All the while, slowing the game and dulling the excitement. Technology should be used only in areas where it can be effective and eliminates need for human intervention such as goal line decisions.

SarcasmB0t

I understand your position, but I feel completely differently. I thought the referee was good. He set a very clear standard very early on and stuck to it throughout the game, even if it meant sending two players off. Ceballos was on a warning, I have no sympathy there. When it comes to the penalty – unfortunately, those are given nowadays. It has to do with how badly VAR is being used. There was a great article about this on The Athletic just last week. I think it’s unrealistic to ask that a referee get all their calls right, so… Read more »

Jack

I’m confused by those quotes from Emery at the end. I thought his stock response was ‘we have the players to have the quality, the passion and commitment over 90 minute.’

Filsuf

He forgot to be protagonists

Sam

He was speaking spanish, only needed stock responses as his English was Sh*t!

Takeshita

He hasn’t changed a bit. His vibes both good and positive are quite clear with the way he plays. Thumbs up to Allen for that apt comment in Twitter🐦🐦

Danger Mouse

“ We have beaten a great team “ ha ha ha ha ha…. Unai still talking nonsense.

backsakacrack

Only he could bring off a striker for a defensive midfielder at half time when his team were absolutely dominating. Then surrender the initiative and be lucky to get the win. Oh dear, if only we hadn’t seen it all before.

Dex

‘Haha’ but really, where else have you seen this before?

Joy

Perhaps, just perhaps, he anticipated that at 2-0 down Arsenal would have to make a change at half time and play with a striker in the second half. I mean that is what everyone who watched the game could see and anticipated- apart from the Arsenal manager.

backsakacrack

Good point. It really is incredible when you put it like that.

Raghib

Really really hope we are up for it 2nd leg…but at the same time I can’t shake the feeling that we’re likely to concede, seeing that clean sheets for us are so hard to come by and our recent bad form at the Emirates.
COYG

Once a gunner

I’m sorry to say Arsenal allowed you to play and gave the yellow submarine the game if and I say if we play to our potential the second leg will total white wash for Arsenal to carry the day. But if only Arteta do the right selection

Paul T

‘Having VAR you cant go wrong twice’

Unai must have decided to give up watching the premier league after he left Arsenal then

Cranky Colin

VAR? Join the club mate.

allezkev

He’s not wrong, we got out of jail and I’d like to think we’ll make the most of our luck, but I’m not confident…

Al Gilmore

I think we were lucky could considering our first half performance. But I still think we are the better team and especially if Tierney is fit for the second leg we will be a different animal. Even if we have to use Cedric, restoring Xhaka to the midfield will solidify us and hopefully settle the erratic Partey. The thing that frustrated me the most is that we had so many great overlap opportunities last night especially down our right and we didn’t take them. We we’re getting down the sides of them which if played right got us right in… Read more »

maxcat

Shouda, wouda, couda….Emeri/Artea…tie of the damned….

BillyKrystal

Unai was so desperate for a result last night. I didn’t think I’d dislike him as much as I did watching him clench his teeth through the game. Seeing his elation if they go through in the Emirates will be the worst gut punch all season.

RunningRayRunningdownthewing

Hear hear! Born to be alive!

Man Manny

It’s going to be a tough second leg. Unai is going to sit back and seek to catch us on the counter.
I don’t think they’ll play for a draw.
I fully expect us to go through to the final, but Arteta must sort out his team selection and subs.
Tierney returning will be a big bonus.

OnlyBeingHonest

Ref was so bad they should of given him an Arsenal kit

Baichung Bhutia

Arsenal: You dont have to kill us. We kill ourselves.

Adam

As is often the case, we didn’t lose to a better team but to a team that worked harder. Hopefully the Arsenal players can find a brilliant 90 minutes in them for the 2nd leg.

Santori

Worth noting though COQUELIN provided one of their BEST chances in the second half to Moreno so its a bit churlish to characterise the swap by Emery as necessarily negative. And as it turned out with Capoue going full hilt getting sent off, quite prescient to have had the back up on anyway. Nor did the control of the game by Villareal lag particularly. If anything it is an indictment on Arteta that we were still not able to find fluency with or without Odegaard and constant reshuffling of pack,. Contrast Partey who also provided one of our better chances… Read more »

Santori

Lucky to have got the call on the penalty.

Lifeline but its hanging on a thread.

Gabigol

Since esl we may see more VAR decisions go against us.

In the premier league we clearly saw two var replays for offside. One was measured from the hand (us) and the other from the shoulder (them, referees, premier league)

Frank

All that have been said doesn’t matter, I’ll tell you all today City and Arsenal will win the finals. Everyone of you should watch and see .