Arsenal were dumped out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage by former manager Unai Emery’s Villarreal side to set up a final in Gdansk against Manchester United.
The Gunners came into the game knowing they had to win after losing the first leg 2-1 and Mikel Arteta set the team up with a five-at-the-back formation that was troubled before the game even started, with Granit Xhaka getting injured in the warm up.
Kieran Tierney came in but Arsenal struggled throughout, having just two shots on target in the 90 minutes as they were held to a 0-0 draw and dumped out of the tournament.
Villarreal remain unbeaten throughout the tournament so far and Emery has now made it to a record five Europa League finals, after winning three-in-a-row with Sevilla before losing in the final to Chelsea as Arsenal manager in 2019.
They will now face Manchester United in the final who’s first leg 6-2 win was enough to see them through as they lost 3-2 on the night in Rome and saw off a little scare.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to get to his first final as manager of the club and he named a strong team on the night despite the club being set to play four games in seven days prior to kick off. Edinson Cavani gave the Reds the lead to settle any nerves, but Roma scored two goals in very quick succession to give themselves hope.
Cavani scored once again to wrap up progression, although Roma scored once more to earn themselves a win when youngster Nicola Zalewski’s strike came off Alex Telles and went through David De Gea’s legs.
Despite that, United showed they were the better team throughout the two legs and can finally put the ridiculous semi-final curse under Solskjaer behind them.
Arsenal must now really consider their future, as they face having no European football whatsoever next season for the first time in 25 years. The club are currently sat in ninth place and unless they can make up a five point swing over Liverpool, who have played a game less, in four games then they will be without.
Arteta was a gamble at the time of his appointment and it is one that has failed. Despite winning the FA Cup in his first season, he has accumulated just 49 points in 34 games and this season has failed to make it to a final of any cup competition.
The Gunners look totally incapable of being a genuine threat against teams who have any sort of clue what they’re doing and are always open to an error or three at the back to allow teams to punish them.
Fans have now turned on him and with the atmosphere at the club already volatile with fans against the owners, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to ride this storm out once again and make it to next season.
Manchester United on the other hand will be favourites going into the final in Poland, with the better players and team than Villarreal but Emery’s experience in winning this competition will prove vital without a doubt.
United do have weaknesses in the way they play and Emery will undoubtedly look to expose those issues to help the Spanish side win the first European trophy in their history.
In a fun coincidence the final will be played on May 26th, the same date that Solskjaer famously scored the winning goal in the UEFA Champions League final back in 1999 as the Red Devils won the treble.
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