Villarreal breaks through English hegemony in Europe
Earlier this week we wrote an article about the all-English Champions League final. Yesterday the semi-finals of the Europa League were played with two possible English finalists. In this article we look back at the matches between Manchester United, AS Roma, Arsenal and Villarreal.
Manchester United versus AS Roma
Manchester United was the first English team that practically qualified for a European final this season. After winning the home match with 6-2, everybody was convinced the Red Devils were qualified for the Europa League final. Even though AS Roma managed to win this match, Man United was never in real danger of missing out on the final. David de Gea and Edison Cavani were the two who helped their team reaching the Europa League final.
Arsenal versus Villarreal
Alle yes were on this match on Thursday evening. Unai Emery, who got fired by Arsenal last season, came back to the Emirates Stadium with a 2-1 lead from the home match. A score that both teams could live with. Arsenal needed to score 1 goal to get through to the final, while Villarreal only needed a draw. The Spanish side surprised everyone by being the better team at the start of the match. While everybody expected Arsenal to be fired up, Villarreal took control over the ball and dominated the start. The longer the game went on, the more Arsenal’s hopes disappeared. Aubameyang was dangerous by hitting the woodwork on two occasions, but Arteta decided to take him off 10 minutes before the end of the match. A decision that wasn’t cheered on by Arsenal fans. Even after 90 minutes, the score was still 0-0. A result that Villarreal needed to break through the hegemony of the English teams in Europe. Villarreal is now the only non-English club in a European final this season.