Manu Trigueros thinks Villarreal have given Arsenal more of a chance than they deserved on the balance of the Europa League semi-final first leg.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal FC and Manu Trigueros of Villarreal CF during the UEFA Europa League match, Semifinal, between Villarreal CF and Arsenal FC played at La Ceramica Stadium on April 29, 2021. Copyright: Sergio Ruiz / PRESSINPHOTO
Bukayo Saka of Arsenal FC and Manu Trigueros of Villarreal CF during the UEFA Europa League match, Semifinal, between Villarreal CF and Arsenal FC played at La Ceramica Stadium on April 29, 2021. Copyright: Sergio Ruiz / PRESSINPHOTO

Manu Trigueros played a key role in Arsenal’s match away to Villarreal on Thursday, scoring the opening goal of the contest before later conceding a penalty to allow Mikel Arteta’s side back into the tie.

Speaking after the game, Trigueros clearly regretted the way they’d opened up the possibility of a comeback in the second leg, arguing they should have killed the tie on the night.

“They have escaped us alive,” Trigueros said (via Sport Witness). “It’s clear that we have won and it is a good result, but seeing how the game went, we should have killed them.

“I wouldn’t know how to describe what happened; we’ve had clear chances but they’ve come across a penalty that… I haven’t seen it but my feet were still. They have had a lot of awards for what they have done.

“The manager’s approach has been very good, we have left them very few options in (front of) our goal, they get too big a prize because it is a short result for us. This is a European semi-final.”

I’m not sure about Trigueros’ claim that Arsenal were getting too many decisions. The referee showed little hesitation in sending Dani Ceballos off, and Bukayo Saka was being hacked down all night – long before the penalty incident.

But the rest is fairly accurate. Villarreal had control of the tie, they had a strong lead, and for a while, they had a man advantage. To concede a goal during that period of 11 vs 10 and fail to score any further goals themselves is a disappointment for them.

Arsenal are now in a position where a second-leg 1-0 win will send them through to the final. It could all still go wrong if Villarreal score a goal or two themselves, but there’s clearly still some hope for the tie. After the first 60 minutes, there really shouldn’t be.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.