Former Premier League star Robert Pires has predicted that Villarreal has a slight advantage to beat Arsenal when the two sides face off in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final first leg at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Pires, a former Arsenal and Villarreal star, believes Unai Emery’s experience could play a major role in both sets.
Villarreal had eliminated Slavia Praha from the Europa League in the round of 16, while Mikel Arteta’s side eliminated Dinamo Zagreb from the competition.
“I have been fortunate enough to play for two great teams, like Arsenal and Villarreal,” Emery told AS.
“I was lucky to have the affection of the people and the two clubs, so to see them face off now in the semi-finals is something special.
“It makes me feel strange. I see the situation at Arsenal with sadness, I speak with Arteta, and I see that it has not been an easy year.
“What can save them is winning this Europa League and therefore playing the Champions League next year.
“It’s difficult to give a favorite for the semi-final. I would say it’s 50-50. It is difficult to do things right.
“I think Villarreal has an advantage because they have Emery, a coach who has done really well in this competition. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Villarreal is back in the semi-finals.
“Everyone knows that if you go to see Villarreal, you are going to see a good team, a team with very good players and that will surely complicate things for Arsenal.