LONDON: Villarreal boss Unai Emery returned to haunt Arsenal as the Spanish squad drew 0-0 at the Emirates today to book a ticket to the Europa League final against Manchester United with a 2-1 aggregate victory.
The defeat means the Gunners will miss out on the Champions League for the fifth time in a row and the pressure is now on Emery’s replacement, Mikel Arteta.
Ninth in the Premier League, Arsenal are now on the verge of failing to qualify for European football for the first time in 26 years.
“We are disappointed,” Arteta said. “We tried everything until the last minute. I think we deserved to win but the finisher decided the end of this competition.”
Two Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tries hit the crossbar for Arsenal, while Emile Smith Rowe missed his best chance early in the second half.
“We had three best chances, they didn’t get anything but they deserved,” said Arteta who had to make the final change when Granit Xhaka suffered an injury while warming up.
“Too many things happen to us, and too many players are just trying to compete not at their best.”
The first final for Villarreal in Europe denied all Premier League representatives in the Champions League and Europa League.
The Yellow Submarine squad will face United in Gdansk in the early morning of May 27, three days before Manchester City meet Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 30.
“I’m very happy because we know it’s great for us and Arsenal are a very good team,” Emery said.
“Today we are thinking of celebrating this moment and then getting ready to face Manchester United.”