Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg believes Bukayo Saka was ‘clever’ to win a penalty in the defeat to Villarreal.
The Gunners suffered a 2-1 away defeat to Unai Emery and Villarreal on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, going two behind within the first 30 minutes after goals from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol.
The penalty was won by Saka, and it wasn’t exactly clear cut, the winger driving into the box before dangling a leg to force contact from Trigueros.
The incident did undergo a VAR review with Trigueros appearing to pull away from the challenge, but the penalty was given and Pepe took full advantage, scoring what could be a key away goal.
And after the game, Gunners legend Ljungberg claimed Saka had been ‘clever’ with the penalty, unsure that decision was the right one from Artur Manuel Soares Dias.
Ljungberg told BT Sport: “I’m a big fan of Bukayo and I’ve been in that situation myself a little bit a few times and I think there’s a replay on it from behind where, in my opinion at least, it looks like Bukayo lets his right foot dingle out a little bit so he makes sure he hits it on the leg.
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“And it’s clever and he gets a pen, especially in Europe, here we see even better here he lets it go and he hits the defender. But in Europe you sometimes get them and you need to be clever.”
Arsenal can now go through to the final with a 1-0 home win in the return leg at the Emirates Stadium next Thursday, but the Gunners face quite the challenge not to concede away goals given their defensive record.