Unai Emery sends Villarreal message to Arsenal ahead of second leg after resting key players

Unai Emery has sent a message to his Villarreal side and Arsenal ahead of Thursday’s all-important Europa League clash with the Gunners.

The Yellow Submarine head to the Emirates Stadium with a one-goal advantage having amassed a 2-1 win over the Gunners in the semi-final first leg thanks to goals from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol.

Nicolas Pepe did manage to score an away goal from the spot, meaning Arsenal can progress with a 1-0 win, but Villarreal know they can take a commanding position with a goal or two at the Emirates.

And that’s very much the message from Emery to his men ahead of Thursday’s second leg when his team will have the chance to become Villarreal’s first ever European finalists, with the former Arsenal boss asserting that his team are ‘very alive’.

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“It’s important to have naturalness, you have to try to be fresher, to have a clear idea of what we should do,” he said after Villarreal’s win over Getafe. “We go with an advantage, we will have moments that can change things and it’s not going to be easy.

“The team is very alive and with excitement to live it. The key is to live in that process.”

Emery had the luxury of making a number of changes to his team on Sunday, resting Alfonso Pedraza and Raul Albion completely and only bringing leading scorer Gerard Moreno off the bench late on as his side defeated Getafe 1-0 to move into sixth and to within a point of fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

Speaking about those changes, Emery added: “The idea was to win and that was key. If you don’t win, you lose the feeling that this work has been good.

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“We have given an opportunity to the non-regulars to reinforce the bench, and we have achieved the win.

“I’m satisfied to win, for the people that came off the bench and to be able to rest some of the players. We rested Pedraza, Albiol and those things make me happy.”

Villarreal have a largely fit squad for the second leg, other than Juan Foyth, who picked up a hamstring injury in the first leg.

The Tottenham loanee could be replaced by either of Mario Gaspar or Ruben Peña, while Etienne Capoue recovered from his injury to play on Sunday but is suspended after his red card in the first leg.

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