Nicolas Pepe’s late penalty against Villarreal in the semi-final first leg has given Arsenal a fighting chance of reaching the Europa League final, as they host the La Liga side in the second leg on Thursday.
Despite Villarreal having the best chances and putting themselves 2-0 up before the half-hour mark, The Gunners grabbed an important away goal in the second half thanks to Pepe’s penalty, following Manu Trigueros’ foul on Bukayo Saka in the 73rd minute.
Dani Ceballos will miss the second leg after receiving a red card in the 57th minute of the first leg, with Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette both injury doubts.
So, what line up will Arteta go with in the second leg? And, what could the final score be?
Ahead of the game, we used FIFA 21 to find out all of the above, and get a score prediction.
This is what happened!
Arsenal vs Villarreal score predicted using FIFA 21
To set up this simulation, we used kick-off mode within FIFA 21 but didn’t select a team to control; we then selected the teams and watched the match play out by itself, to give us a prediction.
The AI difficulty was set to legendary, with the line-up updated with the latest transfers, injuries and suspensions.
We anticipated that Arsenal could set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the line-up as follows: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka; Elneny, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Pepe; Aubameyang.
We predict that Villarreal will line up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Rulli; Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Chukwueze, Parejo, Coquelin, Trigueros; Bacca, Moreno.
With Villarreal holding a 2-1 lead on aggregate, the Spanish side were more than happy to sit and defend their lead, relying on counter-attacks for their attacking moments.
This allowed Arsenal to control the possession, but they weren’t necessarily in control of the game overall, with Unai Emery’s side defending well and keeping the Gunners at bay.
The home side’s best chance of the first-half fell to Martin Odegaard who, despite being closed down quickly, managed to get a shot away that hit the outside of the post and went wide.
In the second half, the away side barely threatened at all, with Arsenal having more possession but were struggling to create clear cut chances.
Most of Arsenal’s efforts were speculative ones from outside of the area, with Villarreal proving to be a tough nut to crack.
The best chance of the second-half fell to Nicolas Pepe, who was set clear of the Villarreal defence by Odegaard, but goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli managed to get their first ahead of the Arsenal forward.
Predicted FIFA 21 score: Arsenal (1) 0-0 (2) Villarreal
Here are the full-time stats.
FIFA 21 predicts that Arsenal will be able to dominate possession, but may struggle to create chances against a very resilient Villarreal side on Thursday evening.
What do you think the score will be? Have your say in the comments below.
FIFA 21 is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, with FIFA 21 next-gen also now available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
Additionally, fans who jump into FIFA 21 can also benefit from Dual Entitlement, enabling them to upgrade their copy of the game from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S at no extra cost.