Arsenal’s 25-year involvement in Europe looks to have come to an end after Unai Emery came back to haunt his former side with Villarreal advancing to the Europa League final at the Gunners’ expense.
Arsenal hopes of competing in next season’s Champions League hinged on them winning this season’s Europa League, but thanks to Emery and co that will not be happening.
The Gunners were unable to claw back a 2-1 deficit from the first leg, producing a lethargic display at the Emirates on Thursday night.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was named in Arteta’s starting XI along with Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard.
And the Gabon international, who has recently battled malaria, saw a first-half effort clip the outside of the post but it was the visitors who would have been happier with a goalless opening 45 minutes.
Villarreal were dealt a huge blow before the break with Samuel Chukwueze taken off with a worrying looking injury.
The Nigeria international, who was having a fine game prior to the injury, was replaced by 18-year-old Yeremi Pino.
The Gunners huffed and puffed after the break with Aubameyang again going agonisingly close, before he was then replaced by Alexandre Lacazette.
But Arteta’s men were unable to secure that much-needed goal to send them through as Emery jumped for joy at the final whistle.