Tonight’s delegation of disciplinarians hails from Portugal.

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“[I’m] extremely excited to travel to the game and play the tie,” said the Arsenal boss. “We have a tough opponent in front of us but we really want to be there. [Villarreal’s] progress over the last ten to 15 years has been spectacular, with different coaches but clear principles. Unai has given them a very clear identity in this competition. What I have seen the most is the clarity in their ideas: what they do.”

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“My time at Arsenal is behind me,” said the Villarreal manager at his press conference. “I have to be grateful to Arsenal. I remember the good stuff. [Mikel] Arteta and Arsenal are a perfect marriage. He’s a great manager. You can see a clear identity, a clear strategy. They have top quality players: [Dani] Ceballos, [Martin] Odegaard, [Bukayo] Saka, quick players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a solid defence. It’s going to be a demanding match. They have many different gameplans and we need to be ready. “

Villarreal midfielder Vicente Iborra is sidelined with a knee injury but Unai Emery has an otherwise full squad to choose from. Tottenham defender Juan Foyth is on loan at the Yellow Submarine and will be hoping to cheer supporters of his parent club up by torpedoing the hopes of their north London rivals. FOrmer Arsenal old boy Francois Coquelin is likely to be on the Villarreal bench.

Unbeaten in 12 games (11 wins and one draw) in this season’s Europa League, Villarreal host Arsenal in the first leg of a semi-final that pits Mikel Arteta against Unai Emery his predecessor at the Emirates Stadium. Neither manager has set the world on fire domestically this season: Villarreal currently sit seventh in La Liga and have lost their past two games, while Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League and lost to Everton in their last outing, having scraped a draw against Fulham the previous week.

Winning the Europa League would go a long way towards appeasing disgruntled fans of both teams but only one side can progress to the final. Emery has pedigree in this particular competition, having led Sevilla to victory on three consecutive occasions between 2014 and 2016. Kick-off at El Madrigal is at 8pm BST but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.

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