Arsenal's Arteta feels Newcastle win was good preparation for Villareal tie

Newcastle United's Jacob Murphy (left) and Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe battle for the ball during the Pre

Newcastle United's Jacob Murphy (left) and Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe battle for the ball during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Issue date: Sunday May 2, 2021. - Credit: PA

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta feels the victory over Newcastle United has prepared them well for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie with Villareal. 

The Gunners will play host to Unai Emery’s side this evening (Thursday, 8pm), trailing 2-1 as they bid to reach the final. 

It is then another home fixture in the Premier League as they host strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Sunday (7pm).  

“That was the biggest part of the preparation,” Arteta insisted. “We were away in Spain because we believe it was the right way to prepare for the game today (Saturday), to give them the right rest, and then mentally as you said it was important to focus on today.  

“We had to pick the right players to play and perform like they did. I think the message got across really clearly.” 


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He added: “We had a strong and a very convincing performance. We scored two goals, we kept a clean sheet, won the points, and had some really strong individual performances too.  

“The only downside is the one with David [Luiz] because we know how important he is to us. I think we lost him.” 

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) scores their side's second goal of the game during the P

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) scores their side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Issue date: Sunday May 2, 2021. - Credit: PA

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Defender David Luiz is expected to miss the second leg of the match while Kieran Tierney and Alex Lacazette could also remain unavailable. 

“They haven't trained with the team yet so I think they're unlikely to be,” Arteta said, before adding on Luiz’s injury. “We don't know. He felt something in his hamstring so it's not good news. He's put in such a shift to be back with the team for the last few weeks after the knee surgery. It's a real shame.” 

Arsenal currently sit ninth in the Premier League but are seven points off the top six and 12 points off the Champions League places. 

There are four matches left to be played where they come up against the likes of the Baggies, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion. 

“I don't know. Mathematically it's possible but it's out of our hands. We don't have much to say apart from winning football matches.” 

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