Former Arsenal and Villarreal star Robert Pires believes Unai Emery’s impressive Europa League record means the La Liga side have a slight “advantage” going into their semi-final clash.
Emery won the competition three years in a row during his time at Sevilla and he guided Arsenal to the final in the 2018-19 season.
The 49-year-old is hoping to reach another Europa League final this year but he will have to get past Arsenal first and Pires believes there is not much to separate the two teams.
Speaking to AS, Pires said: “I have been lucky enough to play for two great teams, such as Arsenal and Villarreal.
“I was lucky to have the affection of the people and the two clubs, so seeing them now face each other in a semi-final is something special.
“It makes me feel strange. I see the situation at Arsenal with sadness, I speak with Arteta and I see that it has not been an easy year. What can save them is to win this Europa League and thus play the Champions League next year.
“It is difficult to give a favourite for the semi-final. I would say it is 50-50. It is difficult to get it right. I think Villarreal has an advantage because they have Emery, a coach who has done very well in that competition.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that Villarreal is back in a semi-final. We all know the Villarreal project, its president and his idea.
“What I like the most is that it is a team that has a clear idea, that they like to play good football and that is something that I and the football people like.
“Everyone knows that if you go to see Villarreal, you are going to see a good team, a team with very good players and that it will surely complicate things for Arsenal.”