Arsenal have an uphill task in the Europa League semi-final to overcome a Villarreal side under the tutelage of our former gaffer, Unai Emery. More worrisome is the absence of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. This is going to be a hard nut to crack as these talismanic figures are absent.
Be that as it may, these five players can rise up to the occasion, weather the storm and turn our hope into glory.
1. Bernd Leno: His howler Against Everton gave them their first away win at Arsenal in 25 years. Common, everyone makes mistakes. We shouldn't forget that Leno can be a warrior between the sticks when it matters most as evidenced by his spectacular saves to deny Diogo Jota in the Carabao Cup this season. Arguably, he singlehandedly knocked out Liverpool from the Carabao Cup. This German ace has the quality to outstretch his gloves tirelessly in a game. More of the same is expected from him in a bid to redeem his image after that irksome mistake last time out.
2. Gabriel Maghalaes: Gabriel has been one of our standout performers this campaign without a doubt. No nonsense defending anytime he dons the Gunners jersey gives us the confidence that we can get the job done. Good in the air, a brilliant tackler, a superb coordinator, spectacular improvisation amongst many other qualities in possesses, he ticks all the boxes of a reliable defender. Lest I forget, his admirable defending against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the season is evidence of his capability to star in the biggest of games.
3. Thomas Partey: Anytime I watch Partey play, he reminds me of how instrumental Michael Essien was at Chelsea. Even though he hasn't lived up to expectations, and his season has been blighted by injuries, our combative defensive midfielder is a specialist in policing the midfield and handcuffing the opponents. Interestingly, we are up against a Spanish outfit that knows how efficacious he can be as he made his mark in La Liga. It's time for Partey to replicate his world-class performances at Atletico Madrid. After all, that was why we bought him in the first place.
4. Bukayo Saka: Are you not entertained anytime Saka is on the ball? The answer is yes. From the flanks, he has been a constant menace to opposition defenses. Mazy runs, electrifying pace, and a good eye for goal, Arsenal possesses a terrific weapon in Saka. His hazard from the flank gives us a chance to score a bazillion number of goals as he can also pull a rabbit out of the hat. Villarreal are in trouble, provided that this guy gets a half chance.
5. Gabriel Martinelli: Just like Saka, Martinelli is a pain in the butt for every defender - he is a complete nightmare and is difficult to thwart. No Aubameyang it Lacazette, but we have Martinelli who is always optimistic to let fly and outpace opponents. It will be interesting to see if Arteta deploys him as the center-forward, a position he's yet to start in for Arsenal under Arteta.