Villarreal president Fernando Roig has hit out at Arsenal for earning an undeserved penalty and not creating anything in the entire game last night.
The Gunners started the game in the worst possible way. We conceded two goals in the first 30 minutes, the hosts could’ve easily scored a few more as the game went on.
Villarreal, surprisingly, eased off after the break. Unai Emery’s men didn’t even feel the need to kill the game off after Dani Ceballos got himself a red card.
That gave Arsenal some sort of a boost and we found a way to get back into the game. Bukayo Saka was fouled inside the box by Manu Trigueros and the referee pointed to the spot.
Villarreal’s players were furious with the decision and were confident that VAR would overturn it. However, the penalty stood and Nicolas Pepe converted from the spot to keep Arsenal alive in the tie.
Roig, like his players, was not a happy man after the game. He labelled the penalty as ‘non-existent’ and claimed that Arsenal did nothing in the game to take anything back to North London.
He told Marca: “We will go to London to try to pass the tie. I would have preferred the 2-0. It was not a penalty. It was non-existent. I do not know why it has not been reviewed. Manu has moved away.
“Now we can not turn it around. We have to go there (and win) to go to the final. If the penalty is not awarded, they have had practically no chances and we would have maintained the result. We have the illusion of winning in London to get to Warsaw.”
The Insider’s View:
The penalty was definitely controversial. If that was given against Arsenal, we would’ve been furious as well, but we were given the lucky decision and it’s now up to us to make the most of it in the second leg.
As for Roig’s comments about Arsenal not meriting anything, the Villarreal president probably dozed off after Dani Ceballos got his red card.
Arsenal dominated the game after the dismissal and even though the penalty was a fortunate one, we did enough to get a goal. We could easily have scored another in the end through Aubameyang as well, and if anything, the hosts were lucky to get away with it.
Roig should really focus his anger on his manager, Unai Emery. Arsenal were there for the taking after going two goals down but the Villarreal boss decided it would be a good idea to replace his striker with a defensive midfielder.
That gave Arsenal the window we needed to get something on the board and we did just that. The Gunners weren’t great last night, but we did enough to get an away goal, and hopefully, that will prove to be the difference in the second leg next week.