Mikel Arteta bemoaned Arsenal’s bad luck in his post-match press conference. The injury to Granit Xhaka in the warm-up. The two Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang efforts that struck the post.
But there is only so much that can be put down to bad luck. Arsenal bowed out of the Europa League having only mustered one shot on target, at home, in a semi-final they had to win. Their season is effectively over. And it is precisely what they deserve.
Arsenal are just fortunate the fans protesting Stan Kroenke’s ownership outside the Emirates Stadium before the game were not inside to watch it. The wild Villarreal celebrations that greeted the final whistle would have been drowned out by boos.
Nicolas Pepe’s penalty in Spain last week had given Arsenal a lifeline in the tie – albeit one they scarcely deserved. Arteta said they “had so much enthusiasm and desire” to go on and reach the final. But there was little evidence of that out on the pitch.