Arsenal are just one game away from reaching the Europa League final but they will have to overcome a first-leg deficit against Villarreal.
It was a forgettable display from the North London club last week as they lost 2-1 in Spain. The team were disorganised at the start of the first leg and they will have to be sharper on Thursday if they are to have any chance of advancing to the final.
One aspect that was notable in Spain was the lack of an attacking threat, at least until the Gunners got the first goal by virtue of a penalty. Starting without a recognised centre forward proved to be a problem as there was no one to hold up the ball. It will be different this time around as Arteta has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back fit and ready.
The Gabonese forward was among the goals over the weekend and will be looked upon to provide the cutting edge and the best betting apps all have Arsenal still the favourites to progress to the Europa League final. If the boss can make the attack more efficient, the North Londoners have a real chance of making it to the final.
There is one major problem if the Emirates side fail to win this competition. Champions League qualification through the League is now out of the question as they are 12 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with four games to go. The only option left is to win the Europa League. Failure to do this would mean that the club will have to sit on the UCL sidelines for another year.
Financially this will have a great effect, as they will have to do with a limited budget. If investment in the squad does not take place, the gap will widen between the North Londoners and the top four in terms of quality. The extra funds from European football can act as a financial boost as well as improving the bargaining position in getting any transfer deals done.
Arsenal will have their most important game of the season so far on Thursday. All eyes will be on whether Arteta can mastermind a success against former Gunners boss Unai Emery. It has the potential to decide how this campaign ends as well as having an effect on next season. With so much riding on one game, both the manager and players will want to put their best foot forward.
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