‘Aubameyang is a killer’ – Villarreal ‘expecting the best version’ of Arsenal striker, says Emery

The former Gunners boss spoke about the Gabonese international’s talents ahead of his team’s critical meeting at the Emirates Stadium

Unai Emery has said Villarreal “is waiting for the best version” of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Europa League while describing the Arsenal frontman as a “killer”.

Villarreal will travel to Emirates Stadium for the second leg of their semi-final against the Gunners on Thursday night, where they will defend a cumulative 2-1 lead.

Aubameyang missed the reverse match at El Madrigal to continue his recovery from malaria, but will be available for selection again when Villarreal arrives in North London.

Emery greets Aubameyang

Emery, who coached Aubameyeng for a year and a half at Arsenal before being sacked in November 2019, is wary of the threat the Gabon international could pose alongside him as they try to secure their place in the final of the Europa League.

“He’s a killer and always will be,” said the Spaniard at a pre-match press conference. “He’s back now, and that means the alarms are going off. It is very difficult to stop.

“We are working on waiting for the best version of Aira. He is a great person and player.”

Aubameyang’s record for Arsenal in 2020-21

Aubameyang’s battle with malaria was the latest in a series of fitness issues that served to limit his overall contribution to the Gunners’ 2020-2021 campaign.

The 31-year-old has also struggled to adjust to a new role in Mikel Arteta’s setup, but still has 15 goals under his belt in 35 appearances in all competitions to date.

What else did Emery say?

Emery also reserved special praise for Granit Xhaka, though he stripped the midfielder of the captain’s post in the later stages of his reign at the Emirates Stadium after he clashed with a fan section in a game. Premier League v Crystal Palace.

Xhaka has since forced his return to Arsenal’s squad under Arteta, with Emery delighted to have seen him change his career in the Premier League.

“He deserves to be at a club like Arsenal and he deserves the respect of the people,” he said. “I was thinking the same then as now.

“He’s an amazing footballer and an amazing double person. I’m really glad he enjoys that at Arsenal.”

Who is waiting for Villarreal or Arsenal in the Europa League final?

The winner of the draw between Villarreal and Arsenal will be rewarded with a clash against Manchester United or Roma in the flagship event, which is due to take place at the Stadion Miejski in Gdansk, Poland on May 26.

United already have one foot in the final after beating Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford, and Arsenal could set up an all-English affair if they manage to secure a comeback victory over Villarreal.

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