Villarreal coach Unai Emery wary of Arsenal ‘killer’ star

Unai Emery has described Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a ‘killer’, hoping the forward will not repeat his heroic 2019 Europa League semi-finals on Thursday night.

Aubameyang scored a hat-trick for Emery’s Arsenal as they won in Valencia to reach the final two years ago, only to lose to Chelsea in Baku. This time around Emery is in charge of Villarreal and he returns to Emirates Stadium for the first time with his current side holding a 2-1 aggregate lead.

Aubameyang was a late replacement in last week’s first leg after recently recovering from malaria – but he is likely to start on Thursday as Arsenal look to reverse the deficit and advance to the final.

The Gabonese striker won the Premier League golden shoe alongside Liverpool couple Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in Emery’s only full season at the helm.

When asked if he feels Aubameyang remains on Europe’s top striker list and how he plans to stop him, Emery replied, “Aubameyang is a killer.

“He was, he is and always will be. He went through a process of leaving the team because of the illness he had, but he’s back.

“Aubameyang is there to work, to defend the team and give everything for the team, hoping that he can perform at the highest level and if that happens it will be very difficult to stop.

“We expect to find the best Aubameyang possible, same with Granit Xhaka, I think he’s a great person, a great footballer.

“He was the Premier League’s top scorer when I was there, he’s really good physically and is a killer like I said.”

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Emery says Arsenal are favorites

Despite Villarreal’s narrow victory at El Madrigal, Emery insists he still sees Arsenal as the favorites to advance to the final in Gdansk on May 26.

“I consider that the result of the first leg does not change my vision of the initial competition,” he added.

“Arsenal started off as favorites and they’re still favorites at this point. We’re going to try to compete with this type of team – these favorite teams – but the first leg result is really tight to change anything.

“Why (are they favorites)? Because of the history, because of the present, because of the ability and the level, the budget, the players they have on their squad – I consider them favorites. We are the underdogs. “

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