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Arsenal exit Europa League as United face Villarreal in final

Arsenal exit Europa League as United face Villarreal in final

Premier League side, Arsenal have been dumped out of the UEFA Europa League by Villarreal.

The Gunners played out a barren draw in England on Thursday to go out 1-2 on aggregate.

However, Manchester United had little difficulty in completing the job started with their semi-final first leg thrashing of Roma; progressing to the Europa League final on an 8-5 aggregate.

After a 6-2 win last week, a 3-2 defeat in Italy still secured easy progress for them.

But it will not be Premier League rivals, Arsenal they meet in Poland’s Gdansk on May 26. Rather it is Spanish side, Villarreal, who are in a first major final after a goalless second leg in London.

The Yellow Submarine, as Villarreal are known, gained revenge for their 2006 Champions League semi-final loss to Arsenal with a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Manchester United’s entry to the final means the city of Manchester could claim both of the major European titles this year. Neighbours Manchester City face Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final three days later. Only Milan, when AC Milan won the UEFA Champions League in 1994 and Inter Milan the then UEFA Cup, has previously managed that feat.

Manchester United survived an early scare when their former player Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed wide. But Edinson Cavani, with his third chance of the game, smashed in the 39th minute opener to settle their nerves.

He had previously lobbed onto the bar and had a shot saved by goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.

Arsenal

And it was Cavani’s simple header from Bruno Fernandes’ cross midway through the second half which ultimately put the tie beyond doubt.

Villarreal ended a last four hoodoo as they had lost all five of their previous semi-finals in various competitions.

Coach Unai Emery, a former Arsenal manager, won three Europa Leagues with Sevilla. He is on the brink of glory once more.

“Villarreal have missed out on so many semi-final chances to reach the final. But now, finally, we’ve done it,” said defender Pau Torres.

“It’s time to enjoy right now. But immediately important to prepare the final really well, because that’s an historic opportunity.”

They almost repeated their early goal from the first leg. But goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved well from Samuel Chukwueze, who was later carried off injured.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post in the first half for Arsenal with a curling shot.

He also headed onto the woodwork with his last involvement; before being substituted 10 minutes from time due to the lingering effect of a malaria infection.

But Villarreal held on to claim a historic date with Manchester United later this month.

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