CHRIS SUTTON: Gabriel Martinelli is Arsenal’s man to exploit the space behind Villarreal

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CHRIS SUTTON: Barcelona showed Arsenal how to beat Villarreal last week and Gabriel Martinelli is the man to exploit that space in the back … but they need to be aware of Gerard Moreno

  • Villarreal was beaten by Barcelona last week with a simple ball over the top
  • That’s a job made for Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli in their Europa League clash
  • Behind Martinelli, I would use Nicolas Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka
  • The Arsenal defense should be wary of Villarreal’s red-hot striker Gerard Moreno

There is room to exploit behind this Villarreal backline.

A ball over the top and a curved run from Antoine Griezmann was how Barcelona equalized against them in LaLiga last week. That’s a job made for Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are struggling to be fit for this semi-final, so I would like to see the 19-year-old Brazilian in the front line.

Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli is the man who uses the space behind Villarreal’s defense

Behind Martinelli, I’d use the uplifting Nicolas Pepe on the left, the exciting Emile Smith Rowe at number 10, and the lively Bukayo Saka on the right.

These kids have saved their boss more than once this season. They can do it again on Thursday night.

This is 10th in the Premier League against seventh in LaLiga. Both clubs need this competition to reach the Champions League.

Only Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema have scored more goals in Spain than Gerard Moreno

Only Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema have scored more goals in Spain than Gerard Moreno

Unai Emery’s Villarreal likes to keep the ball on the ground – they are a creative team with a striker in brilliant form.

Only Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema have scored more goals in Spain this season than Gerard Moreno of Villarreal.

Arsenal’s back four should keep an eye on him. Bad defending cost them against Olympiacos last season – don’t give Moreno any presents on Thursday night.

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