Bukayo Saka pulls no punches on Arsenal performance against Villarreal

Villareal CF v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One
Bukayo Saka was one of Arsenal’s standout performers again (Picture: Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka was fuming with his side’s first half performance against Villarreal on Thursday night, finding it all the more frustrating after Arsenal showed what they can do after the break.

The Gunners came away from their Europa League semi-final first leg 2-1 behind, so far from a disastrous situation, but things could have been much worse.

The La Liga side took a 2-0 lead and Arsenal had Dani Ceballos sent-off, with the game looking like it could spell an end to the whole tie.

However, they battled back into the contest with 10 men as Saka won a penalty which Nicolas Pepe converted, before Villarreal had a man sent-off themselves when Etienne Capoue received a second yellow card.

The end result is acceptable, with a home leg to come, but the first half performance was not, with Saka clearly angry at full-time with how his team began the match.

‘There’s a lot of positives which all came in the second half, but it’s the semi-final of the Europa League and to start the game like this is impossible to have a chance of scoring,’ the England international said on BT Sport.

‘We didn’t create anything, we lost every duel, we was passive It’s really frustrating to look back on it.

‘But I’m just happy that in the second half we picked ourselves up and got a good chance and managed to score. We’ve given ourselves a chance at the Emirates.’

As bad as Arsenal were in the first 45 minutes, Saka was buoyed by their vast improvement later in the game and hopes they can show more of their good side next week.

‘We definitely showed that we’re better than them, even with 10 men we were dominating them so it’s just up to us, it’s always up to us,’ said the 19-year-old.

‘We have a team full of quality players and when we play properly we can beat anyone and we showed that today.’

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