“They had several injured players, Aubameyang hadn’t played for a while, I think it’s normal. The first [starting] XI was more or less what we expected.”

Meanwhile, Arteta stood by his team selection and claimed Arsenal’s game plan was thrown off course by Manuel Trigueros’ early opening goal.

“It’s the way we prepared the game and it’s the decision I made,” said the Spaniard.

“We thought this was the best way to play but the game was conditioned after four minutes [when Villarreal scored].

“So it’s difficult to assess whether it would work or not. Conceding the set-piece changed it as well, and after we had to approach it in a different way.”

Arteta added: “We’ve played with real strikers sometimes and we didn’t score any goals many times this season. It’s a decision I made and that’s it.”