Mikel Arteta knew that just a 1-0 win would do the business and put Arsenal through to the Europa League final after a 2-1 loss in Spain in the first leg.
It ended 0-0 though as Arsenal struggled to put Villarreal under sustained pressure and put in a performance short on energy and desire, crashing out of the Europa League; Arsenal had just two shots on target.
Dixon is stunned at just how easy Villarreal had it at the Emirates Stadium in what was the second leg of a semi-final tie, with a spot in the final on the line.
The Gunners legend stressed that Villarreal pair Torres and Albiol looked fresh after the final whistle and had not been worked hard enough by the Arsenal attackers, joking he saw one put out a cigar.
Dixon said post match on BBC Radio 5 live: “I’m just looking down at Albiol doing the Spanish press. I’m looking down at him and Torres, the two centre-backs, and I was thinking if you come to a semi-final away from home, the second leg, you should be going off the pitch absolutely exhausted, with bruises all over your shins, a couple of bruises elsewhere where the centre-forwards and the midfield players have really put you under pressure.
“Those two, I think I’ve just seen one of them put a cigar out because he’s literally had a night off.
“The pair of them are looking fresh as a daisy. Obviously you don’t feel tired when you win a game, but during the game they weren’t put under any pressure running back to their own goal; I didn’t see [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang getting stuck into them when they were challenging for the ball.”
The former Arsenal full-back added that at no point during the 90 minutes did he feel Villarreal were being put under the pressure needed to make them crack.
“The back four was so comfortable tonight and when you go and put a team under pressure and you start to see cracks appear then it gets all the rest of the team up; that didn’t happen tonight.
“Not at one point did I look down at Villarreal and think they are under the cosh here and might just crack.”
Villarreal, coached by former Arsenal manager Unai Emery, will now prepare to face Manchester United in the Europa League final, with the Red Devils seeing off Roma in their semi-final tie.