The Europa League Final Beckons But Can Arsenal Take The Advantage?
Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid – Europa League Semi-Final Leg 1 – 26.04.2017
Despite not winning an away game in 2018, terrible form, losing our most effective player in January and one of his replacements ineligible for the competition, and our manager announcing he is leaving the club at the end of the season Arsenal have made it to the semi-final of the Europa League.
Not only is Arsenal’s solitary chance of silverware this season and likely Arsenal’s only route into the Champions League for next season it is the final opportunity for Arsène Wenger to win a trophy for the club to which he has dedicated 22 years of his life. We line up against Atletico Madrid in this Semi-Final first leg at The Emirates with a severe defensive problem that not even legal lgd supplements could solve. Arsenal’s defensive woes are not caused by injury or lack of stamina; it’s simply that we cannot concentrate for long enough to keep a clean sheet.
Atletico are not the team Arsenal would have wanted in a two-legged game. It is likely they would have met in the final regardless yet in a 90 minute match on neutral ground the game is anyone’s. Over two legs with one side full of confidence, flying high in their domestic league and boasting one of the meanest defences in Europe and the other sapped of moral, struggling for points and leaking goals from all angles… well, that’s a tie that has Arsenal heartbreak written all over it.
However, all is not lost for Arsenal. At home the Gunners have been racking up the chances and putting plenty of them away. Aubameyang may not be eligible for this competition but in Welbeck and Lacazette Arsenal have enough threat and confidence to worry Atletico. Wenger put out the side most likely to play in this match against West Ham at the weekend and if confidence and fluency was what he was after then that is certainly what he gained.
This match could be decided by a single goal and it’s unlikely that Atletico will come away from the Emirates without a crucial away goal so it is vital for Arsenal to put them under pressure in the second leg by going to Madrid with a bit of a lead. Should Atletico come away with a win or a draw they will sit in two banks of five and four with a solitary striker to knock it long to in the second leg and sit back and soak up Arsenal’s pressure. Should they find themselves in need of a few goals they will have no choice but to come out against Arsenal and that suits us just fine.
Diego Costa has miraculously recovered and he has a history of making life difficult for Arsenal’s centre-backs. Let’s hope he doesn’t continue that trend.
Arsenal (from): Ospina, Cech, Holding, Chambers, Koscielny, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey, Özil, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette.
“I would say one of their [Atletico] strengths is that they have no obvious weakness; they are a very efficient team and a team who can use every weak moment of their opponent. ” – Arsène Wenger
Clean sheets are like unicorns at Arsenal at the moment so I’m plumping for a 3-1 win for Arsenal.
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