UEFA Europa League: Can Arsenal breach Atletico's defense?
Premier League club Arsenal will be up against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League semi-final. The tie stands at 1-1 after Atletico clinched an equalizer last week at the Emirates. Arsenal need at least one goal and would need to be on their toes against a side that boasts of a solid defense. Here's our pre-match report.
The only manner in which Arsenal can qualify for the 2018-19 Champions League is to score and defend well. Arsenal haven't performed well away from home in the Premier League losing six successive games. But this hasn't hindered Wenger, who believes EPL form will not worry players as Europa away games have been good. The outgoing manager wants to finish his job well.
Antoine Griezmann hurt Arsenal last week with his goal and the Gunners need to keep him quiet. Besides the Frenchman, there is Diego Costa and Wenger believes he can be kept quiet if the visitors play in Atletico's half.
Arsenal had all the possession, chances and that too over a 10-man Atletico. The hosts would have wanted to score more but the visitors stayed strong and once Griezmann scored, they came out stronger. Atletico need just a 0-0 result and it will be interesting to see whether the visitors move on from that 1-1 result. Ozil and Lacazette's role will be massive.
The Spanish giants have the cushion of the home match besides the one goal scored away. The second-placed side in La Liga have one of the best defense lines in Europe. Atletico, like Arsenal, are looking for their first silverware of the season and the grief of missing out on two Champions League titles, will keep them motivated. Atletico look a better side.
The Gunners are winless in their last six European visits to Spain. Atletico have won 13 and drawn 3 in their last 17 European home games. Arsenal would be looking to reach their 6th European final and a third under Wenger. Arsenal scored only once from the 28 shots they fired at home against Atletico. Arsenal have the most goals in Europa (30).