Arsenal will face Atletico Madrid in today’s UEFA Europa League fixture and the two-time winners are believed to have saved their bests for the last, but only the persevering, foresighted and tactical side will walk with heads high after 90 minutes.
So far, the Gunners have been a low-performing side. The team looks devastated since Arsene Wenger’s decision to exit the North London club following their inability to join English Premier League’s top four.
Today’s game is considered a heavyweight contest among other semi-final matches considering that Arsenal are in the last four for the first time since 18 years.
However, the first leg match in CSKA Moskva as well as the home and away wins over AC Milan prove there’s so much Arsenal can achieved at very difficult times. However, their terrible loss to Östersund and a second-leg wobble against CSKA are hair-raisers.
Atleti suffered eliminated at the UEFA Champions League group stage and have since begun their determined pursuit of a third UEFA Europa League, having defeated København (5-1 on agg) and Lokomotiv Moskva (8-1) before facing Sporting CP. Meanwhile, the Spaniards will aim at lifting their fifth European final in the past five years, and eventually add to their Europa League triumph of 2012.
Former Real Madrid player Mesut Özil showcased his talents against CSKA. He has a proven ability to place a match under his spell, and just last month, the 29-year-old German ace reached a Premier League record 50 assists.
Antoine Griezmann bears Atleti’s weight on his shoulders. The 27-year-old France international footballer also has a habit of picking up the scoring pace in the new year. He scored 11 goals in his first 30 games this year and netted another 18 in the subsequent 20.
While Arsenal looks uninspired for Wenger’s decision to leave after 22 years in charge at the Emirates Stadium, there are speculations that his players may rally round to give him something to celebrate ahead of his 69th birthday. The Frenchman has enjoyed a 17-trophy haul with the club without any European honor in stock.
As a fine midfielder in white and blue stripes, Diego Simeone played 106 times for Argentina and has established himself as one of the best football coaches since joining Atleti in December 2011. The 47-year-old presents his team as tough challengers against Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga. He has won 5 trophies with the Rojiblancos’, including this competition in 2012.
Atleti are considered potential winners in today’s game, with its efficient midfield and a defensive unit which has been rated one of the best in Europe.
In addition, Griezmann and his forward line have not been wasteful in their recent matches. However, if Arsenal come out victorious, it would be in honor of their outgoing coach Arsene Wenger.
The semi final first leg holds at the Emirates Stadium.
It's only Santi bloody Cazorla out on the Emirates pitch!!!! pic.twitter.com/uZHdQiko5c
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) April 26, 2018
It’s be nice tonight if Arsenal don’t concede and hand advantage to Diego Simeone, who manages a team which rarely concedes goals. Atleti have let in only 18 in La Liga all season whereas Arsenal have conceded 46.
Aaron Ramsey is another Arsenal player to watch.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) April 24, 2018