Preview - Arsenal vs Atletico Madrid 27 April 2018

Started by Harry85, Apr 24, 2018, 10:17 PM

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Europa League Semi Final First Leg
Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid
Friday, April 27th, 2018
04:05 am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Emirates Stadium

Last five matches form: W W D L W
EL Average goals per match: 2.42
EL Average goals against per match: 0.83
EL Top Scorer: Aaron Ramsey (4)

Atletico Madrid:
Last five matches form: D L W L D
EL Average goals per match: 2.50
EL Average goals against per match: 0.50
EL Top Scorer: Antoine Griezmann and Saúl Ñíguez (3)

The Europa League is certainly heating up nicely as it reaches its closing stages, and we look to have two cracking semi-final contests in store.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side meet an Atletico Madrid outfit managed by a man - in Diego Simeone - whom some are touting to replace him in the Emirates hot seat.

Arsenal arrive in the better form of the two sides having won seven of their past nine in all competitions.

 Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jack Wilshere are doubts for the Gunners, Mohamed Elneny misses out through injury and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible.

Atletico already have Champions League qualification wrapped up and appear to be pouring all their efforts into success in this competition. Diego Costa misses out up front, which will likely see Kevin Gameiro given the nod to partner Antoine Griezmann. Juanfran's experience at fullback will be a miss for the visitors.

Atletico's defence is quite rightly heralded as one of the best on the continent. They haven't kept a clean sheet in three Europa League outings to date though, and Arsenal are a superior attacking force to their three previous opponents, FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting Lisbon.

Defence is not Arsenal's strong point though and whilst we expect them to take a lead to the Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico can be expected to get on the scoresheet.

Prediction: Arsenal 2 - 1 Atletico Madrid


Half time: 0 - 0
Full time: 1 - 1
Shots: 28 - 6
Shots on target: 8 - 5
Corner Kicks: 11 - 0
Possession: 76% - 24%

Referee Clement Turpin didn't reach for his pocket often here. He did however do so very early to dramatic effect. Booked after just two minutes, Atletico's Sim Vrsaljko was then sent of for a second yellow card in just the tenth minute. It was all too much for Atletico boss Diego Simeone who was promptly sent to the stands for his vociferous and relentless protests.

And so the pattern of this game was set.

Cross after cross rained down on the Madrid defence. But the visitors did what they do best, namely defended for their lives, forming an impenetrable wall at times.

Unfortunately for Arsenal the best of their chances were falling to defenders with both Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny volleying wide.

Atletico did start to pose some threat on the break as the half wore on. Antoine Griezmann twice forcing David Ospina into smart stops. Neither side could find a way through though. 0-0 at the break.

The fact that the Gunners were having to resort to so many crosses was really a testament to what was a stunning defensive performance from Madrid. There was simply no way through for Arsenal's usual quick passing game.

Just after the hour mark though one of these crosses did pay off. Jack Wilshire swinging the ball in from the left and Alexandre Lacazette rising highest to nod home.

1-0   would have been a decent first leg result for Arsenal, but they couldn't quite hold on to it.

Bad blunder from Koscielny, giving the ball up on the edge of his own area to Griezmann. Ospina doing well to save the Frenchman's first effort, but when the ball fell to Griezmann again he prodded into the roof of the net from a tight angle in the 82nd minute.

Cue dancing in front of the Atletico fans in the corner. 1-1 final score. Advantage Atletico headed into next weeks second leg.

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