Preview - Atletico Madrid vs Arsenal 04 May 2018

Started by Harry85, May 03, 2018, 04:01 AM

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Europa League Semi Final Second Leg
Atletico Madrid vs. Arsenal
Friday, May 4th, 2018
04:05 am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Wanda Metropolitano

Atletico Madrid: 
Last five matches form: W L D D W
EL Average goals per match: 2.29
EL Average goals against per match: 0.57
EL Top Scorer: Antoine Griezmann (4)

Last five matches form: D L W D L
EL Average goals per match: 2.31
EL Average goals against per match: 0.85
EL Top Scorer: Aaron Ramsey (4)

First Leg Score: Arsenal 1 - 1 Atletico Madrid

Considering Atletico were a man down for the majority of the first leg at the Emirates, and were bombarded by Arsenal for almost the duration of the contest, it was remarkable that the Madrid side managed to get through that game, not only not too far behind, but actually on level terms. As such its advantage to the Spanish side headed into the second leg.

Despite it traditionally being one of their biggest games of their season, Arsenal still rested a number of starters for the weekend trip to Old Trafford, emphasising just how important this tie is to Arsene Wenger in his final season in charge. This competition represents the last chance to end his 22-year reign on a high. The cup-tied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and injured duo of Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny are Arsenal's only injury concerns.

Atletico have problems at right back with Juanfran out injured and Sime Vrsaljko suspended. Much like Arsenal, Atletico rested their stars at the weekend. The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Jan Oblak and José Giménez are likely to return to the starting 11 here.

Arsenal often perform at their best when their backs are against the wall, and as such it may prove unwise to underestimate them here. That said, it looks a tall order to go to the Wanda Metropolitano and win. Any score draw would at least take this to extra time, but with Atletico yet to concede at home in this year's competition, that may also prove easier said than done.

As much as we would love to see Wenger end on a high, this game looks a big mismatch when it comes to the quality of the defences on show. Atletico are fancied to progress.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid 3 - 1 Arsenal


Half time: 1 - 0
Full time: 1 - 0
Aggregate Score: 2 - 1
Shots: 15 - 7
Shots on target: 5 - 1
Corner Kicks: 6 - 4
Possession: 45% - 55%

Three bookings for either side here. Referee Gianluca Rocchi taking the names of Gabi, Saul Niguez and Diego Costa for Atletico, and Jack Wilshere, Nacho Monreal and Shkodran Mustafi for Arsenal.

Arsenal's big chance in this tie came in the first leg. Failing to take advantage of playing against ten men for the bulk of that game at the Emirates ultimately cost them dear.

Whilst their draw in the first leg was a perfect example of the backs against the wall, smash and grab away performance, there can be little doubt that Diego Simeone's men deserved this win on the night. They may have been slightly behind in terms of possession, but were well clear on the total shots count and restricted Arsenal to just the one shot on target all night.

Its hard to remember Arsenal having a shot of any description in the opening period as Atletico were largely on top from the off. It did look as though Arsene Wenger's men would head into the break on level terms though, with the sides still locked together as the clock ticked to 45 minutes.

You have to defend in stoppage time too though, and when Diego Costa slipped his marker in the 47th minute to be played in on goal by Antoine Griezmann, the former Chelsea man held off Hector Bellerin to finish high into the net. 1-0 at the interval.

Arsenal pushed forward in search of an equaliser in the second half, with Aaron Ramsey looking certain to score only to take a poor touch on his knee when only six yards out and seeing the chance go begging.  Other than a Henrikh Mkhtaryan effort that fizzed over the crossbar, that's as close as the Gunners came. Arsene Wenger's dream of finishing on a high ended in Madrid.

It's Atletico who progress to the final where they will meet Marseille in Lyon.

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