Arsenal will go head to head against Atletico Madrid on Thursday in the second leg of the semifinal clash of Europa League. Atletico Madrid are holding clear advantage in this match with an away goal under their belts. The Gunners have missed a real opportunity at the Emirates in the first leg of this clash. Atletico Madrid were down to ten men at just 9th minute of the match. But after that, the Madrid outfit have played really. Arsenal have managed to take the lead in the match with the brilliant header of Alexandre Lacazette; but Antoine Griezmann’s goal at the closing stage of the match have put the Gunners in the back foot in this clash.
Arsenal have to win the Europa League this season to get a chance to play in the Champions League next season as they are out of contention of finishing in the top four positions in the Premier League in this season. So, Arsene Wenger will be desperate to win this trophy before the end of his era at the Emirates. But the task is going be very much difficult for the Gunners as they have to score an away goal somehow. Atletico Madrid are certainly very much dominant at their home and no other away teams have been able to score at Wanda Metropolitano since January.
When and Where?
The first leg will be hosted by Atletico Madrid Wanda Metropolitano on 3rd May, 20:05 BST.
Arsene Wenger has opted to give rest to most of his first team players against Manchester United in this weekend. It was a good decision to keep all his players fit for this big clash against Atletico Madrid. Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Shkodran Mustafi were amongst the notable absentees in that match. On the other hand, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has made a speedy recovery from his injury and scored against Manchester United in the previous game. He will surely be in the squad of the Gunners in the match against Atletico Madrid. Alex Iwobi, Sead Kolasinac and David Ospina have slight injury problems; but they will be in the matchday squad.
On the other hand, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone also has given rest to some of his key players in the match against Alaves in the La Liga on this weekend. Jan Oblak, Jose Gimenez, Diego Godin, Saul Niguez, Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro were in the list of the absentees in that match. Diego Costa has come back from injury after some matches and started against Alaves. He will certainly be in the squad of Atletico Madrid against the Gunners. Sime Vrsaljko will miss this game as he was shown the red card in the previous leg. Diego Simeone will try to strengthen his defense to keep the clean sheet in this match and it would be enough for them to go through to the Final of the Europa League.
Predicted line-ups :
Atletico Madrid :(4-4-2)