Preview: Atletico Madrid v Arsenal

Arsenal will need a mammoth performance in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final to overcome Atletico Madrid having been held to a 1-1 by 10-men last time out.

Europa League
Date: 3 May 2018
Round: Semi-final second leg
Kick-off: 21H05 (local time)
Venue: Wanda Metropolitano

Referee: G. Rocchi
Assistants: E. Liberatore, M. Tonolini
Fourth official: A. Costanzo

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Atletico Madrid 1 0 1 0
Arsenal 1 0 1 0

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid 26/04/17 Europa League

Arsenal goalscorer: A. Lacazette (61′)

Atletico Madrid goalscorer: A. Griezmann (82′)

Players to watch:

Alexandre Lacazette got a goal against Atletico in the first leg to take his tally to the season to 16 from 36 games in all competitions, and three in three Europa League ties.

Antoine Griezmann was the other goalscorer a week ago and remains Atletico’s key man ahead of this tie. He has 27 goals from 45 games and four in six Europa League ties. Diego Costa may also play some part in the tie having missed out last week with an injury.

Team form and manager quotes:

Prior to drawing 1-1 with Arsenal, Diego Simeone’s side beat Levante, lost to Real Sociedad and drew with Real Betis. They have played one game since; beating Deportivo Alaves 1-0 with a late penalty from Kevin Gameiro.

They come into this game in second on La Liga, with Barcelona having already been crowned champions, and four points ahead of Real Madrid.

Arsenal, in sixth, is banking on a win over Atletico to secure Champions League football for next season. They suffered a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last time out, with Arsene Wenger having rested a number of his squad.

The Gunners had been on a run of six wins prior to two draws, one loss and one win ahead of being held in the Europa League last week.

Ahead of the game, Wenger said: “In football, you think you have seen it before but you can always discover new things. Every game surprises you – that’s why it is a new adventure. You never know what to expect. That’s why the excitement is the same.”

On Atletico’s unbeaten run in their new stadium, the manager continued: “The history has to stop somewhere, that is what we will try to do.

“In the first game we created chances but we didn’t manage to put them in the net. We have to keep the same commitment [in this game], not focus too much on where we play, just how we attack and build the game up from the back.”

Simeone, meanwhile, praised a quality Arsenal side.

He said: “Arsenal have great players, a great coach and lots of players who attack through the lines.

“They’re very fast in the final metres of the pitch and (Nacho) Monreal and (Hector) Bellerin add a great presence on the wings. (Alexandre) Lacazette is a fantastic player. He has good movements and is good in the air.”

He added: “They have creative players. To get this far [in the Europa League], you have to be a good side and its obvious Arsenal are that.”

Team news:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is available after missing the first leg with a knee injury but Alex Iwobi (hamstring) is a doubt injury, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (cup-tied) and Mohamed Elneny (ankle) are both out.

Diego Costa is fit for Atletico, having been sidelined last week with a thigh strain. Filipe Luis has returned from a broken leg.

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