How Arsenal can thwart Atletico hurdle on their path to Europa League redemption and one final glory for their long serving manager Arsene Wenger who is finally all set to call it a day after 22 years at the club.
Atletico and Arsenal are two favorites to win the Europa League this season. And the semi-final clash looks all set to be the most thrilling fixture of the competition so far with the first leg set to be played at the Emirates on Thursday.
With the return of Mkhitrayan and Ramsey Arsenal boast a fully fit squad for the encounter. With the latter playing a pivotal season in this seasons Europa league.Also the return of David Ospina is a boost.
It remains a question that whether Wenger will go with Cech or Ospina in all Europa league with David Ospina being the traditional shot stopper for the game but with Cech taking the field in recent weeks in Ospina’s absence.
2.Injury concerns for Atletico
Atletico’s La-Liga hopes are all but over with Barcelona taking a 12 point lead but Atletico are all but ensured of a second place finish ensuring a Champions League position next season. Despite this Atletico have injury concerns of their own with Diego Costa set to miss the first leg due to a hamstring injury.
Here is what Simeone said while confirming Costa’s absence from the first leg :
“The doctors will inform us but I think it won’t be possible for him to be ready for Thursday’s game, he said. “He will be [available] for sure in the return leg, but I think he has no chance to be [fit] for the first leg game.”
This would probably dent Atleti’s Attack to a certain extent given how drastically their form improved after Costa was allowed to take the field from January onwards.
Felipe Luis remains injured with a fractured fibula. Savic who played in the 3-0 defest against socieded also remains a concern for Atletico.
Atletico have shown that they are vulnerable when they lost against Sporting Lisbon which they eventually got over the line on a 2-1 aggregate. It would be a battle of opposites when Atletico one of the most impermeable defenses face Arsenal who are known for astute and almost comical defensive errors. Arsenals defense have to be responsible and hold the key going into the clash.
Injury of Diego Costa will no doubt be a boost for Arsenal’s defense but with the likes of Griezmann, Vitolo still in their ranks it would be a tough time. But if Arsenal can stop Griezmann and keep him from moving freely, Atletico’s goal scoring prowess can be curbed nd their attacking threat nullified.
The likes of Ozil and Mkhitaryan face a stiff challenge supplying passes past the defenders. The Pace of Welbeck would be an added advantage to get past Atletico defenders who lack swift mobility.
4. The only way ahead
Wenger in a recent interview stated that Europa League remains his top concern. After a dismal premier League were Arsenal find themselves closer to the eight position than the Top four. Another season of no champions league would be disappointing for the fans. It was quite inevitable for Arsenal that they had to play Atletico either now or in the final.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he will use Sunday’s clash with West Ham to prepare for the “absolutely vital” meeting Atletico in the Europa League semi-finals.
With that in mind, Wenger is already planning for the visit of Atleti to the Emirates Stadium, telling a news conference:
“I would say this weekend is a preparation for Thursday. “I rested some players after the [CSKA] Moscow game so they will need a game. [Europe] is the priority because, in the Premier League, we go for not a lot. For us, it’s the biggest priority now. “We are Arsenal and we want to win football games. Every game is important and we love to win. At home, we’ve had quite a good season, it looks a little bit strange. It’s away from home that we failed. It’s absolutely important we maintain that record at home.
“We have a big opponent with Atletico Madrid. It’s absolutely vital to beat them and have a chance to go to the final and win the competition. Atletico Madrid are seen as the favorite to win the competition but I believe, at our best, we can beat them.”
This gives a morale boost for the gunners who will be hoping to get to Lyon.
5.Finally and Most Importantly For the Manager
With Wenger’s Stupendous career at Arsenal coming to an end. It would be suited to see him go on a high at the end of a disappointing season. The European title has been the Thorn in Wenger’s flesh .
came close to winning the Champions League in 2006 only to be spoiled by Barcelona with 12 minutes remaining. Winning the title this time around will be the perfect icing on a cake that had taken 22 years to shape.
LETS GET THE VICTORY BOYSS pic.twitter.com/HfVqc2GzuU
— Ärch (@ohWilshere) April 22, 2018
“My personal situation is not so much my worry at the moment,” he said. My worry is to transform a season with many disappointments away from home into success. That’s what matters to me. “As I said the other night, my future is in front of me, every time I make a half-turn. It’s not my biggest priority. “If you have to give me some credit, if you look back at my career, you would have to accept that my priority has always been the interest of Arsenal Football Club. “I’m responsible for the results and when they’re not as good as everybody wants, people ask the question. I cannot master that. I can only master my commitment and the quality of my work.”
This is what he said a day before the announcement of his retirement from the club. Business as usual for the boss
All said it would be Clash of the favorites in the Semi-Finals.