MAY 2, 2018 – Atletico Madrid welcome Arsenal to the Wanda Metropolitano for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final clash on Thursday night.
Diego Simeone‘s men scored a vital away goal in the 1-1 draw at the Emirates last week and can now rely on home advantage to progress to the final.
Players to watch:
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid:
Griezmann hardly made an impact in the first leg against Arsenal until he capitalised on a defensive error from his countryman Laurent Koscielny to equalise.
Koscielny took too long to clear the ball which lead to Griezmann levelling the score for 10-man Atleti.
The Gunners are now in a desperate situation, having to score an away goal in order to proceed, but Atleti have kept 11 consecutive clean sheets at home ahead of this week’s clash.
If they push too high up the pitch in search for a goal, Griezmann could stun them on the counter attack with his pace and movement.
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal:
Griezmann’s countryman Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring during in first leg for his seventh goals in as many games since returning from injury.
He was rested in Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United so he’ll be fresh for the trip to the Wanda Metropolitano, where Arsenal need to score at least once to stand a chance of progressing.
Lacazette impressed with his strength and movement in the box against Atleti, but he’ll have to up his game on Thursday and ensure he doesn’t miss any more clear-cut chances like he did a week ago.
Atletico Madrid have conceded just four goals at home in the league this season and have kept clean sheets in each of their previous 11 in all competitions.
Despite this, there could be goals at both ends if Arsenal play to their potential. The Gunners’ entire season rides on Thursday’s game as they won’t get Champions League football for their league position.
Arsenal will want to give the best send-off for departing manager Arsene Wenger too, so this tie could go either way.
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Arsenal