Arsenal fail to capitalize on disadvantaged Atletico as they draw 1-1 at home
The Emirates Stadium looked packed for the first time in a while ahead of the clash between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid in the semifinals of the UEFA Europa League. The night marked Arsene Wenger’s last home match in Europe and he was looking to end it on a climax. The fans were pumped up and ready to give their all as the ready whistled kick off. The referee wanted to let the players know that he was the one in command he did not waste time before flashing a yellow card to Vrsaljiko for a late challenge on Jack Wilshere. The player was standing in for Juanfran at right-back since the Spaniard is injured. Vrsaljiko was silly to make a challenge on Lacazette and the referee showed him a second yellow in the 10th minute and Atletico Madrid were down to 10 men with more than 80 minutes to go. Hector Bellerin was involved in a clash with Koke shortly after and Diego Simeone reacted outrageously which saw the referee sending him off to the stands. The Gooners could not have a better advantage to put it a great performance against the wounded Madrid side. Wenger’s men, however, failed to produce a goal before the referee called for halftime. Atletico Madrid reshaped pretty well and showed discipline.
The Spanish club never really looked like they were a man down as they also created chances to match what Arsenal were doing. Both teams wasted a couple of opportunities before Jack Wilshere’s cross was headed past Jan Oblak by Lacazette. 1-0 and Arsenal looked like they were going to score more. Atletico Madrid went back into their shell and defended with their lives while waiting for counterattacks. As you might have guessed, it only took one counter-attack and Griezmann was through on goal with only Koscielny as a threat. The French defender failed to clear the ball and Griezmann got past the on-rushing Ospina. Mustafi had the chance to block Griezmann’s shot from going in but he slipped and saw the want-away striker score Atletico Madrid’s equalizer in the 82nd minute. That was it as Arsenal failed to capitalize on their advantage. The return leg would be a steeper mountain to climb with Diego Costa expected to be fit and will start from the beginning of the match. Will Arsenal have enough to win in Spain after struggling in their away form this season?