Atletico Madrid entertain Arsenal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday night. Diego Simeone’s side scored a vital away goal during the 1-1 draw at the Emirates last week and they can now bank on their home advantage to progress to their fifth European final in nine seasons.
Players to watch for:
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid: The Frenchman was kept quiet for vast periods of the first leg in north London but he eventually capitalised on a defensive error from Laurent Koscielny. The Gunners skipper took a little bit longer to clear the ball and Griezmann took the advantage of a lucky break to score the leveller for 10-man Atleti. Arsene Wenger’s side are in desperate need of an away goal in order to stay alive in the competition and this could play into Griezmann’s hands on the counter attack.
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal: Griezmann’s compatriot Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring during the first leg of the semi-final and this took his tally to seven goals in as many games since his injury comeback. Like Griezmann, Lacazette did not feature for the Gunners over the weekend but he has plenty of work to do at the Wanda Metropolitano, where his team need to score at least once. Lacazette impressed with his physique and movement within the box against Atleti but he has to make amends on Thursday, having missed clear-cut opportunity early on at the Emirates.
Atletico Madrid have conceded just four goals at home over the course of their league campaign and they has contributed to clean sheets in each of their previous 11 games. Despite this, we are anticipating goals for both teams in this encounter with the Gunners, in particular, likely to give their all for their departing manager.