Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid ended Arsene Wenger’s dream of bowing out of his glorious managerial career with a European trophy.
The team from the Spanish capital, booked their place in the UEFA Europa League final with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Thursday night at the Wanda Metropolitano. The 2-times champions will be playing the final on the 16th of May 2018 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais against French side Olympique Marseille (who qualified after a highly controversial extra time away goal against Red Bull Salzburg).
Atlético Madrid vs Arsenal Review:
After having conceded a late away goal against 10-man Atlético Madrid at the Emirates, the onus was on the visitors to score. But it was the home side who started more positively with former Chelsea forward Diego Costa making a powerful run down the right before firing his shot over and wide. Arsenal were then handed a fatal blow as their captain Laurent Koscielny was stretchered off for what is rumoured to be a torn Achilles. English fullback Callum Chambers replaced the injured skipper.
The match intensified with Atlético looking the more adventurous, as a couple of half chances fell their way in the first half. Costa had another opportunity to shoot from a promising position before he was blocked. Another great chance fell the way of Koke whose shot just missed the goal frame. A brilliant free kick routine saw Griezmann receive the ball, expertly turn and then putting his shot (on the turn) just wide.
Arsenal created a few chances of their own and threatened the Atlético goal, but the resilient Spanish side were up to it as Oblak did not have a save to make in the first half.
The attacking duo of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa continued to threaten the Arsenal defence time after time and all that pressure paid off in the first half injury time. A long clearance from Oblak was not properly dealt by the Arsenal defence and the ball fell onto the feet of Griezmann. The Frenchman ran with the ball drawing 4 defenders on him before tracking the run of and finding his offensive partner. Diego Costa showed great composure to receive the ball and saw off Hector Bellerin (who was on his shoulders) with great strength before steering the ball passed a diving Ospina.
In the second half Arsenal came out much more positive, but the strong Atlético defence was upto them. One particular chance came the way of the visitors when Wilshere’s mistimed shot fell into the path of Aaron Ramsey, who took one touch too many as he could only get his shot wide with the defenders closing in from all sides.
The side from Madrid had the chance to finish off the game twice through Costa and Griezmann but both of them were thwarted with crucial blocks from the Arsenal defenders.
Arsenal’s solitary shot on target came when Granit Xhaka’s ground shot was comfortably pushed out for a corner by Oblak. Arsenal made quite a few more attempts but was unsuccessful into even forcing a save from the goalkeeper. On the other hand, Griezmann had a free kick just miss the target and Costa’s replacement Fernando Torres had a venomous shot saved by Ospina deep into the injury time.
Atlético Madrid vs Arsenal Line-Ups:
Oblak; Hernandez, Godin, Gimenez, Thomas (Savic 90+ ‘); Vitolo (Correa 74′), Gabi, Saul, Koke; Griezmann, Costa (Torres 83’).
Ospina; Monreal, Mustafi, Koscielny (Chambers 12′), Bellerin; Xhaka, Wilshere (Mkhitaryan 68′), Ramsey; Özil, Welbeck; Lacazette.
Atlético Madrid vs Arsenal Highlights:
Atlético Madrid vs Arsenal Match Stats:
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