Arsenal v Atletico Madrid is HUGE in so many ways….

Arsenal V Atletico Madrid Is A Great Draw For Fans by Neil Watson / The Screens

Without question the last team Wenger would have wanted to draw in the semi finals is Atletico Madrid and yet somehow as fans, maybe, just maybe, its a game we need.

In the Champions League we have of recent years been knocked out by Europe’s elite, Bayern and Barcelona quite regularly. In all fairness there’s no shame losing to either of those teams (although the manner in how we lost to Bayern last time out was embarrassing for everyone associated with the club). But Atletico….they’re a solid club BUT are second tier. Manchester City, United and Liverpool, and probably Spurs would be too much to handle for Atletico and that’s a group of clubs who we were once comfortably regarded as being as good as.

But for those of us who, regardless of recent results, still want to see the departure of Wenger this summer, we’ll see first hand if we have fallen behind the premier leagues elite or not. I get no pleasure from saying I firmly believe we will struggle against Atletico over both legs and it will demonstrate to the board, and any supporters who are still questioning those who are demanding change, that our set up is not even the strongest in the European second tier.

If we’d have drawn a softer option our route to the Europa final would have been a lot easier and then, hypothetically, if we lost against Athletico in the final Wenger could argue it was a one off match and the referee was…blah, blah, blah….But this is not a final, its a two legged semi and you can’t blame one decision for losing that (subject to Michael Oliver getting the gig as referee! ).

And, from a positive perspective, we play Atletico and is goes the way the bookies and form guide would have it. We won’t make the final, our season will be over and the Board will have time to start negotiating replacement managers, Wenger will have time to look for another job and everything will be rosie in north London come 1st June!

I’ll have to end this here as I’ve just seen six pigs fly past my window……

Neil Watson


  1. JustJoy says:

    i still see arsenal winning the europa… but Wenger leaving is up to the board.

  2. Nayr says:

    realistic article.
    great work neil.

  3. Kumagaya says:

    But he said i mean wenger that he is glued to his seat. Lts just win this trophy. Whether we win or lose he wont go anyway. So better we win and crash out at uefa as usual. Maybe the players who came in can motivate the team for next season but no wenger. In anycasd football game gives me excuse to run away from my wife on the weeknds

  4. ks-gunner says:

    I am a bit angry that we have come to a point that we fear others way to much. This team of ours is not that bad. We can do it. Atletico is strong but we football lives for such games. There is no glory without beating the strong.

    As for Wenger. He must show character and retire the moment he wins this competition. Its the best way to end it.

    1. RSH says:

      we are that bad. Picking up league form against midtable sides after pressure is COMPLETELY off doesn’t mean anything. It happens every freaking year but this time the games are 100% pointless because we aren’t even in conversation for top 4. A good side is able to produce top performances when all the pressure in the world is on them. Complete opposite of what Arsenal does. I don’t think we should be all doom and gloom about drawing Atlei, but if we’re being realistic it is HIGHLY likely Ozil goes missing in this tie, our defense collapses, Lacazette doesn’t do much of anything again, Welbeck reverts back to being Welbeck… Atleti are by far the best side in this competition and know how to manage a two-legged tie, while Arsenal does not. This Arsenal side is not good. We are honestly no better than the Marseille side that is currently in this competition.

      1. jon fox says:

        I salute you for being a realist and writing the plain truth. Though, as I am sure you already know, there are some on here who hate facing up to the awful reality of us , thanks to WENGER, BEING A SECOND RATE TEAM AND SQUAD. We are competing in a second rate competition, where we are underdogs against the best team left in the Europa. We have a fifth rate manager and a fifth rate board and owner. We are though a world famous world wide first rate CLUB, mainly for our class – off the pitch as well as on it – over all but the last decade. In the last decade , we have a sham owner who cares nothing for the club and us fans, who is however certain to sack Wenger by this summer since being a multi billionaire, he is a first rate accumulator of money and knows how to keep it . He knows , which some on here don’t , that regular empty seats are already harming the financial worth of his asset, Arsenal FC, AGAINST WHICH HE HAS ALREADY BORROWED. He knows that UNLESS he acts to sack WENGER, this seasons regular empty seats will be as nothing compared to the empty stadium next year and the flight of the clubs sponsors and very few TV matches and far less money. So our likely exit to Atletico is, in this respect, great news as it will be the last European tie Wenger ever manages at Arsenal . I hope, of course, to win this competition BUT I am a realist and refuse to live as some do, in a fools paradise, fooling themselves and shooting the messenger, rather than the culprit, Wenger!

        1. Break-on-through says:

          We are better than Marseille that is just exaggeration at it’s finest. We probably would not have won any cups nor passed Milan if there was truth at all in that. We have performed poorly this season but player for player Atletico are not too dissimilar to ourselves. It seems someone just has to write Arsenal off altogether at every opportunity for you to talk about realism. You are no different from a fan who says we will win all the top prizes and we will break records. Because you do the same thing at the other end of the spectrum, then calling it realism. You done it for the Milan game and probably before that one too, you done it when had Chelsea Manc Manu and others from that competition.

          Most of us want to look forward to the semi simply because it’s Arsenal, that’s some realism for you.

        2. Dennis Moriarty says:

          John Fox, you sir are the man living in a fantasy world. Wenger will not be sacked, you keep repeating the same thing in the hope that by saying it, it will happen. Dream on.

          1. jon fox says:

            You want a private bet with me then ? I will gladly take your money. Just say yes on here and I will take you on. I have already wagered substantial money at reducing odds (from 9/2 and falling way down )and thus been able to hedge these bets to ensure a profit whatever happens. This is how professional investors work. If you STILLwant to take me on, just indicate on here how I can privately contact you, BUT A WORD OF ADVICE TO ALL AMATEURS, don’t put your money where your mouth is , unless you have lots to spare and don’t mind losing it. Oh, and by the way, attention to detail is vital if you wage serious money. (As an example of this , I won’t touch todays Grand National with a bargepole as it is a lottery and I am not an amateur.) Since you can’t even spell my name correctly, I doubt you have this attention.

      2. Alkali says:

        Yes atletico is better than arsenal, but that doesn’t mean we should give up before the game. Roma are miles behind Barcelona and they punched above their weight why can’t we do the same.

        1. We can’t do the same because A) Wenger is a WEAK MANAGER whose weak mentality has drenched the team B) Atletico is extremely solid defensively. 2 years ago Atletico knocked out Barcelona in the quarter final, bundled out Bayern in the semis and were on the brink of smashing Real Madrid in the final had it not been for that miraculous last minute Sergio Ramos equaliser that forced extra time. What about Arsenal, hmn? We have been regular R16 whipping boys, getting beat downs from Monaco, Bayern X3, Barcelona, you name it. Any time we meet a formidable team of respectable quality we are out. No debate, no fight, no nothing, we simply are out. Just like we expected to be whipped by Man city is the same way Atletico will probably whip us. It’s the end of the road and you should rejoice now because once the inept dinosaur is gone we shall no longer be perennially handicapped underdogs waiting for our turn to exit competitions against better teams..we shall be THE BETTER TEAM that puts fear in the Arsenals of the competition.

          1. jon fox says:

            YET ANOTHER REALIST. Thank God!

          2. Break-on-through says:

            You’re mistaking realism with pessimism.

            Get yourself down to the bookies and put your mortgage on it if it’s all so real.

    2. RSH says:

      Essentially Arsenal will have to pull out the best performances all season. Without Aubameyang who has been one of the driving force behind our “resurgence”. Very difficult to task.

  5. summerbreez says:

    When I was looking at the situation last night I thought it would be more difficult to beat atlatico in the final having to play them at the semi it opens the game up .
    Arsenal is a champion league team and so is atlatico = an even match
    Arsenal can do this they have no option but to do this well

    1. ks-gunner says:

      Its the other way around mate. Diego is superior to Wenger when it comes to tactical matters and preparations. In a single match i could see us win. Two matches is going to be tough. Away form plays also a role here. We are awful.

      1. Break-on-through says:

        We had Atletico in a group stage, did we?. I remember us playing them not sure if it was friendly or a group game.

      2. Gab says:

        So Diego is so tactical but lost the finals of UCL twice to R Madrid, and could not figure it out the second time.

  6. Ian wrights bruva says:

    Whilst I think Wengers time is up it would be difficult to suggest he leaves if we win the cup.

    Either way I would love us to pick up some silverware regardless of who is in charges much as I won’t change, I would take europen success first.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Man Utd sacked Van Gaal even though he improved Utd after Moyes (not difficult I guess), and just won their first trophy since Fergie left, and it was a great decision! They won 3 trophies out of 5 the very next season, won a European trophy, and qualified for the CL.

      Wenger needs to go because we just cannot compete against quality anymore. Only 2 wins ALL season against quality teams, and we’re getting battered all the time, even when we’re drawing!

      1. John Ibrahim says:

        they spend heaps too…

        Watford sacked their manager and they went downhill……

        Wenger is ageing and he willl not be here for long… be patient

        the club will not go down or relegate

  7. jon fox says:

    No flying pigs Neil. None at all! What you said , even if YOU don’t believe it , is exactly what WILL happen.

    1. Neil says:

      Yep Jon Fox… I have to say any rationale I ever had about analysing football is now so distorted and so the last person I would trust in a bookies is me…

      1. jon fox says:

        Only a fool OR a true professional , like ME, gets involved with betting. You are clearly a wise man.

  8. Sue says:

    So Mkhi might be back for Atletico, so I’ve just read. God I hope so!! The game we have between those ties is Man United away… great…. We’ll play a weakened team… I saw earlier online the 8-2 was mentioned ?

  9. John0711 says:

    Some one here think welbeck is the new Henry ?

  10. John Ibrahim says:

    we are not going to be atheltico….however if we tried our best and lose then its acceptable

  11. herbdawg says:

    A fantastic draw!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Two great games, hopefully

    1. Break-on-through says:

      Exactly dude, really looking forward to it myself. In the CL I used to have Atletico as one of the teams that I’d like to get instead of focking Bayern. Juventus too. After the teams we played in this comp am really looking forward to playing against a good side win lose or draw.

  12. Tat says:

    when we play well, we can beat any team.
    I hope I am wrong but I got the feeling that we would win against atletico but lost in the final.

    1. Ignasi M says:

      Hi Tat,

      This is used to be the case – but not anymore. The team clearly sins drilled defensively (of it they, its not enough) and Koscielny and Sagna who used to bail us out are no more. Kos is more liability than competent. I’m not sure Mustafi is a premier league footballer. He’s too stupid and lightweight for a CB.

      Maybe, if it was one game we might be able to pull it off with Atletico missing, for example, a key defender. But our manager and his tactics and players are not good enough to beat Atletico over two legs. I think, a thrashing over two legs (similar to Bayern) will finally signal the end of Wenger’s reign.

      Arsenal 1-2 Atletico
      Atletico 2-0 Arsenal

      (Atletico win 4-1 on agg)

  13. Chiza says:

    Fox you keep saying wenger will go this season.. You just have to relax because if he doesn’t go then I’m gonna be the first to call you out.. And it might not go well.. So you better just relax.

  14. AndersS says:

    I wonder how you can call Atletico second tier, and postulate, that the likes of City, United, Spurs and Liverpool would be too much for them.
    Looking at the last 5-6 years, there is only the fact, that Atletico didn’t manage to get past the group stage in this years Champions League. But they are second in La Primera League, ahead of real Madrid, who arguably must be considered at least on level with the very best in England, if not better.
    In the seasons before this Atletico has also been in the very top of La Primera, and they have consistently performed better in the Champions League, than the English clubs.
    So Atletico is in fact in comparison to the English clubs very much top tier.
    So using Atletico as a measure stick of how we are compared to the English Club will be very difficult. But that doesn’t matter, as it is clearly shown in the PL table and in our individual matches against them.
    WE ARE SECOND TIER IN ENGLAND. That is the painful truth.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      AndersS, excellent assessment.
      My heart hopes Arsenal can do it if the team turns up to play out of their skins in each match. My head keeps going back to Arsenal ‘s atrocious away form this season, although we did achieve a draw on a late cold night in Moscow.

  15. Me says:

    I cannot see Arsenal beating AM over two legs.
    AM are set up so well – drilled and very difficult to beat.
    Surely if we go out this will finally mean the end of Wenger.
    A competent board of directors couldn’t possibly allow a repeat of this season.
    Next season’s empty seats won’t be a result of season ticket holders deciding not to bother turning up.

  16. The most annoying and boring is calling for Wenger ‘s removal without even remembering foodball is a team game. I thing the coach is trying his best for the club. Moever the owners see nothing wrong with the coach then why you
    You can stop supporting arsinal if you have no faith in the club. Arsenal for live up Gunners.

    1. Me says:

      Managers at every other professional football team are fired or hired based upon their results.
      Arsene Wenger should also be judged upon results – he is not immune, or deserving of special treatment.
      Results have been awful.
      The team has been awful.
      HIS team…

  17. Phil says:

    Good to have you back M.A.D.I see your opinions haven’t changed and it’s the TEAM and not WENGER who are to blame.Do you not consider this is WENGERS TEAM therefore the responsibility for these performances is with the Manager?.Another MAD comment from M.A.D.

    1. jon fox says:

      Phil , No that link is too difficult for HIM to see. He is the sort who when crossing a busy road, will see the fast car speeding along but not work out he is in danger if stepping out in front of it. iT TAKES ALL SORTS

      1. Phil says:

        JF-he is wrong but there is just no telling some people is there?

  18. Sony says:

    How i see it we beat them in the first leg and bottle it second leg.
    Second scenario is we suffer crushing defeat first leg and we win second leg with impressive footbal, but still out on goal difference ( as usual 😀 )
    Third scenario we trash them both legs and than bottle it in the final.
    Wenger will be slated for bad results and shown door.
    or he will win it and fans will sing his name again either way we will finally have some peace.

    1. Phil says:

      Or of course we get beaten in BOTH legs Home and Away in which case it will prove beyond ANY doubt that yet again Wenger is totally incapable of producing any result against teams of genuine quality.Which means we are a team without genuine quality.Which means we are yet again unable to compete at even a second tier level both in the Premiership AND Europe.Which means we are going BACKWARDS.Which means Wenger WILL BE SACKED.
      And incredibly some fans still feel the need to defend him?

      1. jon fox says:

        I think “incredible” is too mild a word for these strange, suicide of our club fanciers.

  19. baji says:

    I think at this state we don’t need to deceive our selves,Atlentico is a better team of the two,arsenal team is just coming back to its actual state,but it’s yet to be there,Wenger needs to work on the team before altlentico game

    1. Victorsky says:

      For christ sake u don’t need a better team to win a trophy most times. The year chelsea won the UEFA champions league, they were the under-dogs, they were shit compare to the likes of napoli, barca, bayern, who they knockout out a won it.

      Ma point is, d fact that they way better than us, does not mean they will beat us blue and black, we hav fighting chance just as they have too. Roma are not on the same level with barca but they knock them out. It’s football and not a relay race were the best wins. I don’t car if they a well organised team or not, I’m with arsenal all the way through.

  20. sfgunner says:

    i see 2nd place atletico ripping 6th place arsenal,

  21. Shinoda says:

    As much as I want Arsenal to win this, I have to admit that it’s just not gonna happen. If Arsenal has proven something over the last few years, is that we are bottlers against very well organized teams over 2 legs. Atletico have a mean defense & very hard working players & we all know how difficult it is for Arsenal to cope with such. I can almost guarantee you that Ozil & Lacazette will disappear in this tie. They are not a rich club like Arsenal but they have been punching above their weight because they have a manager who seems to understand what tactics are & developed a very hard working culture & strong attitude. I hope to be proven wrong but I can bet on us not winning this tie.

  22. Victorsky says:

    @ Jon Fox and co (the so called realist faction).

    Your theory and opinions are basically fact but not the truth. You guys want the head of wenger and want him gone, damn… I want that too. That’s calling for *CHANGE*. But change comes with its price. Ask liverpool and manu then they will tell you how it works.
    Often times than not, u go on wishing for ur team to have a poor result so that wenger wound be seen as being incompetent– Hmmm. Answer me, which one would you prefer.
    1. Arsenal winning the Europa and wenger out
    2. Arsenal winning the Europa and wenger stays
    3. Arsenal loosing the Europa and wenger out.

    Mind you, I don’t support wenger or any coach, I am a fan of Arsenal and I want Arsenal to win irrespective of anyone managing the team. Wenger out or not, arsenal fans deserves a silverware this season to give us a bragging right. I don’t care if we are playing woefully or not, just win that trophy.

  23. Shinoda says:

    15yrs ago, I would have bet my whole life & wealth on Arsenal beating this current Atletico side without struggling, but we have fallen so low that even a draw seems a far fetched achievement. Arsenal may be a big club on paper, but we are far from it on the pitch, and that can be reflected on our league position & our record against top teams.

  24. Harish says:

    I believe we’ll win the Europa League. But we have to improve our defence to compete in the premier league ..more so that we should change our style of play..we can’t be so open..

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