Arsenal will need another excellent first leg against Atletico Madrid

Arsenal face stiff Europa League challenge against Atletico by Russell

Tournament favourites Atletico Madrid stand in Arsenal’s way of reaching the final of this season’s Europa League.

The competition is the Gunners’ last chance of silverware this term and offers the club a route into the lucrative Champions League if they can claim the trophy.

The first leg takes place on April 26 at the Emirates Stadium, with the return match at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium the following Thursday.

With a 68,000 capacity and an atmosphere to rival their previous Calderon stadium, Atletico’s new home is an imposing venue.

Arsene Wenger’s side will need all the support they can muster if they are to progress to the final and they will hope that fans snap up as many Arsenal football tickets for the game as possible.

Arsenal had a largely untroubled passage to the semi-finals of the Europa League after finishing top of Group H with 13 points from their six matches.

They had a minor scare against Swedish side FK Ostersunds in the round of 32 before securing a 4-2 aggregate success, and went on to defeat Milan 5-1 overall in the last 16.

The Gunners came from 2-0 down to draw the second leg of their quarter-final at CSKA Moscow 2-2, progressing to the last four 6-3 on aggregate.

Atletico are currently second in La Liga behind runaway leaders Barcelona and are already guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League.

Diego Simeone’s side entered the Europa League at the round of 32 having finished third in their Champions League group behind Roma and Chelsea.

Atletico went on to beat Denmark’s FC Copenhagen 5-1 on aggregate, before demolishing Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1 overall in the last 16.

They subsequently defeated Sporting Lisbon 2-1 on aggregate in their quarter-final tie and represent Arsenal’s toughest challenge in the competition this season.

The two sides have never played each other in Europe, with their only previous meeting resulting in a 2-1 friendly victory for Arsenal back in 2009.

Wenger’s future at the Emirates hinges on them winning this competition, both to secure some silverware and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Arsenal have certainly been impressive in the first leg of each of their knockout ties, beating Ostersunds and Milan without conceding a goal to take the pressure off heading into the second game and they will hope for similar fortunes against Atletico if they are going to progress to the Final

The winners of the tie will face either Marseille or Red Bull Salzburg in the final in Lyon on May 16.


Updated: April 19, 2018 — 7:07 am


  1. For those who still think it’s only the few people in this forum who wants change at the club…. read this

    It’s getting too obvious that we fans can no longer suffer in silence.

  2. We all know Wengers hangs on no hinges, that’s just media bait; already printed for publication or in the process.

  3. Clutching at straws a bit but seems Costa could miss at least the first leg with hamstring injury. I’m sure the future of Wenger doesn’t just hinge on whether we win the EL. There are a number of hurdles to jump over before we are shot of him and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he is still here next season. Until he goes there’s no way Arsenal will be great again. #MAGA.

    1. GB what is MAGA? I’m having a stupid moment & can’t think what it is 😄

      1. Make Arsenal Great Again?

        1. I like your thinking Admin, I bet that’s it!

          1. Yeah that’s it. Think it was inspired by Trump of all people!

  4. Excellent first leg aka a miracle

  5. We need a great atmosphere like the one at anfield toxic fans can stay home.Arsenal on their day they can beat any team we are three games to a European title,but some will ssy it’s not good enough *coughs claude

  6. There is no instant coffee solution to the problems facing arsenal ie a new manager It will take time and effort to return the glory days.We have ambitious fans but many lack the football knowledge.Ambition without knowledge is like a ship on land.Let’s keep faith we need this European cup

    1. I want this cup…. but based on how we’ve been recently & having to play at the wanda metropolitano….. I’m afraid I don’t hold out much hope. Having said that, I really hope they prove me wrong!! COYG

    2. @Counsel

      I would greatly disagree with you about the knowledge side of things from the fans perspective. Some were knowledgeable enough to know that Wenger needed to be removed as far back as 2009 for Arsenal to start moving forward. Oh how I wish we listened to them. The fans were knowledgeable enough to know that protesting was the right, and only thing to do, which worked to some extent, giving us a new formation, which led to another FA Cup. Again, if we’d listened to these smart Arsenal fans earlier, we could have started the protests 8/9 years ago.

    3. Home spun wisdom always loved by corporate tools ,,, so what’s the analogy when you combine lack,of ambition and lack,of knowledge which is the current situation with the fossil running AFC .. Like a dinghy at the bottom of the pond perhaps

  7. I hope we have a full team to choose from minus Auba. Picking up injuries just before this game will be harsh on either side. Atletico got knocked down into this comp so I don’t think we should pay them too much respect, they deserve to be here just like we do. Talking Atletico up too much doesn’t do us any favors, we know they are good and solid but they are nothing too special. On our day we know we can beat this type of team and would have liked to face them in other years.

    1. If mustaffi plays in defence we could be beat by 5 or 6 goals over 2 legs .how could we sell gabi and keep mustaffi is beyond me .

  8. Any result that would make us avoid needing a win in the second leg will make me happy and hopeful. COYG! We need to be back among the elite; that’s where we belong.

  9. Arsenal can manage a good result at home. we have made the emirates stadium a fortress this season only beaten by a monster man city performance and super de gea stopping everything plus that dead rubber match vs ostersund. Its the away match that worries me as we have been completely shit this season away.

    We used to be good away as weaker teams would attack us thus we had more space to counter them and we suffered against park the bus teams now its the reverse happening.
    Last season we had 45 pts at home this season we will have 47 pts winning last 2 match so our home form is good enough to be title challengers but our away form is holding us down.

    1. Against the top 5 teams we have picked up 6 points out of a possible 27 this season, and after our game against Man U it will most likely be 6 out of 30.
      We are simply in a class or two below those, who can be title challengers. So speaking of away form as if it is some kind of temporary or accidental “blimp” is misdirected.

        1. Sue-if you look at the Bottom 11 teams in the Premiere League we have taken SIX POINTS away from home with Huddersfield still to play.Thats SIX POINTS OUT OF THIRTY from Newcastle down to WBA.That alone speaks volumes for our performances this season.

          1. Absolute crap!
            West Brom go to old trafford & win, I bet when we go there we get stuffed!

          2. Sue – WBA actually defend better than us.I know that’s hard to believe but they just do

      1. its not a temporary bump or excuse,all i’m saying that we are having a great season at home but it is getting wasted by that disgusting away form. from 04-05 to now only twice have we had 47 pts at home, one was 07/08 the last season that we were real title-challengers and finished with 83 pts.
        Even the post-invincibles 04/05 season got only 44pts with less strong teams at that time. A shit team wouldnt have got that much at home so its wenger fault for not adapting the tactics for away matches and big 6 matches are mostly won by which manager got his tactics right e.g pep fiasco against liverpool.

    2. Don’t try to educate emotional recks who pay no heed to facts.

      This is what I wrote in another thread:

      Arsenal has been poor in the league (no thanks to our away form) but has done well in the cups bar the FA. Saying that our season has been a disaster is far from the truth. Let’s objectively assess the season so far.

      1. Community Shield – winners
      2. League cup – runners up
      3. FA Cup – eliminated at first huddle
      4. Europa League – Semi finals place
      5. EPL – 6th

      If you look at the above, then it’s actually the league that we should be sad about and it’s even a bit more nuanced if you look at our home and away performances. At home we are only second to city with 13 wins. Away we have had only 3 wins which is why we’re where we are on the table. Looking at the games objectively you find that we could have had a better away form than the results say. At Watford, Westbrom and Stoke we could have all won but for bad officiating. The fact that we have not strongly challenged for the league for a while has made the media to lack objectivity when analyzing Arsenal and this is not helped by our away form keeping us out of the top 4 now.

      In my opinion, Arsenal would come out stronger next season at which time we wouldn’t have a summer arguing about Sanchez and Ozil’s contracts. Besides, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan would have bedded in properly with other possible reinforcements. I am really hopeful of a much stronger campaign next season and even a strong finish in the Europa league.

  10. Please let us escape this self-inflicting and self-destructive spiral of negativity. I think our rivals must have a hell of a time laughing at us, while very cleverly all the way insigate this toxic atmosphere by there so called good and expert advice. No team can play to there full potential under such sircumstances or is it perhaps what we want? Let us support our team and manager for once.

    1. I for one will ALWAYS support my team.But I will NEVER support this Manager.
      And for all those that say the Toxic atmosphere is to blame let me tell you if we had a performance that gave us the opportunity to get behind the team then the place will rock.SPUDS at home this season.CHELSKI in the league.Great performance to come back.The crowd was incredible that night.CHELSKI in the Carabo Cup second leg.Came back from an early goal down to win.Again the crowd were up for it.
      But when we get the SAME SECOND RATE PERFORMANCES week after week with the goals we continue to give away due to inept defending then tell me how are we to get excited over that?
      All this about Anfield.ive been there enough times and won and the crowd is quiet.Its the TEAM PERFORMANCE that lifts the crowd.It works both ways

      1. Yes Phil and 3,000 Arsenal fans travel to Newcastle and only Rob Holding came across to thank them. Our great manager and the rest of the team couldn’t get down the tunnel fast enough!

  11. Arsenal are awful at home against quality opposition, especially in Europe, so I’ll be stunned if we win. Even if we win, we’re definitely conceding plenty though haha.

  12. Doesn’t look like we are hitting Kroenke in the pocket guys.. Latest Wenger quote on the Emirates atmosphere:
    “It is not a big concern.
    Our crowd is very solid. We are sold out every game.
    We have played on special days and are not going for the league.
    We have faithful fans who will always be there.
    When you look at the renewal numbers, they are outstanding.”

    1. QD-That is the problem.There are still 50000 on the waiting list for Season Tickets so why are the club concerned?I can’t believe there are too many that won’t renew so Stans Coffers will still be filled.But there must be concern.Sponsors will not be happy with the empty seats,The Corporate Boxes are never full.Club Level is never full even though they are adding another two levels on the close season.
      The problem is the DEMAND is still there.We are a big Club.Its about time the Board recognised this and start doing something about it.

    2. Wenger’s quote is spin.
      It has cost Kroenke and other owners more than 50mil, not being in the Champions League this year.
      And although it may be true, that ticket sales are holding up, the empty seats cost quite a lot in lost matchday revenue from F&B and merchandise.
      Indirectly the flat atmosphere from empty seats etc. also means an Arsenal match is now a much less attractive event for sponsors guests (corporate hospitality), so believe me, staying away will hurt even though it doesn’t show on actual ticket ales alone.

      1. @AndersS

        I agree, and to add to what you’ve said, think of the money we’ve lost out on player sales, and charity contract extensions. Constant dithering, and allowing contracts to run down has cost us millions. We lost around £70 million on Sanchez, and now Ramsey’s down to his final year, so that’s more lost money if we decide to sell. On top of that, constant pay raises, and contract renewals for players who clearly cannot play at this level. Walcott being the perfect example, with 12 years at Arsenal, and on huge money. What a waste of finances yet again!

      2. spot on. Wenger will never admit this though. Arsenal will get worse spots in TV lineup with an empty stadium too. And TV money is so important nowadays. From a business perspective, empty seats are terrible. Especially to brand reputation

        1. Agree with above posters. I would never expect season ticket holders to give up their tickets, due to the 50,000 waiting list and thus the difficulty of buying back in. Not attending matches is another issue, because as stated above empty seats matter for brand reputation.
          Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel and jon fox will win his bet.

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