The fairytale ending of a Europa League final for Arsene Wenger will not be happening after Arsenal suffered in a second leg heavily laden with deja vu from last week’s game against Atletico Madrid. Despite creating the better chances in the first half the Gunners were left to rue another defensive lapse which allowed Costa to score on the stroke of halftime.
While it was not a great start to the game from Arsenal, we played steadily and got through an early spell of pressure from the home side, which considering the blow of losing Koscielny to a freak injury in the 8th minute was pretty impressive.
Within 15 minutes the Gunners had settled into the game and we began to pass well and look like the threat we posed to Atletico for most of the first leg. Just like in that game, however, the Arsenal players struggled to penetrate their much lauded defence.
And just like in that game, a sloppy piece of defending from us was punished to the full, with Bellerin losing Costa and the former Chelsea striker scoring less than a minute before the break, the worst possible way for halftime to arrive.
There was plenty more of the familiar frustration in the second half. Despite a number of great opportunities the Gunners could not quite fashion that goal we so desperately needed. At least Atletico missed a few of their own which kept us just a single goal away from staying in the tie.
In the last 15 minutes or so when Arsenal should have been hammering on the door, however, we appeared to run out of steam and maybe belief as well. The seasoned Spaniards wasted time like pros but they also created chances and so the hope of a fairytale ending for Wenger was not to be.