Will Europa challenge prove too tough for happy Wenger send-off?

Arsene Wenger is hoping for a happy ending to his reign as Arsenal manager this season, but our opening leg result against Atletico may well have left us too big of a challenge to overcome.

The 1-1 home result leaves us having to travel to the Spanish capital on Thursday knowing that we have to score a goal to have any chance of qualifying for the next round, a feat that the majority of sides have failed to do in the Spanish domestic division, having conceded only four goals at La Peineta in their 17 La Liga matches thus far this term.

Despite the huge uphill task, Wenger is remaining upbeat as he aims to defeat Diego Simeone’s side before looking to lift the Europa League, the only competition we have a chance of winning this term, with that victory also needed to gain entry to next season’s Champions League.

“I’d like to finish my job well,” he said ahead of Arsenal’s second leg with Atletico Madrid, which is finely poised at 1-1.

“I believe as well, a man has to give his best as long as he is somewhere with all of his commitment and energy.

“I would like to walk out of Arsenal and think until the last day I focused only on Arsenal. When my job at Arsenal finishes I will see where I go from there but I want to finish this love story well.”

We witnessed first hand just how well-drilled and strong the Atleti are defensively, managing to deny us too many out-and-out goalscoring opportunities close to goal despite playing with a man less for 80 minutes of the match.

Will we be able to penetrate the organised Atletico backline? Can we upset the Spanish to give Wenger a shot at winning a European trophy with Arsenal in his final opportunity?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Atletico Madrid Europa League Wenger


  1. If only we hadn’t conceded that goal!! Having said that, I really hope the team gives it their all & shows everyone what they’re more than capable of! It would be amazing to lift that cup!! COYG ?

    1. Sue,
      First of all thanks for the information regarding Sundays game and who will be attending…sounds absolutely amazing and i aim to get their early, so I’m leaving Saturday morning!!!!
      Regarding the topic, I assume every single gooner will be wanting The Arsenal to win and progress to the final.
      I do believe that going forward we will cause them problems and they must know that from the previous game.
      Having Myk back will give them an even bigger headache, so let’s be positive.
      The big problem is can our defence play correctly and hold out the likes of Griezmann and Costa?
      This will be a great game, in my opinion, and I just hope we will be victorious.

      1. Griezmann & Costa is a worry….. but Mavropanos is in the squad, so that’s a bonus!!
        That sure is dedication, leaving on Saturday morning Ken! I reckon it is going to be brilliant… I really can’t wait!

      2. Ken my friend!

        You are more optimistic than I about us getting forward AND being successful. They rarely concede goals at home, and we need at least one maybe more to advance.

        I think we would be better off dedicating 1 midfielder to sit back and protect CB’s because they apparently have trouble sensing danger.

        Also, it would prevent all that empty space between midfield and back line that seems to undue us.

        Otherwise, 0-0 suits them fine to advance. We need an open game to play our style and our best, while they can stay in their shell and wait for 90 minutes.

        With the momentum they will play open game, when it shifts to Arsenal i expect they will climb in their shell and defend for their lives.

        Man mark Costa and Greizman, the rest can be dealt with.

        Enjoy the trip and game my friend, and return to us safe and sound.

        I’m hopeful for Allegri as manager, but maybe someone else if rumors about new manager wages are true. Neiglsmann? Jardim? I hope not Arteta.

        Wonder what your thoughts or preferences may be?

        1. Hi Durand,
          With reference to our new manager, I must say I would like to see either:
          Vieria and Bergkamp… or…Enrique.
          My reasoning behind V and B are quite simple really. They have the clubs DNA running through them..Both know what the supporters want, the kind of football we expect and I think the would unite the fan base who will give them every opportunity to succeed.
          Also, they both have managerial experience and along with Raul etc they could be a great new team.
          I do take Jon Fox’s point about experience, but feel this could excite the clubs supporters, and the players would be carried along with the atmosphere at the Emirates.
          Enrique? Well I look at his success at Barca and this is the experienced man that Jonand others would like to see installed.
          I think he also has the credentials to do battle with most of the other top clubs managers (Pep and Maureen as classic examples) and if he was appointed and the media rumours are correct, we will know that the board are starting to understand that top players cost a lot of money. £200 million for transfers, if correct, will mean that some of the money Wenger bought to the club by qualifying for the CL 2o years in a row had finally been given back to invest in OUR club.
          The suggested names I don’t like are Arteta and Ancellotti…Why?
          They just don’t feel me with enthusiasm, but I understand there are others who will disagree completely and these are just my thoughts.
          Regarding tonights game, it will be very very hard and you are right in what you say. But I just have a feeling the boys might just want to prove something to everyone…can only live in hope and keep everything crossed!

          1. Nicely explained Ken, it’s hard to disagree with your preferences and the continuity.

            It’s nice to hear a different tenor of debate from mostly everyone on the site. Now if the thumbs could return…..

            The thumbs!
            ?? or even ?? please admin? ✌

            1. Ken and Durand, I can’t understand why people discount Ancellotti? He is a proven winner, who has a positive record of competing with the likes of Guardiola, Knopp and Mourinho.

              1. OzzieGunner,
                For me it’s more a personal thing really.
                The guy just seems like a wet lettuce with his facial expression!!
                Yeah I know, not a very scientific definition of the man and I would grudgingly accept him and support him of course.
                I just feel that the Emirates would explode under the leadership of either of my two suggestions.
                Someone else made the point that the club would not make any announcement until the end of Arsenes reign and that is a very valid consideration.

        1. John0711,
          Once it’s in the blood mate, it’s there for ever, as you well know.
          My wife isn’t too happy though!!
          On a personal note, can I congratulate you for putting your family first?
          Just don’t forget to tell them about our wonderful club, I have two daughters and three grandsons who are goooners, so don’t let the side down with your family!!

  2. Of course we can! I believe we can do it, we need to dig really deep and work our socks off, with a little luck we can sail through

  3. Winning Thursday evening is possible and I hope all our players give it their all. We had a bad 1st match drawing against 10 men at home but Atletico are not unbeatable or undrawable at home (keep in mind 0-0 isn’t good enough because Atletico have an away goal)

    We are just two matches away from lifting the trophy. Again it will be tough as hell but possible

    Lifting the Europa League Trophy in addition to losing Wenger = successful season

  4. Tottenham is only doing better than Arsenal because of Harry Kane Liverpool is only doing better because of their front tree look at Sala work rate compared to ozil all the other players are going to look at Ozil salary compared to theirs. effort and contribution does not motivate his teammate on he’s not a leader

    1. take Kane and Sallah out from them and they will be below us…..

      that is probably one of the reason why we went for Auba….

      we need firepower….a consistent 30 ++ goal machine like Kane and Sallah….

      Chelsea is also suffering because they don’t have a goal machine

  5. We can beat any team at any stadium!! But scoring early is the key!! 1st 20-25 mins would be awesome but keeping it tight at the back is a must!! Cut out all the stupid mistakes and we may have a chance..

    Wot about a starting 11 of

    Bellerin kos mavorpanos monreal
    A M N
    Ozil Ramsey Wilshire Mkhi

    Bottom line is tho ppl we all know we need to score so Madrid will defend, absorb pressure then hit us on the break.. i just hope our boys turn up and all give 110% and we get lucky lol!!


  6. OT;

    I know most of us wants world class players in our team but please just examine this Liverpool teamz player by player…

    Who really knew Karius before Liverpool?
    Their two full backs are from their academy
    Wijnaldum from Newcastle
    Lovren and Dijk from Soton
    Mane also from soton

    These players are far from World class before their Liverpool career and yet they are doing great and working hard as a team, playing attacking and entertaining football, they are not even missing Coutinho imo

    We have even better players than Liverpool but there is a major difference, guess we all know that

    1. More than one major difference I’m afraid.

      Stadium atmosphere✔
      Pressing defense✔
      Ambitious board/owner✔
      Tactics / plan B✔

      I understand your point about the manager, and can’t disagree.

      I’m only making the point that they have various ingredients that contributed to their current success.
      We need a manager to inspire confidence in players and fans, which will replace toxic atmosphere at Emirates, which will breed success on the field, which will hopefully convince Stan that you gotta spend money to make money.

      1. I am hopeful all this will change with his departure, you can imagine how monotomous and dull things can be when you have one manager for 22 years!

        Now, there will be some much needed freshness, excitement and the toxic atmosphere will be rejuvenated with noise of happy gooners!

  7. really ozil is our best player can he make Liverpool starting eleven you forgot no top-10 team in Europe wanted them that is why resign with us name does not play football effort on motivation don’t worry we have nn more Wenger to blame because all of our players are world-class

    1. There are lot of positives to be drawn from Wenger’s departure
      Ozil wont be guaranteed to start and even Ramsey
      We can also ascertain the REAL quality of these players
      There will be unpredictability
      Players playing in their natural positions just to name few

      cant wait to meet the manager

    2. our squad needs a TON of improvement. Ozil contract was a mistake. Shouldve cut our losses and let him go along with Jack. It’s not like Ozil is going to have any resale value on the last year of his contract either. He’s just going to see it out and make a ton of money. Watch as his career quickly goes the way of Yaya Toure because this new manager will see him as a weakness after the first season if over.

  8. There is no happy ending for him. When he lost games up to 8 goals he should have called it off. What we do right now is not competing but rather trying to safe face.

    Liverpool are doing great. I hope they smash real in the finale. Corrupt mf.

  9. We managed 1 final in 22 years
    Klopp did it in 2

    Where all those ‘experts’ on here making fun when I an many others wanted klopp .
    Krish analyzer so many made fun

    Now what?

    1. Muff

      First time managing Liverpool, but also another final with Dortmund I thought.

      Sorry I know that isn’t helping; but I wanted Klopp before he signed with Liverpool. Does that help?

      Klopp was the right guy for us, still is right guy for us.

      1. Lol I know it’s the green eyes of jealousy mate .
        That’s all

        We are miles off .

        1. Jealousy indeed, and years too slow in managerial change. Absolutely gutted we missed Klopp.

          His style is similar to Arsenal, open but more direct, play with intensity and urgency, press like mad, and better tactics.

          Let me stop, I’m feeling sick all over again

    1. If it happens, i will be glad, i dont care what others say, yes it will look like we are desperate as we couldnt get Klopp but i dont care, we need to play goood football again!

          1. The only thing that springs to mind is that he’s never managed before, but being my Klopp’s side for 17 years proves he knows a thing or 2 about football!

    2. Read that too Sue. My question is how long before we transform into Borussia Arsenal?
      Seems Sven wants to bring Dortmund team to the Emirates; I’ll take Pulisic tho, kid has a bright future. He can dribble, create, score, and pace on top of all that. Love him as RM and Leon Bailey as LM. I can dream right?

      1. I’m really glad we have Auba & Mkhi though!!
        Well you never know Durand, your dreams may come true!

          1. Not a clue who he is so searched you tube ( yes I know everyone looks good one there) he’s got potential

  10. Our players have great quality, technical skills, strenght, versatility and many important attributes that shape solid athetes. But one skill that AW has never taught his players is what Simeone is the best at. Finding the advantage in every single play. Being more intelligent than the opponent at all times. Thinking not only about the play the player is performing at a given moment, but focusing on every detail that surrounds the situation. Observing the opponent, trying to predict what hes going to do next. In other words, Outsmart the rival. Just remember when Simeone was a player. In France 1998, how he got the referee to send david beckham off the pitch with a red card. He deserved an oscar for his acting at that play. Now, how could such a play happen?. Well, Simeone was not focused only on the ball. He saw the ref, he saw beckham. He was working beckham 30 min before that play. Insulting and pushing, and getting him out of his comfort zone. And he won the battle easily. Beckham was really innocent and Simeone proved to be bigger in the end. Thats how Simeone teams work. They take advantage from aspects external to football itself but that prove to be determining in the end. I finish by saying that I see Arsenal as David Beckham at the 1998 worldcup. Young, full of talent but as innocent as it gets.

    1. It’s called having nous! Knowing what winning is all about. Wenger, by comparison, is merely a naive idealist , addicted to winning his own way or not at all. And not at all is what now reguarly happens. Give me a Simeone over another WENGR TYPE ALL DAY LONG.

  11. We’re not the favourites but it’s possible that we could win. Stranger things have happened! After all, Liverpool are currently 7-5 up on aggregate on 90+1 minutes and almost certainly heading for a Champion’s League Final.

  12. I fear that the simple answer to the question is ‘No’.
    Very much hope to be proved wrong!

  13. Game was over after first game ended. That’s just the plain truth, won’t sugarcoat it. I’d love to be proven wrong but that hasn’t happened this season at all. What’s changed that will suddenly make us good away from home? Pray to the football gods folks.

    1. If the tables were turned and we played the first leg in Spain and drew 1-1, would you consider the tie over and us through? Stop with the negativity, one goal is all we need to progress I don’t see why guys are making it look like we have 5 goals to overturn.

        1. You’re in a win win situation, if you are right you say see told ya so, if you’re wrong we are in the final and no-one gives a fiddlers f**k. It’s harder put yourself out there with the team, not only can you be demoralized but also you’ll have people getting on your back and telling you how they knew and how yourself knows f**k all.

          1. BreakonThrough,
            I find it amazing how many Arsenal fans have the knowledge and “told you so” attitude AFTER the event.
            Wasn’t we told that Atletiico would blow us away at home?
            After that result did we see those crystal ball merchants apologise?
            Of course not.
            We do have a chance, so let’s wait and see before the comments start rolling in.

  14. I said we should have sacked Wenger before the first leg, if we wanted ANY chance of winning the EL, we didn’t, and look what happened!

      1. Well look at it this way. We’re in the semi’s because we’ve only faced poor opponents. Even if we were managerless, we would have still made it to the semi’s. So zero credit can go to Wenger. Then we FINALLY face a quality opponent in Atletico, and this is where our so called ‘top class manager, on one the highest wages in the world’ is now meant to show us what he can do. Guess what…he messes up, yet again! The fact Wenger couldn’t beat a quality opponent came as no surprise whatsoever. Even a man extra for 85 mins, and we still cannot win!

        So I stand by what I said, but do not take my word for it, just look at the facts. We would be better off with Bould, or even no one!

        I also promise you that Wenger will pick lots of out of form players tomorrow. He will NOT pick his best team. I will put my mortgage on that!

        1. But sacking Wenger prior to the first leg

          its is likely all intel on the opponents will be destroyed….

          Players morale and confidence will dive

          in such short period of time….its very unlikely a new manager will come in with preparation

          Bouldy is likely to be the caretaker….

          We will be relying heavily on luck to win

          1. Have you been watching Arsenal this season? Morale and confidence are at rock bottom anyway, so it cannot get any worse! It can only improve with change, or stay the same at the very least I guess.

            Wenger doesn’t do intel on opponents, I am not sure why you even said that?

            I agree we wouldn’t get a new manager in time, just Bould as caretaker, or an interim manager.

            And we’re relying on luck anyway with Wenger. In fact, even if get loads of luck like we did in the first leg, Wenger will still mess it up.

            I can only see positives for dismissing him a long time ago.

            1. Dismissing a long time ago is fine but dismissing prior to the first leg game is very dangerous…Gazadis and Mislintat would have known this as well….

              Every manager does have Intel…..so whether Wenger does or does not have…..we do not know and cant assume…

              Players morale and confidence will drop even further as their manager has been sacked prior to a game……especially the loyal ones will feel down and will drag the rest into it….in additional there is nothing to play for….(if you play a sport you will know this)

              Every team rely on luck…but if you have a prepared manager prior to the game….you can rely on both luck and manager and that’s 2 options instead of 1

              1. Haha! When is Wenger EVER prepared? That’s a serious question. Every time we start a season we’re in disarray!

  15. lets be realistic…Athletico is gonna park the bus….

    we are very unlikely to score…..

    its been a fairy tale run for us in the Europa…

    As long as we tried our best and that’s enough

  16. Depends which arsenal team turn up of course we can win but we can also go over there and completely capitulate and embarrass ourselves!

    On klopp s no2 being our next manager I’m a little gobsmacked to say the least!
    Mislintat certainly seems to have gazidis ear atm.
    Don’t care if it works but not sure I like it doesn’t feel quite right.
    On pulis ic yes please fantastic young player.

    1. Mislintat definitely have Gazadis’ ear…..sitting side by side with Gazadis at the West Ham game….

      The new manager is likely to be recommended by him…

      Its a matter of time there will be a conflict between him and Raul or the new manager (if hes not recommended by Mislintat)…..

      Corp/boardroom politics is very common

  17. If Atletico park the bus, it will be a mistake. Arsenal have to score first and then game on. Arsenal are due a bit of luck after the first leg, notwithstanding the sending off.
    Our defence against Costa and Greissmann is again the key.
    Fans must have faith and not be beaten before we go on the pitch. Remember bookies odds on favourites often don’t even run a place.

  18. its a big task of course but today wenger will prove his critics wrong, am confident the guyz wll deliver.go gunnerz go

  19. Atletico are not hot s**t people made out. Fair enough they wen’t down to ten men but I remember us going down to ten men plenty of times with us giving a very good account of ourselves. They got a smash and grab with nine defenders hooking things away for most of the game. I did not see any real quality other than the GK and Godin, their midfield players conjured up very little, I would say nothing. All players usually raise the tempo and try to make the most out of small opportunities. I didn’t see that from Atletico, I don’t even think they believed they could get an away goal. They are at home this time, with fans on their side, difficult yes but not the impossible immovable object that people made them out to be. We can create chances against these guys, we’ll need some patience too, we are not out of this tie. It’s poised at 1-1, it could be a close call after aggregate.

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