ARSENAL VS ATL.MADRID PREVIEW & PREDICTION
Can Arsene Wenger help his Arsenal with a European trophy and a start-up for the Champions League before he sees it after 22 years at the club from London? That is the key question in the run-up to the semi-final of the Europa League, in which title favorite Atletico Madrid will be the opponent. It will be a sizzling football evening at the Emirates Stadium next Thursday!
With what feeling would Arsene Wenger soon look back on his time at Arsenal? In his first decade, he was able to rejoice the fans of The Gunners with three national titles and four FA Cups with a top prize, but in the period afterwards the parties became increasingly scarce. Arsenal refused to go along in the crazy transfer market, which has been out of control for clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United and of course Manchester City. The fact is that the club from London has dropped to the subtop in their own country and is threatening to grab a Champions League ticket for the second season in a row. Winning the Europa League is therefore the last straw to get a ticket for the European champions ball. In addition, during his 22 years on the bank of Arsenal, Wenger never managed to win a European prize, so winning the Europa League would be the ultimate farewell gift.
Arsenal is at least in blood form at Emirates Stadium. The red shirts managed to win their last six official home games one by one, in which they managed to make at least three goals each time. Last weekend, fellow West Ham United, thanks to two late goals from Alexandre Lacazette, was tied with no less than 4-1 on the triumph. Arsenal will also need the scoring drive of the Frenchman next Thursday, because winter buying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not eligible to play. Mesut Özil, who is busy with four goals and nine assists in 26 league matches in a good season, will probably act as a glorified left winger. On the right flank Wenger may choose the speed of Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin.
Atletico Madrid has also set her sights on winning the Europa League. Trainer Diego Simeone has put the Spaniards in the Champions League since his appointment in 2009 with two final places in the Champions League and two wins in the Europa League, though the last European top prize is already six years ago. In the eyes of the bookmakers, the Madrilenians are on the verge of new European glory, because at the moment you will receive no more than 2.20 times your stake if they actually receive the trophy in Moscow next month.
Yet Atletico Madrid has been out of shape in the last few weeks with only one victory in the last five official matches. Last weekend, Los Colchoneros did not get further than a goalless draw in its own Wanda Metropolitano against Real Betis. Simeone works with a very narrow selection, so as now with some injuries it is all hands on deck. Upcoming Thursday, the defenders Juanfran and Filipe Luis will have to leave anyway. Diego Costa also had to watch the last three matches injured, although the attacker did board the plane to London. Will he become the secret weapon of Simeone on Thursday evening? The Madrilenians can use his do-or-mentality in any case.
PREDICTION: Both teams to score / NO @ 2.00