We look at 3 reasons why the Gunners could spring a surprise in the Europa League.
Arsenal will be hosting Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the semi final in the Europa League. Atletico will go into the match as favourites over the two legs to progress into the finals of the European Cup competition, which is generally looked upon as a burden rather than a privilege especially for elite clubs like the two in question who should really be plying their trade in Europe’s most elite competition.
But with the campaigns for both clubs petering out, the Europa league provides the perfect opportunity to give the fans something to cheer about.
Here, we take a look at three reasons why the Spanish side could be in for a surprise in the first leg of the semis.
#3 Arsenal will be in high-spirits following their demolition of West Ham just a few days ago
Arsenal struggled to break down the rigid West Ham defence as the West London side managed to keep the Gunners at arm’s length right until the 82nd minute, following which the floodgates opened and the hosts ended up putting 4 past the Hammers on the night.
Aaron Ramsey located his golden touch, by scoring and assisting a goal each, lighting up the Emirates stadium on night of great significance for the club.
Lacazette meanwhile scored a much needed brace after he finally got to finish a game under Arsene Wenger, after regularly getting the hook in the second half of games.
Nacho Monreal meanwhile has been terrific all season long for the Gunners, building on his fast-growing reputation with the Arsenal faithful.
A lot of positives from the game against their derby rivals to be confident about. Maybe, just maybe, a renaissance is in the offing should the Gunners manage to edge out their biggest obstacle to European glory.
#2 Ozil is likely to make a return
Arsenal were without the services of their mercurial talisman – Mesut Ozil in the league clash against the Hammers.
We don’t yet know if Ozil will be healthy or not, as he is still suffering from the flu that kept him out against West Ham and exposed the potential creative problem that Arsenal have in that regard, but we reckon that the German will be fit again for the clash on Thursday night.
Having lit up the match against CSKA Moscow at the Emirates, in the previous round, we are backing the creative maestro to come up with the goods against Atletico Madrid as well. Arsenal will have make sure that their main man sees most of the ball for his side and then sit back and wait for the Mesut Ozil effect to take full force.
#1 A grand send-off for the grand man of Arsenal Football Club
Arsenal will be expected to put up a fight in order to give their manager, Arsene Wenger, the best possible send-off, as he is set to step down at the end of the season, by allowing him to lift a final trophy for the club he has enjoyed unparalleled success at for over two glorious decades.
Atletico Madrid, meanwhile will also be very keen to sign off their campaign with some silverware, having lost out on the league title, league cup and the Champions League with Arsenal’s case almost identical.
But add to that, the passion and desire that the men in red will be expected to show on the night, with each performance from here on a tribute to their outgoing manager, the consequences could be devastating for the side from Madrid.