Arsene Wenger believes that Atletico Madrid are the team to avoid in the Europa League draw that takes place on Friday but there’s no real point worrying about it as there’s nothing you can do to influence who comes out of the hat.
Both Arsenal and Atletico were big winners in their last 16 ties. The La Liga side ran out 8-1 winners on aggregate against Lokomotiv Moscow.
Arsenal, as you know, were comprehensive winners against AC Milan over the two legs, popping five past Gennaro Gattuso’s men while only conceding once.
“Maybe the team who is the biggest favourite is Atletico Madrid,” said Wenger. “But anyway, what I like doesn’t matter too much because I have no influence on it.
“We have to wait for tomorrow [Friday] and see who we get. If we get Atletico Madrid, we get Atletico Madrid. We have now some time to recover and prepare for it.
“Overall I’m convinced that the team is strong and healthy. We recovered from [the League Cup final] and hopefully we have to focus on something important now.
“It’s difficult to do well in the league and in the Europa League. There’s a statistic that has come out which shows that in all the big five leagues, the teams who play in the Europa League struggle.”
The draw for the quarter finals of the Europa League will take place in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday at 12pm (1300 CET). It follows the Champions League draw which takes place an hour earlier.
The first leg will be played on 5 April. Arsenal have one game between now and then – a home tie against Stoke City on 1 April (that’s April Fool’s Day, Easter Sunday and my mum’s birthday).
These are the teams remaining in the competition, all of whom Arsenal could draw:
- Atlético Madrid (ESP)
- CSKA Moskva (RUS)
- Lazio (ITA)
- Leipzig (GER)
- Marseille (FRA)
- Salzburg (AUT)
- Sporting CP (POR)