Arsenal have drawn Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Europa League, with a two-legged tie kicking off towards the end of the month.
The only time the two clubs have faced each other before was in the Emirates Cup in 2009.
The match stayed scoreless until there were just four minutes left, then Andrei Arshavin gave Arsenal the lead. Quickly after that German Pacheco scored a controversial equaliser, with a hint of offside.
Then, with just a minute left, Arshavin restored Arsenal’s lead, rounding the keeper and finishing from the tightest of angles.
Hopefully this semi-final tie will be just as exciting as the last five minutes of that match, but if Arsenal get through to the final I don’t think many people will care either way.
Atletico’s story so far
Atletico started out in the Champions League, but they had a tough group. Chelsea and AS Roma ended up finishing first and second, as the Spanish side simply drew too many matches.
That hasn’t been a problem in the Europa League, as they won every game until their most recent defeat to Sporting CP. Even then, they already had a 2-0 lead from the first leg, so it didn’t matter.
Atletico’s strength is undoubtedly their defensive record. Despite finishing third in their Champions League group, they only conceded four goals in six games. Arsenal conceded more than that in their last Champions League match alone.
Striker Antoine Griezmann is in his usual impressive form for the side this year, with 25 goals and 13 assists in 41 matches. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak casts a formidable figure in behind the defence, and only adds to their solidity at the back.
Diego Simeone’s side are surely favourites for the tournament, it’s up to Arsenal to change that.
2017/18 European record
- Wins: 6
- Draws: 4
- Defeats: 2
- Goals scored: 20
- Goals conceded: 7