Wenger’s last European home game in charge for the Gunners came to a frustrating end at the Emirates, as Arsenal have to score in Spain against Atletico Madrid, who held the Gunners to a one-all draw in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final clash. The Gunners have themselves to blame if they do not make it through to the final – dominating the match for the majority of the match with 10-man Atletico team.
For his final European match for Arsenal, Wenger fielded David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette.
The first ten minutes of the match was action packed, that could as well change the whole action of the first leg into the second leg. Lacazette had the chance to score two goals in two minutes; Welbeck delivered a cross to Lacazette who broke off on a counter-attack – with the Frenchman latching onto the ball, as he aimed for the top corner of Oblak’s net, who was rooted to spot but the ball would only hit the side of the woodwork.
A minute after, Lacazette forced a strong save from Oblak who had to stretch at full length to deny the Frenchman a goal in the opening ten minutes of the match. Lacazette who was full of life n this match jumped for the ball and connected well to it, but the opposition keeper who was remarkable in the match and produced a nice save to keep out Lacazette.
The referee dismissed Atletico’s right back Sime Vrsaljko for a second yellow card, after stepping on the ankle of Lacazette. He was shown his first yellow in the second minute when he was on the floor and brought down Jack Wilshere. Tempers flared up and his manager Diego Simone was also dismissed from the technical area, leaving him to watch the remainder of the match from the stands.
In the 20th minute, Oblak denied Danny Welbeck of what would’ve been a certain goal, when the Englishman and another fellow Englishman Jack Wilshere got involved in a slick one-two move which was nice to see, but Oblak denied Welbeck of getting on the scoresheet.
Ospina was called into action to produce a fine save from Griezmann, who struck a good shot at Ospina follow a nice piece of play from Atletico Madrid. Ospina who was almost out of action for the majority of the first match was able to keep his concentration and produced a good save to keep out the Frenchman from getting on the scoresheet.
Arsenal eventually broke the deadlock in the 60th minute of the game, Monreal kept the team in attack after almost losing the ball; feeding Wilshere who provided a cross to the box – with Lacazette leaping off the ground in good flight and connecting well with the ball, heading it into the net beyond the reach of Oblak.
Koscielny with a costly mistake gifted the opposition team with a very costly away goal, which gives the Gunners a mountain to climb in Spain, as Atletico are a good defensive team, especially at home. Koscielny was unable to clear the ball properly, which fell for Griezmann who initially had his first effort on goal saved by Ospina but scored with his second attempt.
Aaron Ramsey in the closing stage of the match did well to try to put the Gunners in front but was once again denied by the heroics of Oblak. A cross was delivered into Atletico’s penalty area, which Ramsey headed beautifully as it seemed destined to rattle the net, but Oblak, at full stretch denied the Welshman off his goal.
It’s all to play for now in Spain if the team is to deliver Wenger his only European accolade as he bows out as Arsenal manager, which is truly the right thing to do for a man that has dedicated 22 years of his life for the beloved Arsenal.