One thing that’s constant with the Arsenal squad in the last six years is disappointing when it really matters, and that once again resurfaced, with the latest showdown in Madrid; when the Gunners failed to score a goal on the night – with just one shot on target in the entire match for a team that needed to score to settle things out against their opponent, is really appalling.
The Gunners have once more failed their manager as they’ve been doing in recent years, leaving the club he has built and managed for twenty-two years without a European trophy is really sad to hear – leaving the proposed fairytale ending to fall on shattered hopes, as Wenger bows out of his beloved Arsenal.
For his last European match in charge of Arsenal, Wenger fielded David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette, against Atletico Madrid in the second leg encounter of the Europa League semi finals.
Koscielny was forced out very early in the match with an injury, and he could possibly miss the World Cup next month. Calum Chambers, his replacement was one of the few players that were the few stand out performers in this match, following an impressive game against Manchester United.
With recent reports of Çağlar Söyüncü agreeing to join the Gunners means the Gunners are building with young centre-backs. Rob Holding recently a contract extension plus the revelation of Mavropanos means the Gunners are seriously looking to the future.
The Gunners created their best chance of the first half midway through, when Alexandre Lacazette produced a good laying off for Mesut Ozil in the box but the German’s instincts didn’t go to playing a shot on goal but rather opted for a low cross from close range which found an opposition player in the six-yard box.
The closing stage of the first half would have Gunners nemesis score against Arsenal from an open play that was purely caused by a lack of concentration in the game. The goal started by a long ball from goalkeeper Jan Oblak, with Griezmann’s sweeping pass to the left found Spanish international Diego Costa, who held off Hector Bellerin and fired past Ospina with his left foot.
Oblak did well to palm a low drive from Granit Xhaka around the post just after the hour mark, with Xhaka looking to beat the opposition keeper from long range – but could only watch his effort result into a corner, as Oblak had his angles covered.
In the 69th minute, Wenger replaced Jack Wilshere for Henrikh Mkhitaryan who was almost an instant impact coming on. Three minutes after Armenia international Henrik Mkhitaryan was on the pitch, the ball fell perfectly for him following a corner kick from Arsenal, but Mkhitaryan’s attempt just skimmed off the post.
It’s never a match against Diego Costa if he’s not involved in a bust-up with an Arsenal player. This time it was Costa and Mustafi involved in a spat, as Diego Costa and Shkodran Mustafi were issued yellow cards for a few shoves after the Spanish international tossed the ball away after an Arsenal free kick.
A clumsy play from Chambers which was his only wrong deed in the match, allowed Atletico get possession of the ball in the Gunners penalty box; as Atletico search for their second goal of the night to wrap things up – but the heroics of Ospina meant the game would end in a 1-0 scoreline to Atletico Madrid.