Pre-Match Report

Atletico Madrid v Arsenal: The Brief

When contemplating the task facing Arsene Wenger and his players on Thursday night, it only seems natural to reflect on a similar tie, in this same city, back in February 2006.

The game, against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, may have been a first-leg clash in a different competition, but there are similarities with the challenge we face this time round.
Against Real, our chances of victory were rated at slim at very best. After all, no English side had ever won at the Bernabeu, we were facing the likes of Beckham, Zidane and Ronaldo, while our defence had been written off. What followed was an unforgettable 1-0 win, made famous by Thierry Henry's winner but also by a defiant, resolute defensive display.
Fast forward 12 years and we'll need more of the same if we are to silence the Wanda and progress to our third European final under Arsene Wenger. Creating chances wasn't a problem in the first leg, but is unlikely to be so easy this time around against a side that have not conceded a goal in 11 games at home.
It is another sizeable mission in Madrid, but if we can summon the spirit of 2006, we can pull off another famous win. Read on for our comprehensive pre-match briefing. We’ve got goals, team news, quotes from the manager, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.



Wenger on our tactics in Madrid…

“The advantage we have is the way to behave is clear: we know we need to score. We have a clear demand in our heads, we need to have a positive way. Will Atletico do the same? Will they have a more cautious approach and try to get us on the break? We have to be prepared for that as well."


Arsenal: Cazorla (calf), Aubameyang (cup-tied), Elneny (ankle)
Atletico Madrid: Vrsaljko (suspended), Juanfran (hamstring)



Tactical expert Michael Cox:
"Sime Vrsaljko’s suspension, combined with the absences of Juanfran and Filipe Luis through injury, means Atletico are without their three full-backs. Lucas Hernandez is a converted centre-back and will play on the left, while midfielder Thomas Partey fills in at right-back. Atletico’s defence remains very solid, but they’ll play without any natural full-backs." 

Thomas Partey


Wenger on his feelings ahead of the game...
"There is always a part of tension, as well with the experience I have there is uncertainty about football that creates the tension. That is normal. What you want is to help your team to have much certainty as possible, and belief. But of course in the game [between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich] we have seen it can go on both sides. That makes football great as well because it is unpredictable." 

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