Arsenal v Atletico Madrid

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News

Follow the Atletico game LIVE on Arsenal.com

Matchday Show promo: Atletico (h)

It's a big night at Emirates Stadium on Thursday, as we face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final first leg.

Not at the game? No problem - you can follow it all on Arsenal.com.

Tune in to the website from 7.35pm (UK time) for the following from our European quarter-final second leg: 

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up and audio commentary from 8.05pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip will be available from midnight Thursday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!

Pre-Match Report

Arsenal v Atletico Madrid: The Brief

If Arsène Wenger is feeling any nerves ahead of what could be a defining night, both for our season and his legacy, he did a good job of hiding it at Wednesday's pre-match press conference.

The Arsenal manager was in fine form, joking with the media and taking questions about what the future holds beyond the end of the season with his customary good grace.
 
But when talk turned to Atletico Madrid, his steely-eyed focus was obvious to everyone packed into the media room at London Colney. He made clear his respect for Diego Simeone's side, he underlined his total commitment to winning the tie and dismissed talk of fairytale endings. We would only win this clash, and the Europa League, if we perform to our capabilities - not because it is written in the stars.
 
The semi-final draw could not have been tougher, but Wenger seems to be relishing the test this final act in his Arsenal story presents. He has backed his players to rise to the challenge, now it is their turn to respond.

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.

LAST TIME OUT:


A COMPLETE PERFORMANCE

Wenger on the best way to secure a first-leg lead...

“To play to our strengths. We're a team that like to dictate the game and have the ball. Of course we want to try to eliminate the strengths of Madrid. They are a very strong team. If you look at the table, they are the second best team in Spain. That will demand total commitment on our side and a great discipline. They are strong defensively, they are strong offensively, so we’ll need a complete performance." 

La Liga table
Wenger on a perfect goodbye

TEAM NEWS:

Arsenal: Cazorla (calf), Aubameyang (cup-tied), Mkhitaryan (knee), Elneny (knee)

Atletico Madrid: Costa (hamstring - doubt), Juanfran (hamstring) 

THE OPPOSITION

Tactical expert Michael Cox... 

“Antoine Griezmann is the star, a good all-round forward who can lead the line or play a little deeper. The latter is more likely here, with the familiar figure of Diego Costa prowling the channels on the break. Fan favourite Fernando Torres is another option and can play a hard-working role, and Kevin Gameiro is a clever finisher. Atleti will focus on keeping it tight at the back, and hit Arsenal on the counter-attack."

Diego Costa at Emirates Stadium

THE LAST WORD

Wenger on it resembling a game of the past...

"It is [like] a Champions League night, of course. It is a double level - first of all because a Champions league position is at stake, more for us than them; and secondly because the two teams are two clubs who are used to playing in the Champions League, so that is why I believe it is [like one of those] nights." 

Matchday Show promo: Atletico (h)

News

Team news: The latest on Micki and Elneny

Arsene Wenger has revealed the team news ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

 
The Arsenal manager provided the latest on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohamed Elneny and this is what he said.
 
on the team news…
Mkhitaryan is not back in the squad and Mohamed Elneny is out for the rest of the season.
 
on Elneny…
He has a little chance to play at Huddersfield. I think he will be available for Egypt at the World Cup.

Gallery

The team train before our Europa League semi-final

Arsène Wenger takes training before our Europa League semi-final at home to Atletico Madrid

Our Europa League semi-final first leg agaisnt Atletico Madrid is almost upon us - and on Wednesday morning, the team trained for the final time ahead of the game.

Our club photographer was at the session and sent over these pictures.

Press conference

'Atletico's strength is they have no weakness'

It is a daunting task facing us on Thursday night as we welcome Atletico Madrid to Emirates Stadium for the first leg of our Europa League semi-final.

 
The Spanish side are second in the table, having only conceded 18 times in 34 games in La Liga and Arsene Wenger is well aware of their qualities.
 
This is what he told Wednesday's press conference:
 
on Atletico not conceding in a home game for the best part of 2018…
The rules in Europe make the weight of an away goal very strong. That’s why when you play the first game at home, you’re a little bit in a difficult psychological situation because you know that you have to score but as well that every goal you concede can be a huge handicap.
 
on Atletico’s qualities…

I would say one of their strengths is that they have no obvious weakness. they are a very efficient team and a team who can use every weak moment of their opponent. Overall I must say that is their main strength.
 
on whether the Europa League trophy would be the most satisfying win for him…
I don’t know. At the moment I do not look after myself, I just want to do well. I want to win, I want to continue to do what I tried to do my whole life and that’s try to win the next game. The next game is in Europe and after Europe we go to Manchester United, and I want to try to win the game again. That’s all I did. People always keep what they want and you have to accept that.

on whether not winning the Europa League would be an anti-climax…
Yes, of course, but that’s part of it. It will not take away from the fact that people will realise what I said many times: that to qualify for 20 consecutive years [for the Champions League] is not as easy as it looked at one stage. It would really feel like an anti-climax of course. That’s why we want to give our absolute all to have a chance of going to the final.

on whether he believes in fairytale endings…
I want to do it for [the players], to achieve something with them because I feel they have a special mental quality. My biggest satisfaction would be to be successful together with the group of players that I have. I’ve seen them behave the whole season and they deserve it.

on how much a European trophy would affect his legacy at Arsenal…
I don’t know. I always say that a manager has an influence on three fronts: the dimension and structure of the club, the influence on the individual players and of course the style of play and results. That’s the part that we play for tomorrow. If I can add that to what I’ve done, then I’m very happy.
 
on whether this team can go on to become legends…
What I want to say is that this team has quality. Two years ago we finished second in the league, last year we made 75 points and won the FA Cup, we won the Community Shield, we were in the League Cup final, we are in the semi-final of the Europa League so these players have quality and I am convinced that we can show that again before the end of the season. I am convinced in the future, with two or three additions, this team has the quality to fight for the title.

 

Press conference

Wenger - I'm focused... I work like ever

Ever since Friday's announcement about his future, Arsene Wenger has been besieged with questions - and Wednesday was no different.

 
The Arsenal manager is preparing for our Europa League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid, and he was keen to get that message across.
 
on how he’s feeling ahead of the game…
Focused. In our job there’s only one thing that matters: the next game. That’s what I’m focused on.
 
on if the last five days have been surreal…
At the moment no, because I do my job, keep my routine and focus on what I have to do every day. I prepare well for the game. I think it will be surreal for me when I don’t work. At the moment I work like ever.
 
on if he’s had any second thoughts…
You’re never sure you do the right thing, but life is interesting because you have to deal with different kinds of situations. Until now, I had a life that was full of different experiences. Some were very difficult to deal with, but I always did it. That’s another one certainly I will face one day.
 
on if it’s strange that people are talking about next Arsenal manager…
No, it’s not strange to me. I can understand that. People want to know what the future is about. For me, that’s completely normal.

on whether he’ll have any input…
No, no.

on whether he’s happy for David Dein to give potential recruiters his number…
They will find my phone number, don’t worry! Honestly, I don’t know what I will do. Will I take a little rest? I will continue to work, that’s for sure. My pride has always been to give my best to where I’m employed until the last day of my contract. At the moment I’m just focused on that.

on whether people wouldn’t be wasting their time by calling him…
At the moment, yes, because at the moment I’m not ready to commit to anything else other than giving my best for Arsenal Football Club.
 
on Sir Alex Ferguson…
We are friends now, Alex Ferguson and I!

on whether he’s been in touch…
Yes. I keep [what he said] private.

on whether it was via text or phone…
Both. He called me yesterday so I will have to call him back today.

Press conference

'It'd be the icing on the cake to see him lift it'

Danny Welbeck was in fine form during Wednesday's press conference - even when put on the spot about Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson's legacies.
 

"I’m the mutual friend who put them in touch!" the England international joked, but he was in more serious mood when he discussed the possibility of winning the Europa League.
 
This is what Welbeck said:
 
on how to approach the first leg at home…
We need to get a positive result. We know it’s not going to be over tomorrow. It’s two legs, so hopefully we get a positive result tomorrow night to take us into the second game with the mindset to get through to the final.
 
on whether the players want to do it for him…
Yeah. Going into a semi-final in a European competition, you don’t need any extra incentive to win the game. I wanted to win the game before the manager announced he would be leaving, and I want to win it after. With the lads, everyone’s focused on winning the tie but obviously at the end of the competition, there would be that icing on the cake to see the manager lift the trophy.
 
on whether we’ll ever see managers like Wenger and Ferguson again…
I’ve been fortunate enough to work under two giants of the game. I’ve got immense respect for both of them. It’s difficult and different for me to say how long managers will be taking charge of football clubs these days. I’m just fortunate to have been able to play under both of them.

on what we have in store when Wenger leaves…
It’s different [to Manchester United]. It’s kind of different because it’s a different situation. Obviously with managers leaving, different clubs have different ways of approaching these situations. Hopefully we can face that in the right way and then hopefully try to move forward in a positive way rather than go down.

News

Supporter information Atletico Madrid (h)

Emirates Stadium

A special light display will welcome players to the pitch for our Europa League semi-final on Thursday. Arsenal flags will also be left on every seat at Emirates Stadium.

We’d like to encourage supporters to take to their seats in time for the display, to help us create the best possible atmosphere for the game.  
 
The light show may not be suitable for supporters who suffer from epilepsy.
 
Thank you for your support.