Europa League

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Interview

'We had to stay strong in our minds'

At 2-0 down to CSKA Moscow on Thursday night, it looked like we could be the next victims of a shock result in Europe following an amazing few days of results.

But Danny Welbeck's well-taken goal, followed by Aaron Ramsey's injury-time equaliser booked our place in the semi-finals, and afterwards Petr Cech was a happy man.

This is what he told Arsenal Media:

on the performance...
We started slowly and then even though we had some good counter-attacks in the first half, we didn't create much to score the goal and then obviously they scored late in the first half. The last 10 minutes of the first half we spent in our own box because we gave them a lot of motivation and hope to have something for the second half. We knew it would be difficult and when they scored the second goal in the second half we knew it would be very close, and we had to make sure we didn't concede another. We were waiting for opportunities, and we scored one which was disallowed and then finally we got the [Welbeck] goal, which was important. From then it was clear that we were in control, and it was nice to get the second goal as well because its better to get something out of the game than lose it.

on why having a big first-leg lead can cause issues...
Because there is only one team with something to lose and that is the one that is in a position where everyone says, 'if you lose from there then it is absolutely crazy'. That is what happened to Barcelona, it almost happened to Real Madrid and today we had to make sure that it didn't happen to us. At 2-0 the game can go either way and you have to make sure you are strong in your mind and you don't panic. We didn't panic and we did well in that period. We calmed down and found a way to score goals, and the first was important.

on starting to 'smell the trophy' now...
There are three games to go: when you start there are 15 to go, but now it is only three and we will see what the draw is. In the semi-final you don't have much to choose from because everyone who reaches the semi-final has the quality to get that far, they are only quality teams and we will see what happens. We are going step by step towards our target and hopefully we can make another step and then have a possibility to jump the final hurdle.

News

We will face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League

Arsenal team line up against CSKA

We will face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

We reached this stage of the competition by beating CSKA Moscow 6-3 over two legs, while Atletico knocked out Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-finals.

The games will be played as under:

Arsenal v Atletico Madrid
Thursday, April 26
Kick-off: 8.05pm (UK time)
At Emirates Stadium 

Atletico Madrid v Arsenal
Thursday, May 3
Kick-off: 8.05pm (UK time)
At Wanda Metropolitano 

Stay close to Arsenal.com for more information.

Goals

Match video: CSKA Moscow v Arsenal

We sealed our place in the semi-finals of the Europa League on Thursday with a 2-2 draw against CSKA Moscow in Russia.

At one point trailing 2-0, we got back into the game when Danny Welbeck combined superbly with Mohamed Elnent to pull one goal back.

Aaron Ramsey then broke clear in injury time before beating Igor Akinfeev with a cool finish to equalise.

You can watch all the goals by pressing the 'Play' button above.

Full highlights and match replay available from midnight (UK time) on Sunday.

Post-Match Report

CSKA Moscow 2-2 Arsenal: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

After surviving some nervy moments in Moscow, we progressed to the semi-finals of the Europa League with two second-half goals.

Danny Welbeck struck an all-important goal with 15 minutes remaining to finally end the Russians' resistance, after they had got themselves within one goal of a shock comeback. Aaron Ramsey then raced away on the break in injury time to level on the night.

Arsène Wenger said in his pre-match press conference that not conceding an early goal was the first priority, and we managed to keep the hosts at bay in an uneventful, scrappy opening 20 minutes.

The enthusiastic home fans were providing most of the entertainment, with neither side able to keep possession for very long. In fact there were very few chances at all in the opening half hour. Alexandre Lacazette's charged down shot was the only incident of note.

But late in the first half CSKA took the lead with their first effort. Petr Cech got down well to palm away Kirill Nababkin's header, but Fedor Chalov was lurking in the right place to tuck home from close range. Game on.

Mesut Ozil

The Russians were energised and nearly reduced the deficit further when Kristijan Bistrovic struck just over from 20 yards.

We held on until half-time, but were by no means sitting comfortably. Moscow finished the half strongly, and started the second even better. Nababkin finished well at the far post, pouncing on Cech's initial parry.

The VEB Arena was bouncing now. Cech got down well to save a Golovin free-kick with the Russians well on top, knowing one more goal would send us out.

Mohamed Elneny had a headed goal ruled out for offside, before we moved to a back five in a bid to preserve the overall advantage.

The defence was coming under increasing pressure, but in an instant Welbeck relieved the stress. He created the opening himself with a superb turn on the touchline, played a one-two with Elneny, then clipped the ball past the keeper inside the area. A priceless away goal to cancel out CSKA's from the Emirates last week.

It knocked the stuffing out of the hosts, and Ramsey raced through late on to compound their misery, finishing coolly one-on-one with Igor Akinfeev.

WHAT IT MEANS

We will be in the hat for the semi-final draw on Friday, when will meet either Red Bull Salzburg, Marseille or Atletico Madrid over two legs on April 26 and May 3.

WHAT'S NEXT

It's a quick turnaround as we travel to Newcastle on Sunday for a 1.30pm kick-off in the Premier League. This is the third time this season we have followed a European away game with an away domestic game. We won the previous two (against Everton in October and Burnley in November). 

SEMI-SATIONAL

This is the eighth time Arsenal have reached the last four of a European competition, we have won six of the previous seven, never losing to continental opposition. The previous occasions were…

1970  We beat Ajax 3-1 over two legs in the Fairs Cup, and went on to win our first European honour, defeating Anderlecht in the final.

1980  Arsenal became the first English side to beat Juventus away, winning 2-1 over two legs, but lost to Valencia on penalties in the Cup Winners' Cup final.

1994  French side Paris Saint-Germain are defeated 2-1 on aggregate, and we went on to lift the Cup Winners' Cup with a 1-0 win over Parma

1995  We needed penalties to beat Sampdoria in the second leg in Italy, after a 5-5 aggregate draw. We lost -21 to Real Zaragoza in the Paris Cup Winners' Cup final.

2000  Home and away wins gave us a 3-1 aggregate win over Lens, but we lost the UEFA Cup final to Galatasaray on penalties after a goalless draw.

2006  Jens Lehmann saved a last-minute penalty against Villarreal as we edged them out with a 1-0 aggregate win in the Champions League. Barcelona won the final 2-1.

2009  Our most recent semi-final was our only defeat, 4-1 on aggregate to Manchester United in the Champions League.

Press conference

The latest on Mkhitaryan's injury

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has missed our last two matches after suffering an injury in the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow.

After Thursday night's second leg at VEB Arena, Arsène Wenger provided an update on where our midfielder is in his rehab.

"He has a medial ligament strain, he should be out for two more weeks," Wenger said. "Do not be too worried. We have a very good medical staff and he is very serious in his rehab."

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