Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side travel to Madrid aiming to secure a place in the Europa League final
Europa League semi-finals: May 3, 2018
Arsene Wenger says he wants to end his “love story with Arsenal well” but to do that his side must go to Atletico Madrid tonight and win in the Europa League.
The semi-final is tied at 1-1 after the first leg at the Emirates Stadium last week and Wenger’s side have a huge task ahead of them tonight at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
With a place in next year’s Champions League at stake for the Europa League winners, Wenger knows he has a chance for a glorious sign-off to his Arsenal career. The Frenchman will leave the Gunners at the end of the season and although he admitted he does not know what he will do next, he does want to bow out of Arsenal on a high.
He told Arsenal.com: “I don’t know what I will do next season. At the moment, I would like to finish my job well. I believe a man has to give his best as long as he is somewhere, with all his commitment and energy.
“I would like one day to know I worked with all my energy until the last day.”
In an interview with BT Sport, Wenger added: “I want to finish this love story well. The next game is always the most important in life and this one influences the future of my club.
“The future of Arsenal is not exactly the same if we qualify for the Champions League or not. That’s why it’s a very, very big game for us.”
Under boss Diego Simeone Atletico Madrid have only conceded three goals at home in 2018. But the Argentine says Arsenal will be direct and singled out German playmaker Mesut Ozil as the key threat.
Quoted by the Metro, Simeone said: “Our line is to think about Arsenal. They are a very direct team. They have many players between the lines, who float in a difficult place to score. They have a lot of speed in the last third.
“Ozil is the most dangerous player they have, because of his creativity and vision of the game.”
In tonight’s other Europa League semi-final second-leg clash French side Marseille take a 2-0 lead to Austria against RB Salzburg.
Atletico Madrid team news
The BBC says that former Chelsea striker Diego Costa is likely to start in attack alongside Antoine Griezmann. The Daily Telegraph reports that Sime Vrasljko is suspended after being sent off in the first leg. Filipe Luis has also been included in Atletico’s 18-man squad.
Arsenal team news
Despite being taken off with a knee injury on Sunday against Manchester United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has travelled with the squad. David Ospina is likely to start in goal. Mohamed Elneny (ankle) is out while Sead Kolasinac (groin) is a doubt. Striker Pierre-Emerick-Aubameyang is cup tied after playing in the competition for Borussia Dortmund. The Daily Star says that young defender Konstantinos Mavropanos could play after impressing against United at the weekend.
2018 Uefa Europa League guide
Europa League semi-final results and fixtures
Marseille take a 2-0 lead into their semi-final second leg against RB Salzburg while the tie between Atletico and Arsenal is evenly poised at 1-1.
BT Sport will show both of tonight’s semi-final matches. Atletico Madrid vs. Arsenal is on BT Sport 2 and RB Salzburg vs. Marseille is on BT Sport 3. BT Sport will also show a live stream on its app and at BTSport.com.
When and where is the 2018 Europa League final?
It’s at the Stade de Lyon in France on Wednesday 16 May (7.45pm kick-off). The winners of the Europa League final will qualify for next season’s Champions League.