Preview: Atletico Madrid vs Arsenal

Arsenal Press Conference
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 02: General view outside the stadium with an advertisment for the Atletico Madrid and Arsenal match before an Arsenal Press Conference at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 2, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid are the strong favourites to progress to the Europa League final after their late away goal against Arsenal in the first leg has given them the advantage for the return leg at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano

The Europa League favourites have kept a clean sheet at their home ground in their last 11 matches in all competitions, which makes last week’s away goal in North London all that more valuable.

After being sent off in the first leg, Sime Vrsaljko will be suspended for head coach Diego Simeone. While regular right-back Juanfran is also unavailable.

The Argentine will likely call upon the services of Thomas Partey to start as a right-back for the decisive encounter.

While Angel Correa was sent off in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Alaves, the attacking midfielder is expected to start on the right side of midfield with Diego Costa looking set to start himself after successfully completing 63 minutes of play at the weekend.

Simeone will also call back his regular stars Antoine Griezmann, José Giménez, Jan Oblak and Saúl Ñíguez after resting them last weekend.

Meanwhile, in what could be his final game in Europe, Arsene Wenger has received a welcome boost in the early return of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who scored in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

The veteran coach is expected to restore Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Alexandre Lacazette, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi to the starting line-up for the return leg against Atletico.

However, record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains cup-tied and Wenger will also have to do without Mohamed Elneny for the trip to Spain.

One very worrying statistic for the Gunners is that they have only won two of their last 12 away matches across all competitions and their failure to capitalise on their dominance against a 10-man Atletico side last week may prove to be very costly for Arsenal in their bid to give the departing Wenger the perfect sending off by winning the Europa League.


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Probable line-ups


Atletico Madrid


Oblak, Partey, Giménez, Godín, Hernández, Correa, Gabi, Ñíguez, Koke, Costa, Griezmann



Ospina, Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Wilshere, Özil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette


(Data obtained by WhoScored)