Arsenal v Atletico Madrid Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
April 23, 2018
Emirates Stadium - Europa League
Arsenal look to follow their announcement of Arsene Wenger's departure with a second successive win, as they host Atletico Madrid in the Europa League. The Spanish side drew in their last game, having rested a number of key players for Thursday's game.
Its been a while since the two sides faced off, with their most recent clash coming in a friendly back in 2009. The match ended in a 2-1 win to Arsenal, with all the goals coming after the 85th minute. Andrey Arshavin scored two goals for the Gunners on that day, with German Pacheco pulling one back for Atletico.
Mohamed Elneny's injury against West Ham on Sunday has added to a lengthy list of unavailable players for Wenger. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already cup-tied, the Arsenal boss is without Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Santi Cazorla and Petr Cech and Jack Wilshire are major doubts.
Diego Simeone has fewer worries going into the game, although has claimed that Diego Costa is unlikely to feature on Thursday, with the forward having missed Atletico's last three games. Left-Back Felipe Luiz is certain to miss the game, and is fighting to recover from a broken leg in time for the World Cup. Lucas Hernandez is likely to start in his place.
Arsenal v Atletico Madrid Preview and Predictions
The Europa League poses Arsenal's only chance of getting into next year's Champions League, with the Gunners sitting in sixth place in the Premier League table. Atletico, on the other hand, are almost guaranteed a spot, and are currently battling off Real Madrid for the rights of runners-up in La Liga.
With Wenger's announcement on Friday that he would be leaving the club after 22 years, there has been increased pressure on the side to lift the trophy for their boss. If their last ten minutes against West Ham is anything to go by, Arsenal may well have a decent chance of doing so, with Lacazette scoring a confidence boosting brace within four minutes. The forward now has six goals in his last six games and will be keen to add to his tally on Thursday.
However, against Atletico they have a tough opponent. Simeone's side are, and always have been, favourites to win the competition, which is their only chance at silverware this season. Antoine Griezmann has 26 goals in all competitions this season, and thrives up front alongside the physicality of Diego Costa. Their combination of strength and guile is something that Arsenal have traditionally struggled against.
Given the changes at Arsenal, the higher powers at the Wanda Metropolitana may well be fearing that their own manager may decide to move on if his side fail to live up to expectations. Simeone would surely be a popular choice for Wenger's replacement, and a strong performance from the Gunners could well serve as an audition for next season.
Arsenal to win 2-1 at 10/1
The Gunners should have enough about them to win, as they have done well at home this season, although their defence is still a concern.
Lacazette to score anytime at 7/4
The Frenchman has been in phenomenal form recently and looks back to his predatory best.