EUROPA: Arsenal Faces Atletico in Last Chance for Champions League Action


Arsene Wenger wants to finish his “love story with Arsenal well” as his side face Atletico Madrid in Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg.

The Frenchman will leave the club this summer after 22 years in charge.

Arsenal travel to Madrid with the tie poised at 1-1 after Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann equalised late on in the first leg at the Emirates.

They must score in the second leg (20:05 BST kick-off) to stand a chance of qualification.

The Gunners’ only hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League is to win the Europa League.

They will definitely be without Wenger next term, but the 68-year-old has not yet said what his plans will be after Arsenal.

“I don’t know what I will do next season,” he said. “At the minute I think I would like to finish well my job.

“I believe a man has to give his best as long as he is somewhere, with all my commitment and energy I would like to walk out of Arsenal one day and think until the last day I focused only on Arsenal.

“When my job is finished at Arsenal I will see where I go from there but I want to finish this love story well.”
‘Our job to keep Costa quiet’

Arsenal have failed to win away from home in 2018 in the Premier League, but Wenger says their domestic record will have no bearing on the game.

“In Europe we have done well away from home and we just want to focus on the game and our performance,” he said. “The players will not be too worried about the Premier League form.”

Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa is likely to face Arsenal and Wenger says his side are aware of the threat Atletico’s strike force will pose.

He added: “He has shown that he can make a difference. He played in England and was successful but it is our job to keep him quiet. Maybe the best way to do that is to play in their half and not ours.

“Antoine Griezmann has done very well here in Madrid and unfortunately he hurt us last week. He is a player I rate very much and he has made it away from home. I think he has had an exceptional career.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was substituted with a knee injury during Arsenal’s defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, but the Armenian midfielder has travelled with the squad and could play, while David Ospina is expected to retain his place in goal.