- Atletico Madrid will be desperate to win first trophy since La Liga four years ago
- Diego Simeone’s side will be well organised an huge challenge over two games
- Arsene Wenger has faced criticism but will want to show there is life left in him
- Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere need to step up and replace Henrikh Mkhitaryan
There is a lot riding on the Europa League for both sides.
Diego Simeone has not won a trophy since Atletico’s Spanish league title four seasons ago, while Arsenal need to win the competition to return to the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger has faced criticism for his tactics but he will want to demonstrate there’s plenty of life left in him.
Arsene Wenger will be desperate to show what he’s made of against Diego Simeone
Atletico Madrid squeezed past Sporting Lisbon to make it into the semi-final
Simeone provides the perfect test. He is the master of two-legged ties — having reached six European semi-finals in nine seasons — so Wenger might need to be creative with how he approaches this.
The first leg is at the Emirates and Wenger has to find a way of replicating how Arsenal played when they beat CSKA Moscow 4-1 at home in the quarter-finals.
That was their best attacking display in Europe this year, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan was at the heart of it.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fantastic against CSKA in the first leg but will not be fit for the semi
He might be back in time for a potential final, but he won’t make the semi-final, so Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi really need to step up.
Everyone knows about Atletico’s defensive capabilities, but they are such a danger going forward. Antoine Griezmann is a threat and Diego Costa adds a bit of spice.
If fit, the former Chelsea striker will be desperate to prove a point on his return to London.