Arsenal vs Atlético Madrid: the team news and a lovely video about Costa

by Bulldog Drummond

And so, as we get ready to go out to the stadium for the last time on a Thursday this season, we hear the news that Atlético Madrid are ready to play Diego Costa, just to annoy us.  He has played 12 league games and scored three this season, and played three European games and scored one.

Yet Simeone also said in the past few days there was “no chance” that Costa could feature in the first leg because of the hamstring injury.  We shall see.

We remember him of course from his activities at Chelsea.  If you are not completely clear, here is Sky Sports actually for once exposing what Mike Dean gets up to in a match.


Simeone was asked whether Costa had travelled to give Atlético a boost, because he was ready to play, or just in order to intimidate Arsenal.  He replied, “In England and Spain, many teams have suffered at the hands of Diego. It is not just Arsenal.”

Dirty, conniving, cheating, evil, disgraceful are just some of the words that are far too gentle, soft and misleading to be placed at the door of Costa.  And do play the video above if you have time.  It is rather jolly.

Meanwhile in terms of football we have Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Petr Cech available for tonight’s game.  For Madrid their full-back Juanfran will miss the match however as he is injured.    Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not available, but might be ready for the return match in a week’s time.  Mohamed Elneny however will be out for the season but Mr Wenger has said, “I think he will be available for Egypt at the World Cup, but not any more for Arsenal.”

But although many of the papers are talking up Atletico’s chances, as we have seen in previous articles they are not that good away from home at the moment.

This is the first meeting between the two clubs, and Atletico are the 10th Spanish side we have faced in Europe and the 125th different side that Mr Wenger has faced – in fact the last of the 125.

This is also our eighth European semi-final and we have gone on to the final in six of the seven before this.   The only time we didn’t was in 2008/9 when playing Man U in the Champions League.

Also this season we have scored more goals in a single European competition than ever before.  Here are the seasons in goal scoring order.

Season Competition P W D L F A GD End
2017–18 UEFA Europa League 12 8 2 2 29 10 +19
2009–10 UEFA Champions League 12 7 2 3 26 14 +12 QF
2007–08 UEFA Champions League 12 7 3 2 24 9 +15 QF
1969–70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 12 7 2 3 23 6 +17 W
2008–09 UEFA Champions League 14 7 3 4 23 11 +12 SF
1999–2000 UEFA Cup 9 6 2 1 21 9 +12 RU
2010–11 UEFA Champions League 8 5 0 3 21 11 +10 R16
2016–17 UEFA Champions League 8 4 2 2 20 16 +4 R16

Naturally with 29 goals this season we are also the top of the Europa League for goals.   Technically in 1999/2000 we did score 30 by playing in both the Champions League and the Uefa Cup, but I am sure that we will pass even that combined total tonight.   Atletico Madrid have scored 15 goals in their six Europa League games this season.

Here is our European record by competition

Competition Pld W D L GF GA GD Win%
Champions League/European Cup 201 101 43 57 332 217 +115 50.25
Cup Winners’ Cup 27 15 10 2 48 20 +28 55.56
Europa League/UEFA Cup 37 20 6 11 72 40 +32 54.05
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 24 12 5 7 46 19 +27 50.00

Of course Mesut Ozil has played against Atletico before, as when he played for Real Madrid and scored four goals and had one assist in that part of his career.  We’ll look for him to do that again tonight.

So to move on to the teams.  The TalkSprout website sets an interesting conundrum for us today by providing this team…

Koscielny, Ramsey, Lacazette, Wilshere, Ozil, Monreal, Mustafi, Welbeck, Bellerin, Xhaka, Cech.

I suppose they might be suggesting Koscielny is in goal with Cech as centre forward or Cech in goal with Koscielny as centre forward – with the Sprout you can never really be sure.  Indeed I have heard some say that the station is a hoax, although of course not when Tony did his Arsenal History show with them.  That was completely serious and accurate.

However a more likely line up would see


Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal;

Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey;

Ozil, Welbeck,


Beached with the Islington sandcastles we would have seven out of: Cech, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac, Maitland-Miles, Iwobi, Nelson, Eddie.

OK, it is getting on for time to get ready, and then toddle off to London, perchance for a nibble and a drink in the Swimmer where I must say we are always given the most friendly of welcomes.  Let’s hope Arsenal don’t do the same for the visitors.

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82 Replies to “Arsenal vs Atlético Madrid: the team news and a lovely video about Costa”

  1. It is roughly 3.5 hours until game time. Predictably, UEFA does not have a lineup available this early.

    I was overjoyed to find UEFA still hasn’t sacked that idiot Daniel Thacker, who will be commenting on the game for someone’s benefit (certainly not for my benefit).

    UEFA doesn’t even have a weather report out at this point. Lots of pictures of print medja predicting lineups.


  2. OOOOOOOooooooospina
    Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Ramsey Xhaka Wilshere
    Welbeck Ozil

    Beach: Cech, Holding, Iwobi, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Nketiah

    Looks about the same as Untold’s prediction.


  3. The hungry looking to win by all possible means Arsenal led attack Gunners team of: Mesut Oezil, Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette ably assisted by Danny Welbeck, Granit Xhaka and Nacho Monreal will tonight at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League Cup semi-final 1st leg match beat THE HELL out of the Atletico Madrid led attack team by: Fernando Torres, Antonio Griezmann and Diego Costa even if all the 3 started the match.

    I’ve already made my own starting XI Gunners and 7 on the bench Gunners for the match late yesterday night. So, there is no need I repeat them this evening with few minutes to the kickoff of the match. All I am waiting for now to see are the Le Boss starts and bench for the match so that I’ll know if they’ve coincided with my own 100% or I just missed them by a small percentage margin.

  4. Is that the first time this season, that an opposing team has been carded as the first foul of the game on an Arsenal player?


  5. A second yellow and dismissed to an opposition team???? Ten minutes into the game? Did someone feed the officials magic mushrooms?


  6. Stats
    Shots on target _ _4:3
    _off target _ _ _ _6:1
    _blocked _ _ _ _ _ 2:0
    _woodwork _ _ _ _ _1:0
    Corners _ _ _ _ _ _4:0
    Offsides _ _ _ _ _ 0:2
    %Possession _ _ _ 66:34

    Passes attempted 334:143
    _completed _ _ _ 296:107

    Balls recovered _ 22:21
    blocks _ _ _ _ _ _ 0:2
    Fouls _ _ _ _ _ _ _7:6
    Yellow _ _ _ _ _ _ 0:2
    Red _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _0:1


  7. What is wrong with us, we out played them, they got a red, and we stopped…we panicked as if we got the red. Dont they want to win this????

  8. Turpin has been perfect the first 10 minutes : professional foul, nasty foul and dissent from Simeone. But after that, the way he has allowed them to get away with the most blatant cheating.

    Griezmann alone should be off for his persistant and grotesque diving.

  9. Regroup & focus. Atletico pulled themselves together & played tight with ten. Not the first team to do that,nor will they be the last.

    What’s most important – a two goal lead or make certain there is no away goal?

    Three-quarters of the game to go. COYG!!

  10. Arsenal 13

    ”All Simione wanted was an audience with Gazidis. And he got it.”

    Joke of the day.

  11. The number of stonewall fouls Atletico got away with is just ridiculous. And obviously it costed a goal

  12. Obvious foul on Welbz before the goal….

    Ref making up for his red card offence

  13. Stats
    Shots on target _ _4:3 _ _ 7:5
    _off target _ _ _ _6:1 _ _ 8:1
    _blocked _ _ _ _ _ 2:0 _ _ 5:0
    _woodwork _ _ _ _ _1:0 _ _ 1:0
    Corners _ _ _ _ _ _4:0 _ _ 8:0
    Offsides _ _ _ _ _ 0:2 _ _ 0:2
    %Possession _ _ _ 66:34 _ 72:28

    Passes attempted 334:143 746:238
    _completed _ _ _ 296:107 671:175

    Balls recovered _ 22:21 _ 40:42
    blocks _ _ _ _ _ _ 0:2 _ _ 0:6
    Fouls _ _ _ _ _ _ _7:6 _ _13:11
    Yellow _ _ _ _ _ _ 0:2 _ _ 0:2
    Red _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _0:1 _ _ 0:1


    Things aren’t impossible, but we sure did make things harder for ourselves.

  14. Sorry, 81 minutes down to 10, Simeone out foxed Wenger. It was there, we are not good enough!

  15. Bloody ridiculous. Perfect opportunity and we wasted it. Come on guys, we can still do this as long as we stop making schoolboy mistakes.


  16. That was a foul on Welbick, since the red, he didnt give us no foul, and they say why Arsene is always short of winning a trophy

  17. At least we don’t gift those late goals away in Europe that we used to under George Grahams’ sides.

  18. Atletico only conceded 4 at home all season. Simeone doesn’t even need to chase the game, and Costa will be playing.

  19. outfoxed him?? He couldnt create a damn chance, with fouls and cheating and wasting time…and their goal out of damn lucky deflections and Mustafi slipping, adding the foul on Welbeck….
    Exactly what our fans do when we are on the wromg side of the ref calls.. Stand by your team for once for god sake

  20. They didnt deserve that, but thats not the way things work. Shag, what a shagger. I thought we played really well, except for their goal, what a moment for Mustafi to slip over—grrr. Would like to see the replay on Danny that lead to the goal, looked like a foul..(?)
    Tough to play against 10 when the pack out and defend like dawgs. Old Tom Waits(Simeone) will be feeling happy.
    But the spirit of Paul Vaessen is waiting in the wings. It was like this back in 1980.Seemed like all hope had run out…


  21. A comedy of errors on the goal…tomorrow, the sun also rises…all we need is 1 goal in Madrid.

  22. Urm we play 10 men for 80 minutes and we’re still whining about the ref? Seriously come on. The game was ours and WE threw it away not the ref or their time wasting FFS!

  23. Yes 5th gooner, the game was ours and we wasted the chances, but their equalizer got om my nerves. I will blame our players when its fair…and at 1 0 it was a not bad result, and we had a good momentum.

  24. Golly, we were really up against it. 10 men for 80 mins. Boo hoo. I blame the ref for all our missed chances and naive defending. Poor poor refereeing. Boo hiss.

  25. Yassin

    Keep blaming the ref, didn’t matter when he sent the player and manager off!

    Could you see us defend with a man down for 80mins?

    He out foxed Wenger, knew how fragile we are.

  26. Sorry but Kos cost us the equaliser. Making excuses is not helping our players learn from their mistakes. Not convinced Wellbz was fouled anyway.

  27. Yassine you are embarrassing yourself now. 80 minutes or 75 minutes lets face it – it was a stupid amount of time playing against 10 men and no manager!

  28. Jet, if we took our chances (nothing of Wenger fault), we would be in the final…so stop this boring out foxed…

    5th gooner, yes, it was stupid from Kos. Never said it wanst, but.. .

  29. Yassine so what your saying is because we didn’t put away at least one more chance of the 20+ we had against 10 men the ref is to blame for it finishing 1-1? Come on mate we did this to ourselves.

  30. OMG, just a questiom…so your team is in the semi final, and the ref did this, you dont get angry? U dont get pissed off? U can analyze the match all week long…but in the heat of the moment, just like Simoene, dont you get angry?

  31. 5th Gooner, No i didnt say this. Read my posts again.

    It would be 1 0, much better position.
    I was anngry at half time for not finishing the game by then, and yes we should have finished the game regardless, we didnt, still we didnt deserve this.

  32. ”Golly, we were really up against it. 10 men for 80 mins.”

    That’s meant fuck-all in football for decades. Teams practise playing with 10 men. The last game that played out like the schoolkid cartoon football that comment refers to – 10 men against 11 for 80 mins ” was Uruguay Denmark in the 1986 World Cup. Then the Danes whipped 10 men Uruguay 6-1. Since then a red card does not mean a team collapses.

    Everything to play for.

  33. Yassin

    Our team is too nice, Wenger is a gentleman. Simeone is a fighter, therefore his team fights.

    We’ve witnessed these defensive frailties so long, we’ve become accustomed to them!

  34. We were given the chance to put this match out of sight. I know it’s not easy playing against that sort of defence, but on the chances created we should have been home & dry. I think it’s beyond us now.

  35. Yassine –
    I will blame our players when its fair…
    and it wasnt 80 minuteS, remember the time wasting?

    Sounds like you’re blaming the ref and not the players to me?

  36. We’re all angry but there’s still the second leg. Tonight we screwed ourselves let’s hope we wise-up in the return leg.


  37. 5th

    Won’t count on it, story of the season! We haven’t learnt so far, and believe in miracles.

  38. 5th

    Won’t count on it, story of the season! We haven’t learnt so far, and don’t believe in miracles.

  39. Jet, agree somehow on your last post, still i insist on my point. If the red was an advantage, all those fouls, including the onr on welbz is an advantage, u like it or not. And it wasnt a one mistake which he made unintentionally..he tried all game to make up for the red card leading to this, which got on my nerves, never raised a yellow on time wasting, and added only 3 minutes.

    To me that costed us a goal, which we might need in the upcoming game

  40. 5th

    Hope is way gone, honestly the season ended today. I’m trying not to sound pessimistic, reality is harsh.

  41. Yassin

    I’m done blaming, the short comings of this team are as plain as rain, close your eyes if you can’t accept the reality.

  42. Yassin

    Answer this, the ref allowed the foul on Welbeck as the game proceeded, why is our defender on the wrong side of their attacker?

  43. And you do realize that when a referee allows such fouls to go unpunished, he necessarily make the “victim” team more vulnerable to counter-attack scenarios?

    Of course not every missed foul will lead to a dangerous opportunity for the other team, but if you do it 5 or 6 times in a game (which easily happened tonight), then surely a couple will turn in a goal opportunity.

  44. Jet. I will annwer, because it was a mistake.
    Now answer me, if the ref called the foul, would this be an equalizer?

  45. 1-0 really wasn’t good enough either.
    Scousers were 5-0 up against a CL team with eleven men.

  46. Yes knobby i agree, go back to my post after the half time and see my reaction.

    Am just angree that he cost us an away goal.

  47. Or we could say.
    Monreal should have stepped up and not played Grizzman onside.
    Kos let him get goalside, Kos should have hoofed it into row Z.
    Mustafi should be covering Kos because we had a man spare.Mustafi needs longer studs.

  48. Well done to the team for giving it a real go, relentless attack.

    Atletico Madrid is a team built around defense and they wait for opposition to make a mistake to score their goals, that’s how they play. They are one of the best defensive team in Europe, even Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona find it difficult to score against them.

    Here’s an article about 10 vs 11. Not as easy as some on here believe. It’s always the same characters moaning and whining about the team when its not a favorable result.

  49. I was at the game & I have no doubt that the referee turned after he sent Simeone to the stands. He allowed Atletico freedom of the park with foul after foul going ‘unseen’. It was totally corrupt. Officiating like this is not sporting nor is it acceptable in this age of technology.

    Arsenal had several chances & were unlucky not to get a better score.

    There was one incident where Lacazette had the ball on the goal line in front of the line official & was being held, pulled, pushed & the ball was not being played by the defenders. The blatant selective vision by this ‘more on’ official was amazing. It proves beyond doubt that the game is fixed & the officials are corrupt. It should have been a penalty all day long, except in this case it was not ‘visible’ to the ‘more on’.

  50. Knobby
    Your point? Agree with it…still the goal wouldnt stand for the foul…do you want me to go on about foula that stoppes our attacks, like foul on Welbeck on that peft side where he threw the ball and ran towards the penalty area, and could hace scoered. Definnsivly, they couldnt handle that, just like we couldnt, they fouls hin got away with it. We had a foul not given, they got away with it.

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