By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal starting with : Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey, Welbeck, Özil, Lacazette.
On the Spanish beach: Cech, Chambers, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah
The message at the start is clear: Arsenal has to score. A draw with more than 1 Arsenal goal will take us to the final. A win surely will. A defeat not. A 1-1 draw after 90 minutes will take us to extra time.
Atletico with most of the ball in the opening minutes but no real dangerous situations. Both teams win a corner but the defenders can clear. Costa winning the ball twice and suddenly in with chance but Ospina spread himself well and his shot went well wide. Koscielny then down on the ground holding his ankle, he just went through his ankle when he tried to start running. Chambers getting ready as Koscielny visibly in pain. He was holding the back of his foot, maybe his troublesome achilles finally gave way. What a terrible loss….this might be the end of his Arsenal career I’m afraid. Chambers on after 12 minutes. And one substitution lost. Arsenal players looking shocked by the loss of their captain and needing a bit of time to get on with the game. Monreal away on the left but his cross can’t find Welbeck or Lacazette. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Arsenal now attacking a bit more but twice a cross from Bellerin doesn’t find a teammate. Both teams playing rather cautious when they don’t have the ball. Welbeck losing the ball almost leads to a dangerous counter but Chambers with a good interception to win the ball back in the Arsenal penalty area. Meanwhile has a bleeding head wound but the ref doesn’t send him out for getting treatment. Lacazette being put through but a bad control left him with no option but to go out again. He gave it to Özil but his cross was cleared by the defenders. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.
Monreal almost in some space but his control lets him down and the ball runs to the keeper. A free kick for Atletico that is only half cleared by Arsenal is followed by a half volley that goes wide of the goal for half a meter. And another free kick is delivered to Griezman but his shot goes also wide. Atletico looking dangerous in the last minutes. Gabi with a kick from behind on Lacazette prevents an Arsenal counter but no card is given. Seconds later Wilshere gets a yellow card for a strong challenge with his shoulder on Gabi. Oh well…. that was soft ref. Atletico with a long clearance from the back and suddenly they find Costa in some space and he made no mistake and scored in the second minute of extra time. 1-0 to Atletico. Again the long ball leaving the defenders too much on their own with no cover from midfield. Applying high pressure when it didn’t fit it and too many players just running forward when their keeper has the ball. It doesn’t change much as with one goal from Arsenal we would be completely level and then we have the chance to score another away goal. We need a better second half though and score that goal.
Atletico putting Arsenal under high pressure and we put ourselves in trouble a few times but luckily Atletico can’t capitalise. A kick from behind on the ankle of Wilshere but again no card from the ref. Wilshere looking uncomfortable for a few minutes. Finally a yellow card for Gabi when he stops an Arsenal counter by bringing down Welbeck. The free kick is only half cleared and Wilshere brings it to Ramsey but he can only lift the ball wide of the goal under severe pressure from 3 Atletico defenders. A great interception from Chambers to prevent Costa from an open chance. Monreal gets a yellow card for a push in the back on Griezmann when Atletico can counter after a terrible misunderstanding between Xhaka and Wilshere. Griezmann puts the free kick wide. Still 1-0 down after 60 minutes.
Özil recovers a ball on the edge of the Atletico penalty area but the cross is intercepted. A low shot from Xhaka is saved by Oblak. Mustafi heads the corner over. Chambers with a great block to stop an Atletico shot and Ospina can catch the deflected ball. After 67 minutes Mkhitaryan comes on for Wilshere. Saul gets a yellow card for stopping an Arsenal counter. Arsenal get a corner that is half cleared but the shot from Mkhytarian goes just over the crossbar. A cross finds Monreal but his header in front of the goal can’t find a teammate and Atletico clear. 75 minutes gone and Arsenal still 1-0 down.
Costa throwing the ball away after a free kick gets a yellow card and so does Mustafi for having shoved him a bit to win the ball. The match is now being completely chaotic and Arsenal forgetting to play the ball from feet to feet too much. Throwing people forward but that is playing in the hands of Atletico. Too many misunderstanding on the field between Arsenal players. Atletico running down the clock with taking all the time to take a throw in or a free kick. Again a poor clearance leads to a chance for Atletico but Ospina with the save. 3 minutes of extra time. Arsenal with some late pressure but the ball goes out and Atletico takes 5 minutes to bring it back in to play. Even the ball boys don’t give balls to Arsenal anymore. The ref also not really helpful by giving nothing to Arsenal. And after wasting 6 minutes of extra time on not playing football the ref makes an end after 4 minutes of extra time.
Arsenal go out of the EL. We missed the chance to put the tie to bed in the first leg and couldn’t recover from that terrible goal at the Emirates.
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- How a 14th monk described Arsenal’s failure to buy Moisés Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk