HomeInternationalSoccer'I think Atletico will end up in the final' - Andy Townsend

'I think Atletico will end up in the final' - Andy Townsend

The football fans expected these last days of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal to be spectacular but the Europa League hopes were left in balance as they gift 10-man Atletico Madrid late away goal.

According to former Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Townsend while on BBC Radio 5 live, he mentioned how he thinks Atletico Madrid will probably make it to the final after a 1-1 draw at Emirates on Thursday night.

There is hope for Arsenal, of course there is. The game is level at halfway and Arsenal have dangerous players. But you just sense that the opportunity has been missed. Ultimately they may pay for that momentary lapse in concentration.

It was a sloppy, sloppy five seconds. Three experienced players couldn't shut the door on one opponent and that has cost them so much tonight. I think, ultimately, Atletico will end up in the final.

It would have been a very good performance if they had got a 1-0 win. As it is, it is a decent performance but I do not think it will be enough.

Arsenal dominated Thursday's game at Emirates Stadium, partly thanks to the sending off of Atletico's Sime Vrsaljko, who was dismissed for two yellow cards in the first 10 minutes.

It sparked a frantic few minutes that ended with Atletico's furious manager Diego Simeone sent to the stands for remonstrating with the referee.

Despite their numerical advantage, the Gunners failed to find a way through until Alexandre Lacazette rose to nod in Jack Wilshere's cross.

And with eight minutes remaining, Griezmann latched onto a long ball forward, shrugged off Laurent Koscielny and stabbed into the net at the second attempt to swing the tie Atletico's way.

"Their keeper made a lot of saves and they showed their quality by scoring with one chance," added Wenger. "But they couldn't score with a combination, they could only do it with a long ball, so we have to look at ourselves.

"Once they went down to 10 men it destroyed the flow of the game and it wasn't to our advantage. The only advantage of that result is that we know exactly what we have to do. We have nothing to lose."

Atletico Madrid are unbeaten at home in La Liga this season, although they were beaten at the Wanda Metropolitano by Chelsea in the Champions League group stage and by Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.

Asked about Atletico's impressive home record, Wenger said: "You don't look at the statistics, you can only look at your own performance and we know we can score from anywhere. What matters is that we go there with the belief to do it."

Simeone was full of praise for his players afterwards, saying: "They are basically heroes. They stood firm for 80-something minutes.

"The team responded to the red card with some fantastic defensive work and I think that will go down in the history of Atletico Madrid."

Arsenal will face Atletico Madrid for their second leg on Thursday 2nd May, 2018 at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain.

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