Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Diego Simeone, keeping Diego Costa quiet and ‘fantastic’ Jan Oblak
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and goalkeeper David Ospina have been speaking ahead of Thursday’s crucial Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital. Read on for what they had to say.
Arsenal face their biggest game of the season against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday evening.
The Gunners were held 1-1 by Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the last four match on a night of drama at the Emirates six days ago.
A second half header by Alexandre Lacazette put the Gunners ahead before Antoine Griezmann equalised with eight minutes remaining.
Speaking ahead of the match Wenger said: “It will be a game where we know exactly what to do.
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“That is an advantage sometimes.
“Tomorrow is a game you have to focus on performance. That is all.”
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After their goalless draw with Real Betis before they travelled to London, Atleti have now kept an impressive 11 consecutive clean sheets at home, with Girona striker Portu the last visiting player to score at their new 67,000 capacity Estadio Wanda Metropolitano more than three months ago.
That run includes victories in previous Europa League knockout ties against FC Copenhagen (1-0), Lokomotiv Moscow (3-0) and Sporting Lisbon (2-0).
Wenger praised Simeone saying: “He does well in what he does. He tries to influence his team in a positive way”, before speaking about former Chelsea dangerman DIego Costa.
The long-serving Frenchman who will leave the club next this month said: “He has shown he can make a difference. It’s our job to keep him queit.
“Maybe the best way is to play in our half – not in the half of Atletico Madrid.”
Wenger also praised goalkeeper Jan Oblak who performed extremely well in North London as he has all season as his Atleti side have only conceded a miserly 18 goals, three fewer than champions Barcelona and 19 fewer than city rivals Real Madrid in third place.
He added: “He was fantastic in London. I hope he will be a bit less fantastic tomorrow.”