UEFA Europa League – Arsenal-Atlético – Ten-man Atlético snatch draw at Arsenal
Antoine Griezmann crashed in an equaliser on the break to give ten-man Atlético an unlikely draw in Arsène Wenger’s final European home game as Arsenal manager.
Šime Vrsaljko’s tenth-minute red card, and Atlético coach Diego Simeone’s subsequent dismissal, looked to have tilted the game in the Gunners’ favour, but the visitors resisted stoutly. Arsenal seemed mightily relieved after Alexandre Lacazette hung in the air to head them in front on 61 minutes, but Griezmann chased a long ball down and beat David Ospina at the second attempt to even things up. Jan Oblak’s heroic late save to deny Aaron Ramsey may prove significant.
Key player: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético)
With Atlético on the back foot, Griezmann popped up with an invaluable away goal to move up to third in the FedEx Performance Zone ranking.
Beautiful but fragile: the Arsenal way?
While the pre-match talk centred on Wenger, for 80 minutes his side’s football took the plaudits. The Gunners played with a panache reminiscent of their mid-2000s heyday, but late-Wenger era flaws were brought sharply into focus when Griezmann scored the away goal. Two defensive errors – a poor Laurent Koscielny clearance followed by Shkodran Mustafi’s slip – have jeopardised Wenger’s hopes of a dream Lyon send-off.
Dan Thacker, Arsenal reporter
Determination pays dividends for Atlético
Unbelievable. Atlético have no right to still be in this tie, but defending that goes far beyond the cliche of “putting their bodies on the line”, heroics from Oblak and a little bit of luck have not only seen them remain in the contest, but actually have an advantage going into the return leg next Thursday. It wasn’t pretty, but it was extremely effective.
Joe Walker, Atlético reporter
- Arsenal had 72% possession and 23 shots on goal to visitors’ six
- Atlético have won just one of their last six competitive matches
- Lacazette scored in his 50th UEFA club competition game