Guillem Balague predicts Arsenal v Atletico Madrid in Europa League semi-finals

The La Liga expert discusses Arsenal's Europa League meeting with Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
La Liga expert Guillem Balague Photo: Sky Sports

Guillem Balague has warned Arsenal that Atletico Madrid will prove difficult opponents in the Europa League semi-finals.

The Gunners lost 2-1 to CSKA Moscow in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final in Russia on Thursday night.

Danny Welbeck scored a crucial away goal to ease pressure on Arsenal after Arsene Wenger’s men were resounding 4-1 winners against CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium last week.

Arsenal’s potential semi-final opponents were Ligue 1 side Marseille, Swiss outfit Red Bull Salzburg and Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.

The Gunners would have been hoping to avoid Diego Simeone’s men in the last-four draw but Arsenal were pitted against los Rojiblancos.

Atletico were 2-1 aggregate winners against Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-finals to reach the semi-finals.

Simeone has won the Europa League title with Atletico before losing two Champions League finals to Real Madrid in 2013 and 2015.

La Liga expert Balague opened up about what Arsenal can expect from Atletico in the Europa League semi-finals.

“It’s a shame they are meeting now, it would have been nice to see them in the final,” Balague told Sky Sports.

“Arsenal are going to face one of the best teams in knock-out competitions in the world. With what they have, they tend to do very well in knock-out competitions.

“That’s because they tend to risk very little, they wait for the moment and if Diego Costa is fit, they have in him and Antoine Griezmann, players who can win those kinds of tight games.

“They are very good under pressure and Atletico have been very good, this season particularly, in defending 1-0 leads.”

Arsenal are in sixth place in the Premier League table and 13 points adrift of Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur in the race to secure a place in the Champions League.

The Gunners will be hoping to win the Europa League to book their place in Europe’s top tier competition next term.

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