Arsenal 1 Atletico Madrid 1
Lacazette 61, Griezmann 82

If Arsenal are to deliver Arsene Wenger a trophy in his final season at the club, then they’ll have to do it the hard way. Part one of the plan was going well initially when Alexandre Lacazette rose to head in from Jack Wilshere’s cross just past the hour mark. Atletico had been reduced to ten men after ten minutes when Sime Vrsaljko was dismissed for two yellow cards following fouls on Jack Wilshere and Lacazette. Atletico manger Diego Simeone protested rather too much for the referee’s liking and was promptly sent to the stands following what he felt was a yellow card for Hector Bellerin. Despite his absence and the absence of a player, his side defended resolutely and repelled wave after wave of Arsenal attacks, with Jan Oblak defying everything sent at him. Finally beaten by Lacazette, however the Gunners looked favourites to hold onto their lead going into next week’s second leg Europa League semi-final in Madrid. However, a long ball over the top with comical defending from Laurent Koscileny and Shkodran Mustafi who slipped on the line to let Antoine Griezmann for one of the easiest of goals he’ll ever score. It was entirely avoidable, it wasn’t David Ospina’s finest hour either, and a penny for the thoughts of substitute keeper Petr Cech?

Out of his technical area more than he tends to be, perhaps Wenger sensed the occasion and the urgency in what hi side need to do. With close to seventy per cent possession however it was a familiar theme as the Gunners had to settle for les than their football deserved.

“We produced a performance we wanted to produce, but the result is not in line with the performance. Against a team who defends well, we have not to give any chances away. Once we were 1-0 up, the task was clear for us: not to be caught on a long ball. They could not combine enough to come out and create a chance. The only chance they could have was on a long ball,” said Wenger.

“We were a bit unlucky on the goal, because it was a foul on Welbeck. But we can only look at ourselves on tonight’s result because 1-0 is a perfect result at home. It was down to us after that not to make a mistake. We had 20 shots on goal, we have seen that against Manchester United, where we had 33 shots on goal and lost the game. It’s a story we’ve seen before,” continued Wenger.

Atletico tend not to concede many goals at home, and the complexities of the task at hand will have to be overcome if Arsenal are to reach the Europa League final on May 16th in Lyon.

“Yes, because it’s a special game. For us the task is clear. But of course you come out tonight with a bitter taste, because we had the chances to be in the final tonight. That’s where the regret is. We were not clinical enough and unfortunately we gave a goal away which puts us in a very difficult position.”

Once Arsenal had taken the lead, the bare minimum would have been not to concede. They will have to focus and remain concentrated for a thorough examination action of their matchday credentials if they are to produce a performance which will take Wenger’s side to a final for the last time as Gunners’ boss.