Pre-season friendlies don’t tend to mean all too much in the grand scheme of any given season, aside from an injury or two which could derail a player or team’s momentum. For the most part, that wound up being the case last night when Arsenal took on Atletico Madrid, with the English side falling to the Spaniards on penalties – although that’s not what people have been talking about.
Something that people often sleep on in football is the importance of pre-season friendlies, and what they can do not only for a team’s confidence – but for their overall effectiveness as the real campaign begins. If you don’t schedule enough of them then you probably won’t get the necessary amount of experience or match fitness to deal with the physicality of the Premier League or most other top leagues for that matter, and if you organise too many, then you run the risk of wearing your players out.
The feeling of excitement is back at the Emirates for the first time in what feels like forever following the announcement of Unai Emery as Arsenal’s new manager. The former Sevilla and PSG boss has found great success elsewhere around Europe, and now, it’s time for him to try his hand in the Premier League. Still, while it’s nice to think about what’s to come in the next few months and possibly years, it’s equally as interesting to look back on what could’ve been from the 2017/18 campaign.
Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the semi-final second leg on Thursday night. The defeat meant that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will not get a fairytale ending to his career as Arsenal boss.
Most Gunners will be not be surprised by the aggregate result, as over the two legs Arsenal did not do enough to get through. However, it is not the first time the north London side have suffer defeat in that manner.
Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid on Thursday night in the Europa League semi-final second leg, to exit the competition 2-1 on aggregate.
Atletico Madrid had the first effort on goal on six minutes. Diego Costa outmuscled Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal before firing hide and wide of goal.
The Gunners suffered a major injury blow on eight minutes, as Koscielny suffered a potentially serious Achilles injury. The Frenchman was down for three minutes before Calum Chambers replaced the centre-back.
Tonight will see the conclusion of Arsenal’s journey to the final of the Europa League, and one way or another, it’s going to end in heartbreak for somebody. Either the Gunners will fall just before the final hurdle, or the hotly tipped Spaniards will falter down the stretch as they attempt to secure their second UEL title under the reign of Diego Simeone. One thing is for sure, however – by the end of the night, there are going to be plenty of talking points coming out of the second leg.
The search for Arsenal’s new manager continues to rage on and in a lot of ways, it’s already becoming a little bit exhausting for Arsenal fans. While there’s obviously a great deal of excitement in the air, there are just too many names being thrown around to keep count at this stage. It’s not like when David Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford because, in that instance, it seemed as if the Everton boss was always going to be the clear favourite to take over.
On Thursday night, Arsenal travel to Atletico Madrid for their Europa League semi-final second leg tie. The Gunners face a big task at the Wanda Metropolitano after the first leg finished 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Atletico Madrid’s recent form has been inconsistent of late, as Diego Simeone’s side have won just one of their last four games in all competitions. However, that is as far as the positive go in terms of Arsenal turning this tie around.
Los Rojiblancos have won ten of their last 11 home games in all competitions. Rather dauntingly for the Gunners, Atletico have kept clean sheets in their last 11 games in all competitions at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Arsenal headed into Sunday afternoon’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford with a weakened side. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger fielded a mixture of young and fringe players in the clash.
The team from north London actually produced a decent display. They were unfortunate to lose 2-1 courtesy of a stoppage-time Marouane Fellaini winner. Despite the positive performance, the game saw Arsenal suffer yet another away defeat in the Premier League. The Gunners away record this season is a woeful one.
On Sunday, Arsenal travels to Manchester United’s Old Trafford, as the Gunners attempt to end a terrible run of form on their travels in the Premier League.
Manchester United heads into this clash second in the top-flight table, three points clear of Liverpool in third with a game on the Merseysiders. Jose Mourinho’s team have been in good form of late in the league winning six of their last seven games in the top-flight, while also finding the net twice or more in all six of the victories.