Arsenal could only muster a 1-1 draw against ten-man Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League semi-final first leg, despite playing against ten men for over 80 minutes.
The Gunners had the first chance of the game on six minutes, as Alexandre Lacazette volleyed just wide of goal after good work from Danny Welbeck. Lacazette saw a header palmed away by Jan Oblak soon afterwards.
On ten minutes, Atletico were reduced to ten minutes as full-back Sime Vrsaljko received a second booking for a late challenge on Lacazette. Four minutes later Diego Simeone was sent to the stands after protesting one of the official’s decisions.
The Gunners threatened goal again as Aaron Ramsey saw a shot on goal blocked by Diego Godin before Jack Wilshere headed straight at Oblak. The visitor’s goalkeeper was in action again on 21 minutes, as he produced a good save from Welbeck after the England international had opened his body up to shoot. A minute later Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny sliced an effort wide from a corner kick.
The home side saw a penalty appeal turned down on 23 minutes, as Lacazette went down easily under a challenge from Godin. The Gunners continued to attack, as Mesut Ozil curled an effort over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
Just past the half-hour mark, Nacho Monreal volleyed wide of goal after Lacazette flicked on Aaron Ramsey’s cross. Atletico had their first attempt on goal on 33 minutes. Antoine Griezmann hit the ball from the edge of the area, only for David Ospina to get down well to his left to save the Frenchman’s effort.
Griezmann had another effort on goal on 37 minutes. Partey did well to go past a few challenges before finding the forward, whose saw his shot parried by Ospina in the Arsenal goal. Two minutes later, Arsenal’s Grant Xhaka fired an effort over Oblak’s bar from long-range. Just before half-time Angel Correa hit a bouncing ball over Ospina’s bar.
The home side had the first shot of goal of the second half, as Ramsey saw a long-range effort saved easily by Oblak. Arsenal finally took the lead just after the hour mark.
A good move involving Wilshere and Ramsey resulted in Lacazette heading home at the far post to send the Emirates wild. Xhaka saw an effort on goal blocked before Lacazette fired across the face of goal with Welbeck failing to get onto the end of it.
Lacazette also headed wide of goal on 70 minutes, as the Gunners looked to double their lead. Xhaka missed the target again with an effort from 25 yards out.
Atletico equalised with just eight minutes left on the clock. Koscielny failed to clear and Griezmann fired into the roof of the net after his initial effort on goal was blocked.
With just three minutes remaining, Oblak produced a sublime fingertip save to keep out an Aaron Ramsey header. The Welsh midfielder also saw another header comfortably saved in stoppage-time. There was also time for Xhaka to fire an effort well off target with the last kick of the game.
The Gunners will be disappointed with the result having dominated the game while playing against ten men for so much of the game. The Gunners have their worked cut out winning at the Wanda Metropolitano in the second leg next Thursday.
Can Arsenal still make it to the Europa League final?