Former Arsenal player Charlie Nicholas doesn’t expect the Gunners to get the better of Atletico Madrid when the two sides meet on Thursday night for their Europa League second leg semi final tie at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Arsenal go into the fixture with their backs against the wall after they were unable to beat a ten-man Atletico last week. Despite Arsenal dominating, Antoine Griezmann had the last laugh with an equalising goal that means Atletico head into the match with a valuable away goal.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Nicholas was doubtful that Arsenal would be able to overcome the 1-1 draw and come away from Spain with a good result.
He said: “Can Arsenal do it? The answer is no for me, I’m afraid. I truly hope I’m wrong and they are in the tie still, but I fear they’ll fall just short once again.
“Forget that Atletico had ten men in the first leg, that didn’t change the way they played, and it will be interesting to see how they approach the second leg.”
Nicholas was also concerned with Arsene Wenger’s side’s defence that has been unstable at times this season, especially after Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny failed to properly clear his lines before Griezmann’s goal.
He added: “Will Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny turn up? I just can’t trust them. All they had to do was sit in and protect that 1-0 lead and organise those around them, but they failed to do it.”
Arsenal head into the match on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday, a match that saw Arsene Wenger field a second-string side, resting some of his big names for Thursday night’s encounter.