Arsenal will already be facing an uphill battle when they match up against Atletico Madrid on Thursday evening, but this task will be made increasingly difficult while dealing with the physical presence of Atletico’s striker, Diego Costa, according to ex-Chelsea and England legend, Frank Lampard.
Arsenal come into the second leg of their Europa League semi-final against the Spanish giants level at one a piece, having conceded a late away goal in the opening tie last Thursday.
Their failure to compete for the top four this year has meant that there is added pressure on The Gunners to compete for the Europa League title. Not only will it be Arsene Wenger’s final chance to add to his sizeable trophy cabinet but it will also ensure a return to Champions League football next season.
The ex-Chelsea talisman, Diego Costa, missed out on the first leg at the Emirates through injury but is set to be fit for Arsenal’s visit to Madrid. If the North London outfit are to upset the odds and progress to the final of their first European competition since 2006, it will be imperative that they control a player with the insatiable desire to win that Costa possesses.
As a ‘big player’ and a ‘big character’, Lampard suggests that Costa’s ability to manhandle the potentially fragile Arsenal back line will prove to be the difference in the tie. Arsenal have already come heavy criticism for their inability to defend against Antoine Griezmann in last Thursday’s tie and the added prospect of Diego Costa may prove to be their undoing.
Whether or not Diego Costa is firing on all cylinders, Arsenal need to ensure that they rectify their previous defensive mishaps if they are to save what has been a disappointing season.