Atletico Madrid player for 80 minutes with 10 men, but managed to come away with a 1-1 draw, with Antoine Griezmann scoring a vital away goal in this Europa League semi-final. Here are five things we learned.
Some referees aren’t afraid to make big decisions
French referee Clément Turpin was in charge of this match and his first 13 minutes were eventful to say the least. Sime Vrsaljko was booked for lunging in on Jack Wilshere after just two minutes.
Then he was shown a second yellow card and sent off in the ninth minute following a nasty tackle on Alexandre Lacazette. Both yellow cards were the fastest in the Europa League this season. Too often, referees don’t make those calls because it’s too early in the match but Turpin didn’t have this problem.
In another display of his authority, Turpin sent Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone to the stands after appealing for Hector Bellerin to be booked in the 13th minute.
Frustrating first half for Arsenal
Arsenal were on top before Atletico Madrid went down to 10 men and continued to dominate during the first half. However, their domination didn’t lead to any goals.
The Gunners had 15 shots against Atlético Madrid; their most in the first half of a game without scoring since December 2017 against Manchester United (also 15).
Despite being down to 10 men for the majority of the match, Atletico dug deep and rode the storm, as they often do, to come away with a 1-1 draw. Arsenal had 28 shots on goal but only one goal to show for it at the end of the match.
Atletico played one long ball over the top – which Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi failed to clear – and Antoine Griezmann pounced. For Arsenal, the draw will feel like a defeat.
Lacazette’s confidence is sky high
Since returning from injury, Lacazette has been in superb form. Whether it was crosses into the box, headers or volleys, Lacazette was determined to get on the end of everything. He was a real presence up front and continually asked questions of the Atletico defence.
The Frenchman has now scored seven goals in his last seven games for the Gunners. This was one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt.
Oblak shows why he is so in demand
Jan Oblak’s future is far from certain with the goalkeeper himself unsure if he will remain at Atletico Madrid beyond this season.
His current deal runs until 2021 and he has a £87.5 million release clause. Thanks to his performance against Arsenal, interest in him will have only increased.
The Slovenian ‘keeper made a number of fine saves to ensure Arsenal only scored once. The pick of the bunch was a superb save to deny Aaron Ramsey in the 86th minute. Ramsey’s header was destined for the goal until Oblak clawed it away. Oblak’s world-class performance kept Atletico in the game.