Atletico Madrid have '50-50' chance in Arsenal Europa League semi-final, says club chief – CrestNewsng.com
A draw with Atletico was the worst possible scenario for Arsenal, who likely would have been further disappointed at the prospect of having to play the second leg in Madrid.
However Villaverde insists Arsenal, who followed up their round of 16 triumph over AC Milan with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow, will pose a tough test for Diego Simeone’s side.
“From this moment on, all that remains for us now are very difficult games, great rivals and the draw has brought us together with Arsenal, and that’s a very welcome outcome for us,” Villaverde said.
“Arsenal are a great club who always finish among the top teams in their league and usually go far in European competition.They are a team with a lot of similarities to us and I think we are in for a very open tie.
“These kinds of ties are always 50-50. We could be in for two games which are completely different.”
Arsenal’s poor away form this season – they have only won three Premier League games on the road – means they would not relish the prospect of needing to get a positive result in the Wanda Metropolitana, particularly against a defence as fearsome as Atletico’s.
Arsene Wenger breaks down Arsenal’s progression in Europa League against CSKA Moscow
Indeed Atletico have lost only one of 12 matches on home soil against English opposition, though that came against Chelsea earlier this season.
“Until now we’ve played all of our first legs at home and gone through but you can never say playing the away leg at home is better,” Villaverde added.
“We have to play well and with a clear head in both legs.”
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