An early second-half goal from Diego Costa was enough to see Athletico Madrid through to the UEFA Europa League final, as they beat Arsenal 1-0, thereby winning the fixture with a 2-1 aggregate.
The former Chelsea forward, who has always been a menace for Arsené Wenger, pounced on a defensive error and used his strength to finish it off in style. It was a rather cagey affair between the two sides, as both of them held a high press system and as many would predict, Atleti proved to be the more resolute.
Despite repeated efforts, it never looked like the Gunners were favourites to get on the score sheet. As a proof for that statement, they only managed a shot on target in contrast to Madrid’s five. To conclude, it was another masterstroke by Simeone, where his players kept it tight and banked on their brutal counter-attacking abilities.
Here are the Arsenal FC players’ ratings:
David Ospina – 5/10
His communication with the defenders is quite poor. Also to mention, Ospina’s distribution was shambolic, even when the opposition strikers were away from him.
Hector Bellerin – 1/10
He was nowhere until he realised Costa was away. Bellerin was lazy in tracking back, eventually paying the heaviest of prices for it. While going forward, the Spaniard received a lot of space but utilized nothing out of it.
Shkodran Mustafi – 6.5/10
Griezmann’s skill and Costa’s robustness got the better of him on a couple of occasions but otherwise, he was decent at the back.
Laurent Koscielny – NA
Unfortunate to have picked up a supposed Achilles injury, which might rule him out of the World Cup. Was subbed off to early to be rated.
Nacho Monreal – 3/10
He missed a number of opportunities to cross and the ones where he did, it turned out to be horrific. Defensively, he was awful.
Aaron Ramsey – 7/10
Ramsey’s work rate, desire to win the ball back and support the forwards was appreciable. He chipped in with seven clean tackles, provided fine-tuned passes upfront but lack of creativity around him led to his disintegration late on.
Granit Xhaka – 8/10
Xhaka was aggressive, fierce and clean with his tackling. His positional sense was superb and unfortunately for Arsenal, he was the only one who came close to scoring.
Jack Wilshere – 4/10
Started off brightly but got too complacent as the game went on, no one knows for what reason. He let Griezmann run past him in a set piece, which could have been dangerous. Rightfully so, he was subbed out.
Danny Welbeck – 5/10
Ran his socks off, but with a minimum final product. He lacked the sharpness and awareness at times.
Mesut Özil – 1/10
Went missing when the team needed him most. It was a horrible return for Özil to Madrid. His passing had no urgency or innovation and most of the times, he was too slow on the ball. The pass master couldn’t get a sniff past the packed Athletico midfield.
Alexandre Lacazette – 4/10
It’s a shame for a striker of his quality to go out wide and play in a more stretched out role when no one is attacking the ball in the six-yard box. His touches were heavy and the service he received, was synonymous with nothing.
Calum Chambers – 7/10
He filled in the boots of Koscielny quite well. Made a number of last-ditch tackles and blocks and certainly rose up to the occasion.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 7/10
He looked the liveliest of players. Every touch of his was purposeful and positive. His intent and vision was quite direct. Many would say Wenger missed the trick by not starting him. Well, that sums up Arsenal’s horror show.