Arsene Wenger‘s worst fears may have been realised after Arsenal got paired with Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals, as the Gunners boss admitted he would “ideally” like to avoid the La Liga giants last night.
Atletico are considered the clear favourites to win the competition for what would be the third time in their history, while pressure is increasing on Arsenal to lift the trophy following a turbulent domestic campaign.
In fact, some sources claim that should Arsenal fail to win the Europa League, Wenger’s time at the helm will come to an unsavoury end this summer.
And that prospect could well become a reality when Mesut Ozil and co take on Los Colchoneros later this month – something Wenger was all too wary of in last night’s press conference.
The Frenchman was speaking after his team squeaked past CSKA Moscow in a nervy quarter-final, when he admitted, at least on paper, Atleti are a strong threat:
Thursday:@andymay: "Do you want to avoid Atletico?" 🤔
Arsene Wenger: "Ideally. They are the strongest on paper."
Arsenal draw Atletico in the Europa League semi-finals 😫 pic.twitter.com/lFswArblYC
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 13, 2018
With Arsenal langushing in 6th in the Premier League and a late charge into the top four appearing unlikely, it looks like the only route back into the Champions League for the Gunners will be through winning the Europa League final in Lyon.
A realistic aim? Or nothing more than a pipe-dream considering Arsenal’s form this season?