Europa League semi-finals second-legs Preview

Arsenal are looking to make it two English teams in two European finals as they travel to Atletico Madrid for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final.

Having seen Liverpool book their place in the Champions League final, Arsenal are hoping to make it two from two for the Premier League – however, Atletico remain favourites for the competition.

This game could be Arsene Wenger’s last European game as Arsenal boss, but he acknowledges just how big occasion it is.], as victory would also see them back in the Champions League.

“It’s a big game, it influences the future of my club,” he said.

‘That’s why it’s a very big game for us. The future of Arsenal is not exactly the same if we qualify for the Champions League or not. I want to finish this love story well.”

Diego Simeone will not be on the bench this Thursday after he was sent from the touchline during the first-leg, but he comes into the game with confidence although is wary of Arsenal’s attacking threat – particularly Mesut Ozil.

“Our line is to think about Arsenal. They are a very direct team,’” said Simeone.

“They have many players between the lines, who float in a difficult place to score. ‘They have a lot of speed in the last third. Ozil is the most dangerous player they have, because of his creativity and vision of the game.”

The other semi-final sees Marseille travel to Austria with a 2-0 lead, and coach Rudi Garcia thinks an early goal could pile the pressure on Salzburg.

“If we can score a goal quickly, it will be difficult for them to come back from that but there is no ideal scenario: we have to win and qualify,” said Garcia.

“What we have done so far is not enough to earn a place in the history of the club.”

Despite being two-goals down, Salzburg coach Marco Rose is confident his side can come from behind on home soil.

“We dominated the first leg for long stretches, and actually had Marseille under control. It is definitely the case that things are possible for us in the second leg,” said Rose.

“We have the chance on Thursday to snatch the momentum back, and we want to put in another top performance in front of a full house.”

See below for a preview on the games, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and BoyleSports’s Lawrence Lyons.

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Atletico Madrid 20:05 Arsenal (agg 1-1)
Estadio Metropolitano
Second leg

TEAM NEWS: Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi will both have fitness tests ahead of kick-off but Arsenal are hopeful both will feature. David Ospina will again start in goal, as he has done throughout the European campaign. For Atletico, Diego Costa is expected to start but Sime Vrsaljko is suspended after his red card from the first leg.
KEY FACT: Arsenal have not lost in their last six visits to Spain
MATCH ODDS: Atletico 3/4 Draw 14/5 Arsenal 15/4
BoyleSports Pick: Atletico to win @3/4
ANDY SAYS: I can see Arsenal winning here, be close but I can see a narrow victory…2-1
GRAEME SAYS: I think Arsenal will get something, but I don’t think they will win…1-1
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Antoine Griezmann is a top player, well worth investing in

Red Bull Salzburg 20:05 Marseille (agg 0-2)
Stadion Salzburg
Second leg

TEAM NEWS: Salzburg have the luxury of a fully fit squad, but Marseille are without Steve Mandanda and Hiroki Sakai.
KEY FACT: Austrian champions ten unbeaten at home in UEL
MATCH ODDS: Salzburg 11/10 Draw 13/5 Marseille 5/2
BoyleSports Pick: Both Teams To Score & Over 2.5 Goals @Evens 
ANDY SAYS:I think Marseille get the job done here and come away with win on the night…1-2
GRAEME SAYS: I think Salzburg are going to get something here, could go to extra-time…3-1
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Florian Thauvin is on fire, and worth investing in

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