ATLÉTICO - ARSENAL, THE STORY OF A PERFECT FIRST MEETING

Atlético de Madrid and Arsenal have many things in common. They have always been traditional clubs in their cities (both capitals), they are constant candidates to achieve trophies at every competition they play, they have fought until the last consequences in diverse European finals, they have two of the most respected managers in Europe, they even share the red and white colours and both Atleti and Arsenal aim to arrive, as the main favourites, to the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League Final.

They both are one step away from Lyon’s decisive match, which will be receiving the winner between them as the draw has determined Spanish and English will play each other.

There’s a strange peculiarity that makes special this confrontment between Diego Pablo Simeone’s and Arsène Wenger’s sides: in their 58 games against teams from the opponent’s country Rojiblancos and Gunners have never met even being two references of European football.

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Atlético de Madrid have played 27 times against English teams, with a balance of 10 victories, 11 draws and 6 losses. On the other side, Arsenal have met Spanish sides in 31 occasions, getting the victory in 10 of those matches, for 7 draws and 14 defeats.

Neptuno’s side keep great memories against English rivals as they have eliminated clubs from the Premier League in their last three knock-out meetings (Liverpool, 2009-10 UEFA Europa League Semifinals; Chelsea, 2013-14 UEFA Champions League Semifinals; Leicester City, 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals) and have won two finals against them (2009-10 UEFA Europa League Final, Fulham; 2012-13 UEFA Super Cup, Chelsea).

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In contrast, all-time Arsenal feelings against Spanish sides are radically different as they have felt knocked-out by FC Barcelona in 2010-11 and 2015-16 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 and in 2009-10 UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals.

Even though they went through against Real Madrid and Villarreal in 2005-06 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 and Semifinals, Gunners will never forget loss against Frank Rijkaard’s Barça in the Paris Final. It’s clear Wenger’s men have found in the Blaugranes an unbeatable opposition through all these years.

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Time has arrived for Atlético de Madrid and Arsenal, who face these two thrilling UEFA Europa League Semifinal matches (April 26th., at the Emirates Stadium and May 3rd., at the whole new Estadio Wanda Metropolitano) knowing that the conclusion of this competition on May 16th. could mean completing a cycle for any of them.

If Atlético goes through, Diego Simeone will have managed to arrive once again to the decisive day in the tournament that saw him lifting, against Athletic Club Bilbao, his first trophy as manager of the Rojiblancos back in 2011-12. If Londoners did so, Lyon’s Final would be the perfect occasion for commemorating Wenger’s 22nd. season by getting revenge on his native soil of all the lost Finals.

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