Atletico Madrid vs Arsenal
In the build up to Thursday’s Europa League semifinal second-leg between Atletico Madrid and Arsenal, the Independent have sat down with Thomas Partey.
Most believe that Atletico are favourites to reach the final following last week’s 1-1 draw.
Will the Gunners rue their opportunities for the first-leg in north London?
Atletico played the majority of the match with just 10-men after Sime Vrsaljko’s red card in the 10th minute.
Yet, an Antoine Griezmann equaliser late on has put Atletico in the box seat for a place in the final.
Atletico Madrid knew they’d have a man sent off
According to Thomas Partey, Diego Simeone planned for Atletico Madrid to have a man sent off in the first leg at Arsenal.
Indeed, the Rojiblancos trained specifically for the eventuality which played out at the Emirates Stadium. Thomas told the Independent:
The thing about Simeone a lot of people don’t know is that his instincts are always right.
We trained playing 10 vs 11 the day before the game and he kept telling us that we might end up a man down and it came earlier than expected.
I feel so privileged being trained by such a coach for some time now the media always talks about how well players are paid and how we live a luxurious life but for those who know me I keep saying that every player will improve like me if they train under him.
I don’t know what other clubs do but every training session is a battle here because the team keeps changing based on how hard you train and perform in games.
Arsenal team news
Arsene Wenger also rested the majority of his first team at the weekend.
Arsenal fielded a young side at Old Trafford and they ultimately lost 2-1 thanks to a late Marouane Fellaini header.
Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny all missed the trip to Manchester and they will all be well rested for Thursday’s match.
Arsenal fans were very impressed by the solid defensive performances from Calum Chambers and Konstantinos Mavropanos but the duo are unlikely to start in such a huge clash.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back for the Gunners whilst Santi Cazorla nears a return to first team action.
The only player who is certainly out is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who is ineligible to play in the Europa League.