Arsenal will take a 1-1 draw with them to Spain next week after a late Antoine Griezmann equaliser for ten-man Atlético Madrid complicated the Gunners’ hopes of progressing through to the Europa League final.

The La Liga outfit were reduced to ten man as early as the 9th minute, following Sime Vrsaljko’s second bookable offence, enabling Arsenal to dominate without reward throughout the first half.

Arsène Wenger’s men then took the lead on the hour-mark through Alexandre Lacazette, but a series of unfortunate events at the back later enabled Griezmann to bag a precious away goal for his side, as the score at the Emirates Stadium concluded itself at 1-1.

The Gunners welcomed Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere back for the tie against Atlético, who made changes of their own in opting for Kevin Gameiro over the unfit Diego Costa in attack.

A strong start from the hosts saw Arsenal pinch an early yellow card out of the referee after Sime Vrsaljko’s late foul on Wilshere.

The north Londoners turned their appetite into chances in the 7th minute, with Lacazette going close on two separate occasions with a volley against the outside of the post prior to the Frenchman testing Jan Oblak with a header.

Lacazette was brought into action again in the 10th minute, this time suffering a bad challenge from the already yellow-carded Vrsaljko, who, along with Diego Simeone sometime later, would be sent off as a consequence.

Arsenal edged themselves closer to the lead, firstly through Welbeck’s side-footed strike inside the box before Laurent Koscielny could slice a back-post volley wide from the subsequent corner.

Atlético replied to the hosts’ pressure in the 37th minute through a forceful run by Thomas Partey, setting up a half-volley on the edge of the box for Griezmann to fire at David Ospina.

With the Spaniards remaining solid on either side of half-time, Arsenal were finally able to crack the code in the 61st minute through Lacazette, assisted by Wilshere’s lifted cross for the ex-Olympique Lyonnais forward to head in.

The France international came close once more with a glancing header from a corner in the 70th minute, as Arsenal went out in search of a second goal.

Atlético looked towards Griezmann with a hopeful long ball and it was there that the forward was able to make Arsenal pay for their missed opportunities, as he bettered the likes of Koscielny, Ospina and Shkodran Mustafi with fortune to tap in the equaliser in the 83rd minute.

Ramsey could’ve placed the Gunners back in front in the 86th minute with a dangerous header inside the box, but Oblak starred once more en route to a 1-1 draw at full-time.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Laurent Koscielny (7), Nacho Monreal (7) – Granit Xhaka (7), Aaron Ramsey (7) – Mesut Özil (7), Jack Wilshere (7), Danny Welbeck (7) – Alexandre Lacazette (7)

Subs: (none).

Written by Patrick Ribeiro

Freelance journalist. @P_SRibeiro

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