Arsenal had the opportunity to put their Europa League semi-final to bed at the Emirates Stadium last night when Atletico Madrid’s Sime Vrsaljko was dismissed inside 10 minutes for two yellow cards.
Diego Simeone was just behind his right-back in receiving his marching orders and on a night when there was a real sense of poignancy and emotion on Arsene Wenger’s final European home match in charge of the club, Arsenal seemed almost destined to get the job done.
Alexandre Lacazette’s goal was the least the Gunners deserved but Antoine Griezmann’s late away goal has left the Gunners with a mountain to climb; the Spaniards’ home form is quite something to behold.
One man who certainly didn’t disappoint in the first leg was Mesut Ozil. The German international – valued at £45m by Transfermarkt – stepped up to the mark and did his utmost to help his side create the chances to put the game beyond doubt.
His passing was brilliant on the night; setting up six chances with his key passes. His accuracy was also clear for all to see, with 91% of his 96 efforts finding their intended target.
It will be a different game in Madrid next Thursday but Ozil’s 7 dribbles show that he is a man who can take the ball under pressure and drive forward with it, which may well be valuable as Wenger’s men go in search of at least one away goal.