The Europa League has extra significance for Arsenal this season as it is their main hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
The pressure is on for Arsene Wenger’s men to reach the final in what will be the manager’s last ever season at the club.
On Thursday night, the North London outfit took on tournament favourites Atletico Madrid at the Emirates in the first leg of their semi-final clash.
In general, it was a positive performance from the Gunners, but a few defensive errors led to what could be a crucial away goal for the Spanish side.
Antoine Griezmann scored to cancel out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener, which means that Atletico have the edge in the 1-1 draw heading into the second leg at the Vicente Calderon.
The goal was a blow for Arsenal, but they remain in contention for a spot in the final, and the supporters, who have been deliberating over which manager will succeed Wenger, feel that they can get the job done if Henrikh Mkhitaryan – valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt – is passed fit.
The Armenian international has not played since the Gunners. 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow on April 5 due to a knee injury, but he is closing in on full fitness.
When is Mkhitaryan coming back? #AFC could really use his dynamic in attack against Atletico.
— Joey (@Estadox) April 26, 2018
I firmly believe that presence of Mkhitaryan who holds a great number in the European competition will indulge each teammate on the pitch. We have nothing to lose.
— Somamithran (@somamithran) April 27, 2018
I was right about formation and line up last night! Hopefully Wenger realises Mkhitaryan will be our saviour! Line up even more attacking than last night! pic.twitter.com/SR8yU6V9bY
— Allegri’s Arsenal (@InvinciblesXI) April 27, 2018
Arsenal have to go to Madrid in the same way we beat Milan. Believe you can win against a team on a long unbeaten run. But we need Mkhitaryan back.
— Liam Arnold (@liam343) April 27, 2018
Hopefully we'll have a better bench for the second leg,which is one thing that probably killed us! Forced to play 90 mins with the same 11. Having Mkhitaryan and Mo back will be vital. Fingers crossed they can beat the clock.
— Wes (@wexley09) April 27, 2018
Mkhitaryan is the key, if he is fit we win going away.
— Nathan (@youngn8t) April 27, 2018
It's not over yet, score first in Madrid and it's game on!! Mkhitaryan should be back as well?
— Mänish (@Manish_k_n_6) April 27, 2018
Good thing about the 2nd leg is we will have Mkhitaryan back and hopefully we can have the performance that puts us into the final
— Arsene My Hero (@TejasAFC) April 27, 2018
Only hope we have for second leg is the man who runs this competition coming back; man like Mkhitaryan. Hopefully he can drag us through.
— Asad Khan (@AsadKha79665506) April 27, 2018