The chance of having a final game that secured both silverware and a Champions League position for his club has evaded Arsene Wenger as his side lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in the Wanda Metropolitano in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final second leg.

As is stood going into the game, Arsenal needed a goal due to Simeone’s side finding the net in North London. Prior to the game, Wenger spoke of this being an advantage – at least his side knew what they needed to do – but on the basis of the first half performance, this did not seem to be the case.

After an uneventful settling in-period in the opening minutes it was clear Madrid were going to be very difficult to break down. They are a side who have only conceded 3 goals at home in 2018, and it showed.

Before the 10th minute, captain Laurent Koscielny went down with what looked like a particularly bad injury. The Frenchman fell to the floor without the involvement of another player and began beating the ground in agony. Play stopped for several minutes while the 32-year-old was escorted off of the field by a stretcher. One hopes that Koscielny is alright, but judging by the reaction in the aftermath of the injury, it would appear his season has come to a premature end – and also perhaps his world cup chances with France.

Lacazette nearly found himself in a fine position following an Aaron Ramsey through ball but could not steady his feet, and had to take the ball away from goal. Mesut Ozil – who was being heavily marked by Atletico in the middle of the field after Simeone singled him out as the team’s danger man – attempted to salvage the situation, but to no avail.

In 1st half injury time, a long Jan Oblak boot up the field made its way to Antoine Griezmann, who played an incisive through ball to familiar foe Diego Costa, with the Spanish striker getting goal-side of Bellerin, holding him off and finishing over David Ospina in the Arsenal goal. The Columbian stopper perhaps goes down a bit early – there really is only one place Costa can put the ball, and that’s over the keeper.

The goal, effectively didn’t change much in terms of what was needed from Wenger’s side. With the away goal at the Emirates for Atleti, if the Gunners didn’t score, they were going to lose anyway. What it meant, was that if Arsenal scored in the second half and Atletico didn’t there, would be extra time.

At the end of the first 45 minutes, Arsenal had the lion’s share of possession, but still only one shot on target. In a match where a goal was vital, this really wasn’t good enough.

Both of the full-backs were perhaps made the most threatening runs in the first 45, with Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin often been found in advanced areas of the pitch. Monreal came close to finding himself in a fantastic position before the end of the first half, but like Lacazette before him, could not get the ball to lay correctly for him after a Ramsey through ball.

Diego Costa made another fine run and got an effort on target early in the second half. If he had found the net with that attempt, Arsenal’s final dreams had come to an end. As it stood, they were still alive, and the Gunners improved slightly in the next 10 minutes, making the way further up the field.

A corner rebounded out to Jack Wilshire, who hammered a ball into the Atleti box, which landed favourably for Ramsey. The Welshman couldn’t get enough on it, but at least there was a threat of a goal – something that was very clearly lacking at plenty of occasions across the first hour.

After Ozil began to make his presence more known, including fizzing a ball very invitingly over the Madrid six-yard box, Oblak finally had his first save to make – a (expectedly) long-range effort from Granit Xhaka was stopped at his near-post.

It was Costa who was causing the most problems for the Spanish side, coming very, very close to adding a second in the 66th minute. His fine feet found him in space in the Arsenal box, and he made an effort on gaol which was blocked, but landed nicely for his teammate Griezmann, who came perhaps even closer to making it two.

In an effort to add some more creativity, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was introduced to the field in place of Wilshire. The Armenian – who scored in Manchester United’s Europa league final victory over Ajax last season – nearly made an immediate impact when he found the ball at the edge of the box from a corner, and made a fine effort that rose just above Oblak’s goal.

With 20 minutes remaining, it looked like Wenger’s fairy-tale ending was not going to happen. If there’s any team in world football you would expect to hold onto this lead, it would be Simeone’s Atletico.

Goalscorer Costa left the field with 10 minutes remaining for fellow former Chelsea striker Fernando Torres. With the time ticking down, the game certainly sat very much in the home teams favour – with Atletico looking the most likely to score.

With 3 minutes of injury time announced, basically every Gunners player had made their way into the attacking positions, but Atletico were just proving too difficult to break down.

Ultimately, it was the first leg of this tie where the damage was done. Even though Wenger’s side played relatively well, they failed to capitalize upon the advantage of having an extra man for 80 minutes and it came back to haunt them.

And that’s how Arsenal’s Europa League campaign came to a close. After some fine results and a near perfect way to end Wenger’s time at the club presenting itself, the tournament has come to an end, with a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Simeone’s Madrid.

At the end of the day, Madrid deserved the victory and their place in the final. Over the course of 180 minutes, they showed far more resilience than their opponents. That’s not to say it’s not very disappointing for Arsenal and their supporters, and it is a true shame that Wenger’s time at the club will be coming to an end without any silverware.