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Atletico 1-0 Arsenal : Our Europa League Adventure Ended by Ruthless Atletico

Arsenal huffed and puffed but couldn’t quite get the goal they needed, as our valiant attempt to reach the Europa League Final fell flat in Madrid.We went with a strong lineup, but the one surprise was that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was left out of the lineup at the expense of Danny Welbeck. The rest of the team was comprised of the mainstay of the team, and one of those, Laurent Koscielny, fell foul to a horrible looking injury that saw the Frenchman taken off the field via stretcher inside ten minutes.Alexandre Lacazette fizzed a dangerous ball across the six yard box in a promising start, but Atletico were holding us off at arms length, all the while posing a threat with the dangerous Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann.We were getting space though, especially through our full-backs, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. The problem was that the deliveries they were putting in were either hitting the first man or missing their target. We couldn’t afford to waste the opportunities that we forged, but that’s what we were doing. It wasn’t as if we were lacking fight - we were going toe to toe with Madrid - but time was ticking. At times we were inches away, with Nacho just missing a ball from Ramsey, but it was a case of nearly isn’t enough.Half time was approaching, and it was the home team who struck first.Chambers cleared well, but Griezmann was first to the loose ball. His awareness was second to none and he found Costa, who put the ball over a running Ospina to break the deadlock - but the situation changed very little.A single goal for us and the game wasn’t over.Half time soon was signalled, and it wasn’t the best way to see out a half that was, on the whole pretty even. Atletico probably shaded it in terms of creating dangerous moments, but crucially, we weren’t out of the running.The second half saw the home team out quickly from the blocks, but Ramsey was giving us hope with his endeavour. Trouble is, this game was on a knife edge, and it wasn’t easy viewing for either set of fans. Diego Simeone, who was in the executive box after being sent off in the first leg, didn’t stay still for the entirety of the match, and it was plain to see why.We were trying still, and Xhaka stung the palms of Jan Oblak around the 65th minute. Our chances were ebbing away, but we still needed a solitary goal to force extra time, and that needs only a few seconds.Henrikh Mkhitaryan then entered the fray and his impact was almost immediate, his volley going just over the bar. It was another show of intent, but aside from Xhaka’s effort, we hadn’t created a shot on target. It was then Atletico’s turn to threaten and it was only Xhaka’s last ditch tackle that kept us hoping.Into the last ten minutes, and both teams were looking for the killer blow.Diego Costa was replaced by Fernando Torres, and the former Scouser nearly won it with a fine effort with mere minutes left, but Ospina saved well. Could we create one more chance?No, we couldn’t. The fairytale ended in Madrid. We came up short against the best team in the competition by a whisker, but it is scant consolation. Our European adventure is over - but it was a blast. Now there is only three games left in the season and there are no trophies at stake, nor Champions League places up for grabs.The Europa League saved this campaign from being instantly forgettable, and I for one will be looking forward to next season’s efforts.Unlucky boys. a bit more clinical in the first leg and perhaps with a stronger defence and we’d be looking forward to the final in Lyon.