Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wenger wants happy ending with Arsenal’s future at stake against Atletico

Wenger wants happy ending with Arsenal’s future at stake against Atletico

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger awaits the start of their Europa League semifinal first leg with Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium in north London last Thursday. AFP
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger awaits the start of their Europa League semifinal first leg with Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium in north London last Thursday. AFP

Wenger wants happy ending with Arsenal’s future at stake against Atletico

Arsene Wenger wants a happy ending to his Arsenal love story and admits their Europa League semifinal against Atletico Madrid on Thursday night (at 2:05am Cambodian time) will affect the future of the club.

Arsenal, adrift of the Premier League’s top four, will have to win the tournament to qualify for the Champions League, while defeat would mean Wenger’s 22-year tenure ending on a dull note.

Atletico are favourites, having secured a 1-1 draw and a precious away goal from the first leg in London last week. Diego Simeone’s side have also not lost a La Liga game at home this season.

“I would like to finish my job well,” Wenger said on Wednesday. “I believe a man has to give his best as long as he is somewhere.

“With all my commitment and energy, I would like to walk out of Arsenal one day knowing that until the last day I focused only on Arsenal.

“When my job at Arsenal is finished I will see where I go from there, but I want to finish this love story well.”

Despite his domestic achievements, Wenger has never won a European trophy with Arsenal, but perhaps just as important will be the legacy he leaves his successor.

“The next game is always the most important and this one because it influences the future of my club,” Wenger said.

“It is a very, very big game for us because the future of Arsenal Football Club is not exactly the same if we qualify for the Champions League or not.”

No sentiment for Simeone

Simeone, however, said there would be no room for sentiment when his players take to the field.

“We are not thinking about Wenger’s last season at Arsenal, only about what we need,” Simeone said.

“We need to see a full stadium, the excitement of our players, the energy in the team – that’s what matters to us.”

Atletico avoided defeat at the Emirates Stadium despite having Sime Vrsaljko sent off early on, while Diego Costa will also return from injury for the second leg.

“In history Costa has shown he can make the difference,” Wenger said. “He played in England and was very successful. It is our job to keep him quiet.”

Simeone will not be on the touchline at the Wanda Metropolitano after he was sent to the stands last week.

“I’ll take it badly,” Simeone said. “I’m sad about this situation and I’ll have to improve. I better shut up.”

Wenger confirmed David Ospina will continue in goal for Arsenal, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is hoping to overcome a knee problem.

For Atletico, Filipe Luis could feature after recovering remarkably quickly from a broken leg.

“Filipe has been out for two months, he’s not playing 90 minutes but if I call on him, he will respond,” Simeone said.

“Many games are played with the heart as well as the legs.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the