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

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • Cambodia, CRF win rice battle in EU Court

    The European General Court has rejected the European Commission’s (EC) request to reject a complaint submitted by Cambodia and the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) regarding the EU’s reintroduction of tariffs on Indica rice exports from Cambodia. A court order uploaded to the European

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,