“I would like to look back and think I finished this love affair well.”
Those were the sentiments of the departing Arsene Wenger ahead of the second leg of the Europa League semi final between his Arsenal side and Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish side held the advantage after last week’s 1-1 draw by virtue of Greizmann’s away goal at the Emirates. Tonight at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, the Gunners had no response to Atletico’s solitary goal.
In a mostly quiet first half, Arsenal lost their captain Laurent Koscielny just seven minutes in with an unfortunate torn achilles tendon.
In added time, Diego Costa, who missed the first leg, came back to haunt Arsenal – who he had scored three goals against in six games in his time at Chelsea.
A fine ball from Antoine Greizmann found the path of the Spaniard, who bullied Arsenal full back Hector Bellerin, holding him off long enough to put the ball past David Ospina, who dived pretty early for the shot.
Arsenal did play well for the most part throughout, but were unable to make the most of the half chances that they had created.
A goalless second half condemned Arsenal to a 2-1 aggregate defeat, ending the fairytale departure that Arsene Wenger himself had envisaged.
With Arsenal mired in sixth place in the Premier League, their failure to advance tonight means that they will go two seasons in a row without Champions League football.
The Gunners reached the Champions League final in 2006, losing out to Barcelona, and the Frenchman’s 22 year tenure at the club will end without a European trophy.
The visit of Burnley to the Emirates this Sunday will be Wenger’s last home game as Arsenal boss.