Arsenal’s bid to finally win a European trophy under Arsene Wenger was significantly boosted after an eventful first ten minutes of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg.
In Wenger’s final European match at the Emirates as Gunners boss, his side came flying out of the traps against Atletico Madrid and created the first few opportunities with Alexandre Lacazette drawing a save out of Jan Oblak in the visiting goal.
Just ten minutes in, their cause was given another boost – albeit thanks to an act of self-sabotage from their Spanish opponents.
Already on a yellow from a foul within the first two minutes, Croatian full-back Sime Vrsaljko was given his marching orders after a late foul on Lacazette. The referee had no hesitation despite how early it was, and duly sent the Atletico man from the pitch.
The red card was enough to draw a furious reaction from Deigo Simeone, and the volatile former midfielder was also subsequently sent to the stands for the remainder of the game, and may yet be given a ban for next week’s second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Arsenal have, at the time of writing, responded tremendously to their numerical advantage, with Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck testing Oblak and Laurent Koscielny firing wide