Profligate Arsenal punished
30 April 2018 | Sports
Antoine Griezmann's away goal eight minutes from time was a body blow to Wenger's hopes of bowing out after 22 years on a high in the final on May 16, and to Arsenal's chances of playing Champions League football next season.
Sime Vrsaljko's early red card handed the Gunners the initiative, but they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
“I feel we produced the performance we wanted to produce, but the result is not in line with the performance,” said Wenger.
“We can only look at ourselves for tonight's result because 1-0 is a perfect result at home. It was up to us not to make a mistake ... it is a story we have seen before.”
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko's dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and the manager hailed their resistance.
“You don't have any idea how hard it is to defend and defend and defend,” said Simeone.
“You have to have huge balls to defend for more than 80 minutes like that.
“These players of Atletico Madrid are heroes to resist like that.”
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico's Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week to progress, and Simeone urged the home support to create an explosive atmosphere.
“Next week the stadium has to explode with positive energy,” added the Argentine.
“We can play well or badly but you don't say this commitment everywhere.
I have goose bumps thinking about next week already.”
There was a highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger's penultimate home game in charge and the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico's full complement.