Arsene Wenger says he’s hoping his current squad can take inspiration from the class of 2006 who so memorably achieved an unexpected victory against Real Madrid’s ‘Galacticos’ on their way to the Champions League final.
Against the backdrop of a poor domestic campaign, a back line featuring Emmanuel Eboue, Philippe Senderos, Kolo Toure and Mathieu Flamini kept a clean sheet as Thierry Henry’s mazy run and finish secured a famous 1-0 win in the Bernabeu.
While the Gunners don’t necessarily need to beat Atletico Madrid this evening to make the Europa League final in two weeks time – a high-scoring draw will do the job – Diego Simeone’s side is strong favourites having snatched a 1-1 draw in the first leg.
Reflecting on his previous visit to the Spanish capital, Wenger said: “We came here with a very young team and beat Real Madrid who at the time were a fantastic team with fantastic names, that’s what you will try to repeat.”
Atletico Madrid come into the game having lost only once in their past 17 home games in Europe and having conceded only 31 goals in 54 matches across four competitions. It’s an enviable record, one that Wenger hopes will come to an end.
“History has to stop,” he noted. “In the first game we created chances but we didn’t manage to put them away.
“We have to keep the same commitment and not focus too much on the way we play, just focus on how well we attack and build the game up from the back.”
He added: “The advantage is the way to behave is clear. We know we need to score so we have a clear demand in our head and a clear approach.
“We need to have a positive way. Will Atletico do the same? Will they have a more cautious approach and try to hit us on the break? That’s what we’ll have to deal with in the game.”
So…it’s over to the players now.
Here’s to Eddie Nketiah’s stoppage-time strike taking a massive deflection off Diego Costa’s arse to secure us a memorable away goals victory.