In the latest Arsenal news, Frank Lampard has questioned the Gunners’ chances of beating Atletico Madrid due to the presence of Diego Costa.
The two sides drew 1-1 at The Emirates in a game which the home side dominated but lacked the killer instinct to finish off Los Colchoneros.
Atleti went down to 10 men after just 10 minutes but Arsenal spurned a host of chances and head to Madrid as the 19/5 underdogs with William Hill.
It may well be Arsene Wenger’s final European game in charge but he is unlikely to find any sentiment from opposite number Diego Simeone.
Simeone will have his players itching to go and will have the added boost of being able to start Diego Costa in the second leg.
The striker has continued to be plagued by hamstring injuries since his January return to Madrid but got through an hour at the weekend and is expected to get the nod.
Costa has history with the Arsenal defenders, with them unable to deal with his physicality during his time at Stamford Bridge, and Lampard believes the 29-year-old will again prove to be a massive thorn in the Gunners’ side.
Writing in the Evening Standard, Lampard suggested the Spain international is the type of personality the Gunners have so dearly missed in recent years and is tipping him to make the difference on Thursday.
“Arsenal’s task of beating Atletico Madrid was already tough, but it’s a lot harder with Diego Costa now up against them,” he said. “Costa is exactly the kind of personality missing from Arsenal’s dressing room, someone with that winning mentality.
“The English game has missed him this season after he rejoined Atletico from Chelsea. He is a big player, a big character. Love him or hate him, you have to appreciate that kind of player.”