Arsenal have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals.
The Gunners booked their place in the final four with a nervy 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow on Thursday evening, drawing 2-2 on the night in Russia.
Victory in the competition represents Arsenal’s only serious chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season, with the north London club sitting in sixth place in the Premier League.
In the other semi-final tie, Olympique Marseille face FC Red Bull Salzburg, who both advanced following fine comeback wins over RB Leipzig and Lazio respectively.
The first legs will be played on April 26, with the second legs on May 3.
Tournament favourites Atletico progressed at the expense of Sporting Lisbon, despite a 1-0 defeat in Portugal on Thursday evening.
Diego Simeone’s side are currently second in LaLiga behind runaway leaders Barcelona.
Speaking after Thursday’s match in Moscow, when at one point Arsenal had been a goal away from elimination, manager Arsene Wenger admitted he would prefer to avoid Atletico in the last-four.
“Looking at all the results as a whole picture in Europe this week, you would say that teams have become closer and the games are very open and everything is possible in every single game,” Wenger said.
“Everybody speaks about Atletico Madrid that they look the strongest team on paper, but you must say when you look at the results that Salzburg have done again… I am from France and Marseille are in there as well and that is always a difficult place to go… maybe it is better that I don’t wish for anybody.”
Semi-Final Preview: Marseille v Salzburg
- The teams played each other in this season’s group stage – the Austrian champions won 1-0 at home and both sides progressed after a 0-0 draw on matchday six.
- Marseille are eight games unbeaten at home in the competition, qualifying included, winning seven. A European club record 58,897 turned out at the Stade Vélodrome on Thursday for the stunning comeback against RB Leipzig.
- Salzburg are 25 matches unbeaten at home this season, and ten games without defeat in Austria in the UEFA Europa League. They scored three goals in four minutes and four seconds on Thursday to overturn Lazio’s advantage.
Semi-Final Preview: Arsenal v Atletico Madrid
- The sides have never previously met.
- Atlético have already faced English opposition this season, losing 2-1 at home before a 1-1 away draw against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
- Arsenal are the competition’s top scorers with 29 goals; they’ve had the most shots (162) and picked up more wins than any other team (8).
- Two-time UEFA Europa League holders Atlético Madrid have won 22 of their last 26 fixtures in the competition.
- Diego Costa scored Chelsea’s consolation in last year’s 2-1 FA Cup final defeat by Arsenal, his third goal in six encounters with the Gunners.
The final will take place at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on 16 May.