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Arsene Wenger's future in the balance as Arsenal are handed worst possible draw against Atletico


Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal future may depend on beating Atletico Madrid after his team received the worst possible draw for their Europa League semi-final.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette had suggested after Thursday’s 6-3 aggregate quarter-final win against CSKA Moscow that there was a feeling within Arsenal’s squad that winning the Europa League could keep Wenger as manager, and the players must now achieve that feat the hard way.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico are Europa League favourties after twice reaching the Champions League final and also winning La Liga over recent seasons. There was a theory that Arsenal’s best chance would be to avoid them until the final, which is played only over one leg, but they will instead host Atletico at The Emirates on April 26 before the second leg in Madrid a week later.

It is Arsenal’s first European semi-final since the 2009 Champions League and they are aiming to reach their first final since losing 2-1 against Barcelona in the 2006 European Cup final.

Wenger noticeably ignored a pre-match question about whether he would continue as manager if Arsenal do not win the competition and, with CSKA Moscow very close at one stage on Thursday to overhauling a three-goal deficit, there was also sense that the future of the club’s longest-serving manager was on the line.

The first legs will be on Thursday 26 April, with the returns taking place on Thursday 3 May.

Arsenal will host Atletico Madrid at the Emirates in the first half of the tie - just three days before they travel to Manchester United in the Premier League.

Culled from Evening Standard

My view: Win or lose, Arsene Wenger should step down at the end of the season.

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