Arsenal must hope to avoid Atletico Madrid in Europa League semi-final draw, says Mark Schwarzer
Last Updated: 12/04/18 11:18pm
Arsenal must hope to avoid Atletico Madrid in Friday's Europa League semi-final draw, says Mark Schwarzer.
The Gunners survived a real scare against CSKA Moscow to book their place in the semi-finals, coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 and progress to the last four courtesy of a 6-3 aggregate victory.
One of Atletico Madrid, Marseille and Salzburg stand between Arsene Wenger's men and a place in the final in Lyon on May 16.
Former Premier League goalkeeper Schwarzer, who tasted defeat to Atletico Madrid in the 2010 Europa League final, has stressed the importance of avoiding Diego Simeone's side.
"There are some very good teams left at this stage of the competition, with Atletico Madrid and Marseille left, it's a tough competition still," he told The Debate.
"Arsenal need to play a lot better than they did tonight, but they are at this stage of the competition on merit so they have a chance.
"Atletico are a team that have had a lot of success in this competition and in European football, so they are a team nobody wants to draw against.
"You just don't know what you're going to get with Marseille, and Salzburg are probably the weakest side left of the remaining sides.
"Arsenal will hope to play against Salzburg and hope to avoid Atletico at all costs."
CSKA threatened to become the second team to overturn a three-goal first-leg deficit in Europa League knockout history, after goals in either half from Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin.
Another unanswered goal would have dumped Arsenal out of the competition but Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey - assisted by superb Mohamed Elneny passes - secured the Gunners' passage into the next round.
"The only way there is a positive for Arsene Wenger and the team at the end of the season is winning the Europa League," Schwarzer added.
"You don't know what you're going to get with Arsenal so there are no guarantees where they will finish in the league.
"At the moment, their only option is to win the Europa League, then the season could be classed as reasonably successful."