Arsene Wenger: Atletico Madrid clash “absolutely vital” for Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger: Atletico Madrid clash “absolutely vital” for Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has acknowledged the importance of Arsenal’s upcoming Europa League semi-final showdown with Atletico Madrid, admitting that it is “absolutely vital” his side win the competition.

The Gunners are 14 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and are now left battling for silverware on just one front.

Arsenal have been handed the toughest of last-four draws, however, having been paired with the tournament favourites for a place in next month’s final in Wenger’s native France.

Asked if victory is required for this season to be considered anything other than a failure, the 68-year-old said: “It would be better, yes.

“We have a big opponent in Atletico Madrid and it’s absolutely vital we beat them, progress to the final and have a chance to win the competition.

“But it is a big obstacle in the semi-final, a big hurdle. Atletico Madrid are seen as the favourites to win the competition but I believe that at our best, we can beat them.”

Arsenal earned a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow in the previous round after surviving a second-leg scare in Russia.