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Arsenal have three reasons to be optimistic of Europa League win vs Atletico Madrid, says Guillem Balague

Arsene Wenger of Arsenal looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Arsenal and AC Milan at Emirates Stadium on March 15, 2018 in London, England.

Arsenal have been handed the hardest possible draw in the Europa League semi-finals, but Guillem Balague isn't entirely convinced by Atletico Madrid.

Arsene Wenger of Arsenal looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Arsenal and AC Milan at Emirates Stadium on March 15, 2018 in London, England.

Arsenal fans won't exactly be jumping up and down at the prospect of facing Atletico Madrid over two legs in the Europa League semi-finals, but could this be as good a time as any to be facing Diego Simeone's side?

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes there are three key reasons for the Gunners to go into this tie with plenty of optimism, despite it looking on paper like the hardest draw they could have been dealt.

It's absolutely crucial for Arsenal to win this competition this season as it would take a minor miracle for them to break into the top four now, so how might Arsene Wenger's side stand any chance of getting past Atletico and into the Europa League final?

According to Balague, one key thing to look out for is that Simeone's men are not the resilient, well-drilled defensive outfit that they once were.

"In the past going a goal up would have been guarantee of victory, but they have dropped points after going ahead, they (Atletico) are less impressive from set-pieces in both boxes," Balague told Sky Sports.

Former French soccer player and ambassador for the UEFA Europa League final in Lyon Eric Abidal  shows the slip of Atletico de Madrid during the draw for the semi-finals round of the UEFA...

"And (they) showed against Sporting that now the squad has become smaller, players are becoming affected by injuries and tiredness.

"They go to Levante this weekend with only 13 players from the first-team at a crucial part of the season where you have to be sharp with players in front of goal, they may struggle with it. There are angles Arsenal can be positive about."

Arsenal have plenty of weaknesses of their own and might not be best-equipped to punish their opponents on set-pieces, but they do have one luxury of being able to rest and rotate players at this crucial stage of the season.

With the top four more or less out of sight, Wenger can forget about the Premier League, but Simeone will want to keep as close to possible to Barcelona in La Liga as they are still mathematically in the title race in Spain.

They also have Real Madrid and Valencia breathing down their necks in the battle for second place, and will want to make sure they finish as high as possible even if they cannot overtake Barca for the title.

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