By 90Min
May 02, 2018

Frank Lampard has explained why 'big personality' Diego Costa poses the biggest threat to Arsenal's chances of progressing to the Europa League final.

The Chelsea legend wrote about the Atletico Madrid talisman in his column for the London Evening Standard ahead of the return leg between the Gunners and Diego Simeone's men, and marked out his former teammate as the potential difference maker at Wanda Metropolitano.

Costa proved to be a handful for Premier League defence during his time at Chelsea before he moved back to the Spanish capital last summer, and Lampard stated his belief that the striker could cause Arsenal huge problems on Thursday.

Aitor Alcalde/GettyImages

He wrote: "Costa is exactly the kind of personality missing from Arsenal’s dressing room, someone with that winning mentality. The English game has missed him this season after he rejoined Atletico from Chelsea. He is a big player, a big character. Love him or hate him, you have to appreciate that kind of player.

"Chelsea have certainly not looked the same without Costa. Not only is he a big physical presence, he has great quality to score goals. That is why I fear for Arsenal on Thursday night in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final."

The 29-year-old didn't feature in the first leg of the contest after he only recovered from a slight knock to make the bench at the Emirates, but is in line to start on home soil against Arsene Wenger's men.

And Lampard added that he suspected Arsenal would rue not beating Atleti in north London last time out after Costa failed to make it into the pitch.

He said: "Of course they’re still very much in it at 1-1. But they failed to defend properly against Antoine Griezmann for Atletico’s goal in the first match and now Costa, who was an unused substitute after just coming back from injury, will face them too.

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"We know that Arsenal defenders don’t like being manhandled or strong-armed and Costa is a master at that. He has played well against them before in a Chelsea shirt.

"Arsenal dropped the ball when Costa wasn’t on the pitch last week. They were also gifted a chance against 10 men in the first leg, with Sime Vrsaljko’s red card in the 10th minute. It was a chance to win comfortably or even just go back to Spain with a 1-0 advantage. But this is why games at this level are the best because you have to concentrate over two legs."

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