Arsenal vs Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa set to be unleashed on Gunners in Europa League semi-final first leg

The former Chelsea striker, 29, has recovered from a hamstring injury.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone, who is about to replace Arsene Wenger as the longest-serving manager among Europe’s top clubs, talked of his “admiration” for the Frenchman.

But he then threatened to unleash his brutish forward on the Gunners.

Simeone, who has led Atletico for six years, said: “Both in England and in Spain many teams have suffered at the hands of Diego Costa, not just Arsenal.

“His fitness has improved. He trained hard on Tuesday and Wednesday and, based on what we see, he will either play from the start or from the bench.”

Costa scored three goals in six games for Chelsea against Arsenal.

But he was involved in incidents which earned red cards for Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista and often bullied their defenders.

The Brazilian-born Spaniard was said to have travelled to London only as a spectator.

But Simeone sprang the surprise at his press conference and Costa then trained at the Emirates.

Asked if Costa travelled to lift his team-mates or intimidate Arsenal, Simeone added: “Knowing Diego Costa, both of those!

“He’s motivated but we are all well-motivated and determined.”

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