Arsenal's commanding performance away at the San Siro last week will have them in a great position to advance, but they will still need a better home showing than the last Europa League match if they are to finish the job against AC Milan on Thursday night.
Emirates Stadium, London, England
Key Stat: Milan had failed to concede in six games prior to the first leg, but they gave up two on the night at the San Siro to the Gunners.
Expert Verdict: Arsenal went out and reminded all of us, fans and pundits alike, that they are still a great side in the first leg and that they should not just be written off. The Gunners put in perhaps their best showing of the entire season, and it is very difficult to see how even they could squander this chance against what has to be a very disappointed Milan side.
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Arsene Wenger looks set to continue to miss out on the services of center midfielder Santi Cazorla, forward Alexandre Lacazette, and left back Nacho Monreal due to injuries. Forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible.
There is still a lot of angst and tumult surrounding the Emirates club right now, with fans protesting and staying away, but they will have to take a lot of hope in the last two performances. Those wins, both coming in the last week, have changed the mood a lot, and they are looking like they could contend for this trophy if they keep it up. Both wins featured starring roles from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and he will once again be a crucial man to keep a watch on for the Gunners.
Arsenal have two wins and three losses in their last five matches:
3-0 home win vs Watford
0-2 win at AC Milan (UEL)
2-1 loss at Brighton
0-3 home loss vs Manchester City
0-3 loss vs Manchester City (EFL Cup)
Defenders:Chambers, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac
Defensive Midfielders:Ramsey, Xhaka
Attacking Midfielders:Ozil, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan
Gennaro Gattuso looks like he will continue to be without right backs Andrea Conti and Ignazio Abate, but the former could be set to return soon to training from his ligament injury.
It's a long, long way back for Milan now, and it's hard to envision a route forward. But one route is to get an early goal and ride some of that angst that the Emirates has been producing of late. It might take a bit of magic, whether it be from open play or a set piece. As far as the latter is concerned, there aren't many better at free kicks than left back Ricardo Rodriguez. The Swiss international can be a big time player going forward and defending against the likes of Ozil.
Milan have three wins, a loss, and a draw in their last five matches:
0-1 win at Genoa
0-2 home loss vs Arsenal (UEL)
0-0 draw, penalty win vs Lazio (Coppa Italia)
0-2 win at Roma
1-0 home win vs Ludogorets (UEL)
Defenders:Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez
Midfielders:Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura
Forwards:Suso, Calhanoglu, Cutrone
After the win in the first leg in Milan, Arsenal now have three wins, a draw, and a loss against AC Milan in official competition. The win last week was the first meeting staged in the Europa League. Here's a look at the last five results:
Mar 8, 2018: Milan 0-2 Arsenal (UEL)
Mar 6, 2012: Arsenal 3-0 Milan (UCL)
Feb 15, 2012: Milan 4-0 Arsenal (UCL)
Mar 4, 2008: Milan 0-2 Arsenal (UCL)
Feb 20, 2008: Arsenal 0-0 Milan (UCL)
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Arsenal are at 19/20 to win, a draw is at 11/4, and an AC Milan win is at 5/2.
Arsenal are far behind the top four in England's Premier League currently with less than ten matches to go, and without one of the best run-ins in recent history, will be on the outside looking in without winning this tournament. That's why their focus should be turning to strictly this competition now, making them a bigger threat as they know this is the one chance for glory and redemption. Milan are similar to Arsenal. They aren't as far back as Arsenal are to the top four, but they still have a lot of points to make up as well as having to jump over several teams just to make it. This looked like their one shot, but it looks to have fallen out of reach.
For the first time in nearly two decades, Arsenal were not in the Champions League. They, like Milan, have been playing in this competition throughout. Arsenal, though, at least got to start in the group stages. They had a wobble, but nothing too catastrophic, as they overcame Cologne, BATE Borisov, and Red Star Belgrade to win the group and go through. In the round of 32, they beat Ostersunds (despite losing the second leg) to signal they could have been ripe for the picking. As for Milan, they have been fighting since the middle of summer in this tournament. Their first season in the UEL since 2009 began with wins over Craiova and Shkendija just to make the group. From thee they made light work of AEK, Rijeka, and Austria Vienna for the most part to set up a tie with Ludogorets that they advanced from comfortably.
Arsenal have largely enjoyed a strong home record across all competitions this season. Overall, they have taken 17 wins, three draws, and three losses so far. The issue, though, has been of late with two losses at home coming in the last couple of weeks against Manchester City and Ostersunds. Overall, though, it has not been a bad record at all. Milan have also had a good record on the road for the most part. They have won 11 times, once on penalties, drawn four times, and lost six times. Most of the losses were against bigger teams in Italy and one to Rijeka in the group. They have not lost any of the last eight away fixtures.
Mkhitaryan to score anytime is at 2/1 via Ladbrokes.
Gattuso said that his side failed to play as a team in the first leg loss. The sad part about that, for them, is that even with a great showing here, they could still be out. That's is most likely going to be the case, as a draw looks like a good chance.