18:00 GMT 08 March 2018
With this week’s Champions League action out the way on Wednesday night, it is the Europa League that follows on Thursday night. After the first knockout round, we are now into the Last 16 and in the biggest of the eight ties, Arsenal face AC Milan. This is certainly a clash that wouldn’t seem out of place in the Champions League and if you were to rewind seven or eight years, it could’ve been a semi-final.
The two former European heavyweights have been drawn against each other twice before, both in the Champions League. Each side had the pleasure of dumping the other out in the Last 16 stage as a 2-0 aggregate win for Arsenal in 2008 saw them through while a 4-3 victory for Milan meant they progressed in 2012. Robinho was the hero the last time they played at the San Siro as he scored a brace on the way to a 4-0 demolition for AC Milan. There has never been a European fixture between these sides where both teams have scored.
It is important for Gattuso’s side that they use their first-leg home advantage to take a lead to the Emirates otherwise they could be facing an uphill task. They are only missing Luca Antonelli, Ignazio Abate and Andrea Conti for the clash. Latest matches: AC Milan
Latest matches: AC Milan
The Gunners need to avoid a heavy defeat if they want any chance of making the quarter-final and after resting some first-teamers for the loss at Brighton, they will welcome them back. Hector Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey are expected to return while Danny Welbeck should be selected up front as both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are unavailable. Nacho Monreal also won’t feature so Sead Kolasinac will take the left-back spot.
Latest matches: Arsenal FC
|04.03.2018||Prem||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||Arsenal FC||2:1||L|
|01.03.2018||Prem||Arsenal FC||Manchester City||0:3||L|
|25.02.2018||EFL||Manchester City||Arsenal FC||3:0||L|
|22.02.2018||UEFA||Arsenal FC||Ostersunds FK||1:2||L|
|15.02.2018||UEFA||Ostersunds FK||Arsenal FC||0:3||W|
It should be a great encounter between two sides who should really be playing Champions League football. Neither side will give too much away but AC Milan need to seize the initiative and are favourites to win the first-leg. The visitors know they can perform on the biggest stage but their recent away form will play into the hands of the hosts.
08 March 2018 - 18:00 GMT
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