7th of March 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Two teams that see the UEFA Europa League as their way out from a disappointing season clash on Thursday at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium as AC Milan host Arsenal in the first leg of their last-sixteen tie. The two teams last met in the first knockout round of the Champions League in 2012 and AC Milan pulled through after a 4-0 victory at home and a 3-0 defeat in London. They have met at the same stage of the Champions League in 2008 too, but on that occasion Arsenal qualified thanks to a 2-0 victory in Milan after a goalless draw in London.
AC Milan have been in great form lately, they have not lost a match since December 23 and they have been victorious in their last six matches in all competitions. Last week they squeezed past Lazio in the Italian Cup semi-finals after 120 minutes of play in the second leg and a penalty shoot-out, but they did get to rest at the weekend because Sunday's Serie A matches were all postponed due to the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. Head coach Gennaro Gattuso doesn't have any injury concerns ahead of this match, so he will surely field his best eleven.
Arsenal are going through the worst crisis during Arsene Wenger's 22-year spell in charge of the club, they have lost all their last four matches in all competitions and have won just four of their last fifteen competitive matches. Last weekend the Gunners lost 2-1 at Brighton, a result which ended their already slim hopes of pushing for a top-four finish in the Premier League. Alexandre Lacazette is still injured and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can't be registered for this competition, so most likely Danny Welbeck will be given the starting berth as striker. Nacho Monreal is an injury doubt ahead of Thursday's match.
AC Milan: Donnarumma - Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez - Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura - Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu
Arsenal: Ospina - Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac - Ramsey, Xhaka, Wilshere - Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Ozil
My prediction: AC Milan to win 2-1.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
AC Milan win - 2.20
Draw - 3.39
Arsenal win - 3.60
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Arsenal were just great in this first leg and probably their fans asking themselves why the team doesn't play such style day in and day out.
I think this tournament is the last chance of Wenger to keep his job for the next season too and who knows maybe they will succeed, certainly one of the biggest favourites for the cup especially if they keep playing like in that Milan visit.
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