Big Match Breakdown: AC Milan v Arsenal
Cian Carroll | 8 March 2018
Which side can take a step towards UCL qualification?
AC Milan take on Arsenal in a Europa League Round-of-16 first-leg clash at San Siro tonight.
At least in terms of reputations, it’s a proper glamour tie between two sides who, up until recently, were Champions League regulars.
But both have fallen on comparatively harder times. However, this is a chance to progress in the Europa League and win a spot in next season’s UCL.
The Coral News Team takes a closer look at this first-leg in a Big Match Breakdown…
Head-to-Head & Form
Milan and Arsenal have met four times in recent years, all in Champions League clashes. The Gunners have a slight edge, winning two, and drawing once.
However, when it comes to the form guide, the Italian giants have the upper hand. After a sticky start to managerial life at the Giuseppe Meazza, Gennaro Gattuso has turned the Rossoneri around.
The Milan legend has overseen a run of eight unbeaten in Serie A, including six wins. In addition, they’ve also made the Coppa Italia final.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have lost five of their last six in all competitions.
With the derby postponed last weekend, Milan will be well-rested for this clash. Gattuso has no injury worries and will be able to call upon a practically fully fit squad.
Arsenal have a few more issues. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is cup-tied, while Alexandre Lacazette is out injured.
That means Arsene Wenger will likely start Danny Welbeck up front with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan either wide.
Nacho Monreal is also a big doubt. Sead Kolasinac should replace him at left-back.
If both sides play in their manager’s image, Arsenal are in big trouble. Arsene Wenger looks a broken man, and his team are playing like their heart isn’t in it anymore.
Gattuso – famed for being an aggressive midfield general in his playing days – has finally got Milan fighting for the badge.
The Rossoneri look like they’ve clicked at the back with Alessio Romagnoli and Leonardo Bonucci looking incredibly solid in recent weeks.
But it’s in midfield this game will be won. Milan’s central trio of Giacomo Bonaventura, Franck Kessie, and Lucas Biglia are tough, talented, and technically gifted.
Arsenal’s midfield of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, and Granit Xhaka will have to match them stride-for-stride.
Milan are Coral’s favourites at 21/20. You can back Arsenal at 23/10, with the Draw available also at 23/10.
The big question here is will Arsenal be motivated enough? The team know they have little to no chance of making the Premier League top-four. This is their only route into next season’s UCL.
Gattuso’s outfit are in the exact same boat in Serie A. This one could come down to the side who are in better form.
Milan aren’t exactly a prolific goalscoring side. They tend to share the goals around the team. Patrick Cutrone is top scorer with 10 goals. He’s got four in this competition. He’s 4/1 to be First Goalscorer.
Kessie (23/10 Anytime) and Bonaventura (2/1 Anytime) are also very dangerous from midfield.
For Arsenal, Danny Welbeck is 9/4 to find the net at Anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing