The round of 16 of Europa League will see two European elites, AC Milan and Arsenal, face-to-face each other, both aiming to grasp a seat for the group stage of Champions League next year. The Europa league seems to be the antidote for both the teams, who are struggling for a top-four finish in their respective league.
Arsenal travel to San Siro with a decent record against the latter but with a distraught form on their shoulders. The Gunners have lost 5 of their last six matches, unlike Milan who have impressed since the appointment of Gattuso; unbeaten in their previous 13 games and six consecutive wins in all competitions.
Ac Milan and Arsenal both spent well on transfer market yet only Milan can show considerable progress. Arsenal keeps falling behind on all fronts. Milan’s top scorer, Patrick Cutrone, and breakthrough star Suso will be a significant threat for Arsenal backline who have conceded eight goals in last three matches.
Wenger’s January recruit Aubameyang will not face his former side Milan and with Lacazette sidelined with a knee issue, The Gunners need their midfielders to decide the tide of the game.
The Europa league looks like the only gateway for Milan and Arsenal to be back at Champions League, but a game can only favor one winner.
The Gunners too can turn up for a crucial tie, with the quality of their squad well above the opposition. The likes of Aubameyang, Ozil, and Mkhitaryan can prove to be too lethal as seen in Arsenal’s demolition of Everton.
The fans would never want to see a lackluster Arsenal that were demolished by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final. Either way, this is a must watch tie in the round of 16 for both sets of fans and also for oppositions viewing to win the Europa league.
Milan are unbeaten in their previous 13 games. Confidence is running high as Milan beat Lazio in Coppa Italia in their previous game.
On the other hand, Arsenal have lost five of their last six matches. The Gunners have a tough opponent away from home and have a torrid away form this season. The Wenger’s Men have won only three games away from home in the league and lost again at Brighton on Sunday. The match finished 2-1 in favor of Brighton and put further backlash on the under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger.
Gennaro Gattuso has a fully fit squad of first-team players and most likely put a strong lineup for the match.
The Gunners miss-out on Nacho Monreal sidelined with a hamstring and Lacazette, who is out with a knee problem. Both players did not travel to the loss at Brighton. Mkhitaryan is eligible to play the Europa league despite featuring for Manchester United in the Champions league but
Aubameyang will not feature for Arsenal in the Europa league as Arsenal were unable to include him in the squad for Europa league prior 1st February 2018.
Key Players to Watch
For Milan, Andre Silva and Cutrone are the stand out players. Silva scored six goals in the Europa league, one short of the top scorer and will look to add to his impressive 102 minutes per goal statistic. Cutrone also has four goals and an assist in the competition.
Kolasinac and Bellerin proved vital in Arsenal’s group stage, and their defensive unit scored five goals, highest in the entire competition. Both attacking fullbacks are the strength of this Arsenal side and will look to bomb forward at any given phase of the game.
Milan vs Arsenal Lineup (Predicted XI)
AC Milan Lineup (4-3-3)
Def: Rodriguez, Zapata, Bonucci, Calabria
Mid: Bonaventura, Biglia, Kessie
Att: Silva, Cutrone, Suso
Arsenal Lineup (4-2-3-1)
Def: Kolasinac, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin
Def. Mid: Xhaka, Wilshere
Att. Mid: Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan
AC Milan vs Arsenal Prediction
Ac Milan are high on form and Arsenal are equipped with loads of quality players. It is difficult to predict an outcome of the game basked in high spirits in the San Siro’s energetic atmosphere.
Hence, We predict a 2-0 victory on home turf for Ac Milan with both Andre Silva and Cutrone to score on either side of the half.