Arsenal know winning the Europa League is their only realistic chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League and face a huge test against a resurgent AC Milan.
Arsene Wenger to go 4-3-2-1 for showdown with AC Milan at San Siro
The Gunners are in the midst of a genuine crisis and have lost eight of their last 13 games in all competitions.
Now sixth in the Premier League and 13 points adrift of the top four, the Europa League represents their only remaining chance of success this season – and winning it would also provide Champions League football for next season.
But a trip to the San Siro is never easy, and AC Milan are on a great run of form since Gennaro Gattuso took over – unbeaten in 13 matches.
Their derby showdown with Inter Milan on Sunday was postponed due to the tragic death of Fiorentina star Davide Astori, so the Rossoneri will be well rested for the game with the Gunners too.
Arsene Wenger has few injury issues ahead of the game – with Nacho Monreal (back) and Alexandre Lacazette (knee) his only major absentees.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible due to his former club Borussia Dortmund participating in the competition, while Santi Cazorla’s long-term achilles woes continue.
So who will Wenger bank on to get him a pivotal result in the first leg of this last 16 tie?
Milan are on a six-game winning streak, a huge contrast to Arsenal’s woes, under former player Gennaro Gattuso, though Thursday’s game will be the first at San Siro since the tragic passing of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori after the weekend derby for cancelled.
Arsenal Predicted Starting Line-up
Expected Line-up: 4-3-2-1
Arsenal likely XI
- Defenders:Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles
- Defensive Midfielders:Wilshere, Xhaka
- Attacking Midfielders:Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi
- Forwards: Welbeck