AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal – Europa League R/16 – San Siro/Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, Milan
Wow. We WON A GAME…..
Facetiousness aside, it’s good to win.
And despite the doom and gloom in our midst, we played pretty well overall.
There is one negative for me. In that it shows how well we can play, when we wish to.
However, it’s good that we have two away goals, and bar a calamity at home, we are at least favourites to proceed into the quarter-finals.
In the first-half, we bossed it overall. We bossed it over the game, in both halves.
Milan started well, and looked lively, but then we managed to get back into the game well.
This culminated in Mkhi getting his first goal for us, as a great ball over the top reached him, and he curled a shot from the left-hand side into the net. It took a deflection off Bonucci, though it was a warranted lead.
Ozil had a chance, as did Welbeck. But then Ramsey added another, from an excellent through ball from Mesut. He rounded the goalkeeper, and slotted in with great style.
The second half was pretty dominant from us, as Milan looked to get balls over the top, but our defence and GK were very resolute.
Welbeck and Mkhitarian had more chances to score, though we were able to contain them, and saw the game out.
And we kept a clean sheet too, which is pleasing given our usual defence-less play.
The Ostersunds second leg should give us some caution, as we nearly threw it away, and with a bigger lead than now. But then should we be as contained at home, it looks like a quarter-final appearance this year. It’s a shame we couldn’t do it for years in the Champions League, but should we beat Milan very soon, it could happen.
We looked more resolute than usual, and against a good and improving Milan team.
We showed that an English team can defeat an Italian side. Our good “friends” should watch and learn, naturally…..
It’s always good to win. However, it must be said as it’s a near elephant in the room. Why can we play like this now, and abominably vs. Swansea, Bournemouth, City (twice), the lilywhite scummers, and Ostersunds (H)? I don’t mean to cloud this with negativity, but then this performance begs this immediate question.
Nonetheless, we looked like we had a resolute discipline. And in a way, it mirrored that of the League Cup semis vs. Chelsea.
If we can play like this more often, we’d have far less issues.
Milan overall were poor, but then I think we made them poor to a large extent. It was in summation a pretty professional performance, and against an improving Milan side.
In this battle of the fallen giants, we have the first strike.
The defence/GK was very good. Ospina’s cross handling is always not the best, but overall he did very well in shot-stopping. Mustafi, Chambers, Kolasinac, and Koscielny were all strong too.
Ospina 7, Mustafi 7, Chambers 7, Kolasinac 7
Ramsey had a great game, as did Xhaka. Wilshere too looked good, though Ozil/Mkhi were both creative and contributed in defence.
Ramsey 9, Xhaka 7, Wilshere 7, Ozil 7, Mkhi 8.
Welbeck, as usual, lived up to his billing – “a lot of hard work, but not much finishing ability”. 6/10
And, no, that’s not meant disparagingly. I like Welbeck a lot, though at 27 it’s clear he may never be a top scorer, despite holding many other positive attributes to his game. This may make some balk, or laugh, but if he could finish he could be as good as Kane, PEA, Aguero, or Salah. He gets into positions, but lacks end-product.
Man of the match
After some bad injuries of late, he scored a wondrous goal to help us be in pole position in the tie.