ANALYST Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism) previews Thursday night’s Europa League contest between Arsenal and Milan at the Emirates.
Arsenal v AC Milan | Thursday 15th March 2018, 20:05 | BT Sport
After their 2-0 victory in Milan last week, Arsenal head into this one looking to hold onto their aggregate advantage at the Emirates.
AC Milan haven’t lost an away game since mid-December and will provide a tough test for the Gunners.
Arsenal’s abysmal form of late led a lot of people, including me, to believe that the 6/5 available on AC Milan to win last week was a touch of value. But Arsene Wenger’s men pulled out all the stops and left Italy with a two goal lead heading into the second leg.
It was an outstanding, if unexpected, performance from Arsenal, with their ever-present defensive problems nowhere to be seen.
Danny Welbeck worked tirelessly in attack and the trio of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey worked their magic at the San Siro. A similar performance on Thursday night will see the Gunners in their first European semi-final since 2009.
Whether it was complacency or fatigue, you have to look at the defeat by Ostersunds at the Emirates as a worry when back Arsenal at home. Yes, they were 3-0 up on aggregate but they should have comfortably beaten them on home soil.
They also laboured to a 0-0 draw against Serbian side Crvena Zvezda at the Emirates earlier in the group stage of the Europa League – so take caution when backing Arsenal to win on Thursday evening.
Milan bounced back from the defeat to Arsenal with a 1-0 victory over Genoa at the weekend, and their incredible domestic run continues.
Perhaps the loss at the San Siro was just a slip-up, but it could have cost them a place in the Europa League semi-finals. Patrick Cutrone was left isolated up-front for the Rossoneri and Hakan Calhanoglu could (and probably should) have gone down for a penalty at 0-0.
These fine margins leave Milan with a lot to do in this second-leg.
The betting angle
It’s already been highlighted as to how much this competition means for both clubs, which means we should be in for an absolute cracker on Thursday night.
AC Milan know they need at least two goals to qualify and with Arsenal’s poor defensive record, you wouldn’t put it past them.
In his pre-match press conference, Gattuso said: “We’ve still got a 30 per cent chance of going through and we’re not going to London for a holiday. We need to respect our glorious shirts.”
And his side have scored 16 goals in their 11 away games he’s been in charge of.
Arsenal have scored the second most home goals, behind champions elect Manchester City, and I fancy them to get at least one in a game that they can’t afford to lose.
Over 2.5 goals and Both Teams To Score is 11/10 with SkyBet and in a game where anything could happen, I think that could be great odds.
Arsenal v AC Milan – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (11/10 SkyBet)