The Arsenal fans have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern in recent days due to their side’s abysmal form in all-competitions.
Arsene Wenger’s position as manager of Arsenal Football Club has long been called into question, but his side’s form in recent weeks has served to intensify those rumours and force even his biggest supporters to accept that it’s time for the Frenchman to take his leave after more than two decades in North-London. Arsenal’s defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend has left The Gunners 13 points adrift of their fierce-rivals Tottenham Hotspur who currently sit in 4th place in the Premier League, so it’s fair to say they are officially out of the race to qualify for the Champions League this season.
However, the Europa League represents something of a lifeline for the club as they could still secure a place in next seasons Champions League by winning the competition this season. If The Gunners want to win the Europa League, they will first need to see off the challenge of a red-hot AC Milan side over the course of two legs.
The first fixture of their last-sixteen encounter will be played at the San Siro this evening, a ground which Arsenal have not visited since they lost 4-0 in 2012. The Italian giants have turned their ground into a fortress in recent months, as they have only lost 1 match from 8 in all-competitions at home. Arsenal will need to be at their very best across the park tonight to get the better of the Rossoneri, particularly in defence where they have been culpable of committing costly mistakes in recent weeks.
Arsenal’s defensive unit will have to contend with a handful of creative attacking players in the red and black stripes of Milan, but they will need to keep a particularly close eye on the former Liverpool talent Suso (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) tonight. The 24-year-old Spaniard has played an integral role in Milan’s recent run of positive form in Serie A by offering a creative outlet on the right-side of midfield.
Suso plays with an elusive style drifting inside from the right onto his preferred left foot, and that fact could cause problems for Arsenal’s defence with regards to marking AC Milan’s danger man. If Arsenal fail to establish a pre-match plan to prevent Suso from influencing the game in the final-third, then he will certainly find a way to punish the travelling side during the 90 minutes.
His record of 8 goals and 11 assists in all-competitions this season speaks for itself, and if any AC Milan player is likely to break Arsenal hearts this evening, then it’s certainly Suso.