The Arsenal fans are feeling confident in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their most crucial fixture of the season so far against AC Milan.
The Rossoneri travel to The Emirates Stadium to face the second-leg of their last-sixteen fixture against a resurgent Arsenal side this evening. The resident Gunners propping up by our bar were absolutely delighted by their side’s 2-0 victory at the San Siro last week, but they are refusing to get carried away by the result at the half-way stage.
The importance of the fixture cannot be expressed highly enough, as winning the Europa League represents Arsenal’s only realistic chance of qualifying for next seasons Champions League. Arsenal’s 2 goal advantage places them in a desirable situation, but they will still need to bring their A-game to The Emirates to guarantee their place in the quarter-final of the competition.
Every player in Arsenal red will need to play their part to ensure they qualify for the next round, but the impact of Henrikh Mkhitaryan (valued at £31.5 million by Transfermarkt) could prove to be a decisive factor in the clubs most important game of the season so far. Although the Europa League does not command the same level of respect and prestige that the Champions League does, it’s certainly not a trophy that should be sniffed at, even if you disregard the fact it guarantees qualification to the superior European competition.
Ultimately, the Europa League is full of top quality teams from across the continent such as Arsenal’s opponents this evening and the likes of Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, so winning the competition should be considered a great achievement for the club this season.
Arsenal’s commanding 2 goal lead means they will not need to burst out the traps and adopt a gung-ho attitude to proceedings, but if they can assert their authority early in the tie and score the all-important first goal, they should have no problem seeing off the challenge of the Italian giants.
As he exemplified in the first-leg, Mkhitaryan will be crucial to Arsenal’s creativity in the final third, and if he can rediscover the form he demonstrated in his previous two outings then Wenger’s side should have no problem in recording their best result of the season so far tonight.
On his day, he is unstoppable offensively. Providing fantastic energy, passing, and even a solid threat in-front of goal, Milan won’t be able to handle him if he’s at his best. If he struggles, though, Arsenal could too.
Arsenal fans – thoughts?
Let us know below!