Arsenal v Milan: Gattuso and co to go down swinging

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Last week's win eased the pressure slightly on Arsene Wenger
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Arsenal surprised Kevin Hatchard last week by winning in Milan, and he thinks their second encounter with Italian giants could be a cracker.

"Arsenal have seen ten of their last 12 games feature three goals or more, and Milan have to push forward to rescue the tie."

Back Over 2.5 Goals at [1.82]

Arsenal v Milan
Thursday 15 March, 20:05
Live on BT Sport

Arsenal have shown grit, but there's more to do

With a top-four finish in the Premier League seemingly beyond their reach - they are [80.0] on the Betfair Exchange to make up the 12 point gap - Arsenal know this competition is their best route to silverware this season, and a seat at the Champions League table next term. They produced one of their best displays of the campaign last week, as they beat Milan 2-0 at San Siro. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey did the damage in the first half, and the Gunners showed maturity and control in the second to shut the match down.

Arsenal followed than victory up with a 3-0 dismissal of Watford in the Premier League. Troy Deeney, who had in crude terms accused Arsenal of lacking mental strength (he has a point), missed a penalty, much to the delight of the home fans at the Emirates. That Arsenal have been reduced to engaging in a spat with a limited player from a mid-table side perhaps shows how far they have fallen.

That said, you have to give credit where it is due, and Arsenal have recovered slightly from a grotesque spell where they were humbled by Brighton and Ostersunds, and spanked twice in quick succession by Manchester City. Now they must book their place in the quarter-finals of a competition that now means everything to the club.

Laurent Koscielny was rested at the weekend and should return. Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal could both return from injury. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible.

Milan may have too much damage to repair, but it won't stop them trying

Gennaro Gattuso's Milan fluffed their lines on their biggest night of the season. In front of a supportive crowd and in good form, the Rossoneri were primed to take advantage of a wobbling Arsenal team, but it simply didn't happen. An expensively assembled group of players still doesn't always function as a unit, and some of the club's youngsters are still understandably inconsistent. Midfielder Franck Kessie found last Thursday's game particularly difficult.

Milan did bounce back well with a 1-0 win at Genoa in Serie A, keeping them in the mix for Champions League qualification. Intriguingly, Milan have now seen their last six games feature fewer than three goals, but they will have to push for goals to turn this tie around.

Milan may name the same team that started last week's first leg, although Portuguese striker Andre Silva is pushing for a start after scoring the winner on Sunday.

Arsenal rightly the favourites, but price looks too short

Arsenal were worthy winners last week, and they were good against Watford, but I can't get excited about backing them to win at [2.1]. Milan are still a strong side, who have won seven of their last eight matches, and they are unlikely to be as poor second time around.

Goals the route to profit as Milan try to rescue tie

Milan don't usually give much away under Gattuso, hence the number of games recently that have ended up below the 2.5 Goals line. However, Milan have to be aggressive to get back into the tie, and it's worth noting that ten of Arsenal's last 12 games have featured three goals or more.

I'll go for Over 2.5 Goals here at [1.82].

2018 Europa League Knockout Stage P/L

Points Staked: 20

Points Returned: 17.23

P/L: -2.77 points

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