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AC Milan – Arsenal

Milan Arsenal Wenger sad

AC Milan will host Arsenal in the most anticipated clash of the Europa League round of last 16. The Italians will try to take advantage of Arsenal’s current struggles and claim a good first leg result.

AC Milan have seen a 180 degrees turn in their fortunes since Genarro Gattuso took over as manager, and the hosts are now undefeated in the last 13 games after previously having a horrific first part of the season. While it`s unclear how good of a manager Gattuso really is, fact is he was able to rally the team behind him, and motivate his players to play aggressive football. AC Milan is coming after a win via penalties against Lazio in the Cup last week, and the team has not allowed a goal in the last 6 matches.

Arsenal is in a bad spot at the moment, although their problems are a bit overblown, as it is usually the case with the Gunners. But fact is Arsenal is not doing well at all, coming after 4 consecutive losses against Ostersunds, Man City (twice) and Brighton. Arsene Wenger is under big pressure and there are reports that he has lost the dressing room. The Europa League is Arsenal’s last chance to salvage the season, but they will definitely face a difficult task in Milan.

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Team news & lineups:

AC Milan has a full squad available with the exception of Conti (doubtful). Arsenal will miss its two best strikers, Aubameyang and Lacazette, while Cazorla, Bellerin and probably Monreal will be out as well.

AC Milan: Donnarumma – Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez – Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura – Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu

Arsenal: Ospina – Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac – Xhaka, Elneny, Wilshere – Ozil, Welbeck, Mkhitaryan

With AC Milan in good form and Arsenal struggling, many are suggesting this will be a home win. Why there is logic behind those opinions, fact is that Arsenal remains a superior team to AC Milan, and they will not keep losing forever. Odds of 2.10 for a Milan win seem low.

This has the makings of a tight game, it`s a hugely important match for both teams and nobody will want to compromise their chances for the second leg. As such, chances are risks will not be taken.

Arsenal is in bad form and has been horrible on the road this season, they are under big pressure, so they will not be confident, and that usually translates into a scared, prudent approach. Chances are they will not come to Italy to play free flowing football.

The Gunners are likely to put on a careful display, like they usually do against big teams away from home. But, unlike teams like Manchester City or Liverpool, Milan might find it hard to break Arsenal down. While it`s true that Arsenal’s defense is far from top notch, Milan`s offense isn`t that good either. Plus, the hosts are not expected to take many risks themselves – they will respect Arsenal, and that is not how they play against Gattuso anyway.

Milan has kept 6 consecutive clean sheets and allowed only 4 goals in their last 13 matches (never more than one per game). On the other hand, they scored more than once per game only 5 times in these 13 games themselves.

I expect a cautious approach from Arsenal and when you add the fact that they miss Aubameyang and Lacazette, they don`t look like great value to score against an air tight defense like Milan’s. On the other hand, the Italians aren`t good enough up front to expect to break down Arsenal with ease, despite the struggles of the visitors.

My tip will be under 3 goals (asian) to be scored. My plan was to go with the under 2.5, but the odds on the under 3.0 are just too good considering the extra safety this bet provides. Prediction: AC Milan – Arsenal 0-0.

Pick: under 3 goals
Odds: 1.58 @ 18Bet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 4.64
Event date: 8 March

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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