Arsenal will be more than pleased with the way they deal with AC Milan to reach the next stage of the Europa League, in what many had believed would be a difficult task.
The Gunners rose to the occasion at the San Siro to come away with an impressive 2-0 cushion going into the second leg, and would have been weary of letting themselves slip into comfort.
Arsenal started the game brightly despite failing to create any clear-cut chances, but suffered a setback after only 10 minutes when Laurent Koscielny was forced to leave the field, with Calum Chambers coming on in his place. We continued to dominate the majority of possession, but the game took a turn.
Hakan Calhanoglu, the player most well-known for scoring astonishing free-kicks from his time with Bayer Leverkusen, brought the game to life with an outstanding long curling shot from outside the box which left Ospina flapping to try and deny the Italian’s the lead, which he failed.
The hopes of AC Milan were shortlived however, as the referee took his time to make the decision to give our side a penalty within five minutes of us conceding, and you would have to say that it was probably a harsh decision on the visitors, but Danny Welbeck made no mistake in sending Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way to level the match-
We went into half-time leading the fixture 3-1 on aggregate, and would have to have felt comfortable at the break, but we didn’t allow ourselves to switch off.
We came out in the second half unchanged, and continued to dominate possession and the tempo of the match, and must have been frustrating our opposition who had no choice but to chase two goals from the remaining time.
Kalinic found himself in space in the box as he looked to get his side back into the game, but Ospina was more than ready to deal with his headed effort, before Granit Xhaka all-but sealed the tie with a driven effort from outside the box. The 19 year-old goalkeeper was unable to match the power and precision of the strike and had to squirm as the ball bounced up into the net despite his efforts.,
Our boys seemed to enjoy the rest of the match, adding a third on the night thanks to a neat team goal which ended with Danny Welbeck heading in after the goalkeeper fumbled his initial shot, and it will be Arsenal who remain in the hat for the next round.
Did Milan fail to turn up or was our side simply too good for them? Will Wilshere and Ramsey get more opportunities to play in a midfield three after this performance?