Arsenal produced a composed performance against AC Milan to take control of their Europa League Last tie with a 2-0 victory at San Siro on Thursday
Arsenal’s recent form looked like a distant memory as they produced a brilliant overall performance against AC Milan to take control of the Round of 16 tie. AC Milan failed to create any clear-cut chances in either halves, but when they tried, Arsenal responded with some stout defending.
Mesut Ozil produced a top class performance with two assists on the night, providing the chances for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey to score first-half goals. It was incidentally Mkhitaryan’s first goal in Arsenal colours and Ramsey, returning from injury put the game to bed late in first-half stoppage time.
At the other end of the pitch, Arsenal’s defenders put in a master class performance barring a few errors which could have proven costly had Milan’s attackers been clinical. In the end, though, Arsene Wenger will be pleased with the team’s effort as well as the two-goal lead they now take to the Emirates for the second leg. Here’s how were rated Arsenal’s players against AC Milan at San Siro.
David Ospina: 7.5/10
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An accomplished performance by the Colombian to record a clean sheet. Ospina was available whenever the AC Milan attackers threatened with shots, although he didn’t have to make any big saves. But, the intervention to deny Nikola Kalinic was crucial, and his sweeping abilities meant Arsenal didn’t concede a goal.
Calum Chambers: 6.5/10
Chambers produced a much improved performance on Thursday than the one at the weekend. Barring a few awkward moments in possession and defence, the youngster complemented Arsenal’s backline well and even went close to finding the back of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net.
Laurent Koscielny: 9/10
This was Koscielny’s best performance for some time and fans would be wondering where was this version of the Frenchman in recent weeks when Arsenal were trembling. He kept his composure and marshalled the defence to his best, denying Milan attackers, especially Patrick Cutrone any sniff at the goal.
Shkodran Mustafi: 7.5/10
Not as good as Koscielny, but was still much better than in recent games. Mustafi was sloppy at times with possession, but apart from that, he was always focused and ready for any challenge put in front of him by Milan attackers.
Sead Kolasinac :6/10
Slowly getting back his early season confidence as he showed with a decent showing against Milan. Kolasinac was easily turned on occasion, and there was a feeling he could have made more against Davide Calabria on his side. But overall, it was a mostly error-free performance and his contributions to Arsenal’s attack were quite visible.
Jack Wilshere: 7/10
After a poor run of form, Wilshere seems to have found his energy levels and composure. By comparison, Wilshere’s second half was much better than the first, as he played around the ball with more confidence and control. Not as much of a contribution in defending the ball as Ramsey or Xhaka, but the Englishman had a good game overall.
Granit Xhaka: 8/10
There is a growing feeling Xhaka is finally getting into his stride to become an essential player for Arsenal. Followed up on his recent good performances with a fantastic outing against Milan. Ironically, there were only one or two missed passes from the Swiss international, but he was superb in defending the back four and while distributing play from the back.
Aaron Ramsey: 8.5/10
Ramsey’s performance highlighted why Arsene Wenger saved the Welshman for this game. His energy was palpable right from the onset as he consistently got into dangerous positions to score. Eventually scored Arsenal’s second goal of the night, and was a constant threat to Milan’s goal while also being proactive defensively.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 9/10
A top-notch performance from the Armenian. Mkhitaryan scored the opening goal, and he could have scored more but for the post. Additionally, he was a constant menace to the Milan defenders and delivered a near perfect performance in the final third, losing the ball only once or twice in the entire game.
Mesut Ozil: 9/10
There was some pre-match talk about Ozil’s stuttering form, but the German proved his doubters wrong on Thursday. It was a big game performance by Ozil, who laid down two brilliant assists for Mkhitaryan and Ramsey in the first half. The latter could especially be applauded as the pass split the Milan defence open before Ramsey rounded Donnarumma to score Arsenal’s second.
Danny Welbeck: 7/10
Welbeck may not have scored a goal, but he worked hard for Arsenal’s cause. His pressing game was effective and often put a lot of pressure on Milan’s defenders. His touch though, needs to improve as it seems a bit too heavy most times. But, the Englishman ran around and made things happen for Arsenal, and seems to be getting back to his best.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 5.5/10
Came on for Kolasinac in the second half as the Bosnian picked up an injury. He still lacks the confidence and sharpness for games like this with many of Milan’s late attacks came from his side of the pitch.
Rob Holding: 6/10
Was sent to shore up the defence, replacing the brilliant Ozil. Held the ball up well and ensured Arsenal did not concede a goal in his presence.