If it’s Thursday, it must be channel five? Or something? Anyway, Arsenal travel to Italy today in order to take on AC Milan in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16. First legs like this always have the potential to be dour, defensive affairs - Milan hasn’t lost since December and hasn’t given up many goals in the process, and Arsenal struggle to score in the best of situations, so this game could easily end up 0-0.
Of course, Arsenal could bring their A game, Milan could have an off day, and it could end up 2-0, as well; the optimist in me would love that, but we shall see. Arsenal are without Alexandre Lacazette and Nacho Monreal, and also the cup-tied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Milan come in missing...nobody significant; depth guys Luca Antonelli, Ignazio Abate are out, and Andrea Conti is a long term absentee, so Milan are relatively healthy and should be able to pick a full strength side.
They also haven’t played in over a week, which isn’t great for an Arsenal team that has played three times in just over that same time frame and are missing some key pieces.
It goes without saying that Arsenal need to take this seriously if they want to return to the Champions League next year. What remains to be seen, though, is if Arsenal have decided to shake off the malaise of the last few weeks and show the world that they’re still Arsenal, they can still rise to a challenge, and they still belong in - or at the very least can return to being in - the conversation about being in among Europe’s best teams. Today’s game is a huge test for them, and I hope they take tests better than I did when I was in school.
WHAT: Arsenal at AC Milan
WHERE: San Siro, Milan, Italy
WHEN: Thursday, March 8th, 10:00 AM PT | 1:00 PM ET | 6:00 PM BT
US TV: FS2 and ESPN Deportes/WatchESPN (in Spanish)
OUTSIDE THE US: Check livesoccer.tv for all your international streaming needs.
Please do not discuss links to illegal streams here.
For the non-twittered: Ospina, Chambers, Kos, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Wilsh, Mkhitaryan, Özil, Welbeck
Donnarumma, Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Bonucci, Calabria, Bonaventura, Biglia, Kessie, Calhanoglu, Cutrone, Suso