By Dan Ferguson
Arsenal 3 Milan 1
As usual, Arsenal made an awful start and should have conceded after 45 seconds.
Mustafi makes his first terrible pass immediately after that.
All the players turn to ask him : what are you doing?
To and fro for the first 7. Lots of diving in and cagey passing. Bellerin has made a lively start. Xhaka much deeper than normal. Ozil in the 10 position but very shadowed at present.
Koscielny lasts 10 minutes before being replaced by Chambers. It is a sad indication of what is happening to his body as he ages. He is not the same player physically of 3 years ago for sure.
Milan still seem cautious and don’t read Arsenal’s movement when Milan have the ball. So many misplaced passes. After 20, Arsenal are starting to stroke the ball around quite nicely . Spaces appearing throughout Milan’s defence, this cannot stay 0-0. Even Welbeck might score!
Ozil starting to pull strings but hasn’t quite found his rhythm. In defence Arsenal still don’t really compose themselves and pass early. Scaring the fans with their last minute and slightly inaccurate passing.
Mustafi is growing into the game. He seems to be steering Chambers and dropping far earlier since the Aguero debacle. He could try starting the game like that. Might work wonders for the side.
Milan just don’t seem set up to cope with the passing from Arsenal’s midfield to their forwards.
Maybe a way to get the best out of Welbeck would be not to pass to him in an offensive capacity until he is in full flight. This way his decision making is limited to the direction he is going in and thinking is kept to a minimum.
On 35, more wasted crosses from Milan. Arsenal takes foot off pedal and Calhanoglu hits a fierce, yet speculative shot. That should never have been a goal.
On 37 Rodriguez follows Welbeck almost out of play and Welbeck falls over. Penalty. Welbeck to take and he only bloody scored it!!! Going back to the challenge, it was perfect European simulated play, but it was so soft. It looked like he scared Welbeck’s heels together and they obliged by kicking himself. Rubbish dive in my opinion.
On 40 Chambers handballs in the area. No penalty. Poor decision. His arms were up in the air. Who’d be a referee?
If someone told Borini while he was on loan at Sunderland that in a few years he would be playing right back for Milan, surely he would scoff. Yet here he is, but he ain’t a right back.
On 43 chaos in the Arsenal area and Ospina gets away with a parry as move is called offside. Ramsey would be more effective if he took 20% less touches.
Welbeck is starting to play like a centre forward. I might need a stronger drink at half time. He is actually bullying the Milan defence.
The two minutes of injury time have been hysterical and frenzied. Wow. 1-1 half time.
Arsenal starting second half very well. Picking Milan apart again. Very odd watching Arsenal dominate without being good. On 50 Mustafi should have scored from a corner. It was a decent header but poor direction.
Twice on 52 we see the not so great side of Ozil.
A poor pass in the final third for Welbeck with no apology, followed by flailing arms when his next run was not met with a completed pass. Shape up man. Help your team with advice and encouragement. Great ball player but a poor coach.
On 56 Ramsey shoots over the bar which was rubbish, but Borini’s follow-through was even poorer. He’s already on a yellow. Wtf???
On 58 Milan finally come to life and should be 2-1 up.
Arsenal’s midfield must think this game is won and aren’t tracking back with urgency.
On 61 Gattuso starting to spit feathers. He prowls and looks like he would be far happier with the Ultras. Chambers is playing hard and involved a lot but it is hard to tell how well he’s playing because Milan are cobblers. On 66 Ozil still flapping.
Mkhitaryan has been very solid and committed to the left wing.
Ozil on the other hand is like the Princess and the Pea. Nothing seems good enough.
Elneny for Mkhitaryan on 69 doesn’t add up. Ramsey is not having a good day really and should be the man to make way to maintain the shape.
On 70, Xhaka, who has been solid, shoots hard from 25 yards. Much like Wilshere’s fizzing shot on 46, the ball spins right from off Donnarumma’s dive to his left, and this time it spins into the net. A poor goal but probably the winning goal so good on Granit.
Ospina save on 76 was breakdancing at its best. Arsenal living dangerously in the last 2-3 minutes. This game isn’t quite over. Milan fans loving life. I guess they are happy to come to a country where they are welcomed with open arms and can get a decent meal.
Ozil replaced on 79 and is really cross. I don’t know what got his goat but he should be happy for the team. Prima donna. He’s had a good game but he is no captain or motivator.
84 gone now and Arsenal still pushing for a goal. Defensively Monreal has grown into the game. Welbeck is still pushing and enough players are doing their job well to take Arsenal through. They have kept their heads which is great to see. They won’t get many easier ties.
As I write that, Welbeck scores again. I could be a rich man if I gambled. Great ball by Elneny to Welbeck, lays off to Wilshere who bides his time and produces a lovely cross. Ramsey misses and Welbeck follows up. Well done. Game over.
(5-1 on aggregate now).
On the final whistle now. It was a far easier game than I expected. Any time Milan stepped up their game, Arsenal found an extra gear.
As I was speculating on how bad Milan has been, I need to remember that they spent massively in the summer, have been on a good run under Gattuso. But Arsenal have dismantled, rattled and often embarrassed them.
Arsene is taking the Europa League pretty seriously and they have been very impressive.