Danny Welbeck’s brace and a Granit Xhaka strike ensured Arsenal’s passage into the quarter-finals of the Europa League after another impressive win over AC Milan.
Arsenal made their hard work count, and despite going a goal down in the first half, the Gunners fought back in impressive style to down AC Milan and booked their place in the Europa League quarter-finals. Hakan Calhanoglu’s long-range strike in the first half gave the away side hope, but the hosts’ attackers proved otherwise.
Soon after Milan’s goal, Danny Welbeck won and converted a penalty to restore parity in the match. While Arsenal coped well with Milan’s attack, they soon scored their second goal through a ferocious strike from Granit Xhaka to put the tie beyond the Italians’ reach. Welbeck scored his second late in the game and ensured a sound Arsenal victory.
The win is Arsenal’s third on the trot after four defeats in a row and is sure to boost the side’s confidence ahead of further crucial clashes in the competition. Here’s how were rated Arsenal’s player after a comfortable win on Thursday.
David Ospina: 7.5/10
Showed his class throughout the match, bar a single moment when he failed to clear the ball accurately. Made some good saves as Milan tried to take numerous shot at his goal, especially a shot which deflected off Mustafi, which Ospina tipped off the crossbar. Could do nothing about the Milan goal, as he was wrong-footed, courtesy of Calhanoglu’s brilliant shot.
Hector Bellerin: 7.5/10
Back into the squad after missing two games through injury, Bellerin came through the game unscathed. The Spaniard was heavily involved in Arsenal’s attack from the right side while being sound when called upon to do his defensive duties. Ran his socks off and kept Ricardo Rodriguez at bay for most of the game.
Shkodran Mustafi: 7.5/10
Mustafi had another brilliant game at the back, steadying the defence and making crucial interventions in Milan’s attack. Could do nothing about the brilliant Milan goal in the first half, but ensured Arsenal’s defence tightened things at the back post that moment. Could have scored a goal, but his header was slightly off target.
Laurent Koscielny: N/A
Not too long on the pitch to be rated. Went off injured within ten minutes of the game, but could have scored early on with a firm header off a Henrikh Mkhitaryan corner, and that’s when he got hurt.
Nacho Monreal: 7/10
Another player back into the squad after an injury lay-off. Monreal slotted in at left-back at the expense of Sead Kolasinac, who has been doing well of late. Got into attacking positions from the left and put in a few dangerous crosses. Along with other Arsenal attackers, he gave a torrid time to Milan’s makeshift right-back Fabio Borini.
Granit Xhaka: 8/10
A top-notch performance from the Swiss international. Xhaka did his defensive duties well and completely controlled the midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Scored Arsenal’s second goal with his trademark powerful long-range shot, which in all fairness should have been saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Aaron Ramsey: 7.5/10
Like his fellow midfielders, Ramsey too had a great game. The Welshman controlled proceedings in midfield and did not allow any of Milan’s midfielders to make anything happen. Was fantastic in the attack, ably supporting the likes of Welbeck, Mesut Ozil and Mkhitaryan at all times. He got the assist to Xhaka’s goal and could have scored a goal himself too.
Jack Wilshere: 7.5/10
Wilshere was one of Arsenal’s creative hubs from midfield, as he time and again went forward to make a move towards the goal. The Englishman had two excellent opportunities to score, but while his first shot was brilliantly saved by Donnarumma, he was slightly off target the second time.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 7/10
Mkhitaryan was influential once again on Thursday. It was his pass to Welbeck that won Arsenal the penalty and the Armenian looked intent on grabbing a goal for himself too. If not for Donnarumma, he could have scored a third goal in three games. Was taken off to be replaced by Mohamed Elneny in the second half.
Mesut Ozil: 7/10
Ozil had a quiet game even by his standards. Despite that, the German was active in Arsenal’s attacking moves and provided some moments of brilliance in the final third. Could have assisted a goal or two had Arsenal’s other players been more clinical. Replaced by Kolasinac with ten minutes to go.
Danny Welbeck: 8/10
Welbeck was the star of the match with two goals to his name, ensuring Arsenal went through to the quarter-finals of the competition. Scored from the penalty spot to level things in the game, although doubts were raised in the manner in which he won the spot-kick in the first place.
Scored his second and Arsenal’s third late in the second half to kill the game. It was a matured performance, one that is set to give Arsene Wenger a selection headache when Alexandre Lacazette returns from injury.
Calum Chambers: 7/10
Chambers came into the game early on due to Koscielny’s injury. The youngster slotted in well and steadied the defence. Grew into the game and was overall solid at the back alongside Mustafi.
Mohammed Elneny: 6/10
Elneny came in place of Mkhitaryan in the second half as Wenger sought to see off the game. His defence-splitting pass ensured Arsenal scored their third goal. Overall, he was solid in defence and sniffed out any potential Milan attacks late on in the game.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
Soon after he arrived, Arsenal switched to a back-three to finish the game off as Monreal became their third central defender. Kolasinac got into attacking positions while also performing well in defence even with the limited time he was on the pitch.