AC Milan host Arsenal in the Europa League's round of 16 on Thursday. With both sides looking unlikely to finish inside the Champions League qualification places in their respective leagues, the clash offers a last chance saloon for one of the former European juggernauts. Milan cruised past Bulgarian champions Ludogorets with a 4-0 aggregate win in the round of 32, while Arsenal ran out eventual 4-2 aggregate winners over Swedish side Ostersund. Arsenal go into the game on the back of a...
Milan are likely to be the most threatening towards either wings where the forwards will be supported by their two athletic full-backs, most probably Davide Calabria and Ricardo Rodriguez.
That could stretch Arsenal's midfield and in turn leave gaps in the middle of the pitch for Suso to exploit. Xhaka will need to keep close to the attacking midfielder, who has eight goals and four assists so far this season, and organise his teammates in order to prevent any space from opening up.
He's been accused on a number of occasions of going missing in the big games, but Ozil has proved on even more occasions that he can deliver at the highest level possible. Against an in-form Milan, the German will have to be at the top of his game, both defensively and offensively.
Facing the German Player of the Year will be 32-year-old defensive midfielder Lucas Biglia. Welbeck's runs in behind the Milan defence will only prove effective if Ozil, arguably Arsenal's brightest spark in an otherwise lacklustre midfield, can supply some accurate through balls.
If Ozil can get the better of Biglia and find space in between Milan's defence and midfield, then Arsenal could have some joy.
Arsenal have a limited number of forwards to choose from with Alexandre Lacazette out due to injury and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unavailable having previously played for Dortmund in their Champions League campaign.
That means Danny Welbeck is likely to be entrusted with a rare start. The England international has only featured four times for Arsenal in their Europa League campaign and is yet to score a goal.
On Thursday, Welbeck will come up against a stern Milan defence of which veteran Leonardo Bonucci will be at the heart of. The 27-year-old probably won't have much success holding the ball up but he will outpace the 30-year-old Italian and so runs in behind the defence could cause Bonucci and Milan some problems.