UEFA Europa League – Arsenal-Milan – Arsenal v Milan background
Arsenal came out on top in the first leg of this high-profile tie between two of Europe’s traditional heavyweight clubs, emerging from a form slump to beat AC Milan 2-0 at San Siro. The Gunners must now halt a lengthy run of home defeats in European knockout phase ties to ensure their presence in the quarter-finals.
• Arsenal, the lone English representatives in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, won four of their six autumn encounters to top Group H before knocking out European debutants Östersund in the round of 32. After winning the first leg 3-0 in Sweden, they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home.
• Milan have already played 13 UEFA Europa League matches this term, having kicked off their campaign in the third qualifying round. They topped Group D before claiming a 4-0 aggregate win over Bulgarian champions Ludogorets in the round of 32. Fabio Borini scored in both games as the Rossoneri won 3-0 away and 1-0 at home.
• An accomplished display by the Gunners in Milan yielded two first-half goals – from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and, on his competition debut, Aaron Ramsey – as Gennaro Gattuso’s Rossoneri were beaten for the first time in 2018.
• The clubs have met twice in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, Arsenal winning in 2007/08 (0-0 home, 2-0 away) and Milan prevailing in 2011/12 (4-0 home, 0-3 away). Arsène Wenger was in charge of the Gunners for both ties with his current opposite number Gattuso playing both games for Milan in the first of them.
• Milan have the upper hand overall, however, having defeated Arsenal 2-0 on aggregate in February 1995 in the UEFA Super Cup, drawing 0-0 in London before a 2-0 win in northern Italy.
• Arsenal have an encouraging home record against Italian visitors (W9 D4 L2). They have won five of their last six matches against Serie A opposition in north London, drawing the other – that goalless stalemate with Milan in 2008. Furthermore, they have not conceded in any of those fixtures, the last five having taken place in the Arsenal Stadium.
• Overall Arsenal’s record against Italian opposition is W16 D8 D8; they also defeated Parma in neutral Copenhagen to win the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
• Milan have just one victory to their name in 16 matches away from home against English clubs, losing on nine occasions and failing to score on their last three visits. Their only win on English soil was a 1-0 success in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Manchester United at Old Trafford – the same ground on which they won the UEFA Champions League final on penalties after a 0-0 draw against Juventus two years earlier.
• The Rossoneri’s overall record against English clubs in UEFA competition is W11 D11 L13. Aside from that UEFA Super Cup win against Arsenal, they have been involved in three further trophy-deciders against English clubs, winning two – both in Greece (1-0 against Leeds in Salonika to capture the 1973 European Cup Winners’ Cup and 2-1 against Liverpool in Athens to claim the 2007 UEFA Champions League) – and losing one (on penalties to Liverpool in Istanbul after a 3-3 draw in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final).
• Arsenal’s eight-match unbeaten home run in UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches (W6 D2) came to an end in the round of 32 with their 2-1 defeat by Östersund.
• The Gunners have lost all of their last six European home games in the spring, conceding 17 goals. Their last knockout phase win at the Arsenal Stadium was that 3-0 success against Milan – a victory of scant value as they were eliminated 4-3 on aggregate.
• Qualifying play-offs aside, the last time Arsenal secured qualification for the next round of a European competition with a second-leg win in front of their own fans was back in 2010, when they recovered from a 2-1 first-leg defeat at Porto to progress to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with a 5-0 win in north London, Nicklas Bendtner scoring a hat-trick.
• Arsenal have prolonged their European campaign into the spring for the 19th successive year – all under Wenger’s management.
• The north London side have gone out of Europe at the round of 16 stage in each of the last seven seasons – all in the UEFA Champions League.
• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League debut this season. Their last European campaign outside the UEFA Champions League was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat in the final against Galatasaray. They defeated Deportivo La Coruña in that season’s fourth round, or last 16, winning 5-1 at home and losing 1-2 away.
• Milan were undefeated in their first nine European matches this season, winning seven of them (including the first six), all under previous coach Vincenzo Montella. That record ended with a 2-0 loss at Rijeka on matchday six – new boss Gattuso’s first European game at the helm. Their away record in Europe this season is W4 D1 L1, with ten goals scored and three conceded.
• The Rossoneri have qualified from each of their last 13 groups in UEFA competition and have now reached the last 16 in all but one of their 15 European campaigns this century – the 2008/09 UEFA Cup, in which they were eliminated at the round of 32 stage by a Werder Bremen side featuring current Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil.
• The Serie A club ended a nine-game run without an away victory in springtime European competition (D3 L6) when they defeated Ludogorets in the first leg of the round of 32.
• Sixth in Italy last term, Milan are back in Europe after a four-year absence and making their first appearance in the UEFA Europa League.
• Arsenal have won 14 away first legs in UEFA competition and qualified on each occasion, most recently in the round of 32 when they knocked out Östersund after a 3-0 win in Sweden. The 1-2 second-leg defeat in north London was the first time the Gunners had lost at home after winning the first game away.
• On the five occasions that Arsenal have won the away first leg 2-0, they have followed it up each time with a home win. Indeed, the only goal they have conceded in any of those second-leg successes came in their last such fixture, a 3-1 victory over Celtic in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League play-offs.
• The omens are not promising for Milan’s chances of turning round the tie. Of the seven previous occasions they have lost the first leg at home in UEFA competition they have won only once, against Saarbrücken in the 1955/56 European Cup first round, Milan’s first European tie, when a 4-3 defeat in Italy was followed by a 4-1 away success. Most recently, they went down 4-1 at Atlético Madrid after losing 1-0 at home in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League round of 16, their last appearance in that competition.
• Milan lost 2-0 at home to Barcelona in the 1959/60 European Cup first round (1-5 away) and Espanyol in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup second round (0-0 away).
Links and trivia
• This is the only round of 16 tie between two teams who have never previously played at this stage of the UEFA Europa League.
• Milan are one of three former UEFA Champions League winners remaining in the UEFA Europa League field, Marseille and Borussia Dortmund being the others.
• Fabio Borini has played in England for Chelsea (alongside Petr Čech), Swansea, Liverpool and Sunderland. In seven Premier League encounters with Arsenal he has never won (D2 L5) and never scored; he was sent off in a 2-2 draw at Anfield on 21 December 2014.
• Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi played in Italy for Sampdoria between 2012 and 2014, drawing once and losing twice in his three encounters with Milan.
• Leonardo Bonucci (penalty) and Özil both scored in the 1-1 draw between Italy and Germany in the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter-final –and then both missed their spot-kicks in the penalty shoot-out as Germany prevailed. Özil also scored against Italy in the UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final but Bonucci’s side won the game 2-1.
• Özil scored for Real Madrid against Milan in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage as the Spanish side won 2-0. Current Rossoneri boss Gattuso was in the opposition midfield.
• Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored for Armenia in both 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bonucci’s Italy, a 1-3 defeat in Yerevan and a 2-2 draw in Naples.
• International team-mates:
David Ospina and Cristián Zapata (Colombia)
Granit Xhaka and Ricardo Rodríguez (Switzerland)
• Milan’s Nikola Kalinić was a losing UEFA Europa League finalist in 2015, his Dnipro side going down 3-2 to Sevilla in Warsaw.
• This is the only major UEFA competition that Milan have not won. Ajax, Bayern München, Chelsea, Juventus and – as of last May – Manchester United are the only five clubs to have won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and European Cup Winners’ Cup.
• Arsenal’s tally of six wins in this season’s UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is the joint highest in the competition – along with Lyon and Zenit.
• Ramsey’s goal in Milan was the 350th scored by an English club in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final.
• Arsenal’s record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
4-5 v Valencia, 1979/80 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final
3-2 v Sampdoria, 1994/95 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final
1-4 v Galatasaray, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup final
7-6 v Roma, 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16
• Milan’s record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W4 L1:
7-6 v Lokomotíva Košice, 1978/79 UEFA Cup first round
4-2 v Crvena zvezda, 1988/89 European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round
3-2 v Roda JC, 2001/02 UEFA Cup fourth round
3-2 v Juventus, 2002/03 UEFA Champions League final
2-3 v Liverpool, 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final
• Arsène Wenger has been the Arsenal manager since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, a record seven FA Cup wins and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. A player of modest repute, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France before moving to Japan for a brief spell with Nagoya Grampus 8. He is the longest serving manager in the Premier League.
• Gennaro Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella as Milan coach on 27 November 2017, earning promotion from the club’s youth team. A legendary Rossoneri midfielder of grit and endeavour who played for the club from 1999 to 2012, racking up 468 appearances in all competitions, he won both Serie A and the UEFA Champions League twice and also lifted the FIFA World Cup with Italy in 2006.