UEFA Europa League – Milan-Arsenal – Milan v Arsenal background
The last of the eight UEFA Europa League round of 16 ties to be drawn brings together two of European football’s traditional powerhouses as AC Milan entertain Arsenal in the first leg at San Siro.
• Milan have already played 12 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Milan have the upper hand overall, however, having defeated the Gunners 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.
• The Rossoneri’s overall record against English clubs in UEFA competition is W11 D11 L12. In three further trophy-deciders against English clubs they have won 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 lost one (on penalties to Liverpool in Istanbul after a 3-3 draw in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final).
• They have a superior record at home, winning eight of their 15 matches at San Siro. Their three home defeats, however, have come in their last four games – that 2007/08 loss to Arsenal and subsequent UEFA Champions League round of 16 reverses against Manchester United (2-3 in 2009/10) and Tottenham (0-1 in 2010/11). They stopped the rot the following season with that 4-0 win against Arsenal, the last time they entertained English opposition.
• With the exception of that 4-0 defeat in Milan six years ago, Arsenal have enjoyed their recent visits to Italy. They have won four of their last eight matches there, all in the UEFA Champions League, and even the two other defeats during that time – against Roma and Napoli – were not damaging as the Gunners beat Roma on penalties in the 2008/09 round of 16 and lost against Napoli by a sufficient margin on matchday six in 2013/14 (0-2) to proceed to the knockout phase at their hosts’ expense.
• Arsenal’s record in Italy is W5 D4 L6. Overall against Italian opposition it is W15 D8 D8; they also defeated Parma in neutral Copenhagen to win the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
• 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 Gennaro Gattuso’s first European game at the helm.
• The Italian club have succumbed to just one defeat in their last 20 UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches at San Siro (W16 D3) and have won five and drawn one of their six home fixtures in this season’s competition.
• 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 Werder Bremen.
• However, the Serie A club have won only three of their last eight European home games in the knockout phase, losing the same number. Furthermore, they have only won one of their last six round of 16 ties (all in the UEFA Champions League) – that 2011/12 success against Arsenal.
• 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.
• The Gunners have won five of their last six away fixtures in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League, the only blemish a 1-0 defeat at Köln in this season’s group stage.
• 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.
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.
• 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 Mesut 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:
Cristián Zapata and David Ospina (Colombia)
Ricardo Rodríguez and Granit Xhaka (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.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Mateo Musacchio (Milan).
• 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.
• 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.