MATCH REPORT: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

A late Marouane Fellaini goal denied Arsenal a hard-fought draw in Arsène Wenger’s final trip to Old Trafford, as Manchester United snatched a 2-1 victory.

The Gunners had fallen behind early in the first half through Paul Pogba’s opener but were able to cancel out the Frenchman’s finish in the second period, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan found the back of the net against his former club to make it 1-1.

Man United would end up prolonging the north Londoners’ poor form away from home, however, courtesy of Fellaini’s late header in the 92nd minute.

Arsène Wenger’s men, with an eye on next week’s Europa League clash with Atlético Madrid, came into the contest with a total of seven changes, headlined by a debut for 21-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos.

In a tight start to the affair, Man United were able to break the ice through Pogba’s close-range-volley in the 17th minute, following up on Alexis Sanchez’s header that was deflected onto the post.

The Gunners replied through Mkhitaryan, who was able to strike well across goal after being fed by Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ flick, but the ball roam just wide of the mark.

Arsenal continued to search for solutions, with the next chance falling to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Héctor Bellerín’s cross, but the ex-Borussia Dortmund man would lack the power behind his header to trouble David De Gea in the 35th minute.

The half ended with a scare for the visitors, as Ashley Young found the outside of David Ospina’s near post, with the two sides walking off to a 1-0 score line.

The inclination of the game renewed itself in the second half and Arsenal were able to make their momentum count in the 52nd minute, as Granit Xhaka won the ball higher up the pitch to set Mkhitaryan on his way before the Armenian could find the bottom corner, making it 1-1.

Arsenal’s equaliser provoked a reaction out of United, but both sides would fail to conjure up anything of note for the majority of the second period.

United sought Fellaini’s aerial prowess late on and it was through the Belgian that the hosts had the Gunners staring at defeat in the 92nd minute, as he glanced a header past Ospina to secure a 2-1 victory just two minutes from time.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (6) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Calum Chambers (6), Konstantinos Mavropanos (7), Sead Kolasinac (6) – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (7), Granit Xhaka (6) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7), Alex Iwobi (5), Reiss Nelson (6) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (5)

Subs: Danny Welbeck (6), Nacho Monreal (6), Joe Willock (-)

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 1-1 Atl. Madrid

Arsenal will take a 1-1 draw with them to Spain next week after a late Antoine Griezmann equaliser for ten-man Atlético Madrid complicated the Gunners’ hopes of progressing through to the Europa League final.

The La Liga outfit were reduced to ten man as early as the 9th minute, following Sime Vrsaljko’s second bookable offence, enabling Arsenal to dominate without reward throughout the first half.

Arsène Wenger’s men then took the lead on the hour-mark through Alexandre Lacazette, but a series of unfortunate events at the back later enabled Griezmann to bag a precious away goal for his side, as the score at the Emirates Stadium concluded itself at 1-1.

The Gunners welcomed Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere back for the tie against Atlético, who made changes of their own in opting for Kevin Gameiro over the unfit Diego Costa in attack.

A strong start from the hosts saw Arsenal pinch an early yellow card out of the referee after Sime Vrsaljko’s late foul on Wilshere.

The north Londoners turned their appetite into chances in the 7th minute, with Lacazette going close on two separate occasions with a volley against the outside of the post prior to the Frenchman testing Jan Oblak with a header.

Lacazette was brought into action again in the 10th minute, this time suffering a bad challenge from the already yellow-carded Vrsaljko, who, along with Diego Simeone sometime later, would be sent off as a consequence.

Arsenal edged themselves closer to the lead, firstly through Welbeck’s side-footed strike inside the box before Laurent Koscielny could slice a back-post volley wide from the subsequent corner.

Atlético replied to the hosts’ pressure in the 37th minute through a forceful run by Thomas Partey, setting up a half-volley on the edge of the box for Griezmann to fire at David Ospina.

With the Spaniards remaining solid on either side of half-time, Arsenal were finally able to crack the code in the 61st minute through Lacazette, assisted by Wilshere’s lifted cross for the ex-Olympique Lyonnais forward to head in.

The France international came close once more with a glancing header from a corner in the 70th minute, as Arsenal went out in search of a second goal.

Atlético looked towards Griezmann with a hopeful long ball and it was there that the forward was able to make Arsenal pay for their missed opportunities, as he bettered the likes of Koscielny, Ospina and Shkodran Mustafi with fortune to tap in the equaliser in the 83rd minute.

Ramsey could’ve placed the Gunners back in front in the 86th minute with a dangerous header inside the box, but Oblak starred once more en route to a 1-1 draw at full-time.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Laurent Koscielny (7), Nacho Monreal (7) – Granit Xhaka (7), Aaron Ramsey (7) – Mesut Özil (7), Jack Wilshere (7), Danny Welbeck (7) – Alexandre Lacazette (7)

Subs: (none).

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 4-1 West Ham United

Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 4-1 victory over West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, thanks to a late flurry of goals in the final 15 minutes.

The Gunners took the lead early in the second half before Marko Arnautovic could cancel out their one-goal-advantage, accrued by Nacho Monreal.

Miscommunication at the back for West Ham enabled Aaron Ramsey’s cross to find the back of the net as late as the 78th minute, placing Arsenal ahead.

Two further goals from Alexandre Lacazette then pumped up the scoreline, as the hosts signed out with a comprehensive win.

With the clock ticking down on Arsène Wenger’s stay at the club, the Frenchman gave Danny Welbeck the nod alongside Lacazette in attack to leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench for the first time since joining the club.

Following a positive start, Laurent Koscielny picked the game up with a dangerous header from a corner, meanwhile the likes of João Mário and Arnautovic had their own sightings of David Ospina’s goal at the other end.

As Arsenal’s grip on the game began to wear off, Granit Xhaka looked to push the Gunners back on top with a free-kick in the 33rd minute, saved by Joe Hart, before Welbeck could spark danger a minute later with a header over the bar.

The North Londoners closed out the first half with a moment of concern for the injured Mohamed Elneny, who was stretchered off for Ainsley Maitland-Niles before half-time.

It was Arsenal who again commenced the second period brightest, this time with reward, as Monreal put Wenger’s men ahead when guiding a volley past Joe Hart from a corner in the 51st minute.

West Ham we’re able to bite back through Arnautovic, smashing a shot across Ospina’s goal and equalising for the Hammers in the 64th minute.

The visitors required an important save from Hart to deny Xhaka in the 72nd minute, as the Arsenal man aimed to find the far corner with a low drive at goal from the edge of the box.

Hart repeated his dosage, this time tipping Welbeck’s curling effort around the post for an Arsenal corner in the 78th minute.

Via a good slice of fortune, the Gunners would finally find another way past Hart, as Ramsey’s in-swinging cross deceived the England goalkeeper and his defence to find the far corner, placing Arsenal a goal ahead.

Lacazette increased the hosts’ lead with a fierce shot from the right in the 85th minute, just moments before bagging a brace to make it 4-1.

Arsenal’s win sees them edge closer to securing 6th place, following Burnley’s 1-1 draw away to Stoke City.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (6) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Laurent Koscielny (7), Nacho Monreal (7) – Mohamed Elneny (6), Granit Xhaka (7) – Alex Iwobi (5), Aaron Ramsey (8), Danny Welbeck (7) – Alexandre Lacazette (7)

Subs: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (6), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7), Calum Chambers (-)

MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal

Arsenal’s dismal away form has come back to haunt them after Newcastle United came from a goal down to win 2-1 at St. James’ Park, this afternoon.

The Gunners, who took the lead within the first quarter-of-an-hour through Alexandre Lacazette, saw their advantage cancelled out before half-time following Ayoze Perez’s equaliser.

Newcastle grew to take all three points in the second period through Matt Ritchie’s strike, as Arsenal’s unbeaten seven-game-run in all competitions came to an end.

With no Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey in the XI, there was the opportunity for 18-year-old Joe Willock to shine at St. James’ Park, as the midfielder readied up for his Premier League debut.

It was Arsenal’s bubbling forward line that continued to attract all the attention, however, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, from the left, enabled Lacazette to volley in the opener at the back-post in the 14th minute.

The Gunners remained dominant before Newcastle could level the score, as Ayoze sneaked in ahead of Shkodran Mustafi to attack DeAndre Yedlin’s low cross and beat Petr Čech at his near post in the 29th minute.

Arsenal attempted to regain their advantage from Granit Xhaka’s measured pass over to Mustafi at the far-post, with the German heading the ball back across goal for Calum Chambers to reach, prior to missing the target.

Good pressure in Newcastle’s half allowed Arsenal to conjure up another opportunity in the 42nd minute, but Lacazette’s pass wouldn’t be well-received by Willock before conceding a goal kick.

A far more tame second period limited the chances at both ends, as the Magpies limited themselves to shots from range for much of the early exchanges.

That was until the 68th minute, when Islam Slimani’s lone aerial dispute offered Matt Ritchie the opportunity to take aim inside the box, with the Scotsman making no mistake with a shot across goal to put Newcastle 2-1 up.

Kenedy came close to a third for the hosts in the 74th minute, as the Brazilian’s deflected dink bounced back off the top of the crossbar before being cleared.

The north Londoners were unable to avert the disappointment come full-time, clocking up their 5th consecutive away defeat in the Premier League.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Petr Čech (5) – Calum Chambers (5), Rob Holding (6), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Nacho Monreal (5) – Mohamed Elneny (5), Granit Xhaka (6) – Alex Iwobi (6), Joe Willock (5), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7) – Alexandre Lacazette (6)

Subs: Danny Welbeck (5), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (5), Eddie Nketiah (-)

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3-2 Southampton

Arsenal have added to their good form at the Emirates Stadium with a 3-2 victory over Southampton for the Premier League.

Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Welbeck launched the Gunners into the lead before half-time, having previously gone a goal down to Shane Long’s early strike.

The Saints equalised later on through Charlie Austin, but Welbeck again sought the final say, claiming the winner for Arsenal in the 82nd minute before both sides saw off the game with ten men.

Arsène Wenger called on a number of fresh faces to come into the XI, more notably that of Reiss Nelson’s, as Mesut Özil and co. were rested ahead of next week’s clash versus CSKA Moscow.

The Saints went in search of an early goal, as Dusan Tadic found James Ward-Prowse in support before the Englishman’s shot past Čech was cleared by Héctor Bellerín in the 7th minute.

Southampton followed up to take the lead ten minutes later, as Long ghosted ahead of Shkodran Mustafi at the near-post to divert Cedric Soares’ cross into the back of the net.

Arsenal’s reply came in the 28th minute via Aubameyang’s deft touch past Alex McCarthy, scoring courtesy of Welbeck’s neat flick-on.

With Welbeck involved again, the English forward was able to power a deflected shot in after 38 minutes of play, as the Gunners took a 2-1 lead into half-time.

A good start to the second period saw Arsenal threaten to add to their lead, with both Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi going close with strikes from range.

Wenger’s men then required another goal-line intervention, with Mohamed Elneny denying Wesley Hoedt’s header in the 56th minute before Long could test Čech five minutes later, again with his head.

The goal eventually came for the visitors in the 73rd minute, as Cedric continued to cause the problems down the right flank before feeding Charlie Austin for a tap-in.

A golden opportunity to put Arsenal back in front fell Welbeck’s way in the 78th minute, courtesy of an out-stretched cut-back from Jack Wilshere, but the ex-Manchester United man was unable to find the appropriate contact when shinning the ball over from close range.

Welbeck would redeem himself, however, following Iwobi’s floated cross, with the Arsenal forward popping up at the back-post to nod home in the 82nd minute.

The game fizzled with a red card each, collected by Elneny and Southampton’s Jack Stephens, as the North Londoners claimed all-three points with a 3-2 win at home.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Petr Čech (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Calum Chambers (6), Sead Kolasinac (6) – Mohamed Elneny (6), Granit Xhaka (6) – Reiss Nelson (6), Alex Iwobi (8), Danny Welbeck (7) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7)

Subs: Jack Wilshere (6), Rob Holding (6), Alexandre Lacazette (6)

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 4-1 CSKA Moscow

Arsenal have moved a step closer to booking their spot in the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 4-1 victory at home in their first leg against CSKA Moscow.

A first-half blitz saw the Gunners silence CSKA’s early away goal, as two goals apiece from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette powered the hosts to a 4-1 lead.

The pair came close to adding to the scoreline in the second-half before Arsène Wenger’s men eventually settled for the four goals acquired in the first period, setting up a far more relaxed challenge for the return leg.

Arsenal welcomed back the likes of Lacazette, Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka for the encounter against the Russians, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan also finding his way back into the XI after being rested at the weekend.

It was through the Armenian that the Gunners came close to pulling themselves ahead in the tie early on, with the ex-Manchester United man popping up inside the box before thrashing a left-footed shot into the side-netting in the 4th minute.

Arsenal would get their early goal, this one through Ramsey, as Héctor Bellerín found the Welshman alone inside the box prior to the latter’s first-time finish in the 9th minute.

CSKA replied via Aleksandr Golovin’s free-kick, aimed at the top-right corner and beating Petr Čech in the 15th minute to level the game.

From one dead-ball specialist to another, the north Londoners were given an avenue back in front of the game, as Mesut Özil was brought down inside the box to offer Lacazette the chance to convert from the penalty spot, with the Frenchman making no mistake.

Özil found himself in the thick of things once more in the 27th minute, picking out Ramsey’s run into the box before the midfielder could adjust his positioning to beat Igor Akinfeev with a sublime flick over the goalkeeper’s head, as Arsenal raced through to a 3-1 lead.

Lacazette followed suit by bagging himself a brace, pouncing onto Özil’s cut-back prior to finishing on his left foot in the 34th minute, as Arsenal cruised into the interval with the score amplified to 4-1.

Ramsey neared his hat-trick on two separate occasions coming into the second period, with the Gunners reasserting their dominance on proceedings following the half-time break.

In the 67th minute, it was Lacazette’s turn, as Özil’s pass through to Iwobi saw the Nigerian opt to squeeze a pass to the striker rather than shoot, as the former Olympique Lyonnais star struggled against the angle when missing the target from close range.

The trend continued, with Ramsey going close again when curling a strike onto the outside of Akinfeev’s post in the 77th minute.

Four goals would do Arsenal nicely, however, ahead of next Thursday’s second leg tie at the VEB Stadium.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Petr Čech (6) – Héctor Bellerín (7), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Laurent Koscielny (6), Nacho Monreal (7) – Aaron Ramsey (9), Granit Xhaka (6) – Mesut Özil (9), Jack Wilshere (7), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (6) – Alexandre Lacazette (7)

Subs: Alex Iwobi (6), Mohamed Elneny (-), Danny Welbeck (-)

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke City

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace helped Arsenal on to a 3-0 victory over Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners recouped its five-point-advantage over 7th-placed Burnley.

The North Londoners needed to wait until the second period to find the back of the net, with Aubameyang opening his account for the day from the penalty spot in the 75th minute.

Arsenal’s record signing followed up with a second goal late on before Alexandre Lacazette’s third secured a comfortable-looking victory.

Following a brief international break, the Gunners returned to Premier League action with the likes of Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck squeezing into the XI, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan sat out with Lacazette on the substitute’s bench.

It was Stoke who started brightest, however, as Xherdan Shaqiri fired wide of David Ospina’s goal with a curling effort early on.

In a game of few chances, Aaron Ramsey went closest for Arsenal when lifting a volley over the keeper in the 23rd minute, with only the top of the crossbar denying the Welshman prior to a goalless half.

Arsenal garnered a few more half-chances towards the hour-mark, but neither Welbeck, nor Nacho Monreal and Mohamed Elneny could find the avenue past Jack Butland.

Chances at either end saw Shaqiri stun the numbers with a deep corner onto the post, with Aubameyang following up to pull a save out of Butland when being placed through on goal by Özil in the 70th minute.

Arsenal’s chance to break the deadlock came via the penalty spot, with Aubameyang again being elected to seize the opportunity before opening the scoring in the 75th minute.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund man pounced on a flick-on to grab his second in the 86th minute, volleying past Butland, as Arsenal proceeded with their search for a third, with Lacazette adding the finishing touches to a 3-0 victory from the 12-yard-mark in the 89th minute.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (6) – Héctor Bellerín (7), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Calum Chambers (6), Nacho Monreal (6) – Mohamed Elneny (6), Aaron Ramsey (8) – Mesut Özil (7), Jack Wilshere (7), Danny Welbeck (6) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7)

Subs: Alexandre Lacazette (6), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (-), Granit Xhaka (-)

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3-1 A.C. Milan

Arsenal have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, following a 3-1 win against A.C. Milan in the second leg of their Last 16 tie.

A first-half penalty from Danny Welbeck and Granit Xhaka’s strike in the second-half topped the Gunners’ aggregate lead up to 4-1, after seeing Hakan Çalhanoglu open the scoring at the Emirates Stadium.

Welbeck’s second and Arsenal’s third late on made it 5-1 on aggregate, with victory for the North Londoners seeing them progress through to their first European quarter-final since 2010.

On the night, Arsenal were able to welcome back a string of heavyweight names in defence, but one of the Gunners’ key cast members would soon find himself out of action, as Calum Chambers replaced the injured Laurent Koscielny early on.

In spite of the setback, it was Arsène Wenger’s men who enjoyed their fair share of possession at the game’s infancy, as Welbeck tested Gianluigi Donnarumma from the left in the 25th minute.

Milan would soon ask their own questions, however, as Çalhanoglu took his cue to fire at goal from range and reward his club with a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute, beating David Ospina with the swerve of his strike.

No more than two minutes later, Arsenal readied themselves to cancel the Turkey international’s strike out, as Welbeck earned his side a penalty following Ricardo Rodriguez’s innocent challenge.

The ex-Manchester United forward elected himself to step up to the spot, sending Donnarumma the wrong way to make it 1-1 before half-time.

The Gunners were out to amplify their two-goal advantage on aggregate come the second period, as they resumed with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s strike from the left, aimed at the near-post, to which Donnarumma responded with a save in the 50th minute.

Both sides exchanged opportunities from the edge of the box before the hour-mark, as Aaron Ramsey followed up Suso’s effort wide at one end with a shot over Milan’s goal from Mesut Özil’s lay-off.

Patrick Cutrone neared a second for the ‘Rossoneri’ with an acrobatic volley deep inside Arsenal’s area, but the young striker would also be unable to direct his effort goalwards in the 60th minute.

Nikola Kalinic then came close to making an instant impact off the bench in the 68th minute, courtesy of Leonardo Bonucci’s searching run and cross prior the Croatian target-man’s header into Ospina’s grasp.

Xhaka went on to make the Italians pay just three minutes later, taking on the help of a Donnarumma mistake to power Arsenal to a  4-1 lead on aggregate.

Milan kept chasing a late miracle but Welbeck then extinguished all lingering hopes with a header into an open net in the 86th minute, as Arsenal cruised past the Serie A outfit with a 3-1 victory.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Laurent Koscielny (5), Nacho Monreal (6) – Aaron Ramsey (7), Granit Xhaka (8) – Mesut Özil (7), Jack Wilshere (7), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7) – Danny Welbeck (7)

Subs: Calum Chambers (6), Mohamed Elneny (6), Sead Kolasinac (-)

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3-0 Watford

Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League after defeating Watford 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium, this afternoon.

The Gunners’ evening commenced with Mustafi picking up Arsenal’s 1,000th Premier League goal, as the hosts took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

Second-half strikes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan rounded off the score, with Petr Čech’s first penalty save for the North London outfit, as well as his 200th clean sheet, also decorating Arsenal’s display.

In Laurent Koscielny’s absence, Arsène Wenger called on Rob Holding to partner Mustafi at the heart of defence, meanwhile the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi also found their way into the starting line-up.

Mustafi was able to provide the start Arsenal craved for in the 8th minute, heading Mesut Özil’s free-kick back across goal from inside the box to put his team a goal up.

The Gunners eyed an early second, unlocked by Elneny’s pass through to Sead Kolasinac on the left-hand side of the byline, but the latter would end up over-hitting his cross somewhat for the lurking Aubameyang at the back-post.

Watford replied with a goal-bound Richarlison free-kick in 25th minute, with Roberto Pereyra the first to react to the rebound before letting Arsenal off the hook when slicing his attempt over.

No less than a minute later, the hosts were up at the other end through neat combinations, as Özil found himself one-on-one before a trailing Orestis Karnezis leg did just enough to stop the German from scoring deep inside the box.

The Hornets saved their best football for the final period of the first-half, but little reward enabled Arsenal to hold on to their 1-0 lead through to the break.

Watford positivity resumed in the second period, but Arsenal promised to undo the visitors’ appetite with a second, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan offered Aubameyang the chance to round the goalkeeper and make it 2-0 in the 59th minute.

Javi Gracia’s side could’ve pulled a goal back as soon as the 62nd minute via Troy Deeney’s spot-kick, but Petr Čech’s penalty save – a first in Arsenal colours – kept the Vicarage Road outfit out.

The same privilege from the 12-yard-mark wouldn’t be handed to the Gunners just a few minutes later, as Adrian Mariappa’s late tackle on Mkhitaryan went unnoticed.

In the 76th minute, Aubameyang returned Mkhitaryan the favour after the latter managed to squeeze a shot under Karnezis for his first league goal at the Emirates, as Arsenal took a 3-0 lead.

Danny Welbeck looked to add a fourth before time was up, but the Gunners would settle for three in their first string of back-to-back wins since January.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Petr Čech (7) – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (6), Shkodran Mustafi (7), Rob Holding (6), Sead Kolasinac (6) – Mohamed Elneny (7), Granit Xhaka (6) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7), Mesut Özil (7), Alex Iwobi (6) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7)

Subs: Danny Welbeck (6), Calum Chambers (-), Jack Wilshere (-)

MATCH REPORT: A.C. Milan 0-2 Arsenal

Arsenal will take a 2-0 lead back to England with them after defeating A.C. Milan away from home in the Europa League, ahead of the second leg at the Emirates, next Thursday.

Despite recent struggles away from home, the North Londoners were able to overcome Milan, undefeated in their last 13 outings, with a couple of first-half goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey.

With minimal changes being made from the team that lost 2-1 to Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend, Arsène Wenger was able to count on the return of Ramsey from injury, as Jack Wilshere kept his place at the expense of Alex Iwobi to play alongside the Welshman and Granit Xhaka.

The game fired up with a shot apiece for the two sides, as both Mkhitaryan and Patrick Cutrone found the side-netting with danger within the opening ten minutes.

Arsenal maintained the buzz and were able to make Milan pay in the 14th minute, as Mkhitaryan was afforded the chance to cut in from the right before overcoming Gianluigi Donnarumma with a deflected shot, placing the Gunners in front.

A disciplined display enabled Arsenal to hold on for much of the first half, whereas there’d be a couple of chances for both Chambers and Mkhitaryan to amplify the score, with the latter going closest when clipping the top of the bar in the 45th minute.

Wenger’s men remained sharp on the break, however, as Mesut Özil picked out Ramsey before the midfielder could round the keeper and make it 2-0 on the brink of half time.

The Premier League outfit may have had even more reasons to celebrate out of the blocks in the second half, as Danny Welbeck closed in on goal before Donnarumma’s intervention almost backfired into his own net off the striker’s block.

It was all hands to the pump for Arsenal from then on, as they bid to keep their two-goal advantage alive in the wake of Milan’s response.

The likes of Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura sent their warnings ahead of the final ten minutes of the game, with the Gunners later requiring an alert David Ospina to prevent Nikola Kalinic from latching onto a ball through on goal.

Arsenal wouldn’t have to face much more, however, as they held on to confirm a 2-0 victory.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: David Ospina (6) – Calum Chambers (6), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Laurent Koscielny (7), Sead Kolasinac (6) – Granit Xhaka (6), Aaron Ramsey (7) – Mesut Özil (7), Jack Wilshere (8), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7) – Danny Welbeck (6)

Subs: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (5), Rob Holding (-), Mohamed Elneny (-)