5 key things Arsenal need to know about Milan before their Europa League clash
4. Milan look within for talent
One of the most refreshing things about this Milan side is that they have given chances to their homegrown talent. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is still only 19 years of age, but he already has over 100 appearances for the club and has the capacity to be a game-changer. Commanding, quick and assured when coming out of his 18-yard box, he’s one of the best young shot-stoppers around.
He is regularly joined in defence by energetic 21-year-old right-back Davide Calabria, but 20-year-old striker Patrick Cutrone has been this season’s breakthrough star. Leading the line with aggression and intelligence, the young hitman has also demonstrated outstanding penalty box instincts: in seven Europa League outings, he has scored four goals. Arsenal’s centre-backs have been put on notice.
5. Lack of pace up front is a weakness
While the front trident of Suso, Cutrone and Calhanoglu offers incisive dribbling, intelligent movement and a long-range goal threat, it does lack explosive pace. None of the three possess the sort of speed that has so often troubled Arsenal in counterattacking situations of late.
This area of weakness can be taken advantage of if Wenger instructs his side not to sit deep defensively. A slightly higher back line would ensure Milan’s attacking trio are further away from goal and unable to threaten with combination play, crosses and through balls just outside the penalty area.
Arsenal would be wise to note if and when Andre Silva appears, however. The Portuguese has generally underwhelmed since joining Milan from Porto as part of last summer’s spending spree, but his Europa League record is a good one – he has found the net six times in eight appearances in the competition this season. Most importantly, the 22-year-old has the athleticism and directness to get in behind a high line.