Tight game in Milan: AC Milan vs Arsenal Preview
European giants AC Milan take on an out-of-form Arsenal team in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie. Infogol’s Analyst previews the game, using expected goals (xG) data to generate the best bets.
AC Milan Expected Goals (xG)
AC Milan look to have turned a corner of late under Gennaro Gattuso, and are looking more like their former selves. They have been more competitive in both domestic and European competitions since their former midfielder was appointed manager, with his tenacious attitude being reflected on the pitch.
They comfortably came through their last 32 tie with Ludogorets 4-0 on aggregate, a tie that was over after the first leg. They were very solid defensively in both legs, conceding few chances – 0.3 and 0.8 xG – which isn’t a surprise given the pedigree of their manager.
They are unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions heading into this match, so are on a real high compared to their opponents. Young striker Patrick Cutrone has been keeping big money signings Adrien Silva and Nikola Kalinic on the bench, and has scored six goals in his 11 Europa League games, and is averaging 0.8 xG per 90 minutes, so if Milan are to create chances, he is most likely to be on the end of them.
Arsenal Expected Goals (xG)
Arsenal have had a miserable few weeks both domestically and in the Europa League. They have lost their last four games in all competitions, a run which started with a defeat to Ostersunds at the Emirates.
Things just aren’t right at Arsenal, with defeat at Brighton last time out putting even more pressure on Arsene Wenger. Their performance in the last round was just enough to put them through, even with Wenger playing a weakened team in both legs.
With their current situation in the league, 6th and 13 points adrift of the top four, their only route back to the Champions League appears to be a Europa League success, so they are expected to field a much stronger team in this round than the last. But will that be enough to stop the rot?
AC Milan will look to make first leg home advantage count and get a lead, which they may well do, but this is expected to be a cagey affair with few goals. Cutrone looks a good bet to hit the net first for an in-form AC Milan.
Under 2.5 Goals @ 10/11
Cutrone to score first @ 9/2