Despite a number of splashy signings, the 2017-18 Arsenal campaign has been a disappointment. The Gunners have been mired in suboptimal form for quite some time now. However, they did perk up with an impressive 3-0 thumping of Watford last weekend. That effort came on the heels of a very solid 2-0 triumph in Milan in Europa League in the middle of the previous week.
Those results leave midfielder Aaron Ramsey is hopeful that fans will start to renew their interest in the club this season. There were tens of thousands of empty seats at the Emirates for the Watford match and the recent game against Manchester City.
Ramsey told the press, “Hopefully there won’t be so many empty seats. But we’re just focused on going out there and trying to win a football game. Hopefully, our performance on the pitch will encourage many to come back.”
The Gunners look like a good bet to move on to the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Based on browsing a few of the top online sports betting sites, Arsenal stands a great chance at advancing. Arsene Wenger’s side is currently tipped at 4/1 to win the entire tournament with only Atletico Madrid having more favourable odds.
The team also got some positive injury news when both Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal passed fitness tests. Both players missed the victory in Milan, but they’re likely to return for the second leg. Shkodran Mustafi returns after leaving the Watford game injured.
End of the Wretched Run
Arsene Wenger has a full roster at his disposal, save for Alexandre Lacazette, who hasn’t yet returned to match fitness. Wenger said, “Everybody’s available apart from Lacazette who is coming back into training, but is too short to be available for tomorrow.”
The Gunners did not appear in this season’s Champions League for the first time in 20 years. Now their hopes of returning next season hinge on winning Europa League. Arsenal currently sit sixth in the Premier League, and it would take a miracle for them to finish in the top-four. Entering matchweek 31, the Gunners are eight points behind fifth-placed Chelsea.
Arsenal nearly coughed up an aggregate lead in the previous round against Ostersunds. Ramsey knows his side can’t get complacent if they are to advance through to the quarter-finals.
Ramsey added, “We saw how good Milan are and we can’t take our foot off the gas. It’s going to be important for us to treat it as if it’s 0-0 so we can go out there and try to win the game. I think that’s the right mentality and attitude to take into that.”
If Arsenal beat AC Milan, it ends a wretched run in Europe. Since 2010, they suffered defeat in the Round of Sixteen in the Champions League each year. This season will be the first time they reach the last eight in that time.