Picking a Combined XI of Milan & Arsenal Players Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League Showdown

AC Milan host Arsenal in the Europa League’s round of 16 on Thursday. With both sides looking unlikely to finish inside the Champions League qualification places in their respective leagues, the clash offers a last chance saloon for one of the former European juggernauts. 

Milan cruised past Bulgarian champions Ludogorets with a 4-0 aggregate win in the round of 32, while Arsenal ran out eventual 4-2 aggregate winners over Swedish side Ostersund. 

Here’s a combined XI of the best available players from both sides.

1. GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan)

His brother started in Milan’s last Europa League fixture, but Gianluigi Donnarumma looks certain to reclaim the starting spot for Arsenal’s visit on Thursday. 

Dubbed the ‘Golden keeper’, Donnarumma is one of the most highly rated goalkeepers in the world and probably won’t stay at San Siro for much longer with a number of clubs known to be circling. 

2. RB: Davide Calabria (Milan)

The athletic 21-year-old came through Milan’s youth ranks before he made his senior debut against Atlanta in 2015. 

While Calabria still lacks experience, having made a total of just 33 appearances for Milan since his debut, he offers a real attacking threat down the left and uses his pace to make frequent overlapping runs in the final third. 

3. CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Milan)

Bonucci made the surprise switch from Juventus to Milan in the summer in a deal worth a reported £35m. Since his move to San Siro, the 30-year-old has played over 2600 minutes for the 7th-placed Serie A side. 

Veteran Bonucci didn’t start in Milan’s last game against Ludogorets but his experience will be invaluable to a team which boasts a number of youthful players. 

4. CB: Alessio Romagnoli (Milan)

Taking the other centre-back spot is the 23-year-old Alessio Romagnoli. The Italian international is a wanted man with a number of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, reportedly interested in signing the former Roma player. 

The young centre-back is considered to be one of the most talented defenders in Italy and has helped his side pick up six consecutive clean sheets. 

5. LB: Ricardo Rodríguez (Milan)

Rodriguez joined Milan from German side Wolfsburg in the summer and has made 22 appearances for the Serie A giants since. 

Like Calabria, Rodriguez is known as being equally proficient at defending as he is attacking. The Swiss international has already supplied two goals and one assist in the four Europa League starts he’s made. 

6. CM: Suso (Milan)

The attacking midfielder, who joined from Liverpool in 2015, has been a key figure in Gennaro Gattuso’s side this season having played over 2000 minutes of football for the Rossoneri thus far.

An impressive return of seven goals and four assists earned the 24-year-old a a call-up to the Spanish national squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. 

With an abundance of pace and trickery, Suso could prove to be a real nuisance to Arsenal’s fragile defence. 

7. CM: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

He’s been accused on a number of occasions of going missing in the big games, but Ozil has proved on enough occasions that he can deliver at the highest level possible. 

The German Player of the Year will be pivotal in what has been a pretty lacklustre Arsenal midfield. 

8. CM: Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Wilshere has been going through a rough patch of form recently, but the midfielder has shown that he’s capable of some classy performances in the past – albeit on an inconsistent basis. 

The 27-year-old will be desperate to provide his fans with some mild relief and, with England friendlies on the horizon, knows that he’s in need of delivering some big performances in order to cement a place in Southgate’s World Cup squad. 

9. FW: Patrick Cutrone (Milan)

The in-form Milan striker has scored 12 goals in 30 appearances for I Rossoneri this season. The striker was probably the Man of the Match for Milan in their 1-0 win over Ludogorets in the Europa League round of 32.

The 20-year-old likes to drift out to the left and so will pose questions to Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin as well as the two centre-backs. 

10. FW: Andre Silva (Milan)

Andres Silva joined Milan from Porto in the summer in a deal worth a reported £34m. Since his move to San Siro, the 22-year-old has struggled to really get going in the Serie A having started just five games.

Nevertheless, it seems to be a different story in the Europa League where the Portuguese international has bagged six goals in seven appearances. Like Suso, Silva’s main attributes are his pace and dribbling skills. 

11. FW: Hakan Calhanoglu (Milan)

Calhanoglu endured a pretty torrid start to his career at the San Siro when he joined from Bayern Leverkusen in the summer. The Turkish international was finding appearances hard to come by and a January departures looked like a real possibility. 

Nevertheless, things have improved since and the 24-year-old is certain to cause the Arsenal defence some problems and especially from dead ball situations. 


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