Arsenal gave themselves a two-goal advantage in their Europa League tie with AC Milan, defeating the Rossoneri 2-0 at the San Siro on Thursday night.
First-half goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey secured the win for Arsene Wenger's men, giving themselves a chance at European progress when the second-leg return hits the Emirates stadium in a weeks' time.
Arsenal responds to critics
It was a lively start to the game as both sides showed their attacking intent early on, as Mkhitaryan saw a pacey shot smash the side netting before Patrick Cutrone did the same at the opposite end.
There was no let-up in action within the first 15 minutes, and Arsenal’s attacking pressure paid off on the quarter of an hour mark as livewire Mkhitaryan, fired into the centre of the goal from inside the box.
The Armenian did well to control the ball inside the box before cutting inside and letting a shot go. The strike took a noticeable deflection on its way to goal, lifting the ball over the helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma, however Arsenal were deserved of their lead having made a positive start to the game.
Mkhitaryan’s goal was his first for Arsene Wenger’s side.
As 30 minutes passed, the North London side were well worth their lead as they continued to look dangerous on the attack and looked sound at the back with few defensive scares.
Arsenal continued to knock on the door late into the second-half as Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck saw their convincing efforts saved well by the young Italian goalkeeper.
It was the perfect end to the first half for Arsenal, as just a minute after the Arsenal goal-scorer Mkhitaryan smashed the ball against Donnarumma's cross-bar, Mesut Ozil cut open the Milan defence with an inch-perfect pass to Ramsey who comfortably rounds the goalkeeper before slotting into the net.
The teams headed down the tunnel at 0-2, as Wenger’s side provided the perfect response having been on such a bad run.
Arsenal convincing in the second half
The second-half started in the same electric fashion as the first as both sides continue to apply attacking pressure.
Milan seemed to have found their feet early in the second period, providing more of an attacking threat than they managed in the first.
As the minutes ticked on, the game fell into a lull as Arsenal looked happy to hold onto their 2-0 lead, as they sat much deeper to soak up the AC Milan attacks.
Milan continue to press
With just over 10 minutes to go, both managers made tactical substitutions in order to affect the game. Wenger brought on defensive changes whereas Gennaro Gattuso made attacking subs to bring his side back into the game.
Therefore, Wenger’s side were forced to sit back and endure waves of Milan attacks, though looked fairly comfortable to do so.
Arsenal remain solid to secure the win
With no more chances of note, it ended 0-2 as Arsenal head into the home fixture, two away goals to the good – the perfect response to a disastrous few weeks.
The reverse fixture will be played in one weeks’ time at the Emirates stadium.