Arsene Wenger: Win at AC Milan to 'lift the belief' at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger: Win at AC Milan to 'lift the belief' at Arsenal

The Gunners head into the UEFA Europa League last-16 clash with the Rossoneri on the back of four consecutive defeats, which included back-to-back losses against Manchester City and most recently a 2-1 defeat against Brighton.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove Arsenal into a 15th-minute lead with his first goal for the club, and a shellshocked Milan fell further behind before half-time as Aaron Ramsey waltzed through to score.

Questions over the future of manager Wenger had dominated the pre-match talk, but the 68-year-old will have been delighted with a clinical and disciplined display from his players against a Milan side who had gone 13 games without defeat.

"It is a hard situation for us", he told DAZN. "We showed togetherness today, we showed spirit and a lot of character". When you're half knocked down and you have to face another opponent before you got up again.

"Overall, it is important to win, but it is not qualification".

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Arsenal started brightly at the San Siro but were lucky not to concede a penalty when Hakan Calhanoglou stayed on his feet despite appearing to have been fouled by onrushing Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina. Ozil played a fine pass into Ramsey's path and the Wales midfielder rounded Donnarumma for an easy finish.

Goals from Saul Niguez, Diego Costa and Koke in the 22nd, 47th and 90th minutes gave Atletico a comfortable first-leg win.

The two away goals now make the Gunners firm favourites to reach the quarter-finals after next Thursday's second leg at Emirates Stadium.

Spanish global Costa has now scored six goals for Atletico since returning to the club from Chelsea in January.

The long-serving Frenchman has fallen under mounting pressure in north London, with Europa League success offering a final route to silverware and a return to a Champions League stage.

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