- Arsenal arrived at Luton Airport preparing to fly to Milan for Europa League tie
- They jet off to Milan ahead of their clash in the San Siro on Thursday evening
- The Gunners have lost their last four outings for the first time since 2002
- Winning the Europa League could be a way to save Arsene Wenger’s job
The Gunners stars were all smiles as they lined the runway, but there is no hiding the fact that Thursday night will provide a tense and nervy atmosphere for a club which has lost four games in a row for the first time since 2002.
Arsenal stars arrived at Luton Airport on Wednesday afternoon ahead of their flight to Milan
(L-R) David Opsina and Henrikh Mkhitaryan head towards the plane as they prepare to jet off
Granit Xhaka and Co will face AC Milan on Thursday having lost their last four fixtures
A strong squad including Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere all came through Wednesday’s session before heading to Luton for the flight.
They face the Serie A giants in a round of 16, first-leg clash at the San Siro on Thursday in the knowledge that they must win the competition to have any realistic chance of returning to the Champions League next season and, in effect, save their manager’s job.
Back-to-back defeats in the Premier League have left the Gunners trailing fourth-placed Tottenham by 12 points and Wenger has admitted they are likely to finish outside the Champions League places for a second successive season.
(L-R) Mesut Ozil and Mohamed Elneny were all smiles but a tense atmosphere in Milan awaits
Midfielder Jack Wilshere, who trained with the club earlier in the day, heads towards the plane
(L-R) Aaron Ramsey and Calum Chambers, dressed all in black, prepare for take-off at Luton
Now coming under huge pressure to leave at the end of the season, it is understood that only a return to Europe’s elite competition will allow Wenger to see out the final year of his contract.
Winning the competition would grant them a berth and thus save Wenger’s job, but it would also give him the chance to bow out on a high with what would be a fourth major trophy in five seasons.
Before he can think about that dilemma, however, Arsenal must find a way past an AC Milan side enjoying a resurgence under Gennaro Gattuso. They are unbeaten in their last 13 games across all competitions, winning nine.
Eddie Nketiah travels to Milan having made five Europa League appearances this season
Fellow 18-year-old Reiss Nelson has also featured prominently (eight times) in Europe this term
They leave in the knowledge that winning the Europa League could save Arsene Wenger’s job