Arsenal will aim to put their domestic shortcomings behind them against AC Milan on Thursday evening at the San Siro, a vital round of 16 first-leg encounter in the Europa League which could prolong the Gunners’ European adventure if they manage to record a positive performance, although Laurent Koscielny believes he and his teammates will meet a Milan squad brimming with ‘fighting spirit’.
Gennaro Gatuso once proudly graced the turf for the Serie A giants and is now at the club’s helm, and since being in charge of the first-team, the fearsome, dogged former defensive midfielder has transformed the ‘Rossoneri’s’ fortunes after an abrupt fall from grace from the throne at the pinnacle of Italian football.
A standing member of the fold which lost 4-0 against Milan in 2012, Koscielny understands the ‘importance’ of Arsenal playing to their absent potential against ‘Rino’s’ reinvigorated contingent and the French centre-half, speaking to the north-Londoners’ official website, said:
“They have a good coach and I think they give him a lot of commitment with great fighting spirit on the pitch,
“They all work well together. We have a young team but still have players with lots of experience, so it’s a good mix.
“It was a different game in 2012 because they have lost a lot of players [since then]. They had big players like Ibrahimovic. We lost 4-0 here and won at home 3-0.
“In this competition we play two games. The first one is always very important to play well – but last time we didn’t. Now it’s a different competition with a good team and new players. It will be important to be focused on this game and also the second.
“Milan are an historic club so we know that they’re always going to be competitive when they’re in Europe. We think it will be a tough game and we’re also playing at the San Siro as well.
“For us, it will be important for us to stay focused. We know we have two games to qualify for the next round, so we need to be together and defend very well because they have a lot of quality up front.”