Ahh match day. That most nervous of day for any Arsenal fan and despite a 2-0 away victory against AC Milan in the San Siro last night, I don’t know about you, but I feel just as nervous as if we’d have lost the first leg 2-1.

I say 2-1 rather than 2-0 because I think that I’d probably be feeling rather defeatist had we been two down and the nerves would probably not be as great. Most likely because I’d be thinking we’re probably out. After all, this Arsenal team doesn’t really do clean sheets and having two within a week, I can’t see us notching up a third. Can you?

So with that possibility that we will most likely concede tonight, it does make you wonder about that first goal, because it could be pivotal. If we get it, the life could be sucked out of this Milan team. They would know they need three, have to go gung-ho, leave spaces for our attack and we could potentially pick them off with the quality of players we have.

However if we concede first – especially if it’s early – then the whole dynamic of the tie changes and most likely, the atmosphere in the ground changes too. If Milan get the first goal and it’s within the first 15 minutes then it’ll be a quiet place tonight at The Emirates. I don’t want that. You don’t want that. You can be damn sure the manager doesn’t want that either.

So the opening skirmishes need to be cagey and I hope the Arsenal players make it as cagey as possible.

What that doesn’t mean is sterile possession amongst the back four or five (although I suspect it’ll be a four) and I think we need to show more discipline in keeping the ball further up the pitch. That means the midfield plays a vital role and whilst I think we’ll see Jack and Ramsey get their start, as well as Xhaka in the middle of the park, I would opt for sacrificing one of them for Elneny tonight. The Egyptian isn’t amazing, he’s very conservative with the ball, but we need that first half to be as conservative as possible to grow into the game I think. So that’s why I’d start him.

Like I say though, I think that Arsène will name largely the same team as he did against Milan last week and so it’ll be an XI consisting of Ospina, probably with Bellerin coming in at right back, with Mustafi and Koscielny in the middle and I do wonder if Kolasinac will get another shot. I guess it depends how fit Monreal is but the big Bosnian has been good in his last couple of games and I am hoping he’s turned a corner and will be looking more like the player we saw at the start of the season with good forward runs and a decent amount of brains to recognise when we need to keep our shape. The good thing about tonight’s opponents is that from what I saw they played with players like Suso who didn’t want to get down the line in a foot race with Kolasinac, preferring to cut inside instead and I think the Tank prefers that compared to being isolated running down the line towards his own goal.

In midfield I’d like to see energy and movement of the ball quickly. We know Aaron gives us that but we also need to hope that Milan haven’t realised that if you press Xhaka in his own half you can break down play easily and force an attack quickly on Arsenal’s goal. If they haven’t then I think Xhaka is in line for a good game again tonight.

The front three will have Mkhitaryan and Özil, probably with Jack wedged in between, although I’d probably keep him deep and play Ramsey in the middle behind Welbeck. We just have to hope that Welbeck forgets he’s Welbeck tonight because we need him to take whatever chances he gets. Quickly.

AC Milan’s crazy gaffer Gattuso has said they will fight tonight and they haven’t come for a holiday but I just hope that what we saw last Thursday was in fact a team that are quite slow and not one who just had an off night. But like I’ve already said, I do fear an early goal, even if it is a home game for us and our home form this season has been ok. We’ve got a shocking European record in knockouts and it’s time to address that tonight.

This is essentially it for us this season because if we lose it the league is done and we’ll all just be counting down until May. What we could do with is a performance that sends us into the next round with belief. Whether we get that or not we’ll find out soon enough.

Catch you all tomorrow. Hopefully getting excited about who we could have in the next round.

Laters peeps.