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Welbeck slips in to seal it for Gunners

Arsenal 3 AC Milan 1

Shock: Ricardo Rodriguez protests his innocence as Danny Welbeck tumbles
Shock: Ricardo Rodriguez protests his innocence as Danny Welbeck tumbles

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Danny Welbeck scored twice against AC Milan to toast his England recall by sending Arsenal into the last eight of the Europa League.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg, the Gunners were shaken by Hakan Calhanoglu's long-range strike but hit back to win 3-1 on the night and assure themselves of a spot in the quarter-finals.

Welbeck levelled with just his third goal in 26 games by winning and converting a dubious penalty before heading home from point-blank range after Granit Xhaka's tame strike had put the hosts ahead.

Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere said: "We needed it. We set the level last week in Milan. It was about getting the job done tonight and being professional. We didn't start well but it woke us up. They got a good goal early on and made us work for it. We are happy to be through to the next round. When we looked at the draw before, AC Milan was probably not one of the teams we fancied but we showed we can play against the top teams in Europe."

Goalscorer Xhaka added: "I am happy I scored and I could help the team.

"We have won the last three games and we need to keep going."

Wenger, speaking about Welbeck's penalty decision, said: "When I watch the penalty, I will give you an honest answer. It was good to see a response from the team at 1-0 down.

"I don't want to accuse Danny Welbeck of diving before I see it again."

Milan breathed life into the contest when Calhanoglu fired home from distance, but Arsenal's reply was almost instantaneous.

Welbeck got the wrong side of Ricardo Rodriguez and went to ground, with referee Jonas Eriksson pointing to the spot despite minimal, if any, contact.

Nevertheless, Welbeck picked himself up to restore Arsenal's two-goal advantage in the tie.

The tie was wrapped up as Xhaka unleashed a tame long-range effort which Gianluigi Donnarumma inexplicably could not keep out, instead pushing the ball into the corner of the net.

Welbeck then nodded home late on following a cross from Wilshere as the Gunners marked a third straight win after a recent run of damaging defeats that mean the Europa League is now their only chance of silverware and their only realistic route back to the Champions League.


ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny (Chambers, 11 mins), Monreal, Ozil (Kolasinac, 79 mins), Ramsey, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan (Elneny, 69 mins), Wilshere, Welbeck. Unused subs: Cech, Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah.

AC MILAN: G Donnarumma, Borini, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, Kessie (Locatelli, 79 mins), Calhanoglu (Bonaventura, 70 mins), Montolivo, Suso, Cutrone (Kalinic, 67 mins), Andre Silva. Unused subs: Storari, Zapata, Biglia, Musacchio.

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)

Man of the match: Danny Welbeck

Match rating: 7/10

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