After a four-point haul from our opening match at the Dubai Super Cup, we go looking for the same against AC Milan on Tuesday.
It will be I Rossoneri’s first game in the tournament before they face Liverpool three days later, and we can clinch the silverware with a victory against the reigning Serie A champions.
However they will provide a stern test at the Al Maktoum Stadium, and ahead of the meeting here is everything you need to know about our opponents:
One of the world’s most decorated and celebrated clubs, AC Milan were formed by Englishman Herbert Kilpin in 1899 and quickly began collecting silverware, but an internal split in 1908 brought about the creation of arch-rivals Inter Milan.
That led to a major trophy drought until the 1950s, but they would be one of the most dominant sides throughout the majority of the second half of the century by winning five European Cups and claiming a 16th Serie A title in 1999.
Further success in the Champions League came in 2003 and 2007, but domestic successes were few and far between, with just two further league titles and a single Coppa Italia coming their way following the turn of the century.
That all changed last season though when Milan lifted their first Scudetto in 11 years, edging out their neighbours Inter by just two points.
Veteran boss Stefano Pioli was a controversial choice when he was appointed in October 2019, having previously managed Inter - one of 12 other clubs he had previously been in the dugout for in a 16-year span before taking over I Rossoneri.
A centre-back best known for his time at Fiorentina during his playing days, Pioli first managed in Serie A in 2006 at Parma. He had overseen Chievo, Palmero, Bologna, Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina before returning to the San Siro to try and clinch a first major honour with AC.
He swiftly helped the club return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013/14 in his first full campaign via a second-placed finish, and followed that up by going a step further and clinching the long-awaited league triumph 12 months later.
The signing of former Gunners favourite Olivier Giroud ahead of the start of last season proved to be a masterstroke by Milan, as he ended his first campaign as joint-top scorer with 11 goals, including a brace on the final day to help land the three points needed for the title.
Alongside him at the top of the goalscoring charts was Rafael Leao, who netted twice in Portugal’s run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. The pair however won’t feature against us having made the knockout stages of the tournament, which also rules out Fode Ballo-Toure (Senegal), Sergino Dest (USA) and Theo Hernandez (France).
Simon Kjaer and Charles de Ketelaere have been included in the travelling party after their early exits with Denmark and Belgium respectively, while long-term injury concerns Mike Maignan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are also in Dubai hoping to build up some match fitness.
Other former Premier League players on the trip include former Chelsea pair Fikayo Tomori and Tiemoue Bakayoko, Liverpool cult hero Divock Origi and ex-Manchester City youngster Brahim Diaz.
The current season
Milan headed into the World Cup break sitting second in the table, eight points behind leaders Napoli after 15 games - not helped after losing a crunch game to them 2-1 back in September, which is one of just two league defeats so far this term.
Their only other losses both came against Chelsea in the Champions League, but they still managed to advance to the knockout stages by picking up 10 points from their games against Red Bull Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
Giroud and Leao again lead the scoring charts, while Diaz and veteran Croatian attacker Ante Rebic have also chipped in with decent hauls. Milan have played one friendly since regrouping, which saw them beat fourth-tier side Lumezzane 3-2 last Thursday.
The previous meetings
We first met Milan in competitive action back in 1995 when they beat us 2-0 over two legs to claim the UEFA Super Cup. In 2007/08, we were paired together in the last-16 of the Champions League, and this time we prevailed thanks to a 2-0 win in the San Siro with Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor on target.
Four years later we met at the same stage in the same competition, and we nearly overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit via a 3-0 home win. Our last competitive meeting came in the Europa League in 2018, when goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey sealed success in the San Siro, before a 3-1 victory at Emirates Stadium saw us safely into the quarter-finals, thanks to a Danny Welbeck brace and a Granit Xhaka strike.
How to watch
You’ll be able to stream our match against Milan on Arsenal.com and the official app, which kicks off at 2pm UK time.
Our usual matchday coverage will begin with Breakdown Live, starting 30 minutes before the start and providing all the need-to-know information, with live commentary accompanying the match action.
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