Arsenal travel to Italy for their Europa League first leg tie against AC Milan and it’s hard to find anyone feeling optimistic, or that bothered.
Ahead of the game, I imagined some questions fans might be asking and tried to answer them:
1Will Arsenal turn up?
Probably not. Usually when we’ve had a bad result or two you could count on Arsene Wenger to bounce his men back into form at some point, but if that was going to happen we would have seen it at Wembley against City.
The players couldn’t even motivate themselves for that game so it’s hard to see what might have changed after another two defeats to boost their belief that they can get a result.
They seem beaten before they even take to the pitch these days.
2Who will start?
David Ospina will start because he’s our cup clown and we’re likely to see the same sort of side that lost at Brighton, minus Aubameyang who is cup-tied.
Bellerin should have returned to the starting lineup but he has an ‘injured knee’, which is handy for Wenger who can now avoid awkward questions had he benched him again.
3Will Wenger trust Nketiah?
Although the youngster seemed to offer more against Brighton in less time than Danny Welbeck, Wenger will turn to experience over exuberance for this game despite this season showing him that some of our best performances have come when the youngsters have been trusted.
4Will Wenger lose his job if Arsenal are beaten badly?
Are you new?
5How good are AC Milan right now?
Although they are nothing like the AC Milan of old, they are better than they’ve been in ages.
6Can Arsenal win the Europa League?
Any team can win any competition as Leicester showed in the Premier League and Chelsea in the Champions League so yes, Arsenal can win the Europa League.
A more pertinent question would be ‘can Arsenal win the Europa League?’ and that answer would have to be ‘no’.
Even without all the strife and distractions surrounding the cub at the minute, there are better footballing sides still in the competition.
7Can Arsenal win in the San Siro?
Yes, but they will have to improve massively on what they’ve been delivering recently.
Milan are no Manchester City, but then neither were Brighton or Ostersund.
Arsenal have won away from home just once in 2018 – in Sweden while AC Milan are unbeaten in their five home games this year.
8Who will make the biggest mistake to gift Milan a goal?
Shkodran Mustafi would be a smart call but my money is on David ‘Bricks for Hands’ Ospina.
9Will Arsenal’s winless run end?
Arsenal have lost four games in a row for the first time since 2002 and defeat on Thursday would see them lose five since, well, we don’t want to think about that.
Ending the winless run depends on so many factors, all of which are within Arsenal’s control.
Arsene Wenger has far more talent at his disposal than Gennaro Gattuso, but he has got his men playing like a team.
Part of me still hopes that the players can pull out a performance, but that hope fades every week.