ZURICH – Arsenal turned the form book upside down and gave manager Arsene Wenger much-needed respite with a shock 2-0 win away to AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.
The London side, who had lost their last four games in all competitions and were facing a Milan team unbeaten in 13 matches, stunned the San Siro with first-half goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey in the round of 16 first leg.
With Arsenal sixth in the Premier League and Milan seventh in Serie A, the match was played in very different circumstances to their last clash six years ago.
On that occasion, both teams were Champions League regulars and met in the round of 16 of Europe's top club competition.
Arsenal went ahead after 15 minutes after Mesut Ozil found Mkhitaryan on the left side of the penalty area and the Armenian scored with a deflected shot.
Having refound their confidence, Arsenal played some flowing football as they repeatedly caught Milan on the break, leaving the Serie A side's coach Gennaro Gattuso red-faced with anger on the touchline.
Mkhitaryan rifled a shot against the crossbar before Ozil produced another inspired pass to send Ramsey clear and he rounded goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to add the second in the 45th minute.
Milan were more purposeful in the second half but Arsenal held out comfortably with a resilience missing from their recent performances.
Valon Berisha scored twice early in the second half to give Austrian champions Salzburg a 2-1 win at Borussia Dortmund, who replied through Andre Schuerrle.
Atletico Madrid cruised to a 3-0 home win over Lokomotiv Moscow with goals from Saul Niguez, Diego Costa and Koke, while Olympique Lyonnais defied freezing conditions to win 1-0 at CSKA Moscow thanks to Marcelo's second-half strike.