The San Siro is one of the greatest grounds in world football. The iconic Italian stadium has played home to the Champions league trophy on an incredible 8 occasions between both AC Milan (5) and Inter Milan (3). It's a theatre of football; a ground that instils fear in the hearts of opposition based on reputation alone... and it plays home to a meek and deflated Arsenal side's next match.

The Europa League last 16 fixture with the Rossoneri of Milan is already an intimidating tie, but heap on the recent horrific form of Arsene Wenger's side and the fixture becomes an almost terrifying prospect.

And it's also an incredibly important tie in defining the story of Arsenal's season, as is the case with all Europa League ties from here on-out (although there very well may only be one more after this one). Once a competition lambasted by Arsenal - even in the group stages to an extent - Europe's secondary competition now represents the only semblance of a saving grace remaining in the Gunner's season - and almost certainly the last chance for the manager to leave his tenure at the club on a high.

The fixture couldn't be arriving at a worse time. Not necessarily in relation to injuries for once - the team is relatively full-strength bar the absence of Alexandre Lacazette and Santi Cazorla; as well as the cup-tied Pierre Emerick Aubameyang - but are going into the game in some of the worst form that has ever graced the club in recent times.

The last four results make for horrific reading. In the previous EL game, Swedish minnows Ostersund made the trip to North London after losing well at home, and left with a monumental win. Arsenal were complacent, which has been a common theme over the past few games, perhaps none more so than the League Cup final. Manchester City went to Wembley and embarrassed an Arsenal team that was described as "spineless" by Gary Neville in his punditry position.

If that definition seemed harsh at the time, it was surely backed-up by the league match last Thursday by the same opposition, as Pep Guardiola's men strolled to a 3-0 lead within a half hour. 3 shocking performances in a row were bad enough, but at least excuses could be made to a certain extent - "the game was already won in Sweden/resting for the cup final" or "City are the best team in Europe" are flimsy, but perhaps reasonably valid reasoning behind the losses... but there was no such crutch against Brighton on Sunday.

Chris Hughton's Brighton side made a mockery of Wenger's deflated side in the first half of their tie at the Amex Stadium. After starting well, following the first goal, the newly-promoted side cut through Arsenal like a hot knife through butter. When Wenger's side go behind, they don't inspire much confidence, and they fell to another lacklustre loss - the fourth in a row.

Going into this tie against an in-form Milan side on the back of four deflating losses is not ideal. Former midfield stalwart Gennaro Gattuso has taken over a Milan side that was losing games it shouldn't have been and rejuvenated them since November, and looks likely to hold onto the role. He currently stands in a far better position to his Arsenal counterpart, whose job has never been more hanging in the balance than coming into these set of European fixtures.

Perhaps the most daunting prospect of this match-up is the clear disparity between the strength of Arsenal's attack and Milan's defense. Usually, Arsenal's attacking options - at least on paper - is the club's saving grace. But, with the aforementioned absences and the departures of Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, attacking options for this encounter are considerably light, with Danny Welbeck set to lead the line.

Welbeck has not offered much when featuring in recent games, but the English striker has been generally unfortunate, both in the past few matches and during his tenure at Arsenal due to injuries. He'll certainly have a lot to do against Milan, who have an excellent back line.

When people recall the Milan teams of old, they recall rock-solid no nonsense defenders, and while the current crop may not share the same levels of success as those have previously held their positions, they still pack a punch; none more so than Leonardo Bonucci, who moved to Milan from Juventus in the Summer and represented a massive coup for the side.

He is joined by fellow new signing Ricardo Rodriguez and the veteran Ignazio Abate, who all combine to make for a fine defense. Behind the outfield defenders is perhaps the most promising goal keeper in the world - 19 year old Gianluigi Donaruuma, who already has an incredible 94 Serie A caps to his name as well as 4 appearances for the Italian national team.

Milan's presence in the Champions League may be the only way to hold on to the young man considered to be the spiritual successor to Gianluigi Buffon, making these ties of a similar importance to Milan as they are to Arsenal.

Joining Welbeck with a reintroduction to the starting team will be Hector Bellerin, who was rested for the first time all season against Brighton, as well as Aaron Ramsey, who was also given a rest but did not feature on the bench. It will be a strong team that is fielded, as strong as possible, to match the significance of the occasion.

Regardless of strength, one thing is for sure - nothing Arsenal have shown over the past four matches suggest that they will come away from the San Siro with a result. It was a strong side that contested the game against Brighton; the games against City as well and still poor performances - it is more than the quality of the players that is the issue here.

If a positive result was gained, even a score draw away from home, it may give the side a bit of a lift - take the pressure off of Wenger's back for a few days - but again, it seems unlikely based on recent displays. Thursday will reveal all.

Arsenal travel to Italy to face AC Milan in the first leg of their last of 16 Europa League tie with the Rossoneri, with kick-off scheduled for 6pm on Thursday the 8th of March.