5 talking points ahead of Thursday’s Europa League action

Manchester United come face-to-face with an old friend while Arsenal have a decision to make.

Manchester United tackle AC Milan again
Manchester United tackle AC Milan again

All four British clubs are well placed to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Manchester United face the toughest task as they head to the San Siro to face AC Milan with the tie level at 1-1, while Arsenal and Tottenham both hold two-goal first-leg leads and Scottish champions Rangers have an away goal from their 1-1 draw against Slavia Prague.

Here the PA news agency looks at the talking points.

Auba drive?

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists everything is positive after talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the club captain was dropped for Sunday’s North London derby win over a disciplinary issue. However, it is now up to the player to show there is no lingering issue and Olympiacos, whom they lead 3-1, offer that chance. Attitude rather than individual performance will be more important on the night as the Gabon striker must prove a point.

No rest for Kane

Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring
Tottenham captain Harry Kane is charged with seeing leading his side into the quarter-finals (Julian Finney/PA)

Jose Mourinho is taking no chances despite a 2-0 lead from the home first leg against Dinamo Zagreb, with Harry Kane set to start in Croatia. After Sunday’s disappointing defeat in the North London derby the players need a lift and Mourinho is keen to ensure they bounce back in Europe. Spurs have two key Premier League matches either side of the international break against Aston Villa and Newcastle which will be vital to their top-four hopes before the visit of Manchester United in early April.

Zlat is back

AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit to face his former side Manchester United having missed the last four matches, including the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. The Swede, who has been recalled to the national team for the first time since announcing his retirement in 2016, has a habit of not just stealing the limelight but demanding it and although he is expected to start on the bench the idea of making a grand entrance to be the match-winner will definitely appeal to the 39-year-old, who spent two seasons at United.

Tricky balance for United

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates with Edinson Cavani
Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani return for Manchester United’s trip to the San Siro (Clive Rose/PA)

United will hope the late equaliser they conceded to give Milan an away goal last week does not return to haunt them. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are on a 13-match unbeaten run but have drawn seven of those and scored more than once in a match only five times. On the plus side they have kept nine clean sheets so it could be tight in the San Siro, and they are boosted by the returns of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek.

Can Rangers continue their ride?

Having sewn up the domestic title Rangers have the chance to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League for the first time since they lost to Zenit St Petersburg in the final in 2008. Steven Gerrard’s side have an important away goal but will be wary of what Slavia Prague did to Leicester in the previous round, drawing 0-0 at home but then winning 2-0 at the King Power Stadium.

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