The Gunners Arrive in San Siro For The “Italian” Job

History in the Making

Unlike the atrocious Stadium of Light that looked like a cattle grazing center, the BayArena offered a great spectacle as German fans came in their numbers to support their home team that hosted the emperors of modern-day football FC Barcelona. The Messi-less Wizard ran the show against the German outfit and capped it up with a goal late on.

Arsenal’s two-month wait for a Champions League fixture has come to an end as Arsene Wenger and his men have made the trip to the San Siro to take on seven-time winners AC Milan. The current Serie A defending champions are behind the league leaders Juventus and they’ve had a run of three wins, a draw and two defeats in their last six matches.

AC Milan is a vastly experienced side that has counted on its loyal stalwarts down the years but Maxi Allegri has gotten the perfect blend of youthful exuberance and experienced level-headedness since taking over the helm of affairs of the club. The team has shown a lot of character and spirit this season and it was epitomized in the stunning 4-3 win over Lecce, despite being 3-0 down at halftime.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was a hat-trick hero for AC Milan that day and he has grown to become a prominent figurehead in the Rossoneri’s midfield. However, he has stated that Arsenal isn’t a team to be scared off:

“The problem with Arsenal is one day they play amazing football and then they play really badly. In the end they don’t have balance. They either play unbelievable football or they don’t know what they’re doing.”

“It comes down to inexperience. Arsenal don’t know what you have to do to win titles — they’re always close but they break down. All their players are young, of course they’re hungry but they don’t know how to get this target.”

“Without the experience it’s difficult — to take the last step, experience is what you need. To win the league or to reach the semi-final or final of the Champions League you need experience. There’s always something missing at Arsenal. That bit is the experience — we have so much of that at Milan and I think that’s what they need.”

Boateng’s words actually sting a bit but I feel it’s over the top, especially from a player that spent his short Premier League career moving everywhere with Twitchy Ol’ Harry. At least, he can give himself a pat on the back for ending Michael Ballack’s international career following that horrific tackle that snapped his ankle ligaments.

Arsene Wenger has declared that he’s wary of the threat Zlatan Ibracadabra poses. Arsenal got a first-hand demonstration of Ibrahimovic’s antics when Barcelona visited the Emirates in 2009. He scored two brilliant goals in the 2-2 draw but the second leg turned out to be the Lionel Messi show. However, Thomas Vermaelen has stated that he’ll be more than a match for Zlatan.

To team news, I expect Wojciech Szczesny to continue in goal and a clean sheet in the San Siro will certainly do wonders to his confidence. Wenger has promised to play Vermaelen in the heart of the defence with Laurent Koscielny, so we should expect Kieran Gibbs to be drafted back into the first team but I have a hunch that Francis Coquelin might get the nod. Bacary Sagna will complete the defence line.

Alex Song and Mikel Arteta are more or less assured of their starting berths but questions would be raised on the selection of the final cog in the midfield engine wheel. Tomas Rosicky has been performing admirably recently but Aaron Ramsey’s goal against Sunderland might just give him an edge over the Czech. There’s also great news concerning Jack Wilshere as he’s now tipped to make a comeback in March.

Robin van Persie would lead Arsenal’s forward line and he’ll probably but supported by the raw pace of Theo Walcott and the intelligence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Andrey Arshavin and Thierry Henry will probably start from the dugout.

Enjoy the match wherever you are.

Here’s to a happy match review tomorrow.


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Posted on February 15, 2012, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Match Preview and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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