Champions League – Arsenal v AC Milan Preview
So which Arsenal will turn up for their Champions League, second-leg tie with AC Milan at the Emirates? Will it be the one that surrendered so meekly in the San Siro two weeks ago – or the one that fought back from two goals down to blow Spurs out of the water in their last home game?
The Gunners certainly have nothing to lose against the Rossoneri with a four-goal deficit to overturn. Given the top Italian teams’ defensive qualities, no-one is expecting Arsene Wenger’s team to progress into the quarter-finals after that disastrous first leg but the players will want to go out on a high and show they are a lot better than they showed in Italy.
You’d certainly expect Arsenal to trouble the ageing Milan defence a lot more at home than they did at the San Siro. Robin van Persie only showed a glimpse of what he is capable of in the first leg but usually only needs half a chance to find the net and it wouldn’t make sense not give him a strike partner against the Serie A leaders at the Emirates with Gervinho being the most likely candidate ahead of the disappointing Marouane Chamakh. There may even be a part to play for the exciting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That would, of course, leave Arsenal short in midfield and that is where Milan excelled in the first leg, Mark van Bommel and Kevin-Prince Boateng effectively nullifying the London side’s ball-players. They also have world-class strikers in Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahamovic and Arsenal will probably struggle to keep them at bay for 90 minutes while pressing for goals at the other end, especially as their back line just couldn’t cope with Ibrahamovic’s strength and movement in the San Siro
Arsene Wenger’s team can avoid another dispiriting defeat but Milan would be more than happy with a draw (5/2), which looks the most likely outcome. A 1-1 correct score can be backed at 6/1 and a 2-2 draw is 13/1. Milan are 4/7 on the handicap with a one-goal start.