No Room For Cowards; Arsenal Have To Caine Milan

This is a night where something has to give.

AC Milan will either be the first Italian team to beat Arsenal in the knockout phase of any European tournament or they are going to be the first team to throw away a four-goal advantage in the Champions League. They have form, Deportivo eliminated them following a 1-4 reverse in Milan by putting four past them without reply at Estadio Riazor in 2004. We can always send them our own experience of throwing away four-goal advantages, perhaps with a note that says, “Go on then prove you’re better than us – concede five“.

Overturning the deficit would be no small feat but then who thought we would thump their city neighbours 5 – 1 at the San Siro in a different but no less precarious position. Another trend to be bucked is scoring against AC Milan at home; the two previous meetings have been goalless. Maintaining that record of not conceding is an absolute necessity if the faint embers of hope are to be rekindled into a roaring flame.

And I for one cannot wait for kick-off. It is a real ‘next goal wins‘ scenario. An early goal for Arsenal, followed by another before half-time? Doubts would surely creep in? A not-implausible scenario but one that requires everything to fall into place very quickly as soon as the referee signals the battle’s commencement.

The team Arsène fields is being heralded as the stongest available to him. Scouse shoulders have denied him the services of Arteta which has led to speculation that the team will play in a 4-2-4 formation. Or 4-4-2. Or 4-4-1-1. All of which suggests it will be in the usual 4-3-3. Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to start in midfield alongside Rosicky and Song, an attacking option and one that puts a lot of emphasis on the defensive abilities of Song.

Defensively, the manager has his biggest conundrum. Whilst he is instilling belief into the players about them achieving the 5% victory, he has to be mindful of his already not insignificant injury list. According to reports, Kieran Gibbs is carrying a knock which begs the question as to whether he should be risked at all. With Andre Santos not likely to be back for a few weeks, can Arsenal afford to take on their next few Premier League opponents without a left bak should the worst happen? That said, there is a six day breathing space for the players until the visit of Newcastle so I suspect the manager will view it as a risk worth taking.

Whether the players entirely believe their manager’s kidology is another matter but it really is as simple as he says,

It is important we have a strong belief and that we show we have enough belief to make what looks impossible, possible.

Can the players do it? Of course they can, anything is possible in 90 minutes or longer. Do I think they will? No but as important as scoring the four or more required goals, is them trying, making the effort, playing for pride. To enter the pitch already defeated is not acceptable even when four down. A performance to make us proud of them is the expected outcome. Anything more really is just a bonus which ought to work in the team’s favour when it comes down to receiving our support from the stands, surely? Expectations of clawing back the four goal deficit must be minimal – expectations, not hope – so complaining is the footballing equivalent of kicking a man when he is down. Let’s rise above that, for one night at least.

The team for tonight is probably as already reported in the media.

Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Rosicky, Song, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho

There are few other options although putting Chamakh up front with van Persie might work? No, it’s not going to happen until the final third of the game. Substitute options are limited though and Park will surely get his Champions League bow for the club at some point tonight. It appears the final formation might be 2-2-6 which is attacking to say the least.

Enjoy the game wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

538 thoughts on “No Room For Cowards; Arsenal Have To Caine Milan

  1. “How nice it would be to play a team that wants to contest the match on a proper football pitch by pitting skill, technique, imagination, and discipline–not who can kill the game by flopping around and conning the ref.”

    They know how dangerous we can be, so they will not chance it LG. I will be cheering on whatever team is drawn against them in the next round.

  2. PG,
    i know right, i’ve surely learnt my lesson. Next 5 are going to be, 6, 5, 17, 14 and 10. Also hoping Diaby can stay injury free so i can get a no. 2.

  3. Agreed. Relaying the flanks has been one of the most despicale things I’ve seen a team to do right before a big match. And today we saw why: their left back, probably the Pakistani cricket captain in disguise and not a real football player, just didn’t stand a chance against our wing play on a proper pitch. We surely would’ve done better at the San Siro if a proper pitch would’ve been available to play on.

  4. @Jeff
    Good choices all around! I myself am really torn. Got me a RVP10 away last year, and a TV5 the year before (and CF4 before that …) but for this season, I am really not sure which name and number to get. We just have too many great players at the moment.

  5. @dups
    If Milan meet Barca I am sure UEFA is going to intervene against any pitch relaying. Can’t have the Catalan’s playing on a bad pitch, can they?

  6. Right you are EVIL. which make me come to this point. Knowing we could do well on a real pitch, we should have gone to damage control mode in the first leg. Kept it at 2-0 for the second leg. Ahhh, having said that ,don’t look back.

  7. I too will be cheering on whoever they get in the next round Passenal. If it’s Barcelona though…

  8. I know I know Passenal but I really really hate Barca and wish them all the ill will I can muster! To think only a few seasons ago I loved Barca just slightly less than I do Arsenal! If only they could meet and both get knocked out by each other. If they meet I’ll refuse to support either. I also hope neither win the CL or any other trophy they are currently in contention for.

  9. @London Gunner
    Same for me. A couple of years ago (and that was AFTER the CL defeat!) they were my second team somewhat, but nowadays for me they are utter scum and rank just slightly below ManU and Sp*rs on the list of teams I hate. About on par with Chelsea.

  10. We did Caine them..we Michael Cained them, well called YW.

    What a highlight, what a joy: self-respect, pride and passion the boys took it all and left the Milanese Mafia looking like they had been Italian Jobbed’ on the night.

    Just a pity the ending was more Get Carter than Zulu .

    Don’t point……..that bloody spear…….at me. (to the sound of Gatling guns)

  11. Arsenal’s response to a 4-0 defeat at Milan was sensational. Rosicky’s personal response was something more. I don’t have the word. The club and fans could not ask for more. He led and gave everything.

  12. I think the midfield injuries killed us today. If we had any one of Diaby, Wilshere, Ramsey, Benayoun or Arteta available to replace Ox we would have scored the fourth. Bringing Chamakh on changed the formation allowed Milan to control the midfield with strength in numbers. Keeping Ox on when he was clearly struggling also allowed Milan to do the same, although looking at the options on the bench you could understand why Wenger kept him on.

  13. “We can beat anyone in the country and in Europe so it’ll give us a lot of confidence,” Szczesny said. “It hurts because it wasn’t enough and we got knocked out, but there are a lot of positives.
    “I wouldn’t settle now for fourth place. We’re four points behind the other north London club, we can challenge them, Chelsea can challenge them as well, and I’ll be really pleased to see Tottenham in the Europa League next season.”

    You just must love our Pole in goal.

  14. So unlucky. We really put in a performance and just ran out of steam at th end. We had no real options on the bench, if we had maybe would would have been able to maintain our tempo.

    Rosicky MotM for me. Outstanding game. AOC also had a great game. Really mature and proved that he can easily play in our midfield if needed. Really mature performance and had Red Nev (who is actually a very good pundit) purring about him.

    We should take plenty of confidence from this and into our lge games. If the players continue in this manner we will have no problems for the remainder of the season.

  15. TR7 – deadwood, injury probe, drain on the wage bill.
    Even in defeat this incredible collection of players can shut up the doubters and haters. Hope they can lift themselves for the battles to come. Overhauling the Spuds now number 1 priority.

  16. Rosicky stood out but the whole team put up a man of the match performance. Van P could have done better with his chances, any other day he’d have had a hatrick. Team did us proud!!!

  17. I have never been more proud of my club, the greatest in the world, Arsenal FC. For all they been through, I love this team especially.
    Long live the deadwood, Long live Arsene Wenger.

  18. The Ox stood out for me. What a night for him, me thinks he will be deadly.

    Rosicky’s resurgence demonstrates why patience with Diaby is so important.

    Maybe it is the influence of this young German we have brought in, he was singing about Rosicky. It might have lifted his confidence a bit. Got him to remember how good he is.

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