Milan vs. Arsenal  4 - 0


Wenger bemoans ´poor´ performance

16 February 2012 10:07

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger slammed the effort of his players after their 4-0 Champions League thrashing at AC Milan on Wednesday.

A brace from Robinho plus goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Milan the ideal result in the round-of-16 first-leg encounter, and Wenger was disappointed with the application of his team.

"It's very difficult to take the performance we've given tonight," Wenger told Sky Sports.

"Defeat can happen sometimes when you play well, but I felt that defensively, especially, offensively and as a unit, we were poor. We were beaten and never in the game. It's a big shock."

Wenger said he was concerned by the way his side defended against Milan, with his team's goalmouth breached twice in both halves.

"It's a big concern because we were always in trouble with the same problems – (passes) over the top, slow reading the game, slow to respond, beaten in challenges – it was a big problem for us the whole night," he said.

"We have to take our pain and regroup for the next game."

Wenger admitted a Champions League quarter-final appearance would be almost impossible, but is hopeful of a better effort from this team in the return fixture at the Emirates on March 6.

"Statistically, it's too big (a deficit to recover from)," he said.

"We'll try, but there is very little hope there. The result is massive for them – a massive advantage and very difficult to turn around."

"We'll give it our best and I feel that we can't be worse than tonight, anyway."

Centre-back Laurent Koscielny was withdrawn due to injury in the first half, adding to Arsenal's injury problems in defence, with Per Mertesacker suffering ankle ligament damage against Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.

"I don't know (how bad it is)," Wenger said. "It looks like a knee problem, but I haven't spoken to the medical people yet."

"He is certainly out for the weekend, and that's another injury in defence. We lost Mertesacker, we lose Koscielny tonight, and that's a big concern."


Arteta ready for Milan test

15 February 2012 14:52

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta says his side face a tough task in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie away to AC Milan.

English Premier League club Arsenal lost just one match on their way to topping Group F, ahead of Marseille and Borussia Dortmund.

But Arteta feels with three representatives in the last 16, the Italian clubs have a legitimate claim to be title challengers.

"Italian sides are very tough and very experienced," Arteta told the club's official website.

"If you give them half chances, they take them. We know we cannot make any mistakes over the two legs so we really have to concentrate."

"Italian teams have been really successful but in the last few years England have been up there with the best, having three teams in the semi-finals or quarter-finals every year."

"This year it has changed, so it means that Italian teams are really strong again."

"It won't be easy and they have some really good players that we need to be careful of, but I think we are capable of going through."

With the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 6, Arteta knows an away goal at San Siro would dramatically increase his team's chances of going through.

"Scoring a goal in Italy could make a big difference," he said.

"So we need to be really concerned about what we do from the first minute, knowing there is a second leg at home and we will have our fans right behind us."

"We are playing a really good team. We need to go with a winning mentality and (know) that we can score goals over there."


We´re not out of the woods yet, says Wenger

15 February 2012 11:22

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal side they must continue their good form at home and abroad to avoid the ‘crisis’ in English football.

The Gunners have endured a rollercoaster campaign, yet now appear to be back on track as they resume in the Champions League against AC Milan on Wednesday sitting comfortably in fourth spot in the English Premier League.

London rivals Chelsea, however, are not experiencing such good times and Wenger is keen for his side to keep their momentum going as he is aware it is a problem which could soon spread to the Emirates Stadium.

"You could say that the crisis at the moment in England is a bit like fire, it moves very quickly from one club to another," Wenger said.

"It's like a fire with strong wind, so you have to be a bit cautious because the wind can blow it quickly back."

"This is the important time for us. Before the week started, I said that this week would be vital for us."

"We have to show that now. It's down to us to do well and hopefully we will do it."

Wenger's men currently sit fourth in the Premier League, ahead of the Blues on goal difference but a massive 10 points off third-placed Tottenham.

Despite the gap, Wenger is adamant his side can catch their north London rivals, though he claims Arsenal's participation in other competitions will hinder their chances.

"Mathematically, we can catch Tottenham but the disadvantage is that they play nowhere - they are out of the Europa League, they just play the FA Cup and the championship and have much more rest than the other teams," he said.

"We have two vital games and then we play Tottenham at home. After that game then we will know more."

The Gunners face current Serie A front runners AC Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The last time the two sides met, Wenger’s men pulled off a superb 2-0 victory against the then-European champions, and the Frenchman is confident his side can repeat the feat despite the drastic change in personnel at the club since that triumph.

"When we played here, Milan had won the European Cup the year before and we knocked them out," Wenger said.

"We had an up and coming team that was full of confidence and a very young side as well."

"Since we have of course lost some players, but I feel we are again a strong team now."

"We are a team who is rebuilding confidence and I believe as well that this game will be important for that."


Henry set for Arsenal goodbye

14 February 2012 14:06

Thierry Henry wants to sign off on a high when his Arsenal loan spells ends with trip to face AC Milan in the Champions League.

Henry, 34, re-joined the north London club last month as part of temporary switch from New York Red Bulls during the Major League Soccer off-season.

He heads back to the US this week, but not before a first-leg clash with Serie A title holders Milan in the Champions League round of 16.

Henry scored the winning goal for Arsenal in their 2-1 English Premier League victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

When asked about the prospect of scoring one last time for Arsenal in Wednesday's match at San Siro, Henry told The Independent: "I have not thought about it. I just want to help Arsenal on the night."

"I am an Arsenal player for one more game. Milan is Milan. It is another type of game and it is never easy to win away in the Champions League."

Henry said the pleasure of such an unexpected opportunity to extend his Arsenal career was yet to sink in.

"I will look back on it afterwards and see what happened," he said.

"It has all been kind of unreal."

Team-mate Aaron Ramsey praised the influence of the former France international, before saying Arsenal should aim to take the initiative in Milan.

"It's been a fantastic period for (Henry), coming back to the club that he supports, and (he) has done so much for. It's a great story for him so far," Ramsey said.

"If we can go (to Milan) and get a few goals and then come back to the Emirates then that's going to be a fantastic result for us. Hopefully, we can get a couple of goals and keep them out as well.


Champions League preview: AC Milan v Arsenal

14 February 2012 11:06

Arsenal forward Thierry Henry is not thinking of personal glory as he prepares to play his last game for the club against AC Milan on Wednesday.

The first leg of the round-of-16 Champions League tie at the San Siro pits the Gunners - who sit fourth in the English Premier League - against the Serie A table-toppers.

Henry's impact at Arsenal has been profound, with the New York Red Bulls loanee having scored three goals in six substitute appearances for the club.

But the Arsenal legend, who has scored 229 goals for the club, insists the focus is not about him and all about the team as he makes his final appearance before heading back to the United States.

"I have not thought about it," Henry said.

"I just want to help Arsenal on the night. I am an Arsenal player for one more game. Milan is Milan. It is another type of game and it is never easy to win away in the Champions League."

Henry's injury-time winner at Sunderland on Saturday handed Arsenal a hugely important three points, but midfielder Aaron Ramsey's goal with 15 minutes to play was also vital.

And the Welsh midfielder said his side are determined to be aggressive in Milan.

"If we can go (to Milan) and get a few goals and then come back to the Emirates then that's going to be a fantastic result for us," Ramsey said.

"Hopefully, we can get a couple of goals and keep them out as well."

Ivorian Gervinho is unlikely to be rushed back into Arsene Wenger's squad for the match after his country lost the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations final in a penalty shootout against Zambia on Sunday, while Abou Diaby (muscle problem), Andre Santos and Jack Wilshere (both ankle) remain on the sidelines.

Arsenal will be hoping to bounce back from their 3-1 loss at Olympiakos in their last Champions League fixture but they did finish top of their group, something Milan could not manage with the presence of Barcelona.

The Italians failed to win any of their last three matches in the group stage but will hope their home ground advantage will give them the edge over the English Premier League outfit.

Milan have been in indifferent form lately, with their 2-1 win at Udinese on Saturday snapping a run of three matches without a win.

They are likely to be without Alessandro Nesta and Alexandre Pato despite the pair returning to training while Mark van Bommel and Zlatan Ibrahimovic should return from suspension.

Both sides were knocked out at this stage of the competition last season but that will change over the course of the next three weeks, with Wednesday's match sure to be pivotal in the outcome.


Milan trio back in training

13 February 2012 14:17

Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Alessandro Nesta have all resumed training for AC Milan, in their recovery from injury.

Pato, Boateng (both muscle strains) and Nesta (knock) are all back in the mix for selection ahead of Wednesday's Champions League round-of-16 first leg against Arsenal at the San Siro.

Pato has been out of action since their 2-1 win over Novara last month, while Boateng has missed three weeks due to the niggle.

Nesta has been absent for the club's past three matches.

Milan confirmed the trio would come into calculations for Wednesday's clash on their official website.


Wenger wants to send Henry out on a high

13 February 2012 01:57

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged his side to focus on their game against AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The match looks set to be Thierry Henry's final appearance for the Gunners after it was confirmed that his loan spell from New York Red Bulls will not be extended.

"For me, first I hope it will be a positive emotion. But what is important is that we focus on the night because it is a massive game for us. Let's hope we have positive emotions there," Wenger told the club's official website.

Henry made a dream return to Arsenal by netting the winning goal on his second debut for the club against Leeds United in the FA Cup third round.

The French striker has since gone on to score in the 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers before coming on as a substitute to grab the winner against Sunderland on Saturday.

But Wenger, who has now managed Henry in three separate spells at two different clubs, said the player would have been a success without his impact on his career.

"He would have done it without me," he said. "I think that great players have one great characteristic - they will always surprise you with how far they can go. The motivation inside them is very big and they never have enough."

"Everybody is different. Let's say with Thierry that I made him start in Monaco when he was 17."

"Then I brought him to Arsenal, then he went to Barcelona and then I brought him back to Arsenal so it is a little bit a three-time story, three chapters in the book."

"I think the history we have had together is special because you do not (usually) meet the same player three times."

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
5 25 +21 50
6 26 +12 44
7 25 +5 41
8 25 +8 38
9 26 +4 36

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
4 28 +29 55
5 28 +25 53
6 27 +15 45
7 28 -3 37
8 28 -1 36
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