Away goal the key for Arsenal against Milan

Away goal the key for Arsenal against Milan

In just over a day’s time Arsenal could be returning from Milan with happy faces and a Champions League quarter-final place in the bag. They could also be returning back without one but I’d rather focus on the more positive side of things. Happy thoughts and all that. 

In the last couple of weeks Arsene Wenger and his players have had to deal with the death of Bacary Sagna’s brother, the horrific injury to Eduardo da Silva and the fierce criticism aimed at William Gallas’ leadership credentials, yet Arsenal still sit atop of the Premiership table and remain just one good performance – and perhaps just one goal – away from progressing to the next round of the Champions League at the expense of holders AC Milan.

Will Bendtner be given a start against Milan?And who would bet against them putting in that good performance tomorrow night? Well, perhaps that’s not the right question because I’m sure there are a number of people who would, but I’m not one of them. I think Arsenal can do it, I think Arsenal will do it and I can’t wait for Arsenal to do it.

The key to getting through against Milan will be to get that away goal. Yet the 0-0 result in the first leg means that there is no real reason for Arsenal to go hell-for-leather in order to get it. Indeed, Wenger’s side may be well-advised to play a little more defensively in this match to ensure that Milan do not repeat the dominant performance they put in at home to Manchester United in last season’s semi-final, a point not lost on the Arsenal manager.

“We have to be tight defensively, because they tore Man United apart in the first 20 minutes of the second leg at the San Siro last season. It is important for us to start strongly in defence, but also not to hide.”

As Wenger suggests, the major focus for Arsenal will be to keep things nice and tight at the back and attempt to get the crucial away goal on the break. Emmanuel Adebayor spoke a little earlier this week about the fact that no matter what happens in the game tomorrow, Arsenal will have chances to score and if they can take just one of those chances then they should get through.

The manager has a tendency to start Adebayor up front alone in away Champions League matches and while it wouldn’t surprise me to see it happen again, recent comments made by Wenger about the relationship between Adebayor and Bendtner suggests he is preparing to play the pair alongside each other at the San Siro.

“You don’t have to be friends to play well together. If I want to win and to win I have to give you the ball then, if I’m a great player, I still give you the ball. They are winners and they respect the game so much it goes above liking or disliking.”

I have no doubt that the pair can work together despite their obvious off-the-field differences and was surprised to see Theo Walcott given the green light ahead of Bendtner against Aston Villa. Once the Dane came on and Walcott moved to the right it made a huge difference to the attacking part of Arsenal’s game and I hope Wenger has learnt from that. For all of Bendtner’s obvious over-confidence issues he remains exactly the type of player you want in a game like this and I would back him to put in an excellent performance if he is given the chance. I will be crossing my fingers that Wenger lets him have it.

That’s about all that needs to be said for today. I’ll have a full preview of the match in tomorrow’s blog once more team news becomes available so until then, have a good one. Oh, and don’t forget that there is just two more days left to enter the O2 Arsenal Opus competition so get your votes in to be in a chance to win your own copy of the Opus by clicking here. As always, I wish you the best of luck.

What do you think?

Have your say on the build-up to Arsenal’s San Siro test by leaving a comment.

15 Responses to “Away goal the key for Arsenal against Milan”

  1. ArsenalKenya
    March 3, 2008 at 10:22 pm #

    I know and i strongly believe Arsenal will go through despite the Media’s and Hagreaves’s hate for us. We will be up and waiting to watch this game despite the late hours it will be screened given on Wednesday my boss a Man U fan will be keenly early in the office to take note of late comers esp. Arsenal fans.

    FINALLY KENYANS ARE A PEACEFUL LOT AND ALL U VISITORS ARE WELCOME TO THE LAND OF PEACE, ADVENTURE AND FUN.

    KENYA IS A VERY BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY……LOOK AT THE COASTAL BEACHES on http://www.magicalkenya.com

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS AND MAKE IT HAPPEN.

    WE ARE FULLY BEHIND YOU AND WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP OUR SUPPORT.

  2. Daniel
    March 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm #

    I have no doubt that arsenal will win tomorrow. Two quick goals. First from Adebayo. After which arsenal will defend for a while and Hleb will score the second on a counter attack. milan will fight back but arsenal will carry that day.

  3. Menace
    March 3, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    I would love to see Ade and Bendtner play one twos and a little head tennis whilst ripping the Milan defence to shreds. It will not only shut the Uk press up but will also give Man U a shudder.

    My player for this game is Walcott. He could slice through the Milan defence with his pace and control. He should concentrate on accuracy when shooting.

    Arsenal will win the Premier League there’s no doubt about that and Fergie will have to have double dose of booze to get over it.

  4. RvP Fan
    March 3, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    I have no doubt that Arsenal will win convincingly. But I have the feeling that, with two so evenly matched teams, it will go into extra time. But, utill then, we will need to be there and give the boys 110% support as they go through this time of hardship!

    LONG LIVE ARSENAL!!!

  5. piken79
    March 3, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    have you gone crazy? Ade & Bentnert upfront? i see no creativity in that pairing. i dont think they work well together, if rosicky is not included in the squad we might have a really big problem. not sure if i should play sick to stay from work and watch the game or not! come on gunners!

  6. Josh 5111960
    March 3, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    Almunia
    Sagna-Toure-Gallas-Clichy
    Eboue-Flamini-Fabregas-Hleb
    Adebayor-Bendtner
    Subs:Lehmann-Van Persie-Diaby-Denilson-Walcott-Senderos-Gilberto
    Arsenal 1-AC Milan 1

  7. ellis lui
    March 3, 2008 at 11:34 pm #

    1:1, arsenal score first

  8. John W
    March 3, 2008 at 11:38 pm #

    Milan will definitely use two strikers and since they need to score first so that they can concentrate on defending, I wthink they will go for broke in the first 20 minutes.
    I would like Gilberto to do the job on Kaka, use Ade as the lone strike, push Cesc further up the field and allow Flamin to take Cesc’s usual ground.
    That way we will be solid enough while at the same time not antagonising out creativity bit of it.

  9. Goons_with_Guns
    March 4, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    I really do hope that Wenger starts Lehmann instead of the bleach-blonde: he’s more reliable against tougher opponents. Watch, Alumnia will make more than one big mistake, but we’ll still progress.

  10. Gooner Don
    March 4, 2008 at 2:38 am #

    Remember how Milan took Manure apart in only 20mins last year?Anyone who thinks its going to be easy and Arsenal will win convincinly is mental. Milan are the best team we have played so far this season.To beat them in the San Siro will be a minor miracle.The best we can hope for is a 1-1 draw. We must sit back and defend though or else we will be torn apart

  11. TayGoon
    March 4, 2008 at 4:49 am #

    Gooner Don: I agree with you that it is not going to be easy. However, Milan will be careful coming after us in the first 30 mins, considering how tired they were at the end of the Emirates encounter. If they do, we just need to soak up pressure and it will be suicidal for them later on. They are a year older, and they left the emirates with no illusions as to whether they can run Arsenal rugged. They may try to gamble, hopping they can defend provided they nick a goal or 2 in the first 20 – 30 mins. As Wenger said, we need patience, as they will come at us. I don’t see any other game plan that will work for them except doing that. They can’t survive an uptempo affair for 90 minutes against us.

  12. Spanish Fry
    March 4, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    I think that defence will be the key in getting past Milan. As I said, the longer we keep them out the more and more pressure there will be on Milan to score, and that might open up the door for us to get that away goal. I wouldn’t bet against a 0-0 with some extra time either, I feel that’s a real possibility – especially considering the Celtic-Milan tie from last season.

  13. Neil Tuohy
    March 6, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    Great Result !!!!!

    Here is a link …. of a true great …. Henry, Viera, look on?

    Bergkamp … You will always be admired !

    Adams …

    In Fabregas …. perhaps we finally have a true great, Look in his eyes when he scored against Milan

    Maldin relied on experience and intelligance as his legs could no longer support both.
    He never once questioned, or looked to question his own team mates His eyes…. always sold a trick to pay for what he no longer had

    Arsenal should not only immerse themselves in victory but look into a great players eyes

    Maldini we salute you !

    http://mercato-blog.football.fr/2008/03/03/2692-video-best-of-maldini

  14. Neil Tuohy
    March 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    Great Result !!!!!

    Here is a link …. of a true great …. Henry, Viera, look on?

    Bergkamp … You will always be admired !

    Adams …

    In Fabregas …. perhaps we finally have a true great, Look in his eyes when he scored against Milan

    Maldin relied on experience and intelligance as his legs could no longer support both.
    He never once questioned, or looked to question his own team mates His eyes…. always sold a trick to pay for what he no longer had

    Arsenal should not only immerse themselves in victory but look into a great players eyes

    Maldini we salute you !

    http://mercato-blog.football.fr/2008/03/03/2692-video-best-of-maldini

    Yes I have and will say it again !

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Match Day: AC Milan vs Arsenal, come on you Gunners!!! « The World of Arsenal - March 4, 2008

    […] Arsenal FC Blog talks about how vital the away goal will be. […]

Leave a Reply

COMMENTS POLICY

1. Think before you write.

2. Be tolerant.

3. Stay relevant.

4. If in doubt, remember Bertrand.