It was a disappointing farewell to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry as Arsenal were comprehensively beaten in all departments to record a heavy 4-0 defeat at the San Siro against a rampant AC Milan. The defeat realistically gives the gunners extremely little chance of progression going into the second leg and hopefully the heavy loss will not have a knock-on effect going into the FA Cup match with Sunderland this weekend.
Going into the match, looking at our defensive back-line I thought that we would have not in any way conceded four goals although the dangerous front three of Ibrahimovich, Robinho and Boateng proved me wrong showing their class and ruthlessness. Ibrahimovich was particularly lethal and although he was probably off-side for the second goal, the credit he gets for this match is fully deserved.
For our own side it was very poor defensively and offensively. Our midfield could not at all exert any dominance or conjure up any creativity and as a result Song could not effectively break up Milan’s attacking play and inevitably something had to give at the back. It was a shame Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t start as Theo Walcott yet again failed to turn up in a big match. Credit must be given to Van Bommel for snuffing out most of our promising attacks.
There is not much else to say really on a day where Milan simply out-played us in every facet of the match. We can only look forward now and concentrate on the Sunderland match ahead as it remains realistically our only chance for silverware this season.
on the result…
It was of those nights you never forget. It is our worst night in Europe, we were punished and deservedly so. We were very poor offensively and defensively. We were beaten everywhere. There was not one moment in the 90 minutes we were really in the game. What made it worse is that we had to chase the game. It was always the same problem, balls over the top and we were well beaten.
It is difficult to analyse. I think it is better not to talk too much. We need to analyse with a cooler header and regroup for the next game.
on the focus now..
We will focus on our next games, the season is not finished. We have a big game on Saturday, which is a good opportunity to show we have character and mental strength and that we can respond after such a shocking defeat.
on the reasons for the defeat…
You could blame and blame. We have to stick together and win the next game. The players were very ambitious in this Champions League. They are the first to be very sad. We felt powerless today to get really into the game.
I cannot say I got everything perfect when we lost 4-0 but I don’t believe we made big tactical mistakes. We did not have any other choices. I felt we were weak in some departments. I felt we could have some problems in some departments but I did not think we would not score.
on the chances of a knock-on effect…
There is a danger. A big disappointment like that has consequences on your belief. We have a lot of work to regroup and not a lot of time to prepare for Saturday’s game. We need to show something completely different on Saturday.
on Arsenal’s chances of progression now…
Let’s be realistic, we don’t play in dream world. Maybe two per cent or five per cent statistically. We have to show a completely different performance and you never know. But, you have to say, realistically, we are out of the competition.
It’s a knee problem. We’ll see [what happens].
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Ramsey Rosicky
Van Persie (c)
Wojciech Szczesny | 5.5: There was little the Pole could do about the goals and was probably the player who had the most touches all match. Arsenal’s inability to control midfield meant he had a lot of back-passes to deal with.
Bacary Sagna | 6.0: With Walcott struggling to exert any productive efforts in the match, it gave Sagna little chance of performing going forward. Did relatively well defensively.
Laurent Koscielny | 6.0: It’s a shame the Frenchman was substituted in the first half due to injury. Did relatively well against Ibra, who became more influential when Koscielny was withdrawn.
Thomas Vermalen | 5.0: I though the Belgian would flourish returning to his preferred position, but instead made a number of school-boy errors being caught in possession on a few occasions. Was completely wrong-footed by Robinho which left him acres of space to score his second.
Kierna Gibbs | 5.5: Considering it is his first match in months, the young Englishman did ok in his long awaited start. Wasn’t at all influential on attack though and preferred to stay deep.
Alexandre Song | 6.0: Had way too much to deal with as a result of Arsenal’s inability to control the midfield, but managed to cope reasonably well.
Mikel Arteta | 5.0: Lacked creativity and drive, although in saying this when you have no control over midfield and are struggling to get decent ball this will happen to you.
Aaron Ramsey | 3.5: Looked completely out of his depth against Van Bommel and almost looked like he didn’t want the ball at times.
Theo Walcott | 4.0: This has happened far too much from Walcott. Fails to show up at the big games, although our weaknesses in midfield had some influence on his performance
Robin van Persie | 6.0: Totally isolated up front. The Dutchman did manage one superb volley but the effort was saved by Abbiati.
Tomas Rosicky | 6.0: Found space more effectively than any other Arsenal player, but was found winning the ball back for Arsenal rather then creating attacking chances. Drifted in-field too often for a winger.
- Notable substitions
Johan Djourou | 3.0: Replaced Koscielny in the 44th minute and struggled against Ibrahimovich. Clumsily gave away a penalty to the Swede late in the match.
Thierry Henry | 6.0: No fairytale finish for the Arsenal legend, but he had already done more than enough in his short loan spell.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.5: Comfortable on the ball and has admirable enthusiasm. Perhaps should have been introduced earlier and maybe even started in place of a faultering Walcott who must be beginning to sweat on his starting spot.