The gunners travel to the San Siro in what looks to be a big clash against Italian giants AC Milan in the first leg of the round of 16. Leading up into the match, Arsenal recorded a come from behind victory against tough opponents Sunderland where all three of Arsene Wenger’s substitutes contributed in one way or another to the goals with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry netting the winner.
In terms of defence, Per Mertesacker has been ruled out for approximately a month following ligament damage in his ankle which he sustained at the weekend. The injury opens the door for Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen to shift back to his preferred position in the centre of defence after admitting he was getting ‘fed-up’ at left-back and also lines-up a possible start for Kieran Gibbs at left-back after a substantial injury lay-off.
In terms of the midfield and attack, one probable change could be the inclusion of Aaron Ramsey in the starting line-up after Tomas Rosicky started at the weekend. Gervinho will not feature in the match after Wenger revealed he was not included in the 18-man squad with it likely Arsene wanting the Ivorian to be rested after a long campaign in the African Nations Cup. Our other first-team players should remain unchanged.
On the other side of the coin, AC Milan have had a trio of first-team players return from injury ahead of the clash with Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato and Alessandro Nesta all returning to full-training. AC Milan’s official website says that each player has a possibility of making a comeback in the upcoming match.
Arsene has stated that the gunners will go to the San Siro and look to get a crucial away goal by playing attacking football. The gunners certainly have the potential to win the tie, but we must also be cautious of dangerous players such as Ibrahimovic and Robinho who could pose major problems at the back.
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on playing attacking football…
You always have to push for a goal when you play away in the first leg because it gives you a cushion for the second leg.
We will try to score, of course – we always do. The system rewards the audacious away from home.
The way it is with the away goal, you have to be focused to score and therefore it is important that you play your game.
on how good Serie A is…
Of course you can make comparisons between the two leagues. Let’s not forget that Napoli already knocked Man City out of the Champions League and we already knocked Udinese out.
They are one of the better teams in the league. So yes, comparisons can be made after these games.
on Per Mertesacker…
He had reconstruction of his ankle in Germany before he joined us and the scan did not look too positive yesterday. Last night he went back to Germany to speak to the specialist and see where we go from there.
on Jack Wilshere…
The recovery of his latest problem looks very, very good. His last scan was very positive so we go here cautiously, step by step, because we tried to push him back quicker and we had a setback. This time we have to be very cautious and not go too quick. He can be back before the end of the season, of course.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The Dutchman has been in fine form in recent weeks, most recently with a hat-trick against Blackburn. Expect more of the same from Arsenal’s talisman and captain.
AC Milan – Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The AC Milan frontman has scored in all four of his Champions league appearances this season and has a knack of showing up at the big games.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Ramsey Chamberlain
Van Persie (c)
Arsenal to win:
Skybet & Paddypower are offering odds of 11/4 for the Gunners to win away.
Skybet are offering the best odds at 23/10.
AC Milan to win:
Paddypower are offering odds of 11/10 for the Italian giants to win at home.
allArsenal’s Special Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet: Anytime Goalscorer = Robin Van Persie= 6/4.
The Dutchman has been in tantalizing form recently netting seven goals in his last six matches, he is Arsenal’s talisman and will be our biggest threat.
If Robin van Persie scores the last goal in this game Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast singles on the match.