The gunners go into the second-leg of the round of 16 against AC Milan on the back of a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Liverpool at the weekend. The first-leg of this tie ended in disaster for the gunners as AC Milan ran rampant at the San Siro to score four unanswered goals with Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovich producing a world-class performance.
After Arsene revealed key players will not be rested for this tie and that Arsenal will be trying to make progression a reality and try overhaul a four goal deficit, there is much speculation over the formation he will play after revealing Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Abou Diaby will not be available for selection and Tomas Rosicky is doubtful with a groin injury.
Indeed if the gunners are going to make this Mission Possible, there is no doubt that they will need a faultless performance both on attack and defence. With AC Milan’s attacking prowess there is no doubt the Italians will get a few sniffs at goal and if they were to get a crucial away goal, if it wasn’t curtains before it certainly would be after that as the the gunners would have to score six.
On the other side of the coin, AC Milan look to be in relatively good shape although both Clarence Seedorf and Kevin Prince-Boateng have not played since the first-leg. Alexandre Pato is also unavailable for selection after picking up a thigh injury. With Zlatan and Robinho up front, you would be kidding yourself to think that they will just sit back and defend their already large lead.
on the formation he will use…
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At the moment, basically I have only two midfielders, [Alex] Song and [Tomas] Rosicky. That means we have to play with four strikers.
We can play any system you can imagine until tomorrow night. But I will not tell you that now.
I am tempted [to play Oxlade-Chamberlain down the middle], we will see. I have 24 hours and I have to see if Rosicky is available or not. If he is not available then I will be in a very difficult situation, because I don’t know what I can do then.
I hope he will make it. He told me yesterday [Sunday] that he will. But the medical staff are not sure.
I can play six strikers if I want, I have enough. I have Chamakh, Park, Van Persie, Gervinho, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. I can take a risk, because I have no choice, basically.
on resting players for the Premier League…
It is not an argument for us. We want to have a real go tomorrow, we want to make it possible.
I would not be very credible to tell you we want to score five goals and then leave Robin van Persie out.
We will not accept going out of the Champions League because we want to stay in. We will give it our best shot tomorrow.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The Dutchman has been in fine form in recent weeks, most recently with a brace against Liverpool which included a stunning stoppage time volley that won the clash. Hopefully he can produce much more of the same against Milan.
AC Milan – Zlatan Ibrahimovich – The Swede has been in spectacular form for Milan and scored a hat-trick against Palermo after returning form a three-match ban.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Van Persie (c)
Arsenal to win:
William Hill & Paddypower are offering odds of 23/10 for the Gunners to win on the day.
Paddypower are offering the best odds at 5/2.
AC Milan to win:
Skybet are offering odds of 11/10 for AC Milan to win at the Emirates.
To Qualify for the next round:
Arsenal – 25/1
AC Milan – 1/100
allArsenal’s Special Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet: Arsenal to Qualify: 25/1
Why not give it a go? Huge return, and it could just happen.. Arsenal have netted a total of 12 goals in their past two home matches and will be on the all out attack as they have nothing to loose.
Six of Arsenal’s last 19 home wins in Europe have been by four or more goals.
AC Milan have been knocked out at this stage of the Champions League in each of the last four seasons.
Milan went into the 2003/04 quarter-finals with a 4-1 lead over Deportivo La Coruna, only to crash out after loosing 4-0 to the Spanish side in the second-leg.