I’ve had a high number of hits on this page today – this blog entry is from the first leg – if you’re looking for today’s game (second leg on 4th March 2008) click here.
Yesterday, I previewed the Arsenal vs AC Milan game – it was an early preview. A lot could have happened and I did assume a lot, but it looks like my assumptions all came true! That never happens.
Well, actually I was not that right… this morning I heard that Almunia had recovered and was ready to play, but on a news release on Arsenal.com, Arsene said;
“Manuel Almunia is not completely ready to play. But he is getting there and is very close now. Jens Lehmann will start.”
In other injury news, also confirmed are the returns to the squad and first XI of Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini, Emmanuel Adebayor and Bacary Sagna. Additionally, Walcott and Denilson have been added to the squad, although not 100% fit. Arsene says the battle has to be won in the midfield and has also moved to praise Gilberto recently, who may be regaining some sort of match fitness. Cesc Fabregas believes the experienced Milan midfield can “kill you in a minute” if you are not careful. He goes on to say:
“Yes they’ve been playing a long time together, and have more experience than us,” he said. “But we have quality and we really want to do it. That’s very important at the same time.”We have to be careful because of the experience they have. They can kill us in a minute.”I really like Pirlo to be honest. He’s a great player, very intelligent and a great passer of a ball. He’s always looking at the best solution. There’s also Kaka, who had a great year last year, and we’ll have to be careful of him.
“They have many strengths not just those two. They have players who work hard for the team and they’re one of the best midfields in Europe.
“But we’ve been meeting clubs like Milan in recent years – Juventus, Real Madrid – and we know we can do it. However we’ll have to be at our best.”
And it looks like Eboue has had a little knock, so it’s a change to our somewhat unfavoured 4-5-1 formation.
So here’s the revised line up:
An interesting news story too, as Capello gets in on the act…
Fabio Capello gives Arsenal a glowing report…
“I believe that Arsenal are one of the very top teams in Europe. They combine great quality with great speed and will be very different from the team beaten at Old Trafford.“Manchester United prevented Cesc Fàbregas from having any effect, which was a key factor in their dominance, but Emmanuel Adebayor, Mathieu Flamini and Gaël Clichy will be back against AC Milan. Adebayor is on extraordinary form, but the whole team play great football.“Both Arsenal and AC Milan have developed a very technical game, centered on possession and team organisation. I know Milan can rise to the challenge in crucial matches, but this is a very difficult moment to face Arsenal. They defend with ten men and attack with six. They are a very organised side, full of talented players. If you leave them any space, they counterattack with four or five players at such pace that the opposition cannot figure out what is hitting them.
“AC Milan can count on their huge experience and always give their best, but to have a chance against Arsenal they will have to be in top physical condition. They will need players, like Kaká, [Alexander] Pato and Clarence Seedorf in their best form. A strong midfield is important so Andrea Pirlo is a must.”
Catch you later!]]>