Goal.com reports "Arsenal Make History & The Quarter-Finals", The Times report "Cesc Fàbregas is Arsenal heartbeat as young guns silence San Siro", CNN reports "Arsenal send holders Milan crashing out", the BBC reports "Arsenal can win Champions League".
Kaka speaks the truth
Kaka was the ray of sunlight in the game on Tuesday but he was quick to talk about the qualities of Arsenal and that we deserved to win. Arsene is a known admirer of the Brazilian, and he would be a welcome addition at the Emirates, but hey maybe I’m dreaming… although it’s very true that a player like Carlos Vela could come in next season and take our breath away – one thing I’ve learnt, is to trust Arsene… Let’s see what Kaka had to say…
“Arsenal played really well, better than us. We have struggled up front and we have not been good enough to get a better result. Arsenal played better in both legs and deserved to go through. They have good midfielders and a great striker in Adebayor. We have been unlucky to have met Arsenal in the last 16.”
We’ve progressed against all odds, but the quality was there for all to see. Let’s take a look at the game and the players performances from yesterday.
Almunia, in all honesty didn’t have to do much during the game. He had a few shots to save and a little nervous defending from Senderos, but he did what ever he was asked of.
Gael Clichy played very well and came up against Pato, Inzaghi and Kaka. He defended well, intercepted well and always closed down.
It’s a tricky one to evaluate as Senderos as although his overall game was good, there were times where he was exposed. Young Philippe was very good in the air, but three times early on, he advanced to head the ball allowing the opposition in. It’s something that wasn’t exposed on Tuesday, but can be in future. In the second half he was much better and overall his display was impressive.
His performance on Tuesday definitely made up for his sulking antic up in St. Andrews. His positional sense was immaculate and he gave everything. He was good backup for Senderos and snuffed out danger well. A captain’s performance.
Bacary had an excellent game down the right, with defensive awareness and attacking prowess. He supported Eboue well and hardly gave Kaka or Pato a sniff. He really has been an excellent addition this season. He spoke after the game:
“It is a great night for English football, now we will just try to win what we can win. It is too quick to say that [we are favourites]. We’ll just go from game to game now. It will be difficult to pass through the next level but we can do it. In the first leg we could have scored. And we knew before the game we could play better than that. Everyone was solid. In the first half we need to stay focused. Then we scored just before the end. It meant there was a great atmosphere in the dressing room afterwards. It is not everyday that we win against Milan. We played well in the first leg and again tonight. For me, we deserved the win.”
Young Diaby had a decent game, although his decision making wasn’t always 100%, he added pace, power and height to our team. His energy was excellent and he went forward with verve. He had a shot which went wide, and overall a confident performance.
Both Flamini and his midfield partner were worthy of the man of the match award. Flamini all action display stopped Milan in their tracks every time they attacked. His performance is the reason why Gilberto is no longer in the first team. And at his age, he is only going to get better. He tenacity is why he was dubbed the new Gattuso, but something that is more apparent game by game is that he has pace and a passing ability not usually found in players of his position. He also has an eye for goal as we saw against Newcastle. He spoke to the media after the game.
“There are no limits because we are playing the Champions League to win it. We are playing the Premier League to win it too. So now we are going to concentrate. As you saw in the last two games, to concentrate is very important at a very high level. So we are going to stay focused.”
The only thing missing from Flamini is a new contract. He has been offered one and it’s something all Arsenal hope he will sign very soon. Arsene has spoken about this and is confident that he’ll sign. Flamini spoke about his contract yesterday:
“We are a new generation, we have to create a new history. I want to be part of this history, so I hope I will be here for next season. At the moment my advisers are talking with the club, so I really hope that everything will be okay. I cannot put a time on it, but I really want to stay here. What is important for a player is to play and I am playing. I am becoming more and more confident and I want to take more responsibility.”
Young Cesc had one of his best performances and the papers have hailed him in full demeanour yesterday. He was everywhere. Him and Flamini covered every blade of grass. He passed well, assured, calm and fluent. He tackles were inch perfect. Cesc said it was one of the best moments of his career and moved to praise Arsene.
“It was one of the best moments of my career and I went straight to the boss because without him I would never have had the chance to play in a game like this. Maybe I have not been at my best since my injury, but now I feel great once again.”
He has played well all season and any negatives are all because of his high standards. He talked about how well we’ve done despite a catalogue of injuries and how this victory symbolises that we’re back to our best.
“This performance has been very important for my confidence, after you have started the season so well and then have an injury. I was not playing the way I used to, and I was a bit upset. I needed a performance like that. We only have a small squad, and have had lots of injuries. However, now we have important players coming back, like Robin and maybe next week Tomas and Kolo Toure, so it is all positive.”
I’ve just been raving about half our team and hailing our midfield, but this is where I stop. Eboue had one of those games that he has. He was there, he had possession. He wasted possession and was eventually subbed. We know he has quality, we know he can dribble, we know he can cross, but when it’s really counted this season, his performances have been poor.
Hleb was instrumental in Tuesday’s victory. He was everywhere, going forward at every opportunity. His link up play with Cesc, Ade and the rest of the team was immaculate, and he is one of our players of the season. I hope to look further into his contribution this season with a player profile later next week and he really does deserve the credit he is getting.
Ade is becoming Mr Dependable. His abilities to hold up play and link up players is amazing and he really is one of the best players who can play the lone striker role. He set up chances for Diaby, Cesc and Flamini and had a few chances himself. He also kept going for 90 minutes and eventually got his first Champions League goal. His goal was thoroughly deserved and he was voted PFA player of the month for February. He spoke yesterday:
“A couple of weeks ago people were saying ‘Arsenal are not going to win the title, they will also be out of the Champions League’. Now all of us in the squad have the confidence back because this means we can beat every single team in the world. We are trying to build something here again, a new chapter in Arsenal’s history. We came to the San Siro confident we would qualify and to do it is something magnificent.”
Arsenal FC blog talks more about Ade and his performance and how we’ve sent a signal of intent to Europe.
Just a quick mention for Theo who is starting to play well now, although only a few games, he has produced some vital performances. Let’s hope he can keep up his cameo’s until the end of the season and become an integral part of our team. He had undoubted quality and is definitely better than Eboue. I’d like to see more of Theo, more assists and more goals… let’s hope he can deliver.
Arsene had talked about how we had the quality and he had belief in this team. He was proved right and after the game was full of praise.
“I believe that Fabregas, [Alexander] Hleb and [Mathieu] Flamini in the middle of the park delivered. They didn’t give Milan room. They defended very well and, when we had the ball, they had support from the flanks in [Bacary] Sagna and [Gaël] Clichy and supported them well. That gives them solutions. They did a good job defensively as well as going forward. The whole team did a good defensive job”
News Round Up
Eduardo has been voted the O2 Arsenal.Com player of the month. He is a quiet player but has had some awesome performances alongside Adebayor. His goal against Manchester City was awesome, a natural finisher.
We all wish him good luck in his rehabilitation. Arseblog has an exclusive interview with the striker from his first “real” interview on Croation TV. He reveals how “Taylor did not visit him in the hospital to offer an apology” and how the “News of The World interview was made up“. Interesting stuff, hey?
Chelsea, Shalke and Roma join us, Man U, Barce and Febernache and either Liverpool or Inter in the quarter finals. The draw takes place on the 14th March. Maybe we’ll get Shalke then Febernache and then a replay against Barce? Or am I getting ahead of myself… one game a time my friend, one game at a time.]]>