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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

CL Preview - Milan Vs Arsenal

AC Milan
Ancelotti has a whole host of injuries to deal with in the lead-up to this match, including the fitness of Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf, who picked up a muscular injury against Lazio at the weekend. He is rated as having a 50/50 chance of playing; however the early signs are not promising. As mentioned earlier, if he is to miss out, Inzaghi and Pato will start up front together. Also in the Lazio match, both Emerson and Jankulovski succumbed to injury, and are certain to miss the second leg. There are doubts still lingering over the fitness of star central defender Nesta, and more importantly over the FIFA World Player of the year, Kaka, however both are expected to recover in time.
Wenger practically has a full strength squad at his disposal for this second leg, obviously with the exception of Eduardo, who horrifically had his leg broken in the match against Birmingham just over a week ago. It is yet to be confirmed whether or not Kolo Toure will take his place in the starting line-up, as he is still battling the injury he sustained the last time these two sides met. If he fails to recover in time, Senderos will be given a start once again, however following his average performance at the weekend, the Arsenal fans will certainly be hoping for a speedy Toure recovery. Robin Van Persie, meanwhile, has been judged as ready to join the squad by Arsene Wenger, but the coach is reluctant to risk starting the youngster.
AC Milan (4-3-1-2) Kalac; Oddo, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Ambrosini, Pirlo; Gattuso; Kaka; Pato, Inzaghi
Arsenal (4-4-2) Almunia; Sagna, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy; Hleb, Fabregas, Diaby, Flamini; Walcott, Adebayor
Due to his lack of input in the first leg, Kaka will without doubt be looking to make amends for that performance, and what better opportunity to have, than to do so in front of the Milan fans at the San Siro. He has been struggling in recent times with an ongoing knee problem, however, regardless of the pain he feels Tuesday night, Kaka is certain to take his place in the starting line-up, and likely to have a major impact on proceedings. Mark my words, he will either score on the night, or do something magical to produce a goal for his side.
Arsenal – Emmanuel Adebayor
Adebayor was his side’s most dangerous attacking player in the first leg, and was extremely unlucky not to come away with a goal or two in that match. He has another ninety minutes to do so in Milan, however in very different circumstances. He has been a goal scoring machine this season, and the Gunners will need something special from him this week, if they are to obtain a good enough result against the Rossoneri to progress to the next phase of the competition.
What a match this will be. Two of the world’s best sides, locking horns at one of the greatest stadiums in Europe, in front of a capacity crowd, with the score line locked at 0-0 for now. Who will come out on top – will it be the experience of Milan or the youth of Arsenal? That is definitely a difficult question to answer. However, in my opinion, the degree of difficulty aligned with defeating Milan at the San Siro will be too much for the youth of Arsenal to handle. Following a frantic start to proceedings, the game will slowly begin to settle, and the stage will be set for Kaka to net his twelfth goal of the season in all competitions, midway through the second half. Milan to progress to the quarter finals of the competition, leaving their English opponents to ponder what could have been.
Milan 1-0 Arsenal