The Gunners Defeated By AC Milan
Arsène Wenger made two changes from the side which defeated Sunderland on the weekend. Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs came in for the injured Per Mertesacker and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dropped to the Arsenal bench. Ramsey’s inclusion in the starting eleven meant Tomáš Rosický moved out wide on the left of midfield.
Arsenal’s line-up – Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Ramsey, Rosicky; Van Persie (C).
Arsenal’s bench – Fabianski, Djourou, Coquelin, Benayoun, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin, Henry.
AC Milan’s line-up – Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Seedorf (C), Van Bommel, Boateng, Nocerino; Robinho, Ibrahimovic.
AC Milan’s bench – Amelia, Pato, Nesta, Ambrosini, Bonera, Emanuelson, El Shaarawy.
The first chance fell to AC Milan after good thinking from Boateng and his backheel found Seedorf on the edge of the Arsenal box. But Seedorf’s effort didn’t test Szczęsny, it went wide of the Arsenal goal. Minutes later Seedorf limped off through injury and the Dutchman was replaced by Emanuelson. Moments after coming on Emanuelson shot just wide after Boateng’s ball in to Arsenal’s box which Ibrahimović controlled very well and set up Emanuelson.
After a poor clearance from Szczęsny which went straight to Nocerino inside the Arsenal half, Nocerino played a ball over the top of Arsenal’s defence and found Boateng. The former Tottenham midfielder controlled well and produced a stunning strike which gave AC Milan the lead.
A through ball by Emanuelson which found Ibrahimović, the Arsenal defence thought the Swedish international was offside. Ibrahimović ran with the ball in to the Arsenal box and pulled it back to Robinho, the Brazilian international was unmarked and his header doubled the Serie A Champions lead.
Just before the half-time whistle Laurent Koscielny limped off through injury which meant Arsène Wenger was forced to make his first substitution of the match taking off Koscielny for Johan Djourou. AC Milan went in at half-time with a two goal lead, the Gunners were very poor in the first-half and needed to improve their performance in the second-half.
Arsène Wenger decided to take off England international Theo Walcott for Thierry Henry at the start of the second-half. Which meant Henry would move up front and Van Persie would just play a bit deeper behind the French striker.
Vermaelen slipped which meant Robinho had space on the edge of the Arsenal box and Robinho’s effort was well placed and tripled AC Milan’s lead early in the second-half. I think Szczęsny could have done better for Milan’s third goal. Arsenal’s first real of the second-half came from an Alex Song pass which Henry flicked on and Van Persie’s volley was saved by Abbiati in the Milan goal.
Arsène Wenger made Arsenal’s third and final change midway through the second-half taking off Kieran Gibbs for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Which meant Vermaelen went to left-back, Alex Song dropped to centre-back and Chamberlain went to the wing. AC Milan made their second change of the match taking of the opening goal scorer Boateng for Ambrosini.
On the 75th minute Vermaelen’s cross wasn’t cleared by the AC Milan defence and Van Persie caught it on the volley but it was straight at Abbiati. Johan Djourou brought down Ibrahimović and the referee pointed to the spot. The Swedish striker took the resulting penalty kick and converted it past Szczęsny. Szczęsny did dive the right way but Ibrahimović’s spot kick just snuck past him.
AC Milan made their final substitution taking off Robinho for the returning Alexander Pato. Chamberlain’s well worked cross found Van Persie and the Dutchman’s header was cleared away by Abbiati. Szczęsny denied Pato in the final seconds of the game.
A frustrating and poor performance from Arsenal, Milan were rightly deserved winners on the night. The Gunners lacked creativity and were poor in the final third of the pitch. Van Persie was isolated for the majority of the game, the midfield didn’t support him enough. It was Theirry Henry’s final game for Arsenal as his short-term loan deal is now up. Arsenal next play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on the weekend in the FA Cup.
You can follow me on twitter @AFC_93.