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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Arsenal chase the impossible

The fact it has never ever been done before shows how great a task lies before Arsenal on Tuesday evening, but that hasn’t stopped Arsene Wenger from remaining upbeat about his side’s chances of overcoming a 4-0 deficit against AC Milan and progressing through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

The disaster in the San Siro last month drew stinging criticism from the supporters, though improved form in the league –including a 5-2 hammering of Spurs – has calmed the mood among the red and white hordes.
That said the club will go into a seventh season without a trophy barring a miracle at the Emirates (the soccer betting has Arsenal at 25/1 to progress through to the next round) something that grates with all those associated with a side that grew used to winning during the glory years of Wenger’s reign.
The Frenchman though, buoyed by another impressive league win, this time at Anfield last weekend, was trying to be positive when speaking to the press before the game.
"We want to have a real go," he said.
"The best way is to ignore the first game and do what we did against Tottenham. We were 2-0 down and just kept going because we wanted to win."
"We have to gamble a little bit and we have to go forward," he said. "We know that.
"The target is to find a good balance between attacking and defending because we have a double target - not to concede as well.
"I know my players well. I know they've been hurt by the first result and I know they will have their pride and they'll come out tomorrow to give a different performance.
"If they can score four we can do it as well. Why not?"
They certainly have the armoury to inflict significant damage on the Milan backline, Robin van Persie alone has been a goalscoring machine this season.
His match-winning brace at Anfield last weekend were his 30th and 31st goals of the season. If the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Chamberlain offer pacy support, then I can see no reason why they Gunners can’t claw away at that lead.
Sadly for the Londoners Milan have attacking flair of their own and the likes of former Man City striker or the ever-unpopular (on these shores at least) Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They are among the favourites in the champions league betting for good reason.
While I can see Arsenal scoring, I cannot see them keeping a clean sheet at the other, meaning the wait to follow up that FA Cup victory in 2005 goes on for another year.

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