Three Things to Take From Ac Milan vs. Arsenal

As Milan beat Arsenal 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League tie, I look at three interesting points to take from the match.

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-          So Ibrahimovic is actually a good player? – Although he only scored a penalty against Arsenal, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the key difference between the two sides. He seems to be seen as a player who, whilst talented, can’t perform in the big games and for all his skill is largely ineffective, at least that’s the impression I get from the British media. But that was far from the case on Wednesday night. His interaction with Boateng and Robinho was too much for the Arsenal centre backs. The fluidity of Milan’s attack allowed Ibrahimovic to drop deep and play a number of killer through balls which could have lead to Milan being even further out of sight in this tie.

-          Slow, slow Arsenal – We are so used to seeing Arsenal play fast paced football that they looked a completely different team against Milan. The game just seemed to pass Arsenal by when they didn’t have the ball, and when they did they were too slow in moving it about. Admittedly, the pitch wasn’t in great condition, but after about 20 minutes Arsenal should have realised that they were passing in front of Milan’s and nothing more. Come half time though, instead of bringing on Oxlade-Chamberlain to give Arsenal more pace, Walcott was replaced by Thierry Henry. Since his brief return to Arsenal, Henry has provided some vital goals, but none against a side of Milan’s quality. Arsenal simply didn’t seem prepared for Milan on Wednesday night. They were too slow and pedestrian, and the score line really could have been a lot worse.

-          Robin Van Persie can’t always save Arsenal –Since losing Fabregas and Nasri in the summer Van Persie has been the one expected to be Arsenal’s main man, but this game was too much for even Van Persie to salvage. For most of the first half the Arsenal striker was completely isolated. He works best on the shoulder of the last man, with balls being slipped through for him to put in the net but Arsenal’s midfield simply didn’t offering him anything on Wednesday night. He dropped deeper and deeper in the second half to no avail. Even when he was getting the ball, he was too far out from goal to do anything meaningful with it. Van Persie has been immense all season, but he couldn’t save Arsenal’s blushes in the San Siro. 

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