Magic quartet’s return should ensure Arsenal win

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With the huge Champions League clash with AC Milan just around the corner Arsenal have been boosted by the news that no less than six players have been made available since the weekend defeat to Manchester United. Arsene Wenger revealed that regular starters Mathieu Flamini, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy as well as squad players Denilson and Theo Walcott have all recovered from injury, while Bacary Sagna looks set to start despite the death of his brother just a week ago.

“Bacary Sagna is back so are Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor. Manuel Almunia is not completely ready to play. But he is getting there and is very close now. Jens Lehmann will start. Denilson is back in the squad and Theo Walcott is in too.”

Flamini will make a huge difference against MilanI said in the aftermath of the game against United that the key reason for the heavy defeat was the absence of the Flamini, Adebayor and the two full-backs so to have all four back is fantastic news indeed. And whilst not quite important, the return of Denilson and Walcott will also add some much-needed depth to the squad. The only disappointment is Manuel Almunia’s failure to recover from the virus he is dealing with, but given Jens Lehmann’s performance on Saturday and his previous record in this competition I don’t think it will make too much of a difference to Arsenal’s chances of winning the game.

What will certainly make a difference is the return of Clichy, Sagna, Flamini and Adebayor. They have undoubtedly been the four most consistent performers throughout the season and will add much needed width, heart and an attacking threat – in respective fashion – to the side. Milan’s tendency to play very narrow will mean that Clichy and Sagna have a good opportunity to stretch the Italian club across the park while Flamini’s tenacity should see the threat of Kaka nullified to a certain extent. As for Adebayor, well, he’s the top scorer for Arsenal this season and any club in the world would welcome their top scorer back for a game of this magnitude.

One of the big mysteries going into the game for Arsenal surrounds the formation that Wenger chooses to play against Milan. I mentioned yesterday that the manager had hinted at a 4-5-1 with Gilberto Silva acting as a security blanket in front of the defence but I also suggested that Wenger could (and should) go with a 4-4-2 with the Brazilian on the bench and Eduardo da Silva starting up front alongside Adebayor. Only time will tell what Wenger does. But as the manager emphasised, whilst the formation and strategy that he employs in the game will matter to a certain extent, the most important thing for the boys is that they are able to play with the right attitude.

“What is important is that we play without the handbrake on and go into the match with desire. We have to play free of pressure and I believe we will do that. We can express our talents in a game of this magnitude. I believe we will do that.”

I have to say that I absolutely believe it too. For whatever reason, I am ridiculously confident that Arsenal will do the job tomorrow and get the win they require to travel to the San Siro with confidence. I really feel that the return of the ‘magic quartet’ will make all the difference in the tie and give Arsenal the energy and quality that they lacked against Manchester United on Saturday. Flamini tends to make Cesc Fabregas play better, which tends to impact on Alexandr Hleb and if the the little Frenchman can have a good game then I think Arsenal will take at least a one-goal lead from the first leg. Wouldn’t 2-0 be nice though? Come on boys!

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal v Milan by leaving a comment.


14 thoughts on “Magic quartet’s return should ensure Arsenal win

  1. Kaka On Arsenal

    “The English teams are always tough and difficult,” he said

    “In terms of favourites to win it this year I’d say Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter and ourselves.

    “It’s important to understand we can still do it even if we lose this first leg though – we can win the return match.

    Kaka’s midfield colleague Clarence Seedorf has much more respect for Wednesday night’s opponents, admitting he was praying Milan would not draw Arsene Wenger’s men.

    “Arsenal today is the worst possible rival we could face because they are developing a sensational team and in London they will be very hard to beat,” Seedorf was quoted as saying

    “I am always optimistic, but against The Gunners we need to play the best match of our season to keep our chances alive.

    “Arsenal are a very young team, but they work so hard.

    “It seems strange that we are champions of Europe, yet we are not the favourites for this round.

    “I sincerely believe they are one of the best teams in Europe at the moment and they play great football.”



  2. SF, I think we can get two goals comfortably (Ade’s+Eduardo or cesc or flamini) in this tie if the mid-field clicks and we keep the ball most of the time…but can we keep a clean sheet? I hope the concentration from the back four is 100% so that we can achieve this coz a 1-0 lead in my opinion will put the boys under too much pressure at the San Siro given the EPL fixtures ahead of us

  3. I would just like to say that the only weak link in the squad he has picked is Eboue on the wing, the man is not a winger, Walcott would do a much better job than he would. I bet any money thast he gets taken off at some point to make way for Walcott, it makes more sense to start with Walcott he would offer more in that position than Eboue ever could. Eboue is a very good right back and a below average winger.

  4. I honestly believe that Arsenal will win very comfortably tonight.I believe that the score will be 4 nil to Arsenal.Don’t be scared remain steadfast in the faith,In Wenger we trust Arsenal will sweep away Milan.The stone that the builders rejected (Arsenal)shall become the headstone.Enjoy the Match.

  5. I hope the players are ready for the challenge. If Flamini,Hleb n Fabregas combine well we should thrash them 3-0 inspite of their experience.

  6. Eboue is not the only weak link – gilberto is weaker and in a far more ‘key’ position in the team. I sincerely hope he does not play – I have no faith in Bert anymore.

  7. Im not optimistic about the game at all. Milan are the toughest to meet in the CL imo.

    Key to this game is midfield control. Kaka/Pirlo/Gattuso/Seedorf is the most balanced midfield line in the world currently. Fabregas, Flamini, and Hleb need to dominate for us to win!

    Their defence is decent but definitely their weakest part of the team, average age is 34. If Clichy and Sagna can go forward to the flanks and control them, we should be fine.

  8. Shall be a great game. From an objective point of view, I fancy Arsenal. Milan never seem to play very beautiful football. If they can neutralise kaka, and to a lesser extent, gattusso, Arsenal will win. I believe a 1-0 victory to the gunners, with Adebayor on the score sheet.

  9. i love match day and all it brings,everyone at work knows um jus a zombie on arsenal matchday its no use even talking to me bout anything else.

    i acnt wait for the match but um also dreading the news that will make me even more nervous which is to hear that either Bert or Eboue will start my nightmare relieved will be both of them starting,i dread it that will really kill the game for me.

    but there you go i cant see us playing without at least one of them,i hope we can do it i always hope though even saturday i was hoping so anything can happen.

    its going to be great game either way,but i jus feel we are so capable of considing and who knows Hleb and Cesc could have one of those games where you ask urselves what the hell is going on…….or we could jus run milan ragged i know which one i prefer

    We Gunner Gunn Em…

  10. *sigh*

    Thought we played the better football boys but seemed almost every chance went over or right to Kalac.

    We certainly like to put pressure on ourselves though don’t we? Don’t win our group, get drubbed by United in the FA cup and now draw at home in the first leg. All is not lost though we just have to take care of business at the San Siro.

    Personally I hope team comes out a puts a bit of thrashing on Birmingham this week to shut off all the doubters that have come out of the woodwork this last week.

  11. Yeah, cannot believe that header by Adebayor. A win and a late goal would have given us all the momentum going into the game. Still a great performance by the boys.

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