Get excited, this is Arsenal’s best ever chance to win the Champions League

I said in yesterday’s post that the buzz I was feeling following Arsenal’s win over Milan was not even close to wearing off. Today I feel as if it’s only gotten stronger. The realisation of what Arsene Wenger’s side achieved on Wednesday night has put the biggest smile on my face. The first English side ever to beat AC Milan at the San Siro, a performance to remember for all involved with the club and of course a place in the quarter-finals of a competition where, realistically, no side left is stronger than Arsenal on paper (except perhaps Barcelona and even they’ve lost their main man for the next six weeks).

Arsenal are as good as any other side left in the Champions League

The opportunity for Arsenal to win the Champions League is bigger and brighter than it has ever been and it’s something worth getting excited about. As you can imagine, a number of the Arsenal players have been beaming about the win over Milan, not least at all Cesc Fabregas, who has rated his 84th minute goal at the San Siro one of the best moments of his career.

“It was one of the best moments of my career and I went straight to the boss because without him I would never have had the chance to play in a game like this. When you look back on your career, these are the nights you are going to remember.”

I’d go one further and say it was the best moment of his career. To score the deciding goal in a tie like this is the stuff made of dreams and you could see how much it meant to the little Spaniard when the ball nestled perfectly into the corner of the net. It’s also great to read his comment about going straight to Wenger after he scored. There’s been plenty of times in my less-than-amazing personal playing career where I’ve scored what I would consider as important goals and I’ve never once had the impulse to run straight to any of my managers so it says a lot about the impact that Wenger has had on his career. Wonderful stuff.

There are a lot of non-Arsenal supporters (obviously) who have mentioned the fact that Arsenal haven’t won anything yet and therefore the celebrations have been way over the top by the players and the supporters after the win in Milan. Can I just say that it’s an absolute load of bollocks. The Arsenal players and supporters aren’t celebrating the way we are because they think they’re the best side ever to play the game and are going to win every trophy under the sun. They’re doing it because it was a bloody good night and a bloody good performance and if you can’t celebrate a win like this then what is the point in getting involved in football?

Two years ago when Thierry Henry weaved his way up the pitch to score against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu it didn’t win Arsenal any trophies. It didn’t even get them into the next round – there was still another leg to be played, of course – but it was a moment that I will remember for a long time because of the sheer emotion that it riled up inside me. Fabregas’ goal and Arsenal’s win against Milan were the same, so shame on any other supporters from any other clubs for criticising Arsenal fans for enjoying it so much.

Abou Diaby has been unfairly criticised by manyLay off Diaby and Eboue

Fabregas’ midfield partner-in-crime (good heavens I use that phrase a lot!), Mathieu Flamini, is another who has been in a chatty mood following the Milan game. The Frenchman, who put in outstanding performances in both legs to ensure danger man Kaka was little more than a spectator, echoed the manager’s sentiments from yesterday that Arsenal’s victory over Milan was completely down to a team effort

“It was a great team performance. The spirit was fantastic especially in difficult moments. It made a difference. Everyone did a great job. We were all working for each other.”

The way that Fabregas, Flamini and Alexandr Hleb scuttled around the San Siro pitch like rabbits on speed was nothing short of remarkable to watch. I don’t know how they did it but the energy and stamina they showed for the entire 90 minutes was something to behold. I’ve said it time and time again but the partnership that Fabregas and Flamini have formed this season has been one of the keys to Arsenal’s success so far and it was nice to see their combination working to perfection against Milan.

I think it’s also important to point out the contribution made by Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue. Looking at some of the comments left on various Arsenal blogs over the past day or so you would think that these two guys were awful on Wednesday night. There is absolutely no way that Arsenal could have dominated the way they did without the contributions of Diaby and Eboue and although the pair did not play as well as the three central midfielders I thought they both did extremely well. As I said yesterday, Diaby made Massimo Oddo (who I rate incredibly highly) look laughable at times with his dribbling and creativity whilst Eboue’s unpredictability meant he was just as effective down the right despite wasting a really good chance to score. I think any criticism the pair receive is completely unjustified and if you agree with me I’d suggest getting on some of those blogs and sticking up for Diaby and Eboue.

Last but not least on the list of Arsenal players have their say today was my man of the match against Milan, Emmanuel Adebayor. The big striker was full of praise for his side and proclaimed that the victory at the San Siro means that Arsenal have the ability to beat every other team left in the Champions League.

“Beating this Milan team means we can beat every single team in the world. Now we’ve got that in our heads we can let ourselves go.”

Let’s hope they can, starting with what could be a tricky away encounter against a plucky Wigan side this weekend. It’s going to be a bit of jolt back to reality for a lot of players but it is nevertheless a game that must be won for Arsenal. As always, I’ll have a preview of that match tomorrow but in the meantime I encourage you to continue basking in the glory of the tremendous win over Milan. Have a good one.

What do you think?

Have your say on Fabregas, Flamini or Adebayor by leaving a comment.



  1. SF- I know you are trying to defend Eboue and Diaby I thought they were poor when they got to the final third. Eboue kept walloping the ball straight at the defenders he is a tough tackler with fantastic energy if he can add that final killer pass and shot he’ll be a great player you saw what happened when Walcott came on for him everything changed unfortunately Walcott is not a tough cookie. If you combine Walcott and Eboue you’ll end up with a perfect player. As for Diaby he frustrate me a lot he is technically gifted and I feel like clipping him around the ears and say to him “release the ball pleeeeeeeeease”. He doesn’t have that quick thinking of Fabregas ,Flamini and Hleb. Our game is based on quick passing and speed of thought.

  2. I just want to praise the enigmatic SAGNA. This player really amazes me he is so good no one bothers to talk about him. He snuffed Kaka out of his game everytime he came down the flanks.

  3. Le Gunner, I have always been one to say that Diaby is playing out of position so cut him some slack, but the boy is, and was good that night as most of his games. He is a wide midfielder, he is supposed to advance and hold the ball until a juicy opportunity arises. Once he get closed down, he has to dribble out of trouble. He is not a left footer so he can not cross that well on that side. But making a professional right back look like a joke whith all his “disadvantages” you have to take your hat off for him.

    On Eboue, people are looking at when Theo came in and forgetting that he already had “tenderized” defenders ready to be embarrassed, thanks to the mighty “tenderizer” Eboue. He was a constant thorn to milan all night and the fact that he even screwed up a scoring chance shows that he was always where the Milan defence didn’t want him to be. And that is basically what I would expect of anyone in that position. He has a decent cross, Yes he can’t shoot, so did Adebayor last season, Hleb and Theo(to an extent)

  4. People are putting too much pressure on Eboue and this is affecting his composure and performances. If fans lays off of him for about 4 games in a row, I believe we might even see his first goal

  5. Making a team studded with stars of tested pedigree look ordinary is no mean feat and to see eboue and Diaby making Malidini, oddo, kaladze and co look silly says it all. I agree that the perfect winger would be a combination of walcott and eboue. But they both have their strengths so lets cut them some slack.Eboue has played very well in his first season in an unfamiliar avanced wing position.Eboue was cancelling out attacks on the right side allowing sagna to bomb forward almost at will at the san siro. When eboue came of then you found that sagna dropped back into more defensive arrears and let theo chase the ball down the wing. And what a cross that was. So Theo relatively has a better end product in the final third but we couldnt expect anymore from a striker. Theo’s defensive weakness was shown when he lost Evra at the Emirates soon after eboue had kept Evra quiet which lead to Ronaldo who had otherwise been snuffed out by Clichy all game tap the ball in.Maybe thats nit picking but otherwise it wast total football of the highest quality from everyone!

  6. I thought Eboue played quite well. He did not in my mind seem to hold the ball too long against Milan. While obviously it would have been prime to hit the target I think his performance at the San Siro was still quite admirable.

    Diaby didn’t impress me as much. But I see where he was going. Being right footed it was clear he was trying to cut inside. Which in turn allowed Adebayor to drift wide.

  7. SF – If Arsenal can only win one, would you rather it be the Premier League or Champions League? What about Australian Gooners generally?

    I agree about Adebayor, I had him maybe just pipping Cesc as man-of-the-match, but I haven’t seen that opinion around a lot. People were so blown away by Cesc’s performance, and why not?

  8. I think we had 5 candidates for MOTM in Fabreagas, Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor and Sagna. My pick was Flamini, he was immense in the middle of the park.
    He didn’t stop running and made some vital tackles that he won.
    Of course Cesc is more eye-catching because of his advanced role on the pitch and because he scored obviously, but Flamini was everywhere.
    SF maybe Eboue and Diaby were ok on the night, but I’m sure when or if Rosicky and Van Persie are back, we will be more dangerous definetely.

  9. It was an absolutely amazing match and showed the arsenal team really pushing it together. That excitement is still there for me and I feel incredible whenever I see a replay or just little highlights.
    Regarding Eboue, his tackles sometimes leave me a bit queasy. Actually I think he’s unnecessarily aggressive, goes in with his feet out a lot more than is necessary and lacks the accuracy of Flamini and Sagna.I felt Sagna was in excellent form and feel his is so unnoticed and underrated.

    433- “If Arsenal can only win one, would you rather it be the Premier League or Champions League? What about Australian Gooners generally?”

    As an Australian Gooner, I have to say, the Champions League means so much more to me. The matches are on free to air TV, it’s hyped up here and it’s something that’s easier for people to connect with. Plus Arsenal have never won it yet, so it’s the one I want.

  10. Champions League would be amazing – it’s always going to be more difficult to win than the Premiership. But if we didn’t win the Premiership now I would be immensely disappointed. In saying that if we did and one of the other English sides won the Champions League then I think a lot of people could think it would take the shine off Arsenal’s achievement.

    In short, I don’t know haha. Maybe the Premiership at this stage – the Champions League can wait?

  11. Renae – Which part of Oz are you from?

    cem – We will definitely improve with Rosicky and van Persie in the side, which just shows how great our performance was without them. As I said, I’m not saying Diaby and Eboue were off the planet against Milan but they did exactly what was asked of them and without the pair’s efforts Arsenal would not have been able to get that team performance.

  12. Hey 433 + SF. I am an Aussie gooner (Perth), and I have to agree with the champions league. We have a good chance to win it, and at the end of the day, your more likely to be remembered in the champions league than the Prem. Need I metion last tuesday?

  13. Spanish Fry, I grew up in Mackay (Qld) and then moved to Brisbane for uni. I lived in Brisbane for 11 years and just moved to Melbourne in January this year.

    RvP Fan: I agree. The Champions League is so much more memorable, especially if you don’t live in England.

  14. Cool, cool. I’m in Brisbane also. But for how long…? It’s great to see a little bit of an Australian community forming on this blog. I really should attempt to reach out to Australians a little more – it could be a great way for people to get together and watch games at English pubs at the major capitals and enjoy themselves.

  15. I was only going to be in Brisbane until I graduated Uni,…but life happened.
    I think forming an Australian group could be a good thing. It’s even harder being an Australian female fan. There are not many of us and most people assume you’re just there to look at the players.

  16. I’ll have the premiership everytime its the bread and butter for the clubs a £60 million prize compared to £25million for the C.league.You can’t say the champions league is more difficult its a cup competition if you want to win it then you’ll have to forget about the league and play purely for champions league. That was the case with Liverpool and Ac Milan last year. We were in the same situation when we got to the final. Most big clubs are not willing to let go of the league title to win the C.league. As for this Arsenal team winning the league title is far better, once they do that the C.league will follow. Hopefully will get both.

  17. Hahah – life happened. That’s great. How is Melbourne treating you? I’ve only ever been there once; to see Brisbane beat Essendon in the 2001 AFL Grand Final. ‘Twas an amazing experience.

  18. Any ideas for how to push the Australian thing Tom? Arseblogger has a pretty sweet Irish connection and I’d like to do the same here. I guess I could start by splashing a big flag around somewhere so Aussies can automatically relate. Any other ideas?

  19. Go the OZ connection.

    Did you see Mark Lawrenson´s predictions on the bbc in the last day, in regard to Arsenal….

    ¨”I thought that Arsenal’s performance at AC Milan on Tuesday was the best performance by an English team in the Champions League since Manchester United’s victory over Juventus in Turin in 1999.”

  20. Melbourne is treating me really well. The unpredictable weather is taking a little to get used to, but overall it’s awesome.

    I am a member of a couple of livejournal arsenal communities, so I could see if I could plug the blog as a means of reaching out to Australian fans too.

    Maybe you could start interviewing Australian fans (or someone start by interviewing you) to give their thoughts on Arsenal from an Australian perspective occasionally. Or you could do a couple of posts on what Arsenal means to Australia…

  21. Dream Team


    Hope all our injury probs will be solved asap…

  22. Thanks for your responses Australian Gooners. I can see that the Champions League is massive down there.

    Stateside, the Premier League is pretty big among fans of European football. Since those games are on the weekend, more people can see them live. For example, the Arsenal game Sunday against Wigan is Sunday at noon! Champions League games happen when a lot of us are at work, plus the coverage of the Champions League is a bit disappointing (ESPN). The EPL coverage on Fox Soccer Channel is better. Setanta coverage is new, and it has both EPL and CL, so we can see every Arsenal game now, which is great, but addictive.

    I have a strong preference for the double, but if we could just win one, I’d rather win the league.

  23. Eboue – good game? Seriously, thats laughable. Obligatory yellow with that stupid embarassed grin thereafter, horrific miss – yet again. Quick of feet, granted, but horribly slow of with that manic explosive streak that can see red at any second. Diaby, similarly slow of mind and with a lazy streak but certainly has massive skill and power. Please track back and close people down!
    The rest of them – brilliant to a man, each a credit to the badge. With a little luck with injuries, it could be our year. God what a great time it is to be a Gooner. Enjoy it lads!

  24. If we were to win just one, I will combine both and call them “CLEPL”. I want both. We have a good chance to win a double this year. I hope the RVP and Rosicky double factors can do the trick for us. The future only looks brighter. We need a break from injuries though.

  25. It’s so annoying that Theo is out now.. Does anyone know how long for??

    Great blog Spanish Fry, wanna do a link swap??



  26. “Beating this Milan team means we can beat every single team in the world. Now we’ve got that in our heads we can let ourselves go.”

    I agree this is probably Arsenal’s best chance, at least since I have seen them play the last several years. I like the attacking form the last couple of seasons. A question is if the defence will hold up in certain tight situations against the very best European clubs and if serious injuries can be avoided, but Arsenal looked very good in Milan.


    Russ (had Arsenal away membership while I lived in Manchester as a student 99-01)

  27. Indeed ADEBAYOR is a great player. But their is a need for him to put more effort so that he can acquire diverse awards. My advice to him is,i want him to be more focussed in the pitch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *