Hope springs eternal for Arsenal
LONDON - ReutersFrom the depths of despair after losing 4-0 in the San Siro, Arsenal has rediscovered some hope and will have a spring in its step when the team embarks on “mission impossible” against AC Milan in the two teams’ Champions League last 16, second leg tonight.
Logic suggests seasoned Serie A sides like Milan do not fritter away four-goal advantages but after morale boosting back-to-back Premier League victories against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and with Robin van Persie in the form of his life, Arsenal believes there could still be a twist in the tie.
The Emirates is something of a fortress for the Gunners in Europe and goals do tend to flow.
They will also seek comfort from Deportivo La Coruna’s 4-0 second leg victory against Milan in the 2004 quarterfinals for a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Manager Arsene Wenger, who labeled the hammering in Milan a “disaster”, believes all may not be lost.
Six of Arsenal’s last 19 home wins in Europe have been by four goal margins -- a statistic that will not have gone unnoticed by Milan as it seeks to reach the quarterfinals having lost at the last 16 stage to Tottenham last season.
“I love these statistics!” Wenger said after Van Persie’s double earned Arsenal a 2-1 win at Liverpool on March 3 that boosted the team’s chances of a top-four finish.
“We can score, we can have a good edge in our game, so let’s just go for it. We have it all to win because the result is written before we turn up, but we can change it.
“Nothing would be fatal (if Milan scores). If we have the attitude we had against Spurs then nothing is fatal, so we will just go for it.”
Van Persie has notched 31 goals this season and keeping him quiet will be the main priority for Milan.