Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Ancelotti, Maldini, Kaka, Gattuso, Berlusconi you took a hell of a beating! (plus player ratings)
By 1970’s Gooner
It wasn’t only the 2-0 win which was fantastic in itself. To have won a second leg knock out game at the San Siro against the European Champions is a wonderful result that would have had everyone in Europe marveling at the young guns that had the audacity to knock the mighty AC Milan out.
But to have won in the manner that these wonderful young men did is something else. The domination which from 55% during the first half turned to more than 60% in the second was outstanding.
The style, the panache and more importantly the beautiful football that Arsenal put on show was simply awesome. And it’s not an exaggeration to describe it as Brazilian!
But it was worrying that with so many chances created and lost that those old Milan heads will make Arsenal pay for their profligacy.
However as the game wore on Milan had nothing left in the tank and their forwards were not really as good as many people made them out to be.
Chances came and went. First it was Fabregas with a shot that beat the goalkeeper but hit the bar. Then it was a shot form Adebayor that swerved and looked destined to hit the top of the net but for Kalac to tip it over the bar.
And in the second half we dominated so much that we reverted to last year’s follies of passing the ball when it would have been easier to shoot! Hleb again the main culprit.
Senderos who had a great game only had to pass the ball into the net from a corner kick that reached him on the far post but he passed it to the keeper instead! He gave his best performance for Arsenal tonight though. 9
Eboue was put through on his own on the right hand side of the goal with only the keeper to beat. But of course he fluffed the shot wide of the post when he should have shot across the goal instead.
Eboue was his usual self, that is strong and purposeful but not penetrative enough and more often than not passing the ball to the opposition. He did however perform his defensive duties well. 6
The passing was crisp and precise which left the Milan midfield chasing shadows. This was Arsenal back to doing what it knows best.
Fabregas was back to his imperious excellence always available to receive the ball and lay it off in a creative manner. I think he must have had a 99% pass completion tonight!
He gave a master class in midfield play second to none and got the all important goal seven minutes from the end.
And what a stunner that left his foot from way outside the area.
Having dribbled past his marker he booted the ball low and hard surprising the goalkeeper whose plunge to his right was nowhere near to stop it hitting the back of the net. A complete performance from the Man of the Match. 10!
Flamini was quite near a complete performance. Full of running box to box and protecting his defense especially on the flanks when the full backs were venturing forward. 9
Hleb was back to his effective self managing to play a bit more forward in the hole behind Adebayor thus not crowding Fabregas out which in the end proved crucial as Cesc’s skills had the space and freedom to be displayed. 8
Adebayor was scaring the hell out of Nesta and Kaladje who until he tired late in the second half couldn’t really live with him. He was able to turn them and run down the channels with purpose. 8
Almunia did not have a lot to do apart from a few shots that he saved comfortably really. The only scare he had was in the first half when Milan started well and put us under pressure but Fabregas saved on the line from a deflection off a corner kick (that boy was everywhere). 8
Gallas was full of anticipation and strong both in the air and on the ground. 8
Sagna gave his usual effective performance full of tenacity and determination especially when Kaka ventured on his side of the pitch. 8
Kaka who was largely ineffective was picked up by the player who was near him and this proved the best policy in the end.
Clichy was very impressive both in his defensive duties and his offensive forays combining well with Hleb and Diaby on the left. 9
Diaby was much more focused and purposeful which allowed him to put in a more useful performance especially when helping to crowd the midfield and help defensively. 7
Walcott as expected was very effective coming on as a substitute when the Milan defence was tiring.
He waltzed passed his defender late on in the dying minutes riding the tackle as if it was merely a small hurdle to bypass. He coolly picked Adebayor on the far post with a low cross for him to pass into the net. 9
Ancelotti, Maldini, Kaka, Gattuso, Pirlo, Pippo, Berlusconi you took a hell of a beating!