Arsenal will play against AC Milan in the round of 16 of the Europa League and the fans of both the clubs are waiting for the match eagerly. The history of the meeting of the two clubs before this one is rich with glimpses of brilliance of the star players of both the teams.
These two clubs had met each other 2 times before in the round of 16 clash of UEFA Champions League; once in 2008 and another in 2012.
In 2008, the Gunners had destroyed the hope of the previous season title holders AC Milan’s hope of going through to the Quarter Final of the biggest tournament of Europe. It was a heartbreaking defeat in terms of AC Milan as they were beaten in their home stadium San Siro with a margin of 2-0.
They again played against each other in the round of 16 clash of UEFA Champions League in 2011-12 season. But this time AC Milan emerged victorious with the aggregate of 4-3 and had gone through to the next round. The tie is 2011-12 between these two sides was phenomenal.
Both the sides had great players in their squads. AC Milan had the likes of Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Kevin Prince Boateng while Arsenal had Sagna, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Van Persie, Arteta. Here we will try to memorise the two legs of that great tie happened in 2012 between these two clubs.
First Leg :
In the first leg of this phenomenal tie, AC Milan had outclassed the Gunners in all aspects at San Siro. Kevin Prince Boateng’s superb volley towards Goal with a tight angle had started the match in style in favour of AC Milan. The Brazilian Striker Robinho had proved his Goal poaching skills with two goals in either side of the half time.
Arsenal were playing possessional football but the pace in the attack of AC Milan was the key of their success in this leg of UEFA Champions League. On the other hand, Arsene Wenger had fielded the ‘Legend of Arsenal’ Thierry Henry for the last time in the second half in place of Theo Walcott. The veteran had also provided a clever flick towards Robin Van Persie. But the shot of the Dutchman was saved by the Milan Goalkeeper.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic had scored from the spot at the dying moments of the match to make the scoreline 4-0 in favour of the home side. It had made the come back almost impossible for the Gunners in the second leg of this tie.
Second Leg :
Arsene Wenger had fielded a side with a more attacking 4-3-3 formation in the second leg as they had to score at least 4 Goals in that match. Koscielny had put the Gunners ahead at 7th minute of the match from a corner. Thomas Rosicky had doubled the lead for Arsenal in the first half.
Milan were sitting deep in the first half and had no real intention to go forward. This approach had made them concede another Goal of Van Persie from the spot. With a 3-0 scoreline after the end of the first half the Arsenal fans were living in hope of making the Comeback possible; but they were not able to get another goal in the second half. Van Persie had missed a golden opportunity to level the scoreline and one deflected effort of Gervinho had been saved by AC Milan Goalkeeper Abbiati.
AC Milan had survived the scare of the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium and were in the Quarter Final of Champions League in 2011-12 by defeating the Gunners with an aggregate of 4-3 at the end of two legs.
The fans will expect such a thrilling contest once more in this season’s round of 16 clash between these two sides in Europa League and it will be a really interesting thing to see who knocked the other team out of the tournament this time to take a place in the Quarter Final.