The only realistic hope of winning one silverware in this season is remaining for Arsenal in the Europa League. They are out of the contention for the FA Cup after losing against Championship side Nottingham Forest; they are situated in the sixth position in the Premier League and the hope of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season is getting fade. In the Carabao Cup Final they were outclassed by Manchester City with a margin of 3-0.
But Arsene Wenger and his players still have a chance to prevent this season from a disaster by winning the Europa League and in this competition they have to face the Italian Giants AC Milan in the round of 16 tie. The two clubs had met each other 2 times before this in the Champions League and both the clashes were highly competitive.
But the situation is something different now as both the clubs are not going through their best time in the last 3-4 seasons and are fighting hard to regain their glorious days.
‘Arsenalcore’ will now look back into the two previous occasions the clubs met each other to feel the essence of those clashes once again to ignite the passion among the fans of both the clubs.
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These two clubs had played against each other in the round of 16 of UEFA Champions League in 2008. Both the squads were packed up with a number of great players at that time Arsenal had the likes of Adebayor, Fabregas, Clichy, Gallas, Diaby, Eboue, Flamini while AC Milan had Paolo Maldini, Pato, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Pirlo, Nesta , Ambrosini etc.
AC Milan were the Champions of Europe in previous season they had met Arsenal in 2008 and the players of Arsenal had to give all their efforts to knock the trophy holders out of the competition in the next season itself. The tie was well poised after the first leg where it had ended with a scoreline of 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Both the teams had created several opportunities but neither team was able to break the deadlock in the first leg. Maldini’s header was cleared off the goal line in the first leg while Emanuel Adebayor’s shot had rattled the bar and there was all to play for in the second leg at San Siro.
AC Milan had entered San Siro with an offensive approach. But the plan did not pay off as Pato and Inzaghi had missed several golden chances for Milan to score in the match. Again one shot of the Gunners had hit the post. It was a brilliant display of passing football from Arsenal.
Adebayor passed the ball to Fabregas, but it had rattled the bar once again. But somehow the day was written for the Gunners. There were only 6 minutes left in the tie to go into extra time. Cesc Fabregas collected the ball from the half line and ran 15 metres to take a low shot at the bottom corner of the goal. AC Milan Goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac had no answer to save the ball from entering into the goal and in the dying moments of the match, Arsenal substitute Theo Walcott had provided a beautiful ball to Emanuel Adebayor who had sealed the victory for Arsenal. It was the first Champions League Goal for Adebayor and quite memorable for both the player and the club to knock the trophy holders AC Milan out of tournament.
It was a great character shown by the Arsenal players in the big occasion like a knockout tie in the UEFA Champions League. They had kept their cool till the end and snatched the tie from Milan.