Blogs & Opinion


Ray Wilkins:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Statement of intent

Gunners can show they are a team on the up, says Ray

Ray Wilkins - Ray Wilkins Posted 6th March 2012 view comments

Arsenal v Milan, 7pm, Tue, Sky Sports 2 HD and Sky 3D

I don't give Arsenal a prayer of turning this tie around.

But you can bet that the Gunners aren't thinking that way and if they can score inside the first 20 minutes you just never know what might happen.

Szczęsny: Arsenal stopper will come up against in-form Ibrahimovic

Szczęsny: Arsenal stopper will come up against in-form Ibrahimovic

Arsenal will be full of confidence having got five at Tottenham and beating Liverpool in their last two Premier League games and that momentum could see them put in a cracking show against Milan.

Football can kick you in the groin at times and it did to Milan in the quarter-finals of the 2003/04 Champions League.

The Italians built up a 4-1 lead over Deportivo la Coruna in the first match but capitulated 4-0 in the second leg and went out. This is a different Milan team but a few early goals for Arsenal and the seeds of doubt may start to creep in.

This is a great game for Arsenal to show to Robin van Persie and potential new signings that they are a top team and that the future is bright.

Ray Wilkins
Quotes of the week

Arsenal played Tomas Rosicky in a wide position at the San Siro, but with them having to score plenty in this game they may opt for two out-and-out wingers, probably Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

I'm expecting to see a really positive Arsenal; they'll lob people forward, create chances and, hopefully, a few will fly in.

Arsene Wenger's men won't find it easy in the middle of the park, though, where they will come up against the veteran Mark van Bommel.

The Dutchman is so intelligent and he will pull the other two central midfielders - Antonio Nocerino and one other - in tight. He may lack pace but he was wonderful for Holland against England last week and will not get exposed.

Milan will be buoyant after they won 4-0 at Palermo on Saturday, a notoriously difficult place to go. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a first-half hat-trick, but he could find goals harder to come by when he faces up to Wojciech Szczęsny, who has consistently proved this term what a magnificent goalkeeper he is.

Max Allegri has really galvanised Milan since he took charge in the summer of 2010; they won Serie A last season and are going great guns again this year, while they are more vibrant than they used to be.

I also like the way Allegri utilises the experienced players in his squad, like Clarence Seedorf, van Bommel and Alessandro Nesta. They might not all play every week, but the younger members of the side can fall back on them when needs be which is vital for any successful club, especially one chasing the Champions League crown.

Milan should keep that dream alive this week, but it is also a great game for Arsenal to showcase to Robin van Persie and potential new signings - they have been linked with Cologne's Lukas Podolski - that they are a top team and that the future is bright.

Arsenal won't go through but they can make a huge statement.

Benfica v Zenit, 7.30pm, Tue, Sky Sports 4 HD

When the Stadium of Light is buzzing it is a great place to be. It won't be easy for Benfica who trail 3-2 from the first leg in Russia , but I'm going to back them to nick it because they look to have a tad more quality than Zenit. If Benfica do go through, they will test anyone but the fact that they don't play against top-quality in the Portuguese league every week will count against them when they came up against the big boys.

APOEL v Lyon, 7pm, Wed, Sky Sports 1 HD

APOEL get fantastic support at their home ground, the GSP Stadium. The place is smaller than a lot of big-name players are used to, but when it's full it is absolutely rocking; it's almost like there are cheerleaders in the stands. Just getting to where APOEL are at the moment is like they have won the Champions League but I don't think this tie is over. The Cypriots can overturn their 1-0 defeat from the first leg.

Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen's task is scary. They got a good result at the weekend, beating Bayern Munich 2-0, but to turn around a 3-1 first-leg deficit at the Camp Nou is practically impossible. Leverkusen only have themselves to blame, however, because if they had played as positively in the second half of game one as they did in the first, they might have only been beaten by one goal and had a sniff. Now, I'm quite sure Barcelona will win comfortably.

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Jool Johnson jok (Arsenal fan) says...

Gunners are the underdog but football is unpredictable. Come on Arsenal!

Posted 11:47 6th March 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Carragher

Lack of intensity

Jamie Carragher says Manchester United could not handle the power or pace of Everton....

Dwight Yorke

Ramsey shines bright

Dwight Yorke looks at the importance of Aaron Ramsey as Arsenal beat Hull 3-0 at the KC Stadium....

Jamie Redknapp

Jose 'embarrassing'

Jamie Redknapp says that Jose Mourinho should focus on his own failings rather than blame match officials....

Latest News RSS feeds

Lerner fuels Villa sale claims

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner will not discuss his future at the club until the end of the season.

Sherwood keen to keep Eriksen

Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood hopes the club can keep hold of Christian Eriksen in the summer.

Welbeck reports played down

Manchester United boss David Moyes has played down reports concerning England international Danny Welbeck.

Moyes: Terrible goals conceded

David Moyes feels Man Utd conceded 'terrible goals' on his return to Everton and says missing out on the top four hurts.

Suarez won't get carried away

Luis Suarez insisted he is not getting carried away with Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League.

Features

Best of the Weekend

Best of the Weekend

We cast an eye over the weekend's Premier League action and pick out the highlights.

Embarrassment for David Moyes as Everton show the Manchester United boss how they have moved on

Embarrassment for David Moyes as Everton show the Manchester United boss how they have moved on

"Are you watching David Moyes?" was the cry from the Goodison Park faithful after Everton had scored their second goal.

Aaron Ramsey provided a powerful display at Hull to remind Arsenal fans of just what they've been missing

Aaron Ramsey provided a powerful display at Hull to remind Arsenal fans of just what they've been missing

Paul Merson had exuded an air of exasperation on Sky Sports prior to Arsenal’s game against West Ham in midweek. The balance of this incarnation of the team was all wrong, he argued. Where was the pace in this Gunners side?