Ossobuco alla Milanese or Soggy Pasta? – AC Milan Preview

Let’s take a look at our history against AC Milan in the Champions League (sorry, Europe) to date.

Peculiar that games have always finished to nil

In 2008 after a tight home leg finished goalless, Cesc in his pomp led Arsenal to a resounding 2-0 victory in the San Siro; the first English team to win there.

2012 was a different story altogether.  Battered 4-0 away from home, the return leg at the Emirates looked a formality for Milan.

This was from BR’s pre-match on 6th March 2012.

“I expect the atmosphere to be great tonight, few will expect us to go through, and the fans will get the opportunity to see some superb players in the Milan side. The mood from the blogs indicates we are favourites to win but not by much. I tend to go along with this view. Arsenal are a damned good team, capable of beating anyone when on-form (including Barca and RM),

Mr Wenger has stated that he will play a full team which is exciting. We do not play again until Monday evening, so the players can go flat out from the first whistle.”

As it turned out, the players did go flat out from the start, went 3-0 up by half time with goals from Kos, Tomas Rosicky plus BSR and so very nearly pulled off a glorious comeback.

This season the situation is reversed almost 180 degrees. Two goals to the good in the San Siro, on the back of a surprisingly excellent performance, leaves the second leg at home, with Milan in the position of having little to lose and Arsenal everything. As Micky said the other day, ‘Milan get one first half and it’s clenched buttocks time’.

There is no way the players will be complacent after the sequence of results they (and we) have endured since the turn of the year. Exercising extreme control over any jitters and showing mental fortitude will be among the attributes required to see the job done.

Having said that, Milan were fairly average in the first leg and whether that was because they got stage fright or because they are not as good as their current run suggests, we shall find out this evening.

Team news

It would appear that everyone is available though there are still rumours about tests for Shkod and Mesut. Even Alexander Lacazette has resumed full training and could be available after the impending international break. Maybe Elneny might get a game after his fine performance against Watford, then again, maybe Jack was being rested on Sunday precisely because he will play tonight.


So, lads, all you have to do is play as you did last Thursday, closing down, always attempting to give the man on the ball options with some excellent off-the-ball movement, defend using the Roman ‘testudo’ formation and take a couple of chances. Cheers.

Testudo or ‘tortoise’ formation

We are comfortably odds on favourites to get through to the quarters with the best odds available on Milan qualifying about 6 to 1 against.

I, for one, am praying the bookies are right.







114 Responses to Ossobuco alla Milanese or Soggy Pasta? – AC Milan Preview

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok Chas, you’ve done it again and we like you for it. Thank you.

    This could definitely turn out to be a full blown knee trembler, although the early goal from The Arsenal could, we hope, turn the evening into a celebration.

    That’s one sentence right there 🙂

    Might do another

  2. chas says:

    haha, see you later

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    2. This is how big I think the game tonight is: if we don’t see this tie over the line, then essentially it will be the last home game of the season for the majority. We’ve seen recent home attendances with our own eyes, and with just Stoke, Southampton, Burnley and W’Ham remaining, this is a must, must win game if ever there was such a beast

  4. chas mobile says:

  5. Eddie says:

    difficult not to like chas, he carries the blog on his shoulders. Thanks!!

    I forgot about 0:4 and 3:0 retaliation, sitting on the edge of the seat hoping for just 1 more goal. It didn’t happen, but punishment is coming. We should let them go 2:0 and close ranks. Let them hope and then fall on their Italian backsides.

    I am very optimistic. Might miss the kick off, but hopefully be back home to see us winning on aggs by just 1 goal 🙂

  6. mickydidit89 says:


    When at work, like now, and you need to do some important internet work you’d rather your boss didn’t know about, do you put a towel over your head and pc?

  7. Eddie says:

    micky – have you ever worked in an office? No, I didn’t think so.

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Is an office a room in which people sit during the day and flick things at each other?

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Before you start, I know, I know, they also have telephones, fax machines and an enormous photocopier 🙄

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    Will Arsene be tempted to try and bolster the defence and shut up shop?

    I really hope not. Milan will come out all guns blazing, so likewise we should be giving it both barrels straight from the off, and hope we put the tie to bed during the opening salvos

  11. Eddie says:

    to me an office is synonymous with a horrid place where people are like cattle in pens, with constant noises from printers, phones, beeping emails, smells, cheap carpets and very little light.

    I spent 20 years of my life in a place like that.

  12. Eddie says:

    no micky, it would me much more exciting to win in the dying minutes of the game.

    Is Conte packing his bags yet?

  13. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Chas, another really excellent post.

    Haha Micky your 8.10. I suspect you have recently been sitting down with the box set of The Office with Ricky Gervais and are basing all your knowledge of how they work on that. “Right, got it, yes, I now know the difference between a midget and a dwarf” 🙂

    Milan were slightly toothless up front in the first leg while we were clinical, but we all know that a lack of being clinical can easily creep into our side, so I await the game with a kind of optimistic caution. In the first leg Milan were superior in the following stats:

    Possession, shots on goal, blocked shots, corners, passes.

    They edged us in pretty much all statistical areas except shots on target, shooting accuracy, and obviously goals. I know these last ones are the most important but how familiar does that picture personally look to us Gooners. If they put up those same stats and suddenly find their shooting accuracy then we could be in for a bit of squeeky bum time.

    Interestingly the majority of stats were not so hugely different in the cup final against City and we lost that 3-0. I would say we weren’t as bad as in that game as was made out (at least not till after the 3rd goal), but similarly we weren’t quite so dominant in Milan as we would like to think.

    I remember that 3-0 win at home to Milan. A young AOC was far and away the MOTM and tore them apart. Obviously just turned out to be the wrong young player to sign…..like Theo and……. 🙂

    Anyway enough of that, COYRRG’s.

  14. Eddie says:

    who is Theo?

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    Theo Walcott was a County Level Sprinter. He has hair and tattoos. Wears tight clothes. Last seen in Liverpool.

  16. Eddie says:

    I googled Liverpool tattoo and got this

    you’d think with legs like that she wouldn’t want to attract attention…

  17. VP of Oz says:

    Go the Arsenal
    Great post Chas
    Exciting Game ahead but I’m sure the gunners will be triumphant

  18. VP of Oz says:

    FGG, in response to your questions yesterday –

    Do you still personally feel Arsene is the best man to manage this club for the next 2-3 years?
    A: I am ambivalent. Being an aussie I love to support the underdog so the more people want him to leave the more I’d love him to prove them wrong. I know he has not won the league in many years but he has won many trophies in recent times and so many of his games were and are a joy to watch (like the AC Milan game last week). And the team has exciting players and continues to evolve even though the premiership still eludes us.

    So yes I support AW but as I said, I am abivalent so I also support a new coach coming in as change is inevitable but not someone like a Brendan Rogers Ugh! I can see AW time is coming to an end so am enjoying it while it lasts. I was never a big fan of George Graham and the 1 nil to the Arsenal, boring boring Arsenal period that preceded AW. Under AW stewardship the club has evolved and grown and for this AW has my loyalty until he decides to leave.

    But I’m not scared of a new coach coming in. Let it be Aussie Joe Montemurro from Arsenal Woman, he is on the up and each team he has coached go on to become formidable and unbeaten for long stretches. My alltime favourite would be Zidane. But my views wont matter in the long run I’ll just wait it out and see. In the meantime, I will enjoy the AW rollercoaster game by game.


  19. RA says:


    That’s a bit of a personal question. ” — do you put a towel over your head and pc?” (when the boss spots him)

    I take it a “pc” is a polite word for wetting himself??? 😀

  20. RA says:

    Well done. again, Chas — super stuff! 🙂

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    2-0 is always a very tricky first leg lead. Its easy to fall into a defensive mindset early and get yourself in trouble. Fortunately, we have a manager and team who prefer to attack, so if we can get control of possession early and carve out a few opportunities then it could be over by half time.

  22. RA says:

    I am, and have been over the years, a fairly positive fan when Arsenal have faced insuperable odds, always prepared to expect the unlikely.

    Tonight’s game should not be classified in the ‘insuperable’ category, especially as we have a ‘comfortable’ 2:0 first leg win with the away goals adding to the gloss on our chances.

    And yet …… this Arsenal team is just so unpredictable that I am not at all sure what fate awaits us. Win or draw? Yes please. Lose? God forbid — it might just be possible — can AC Milan be as bad as they were first time around?

  23. fatgingergooner says:


    Think it was GB who asked you that question, but a fine response nonetheless!

    For me, if you’re an Arsenal supporter who no longer wants Wenger to suddenly turn this team into a title winning outfit and prove everyone wrong, then you have failed as an Arsenal fan. If you get up on game day and hope Arsenal lose so Wenger leaves sooner then you have failed as an Arsenal fan.

    Personally, I believe Wenger has taken us to levels we couldn’t have dreamed of when he took over, but now that we are here, it appears he doesn’t quite have it in him to push us on again. I believe he should be replaced with somebody who is more astute when it comes to football in 2018, and someone who has fresh ideas of what football will be in the next 10 years. However, regardless of that opinion, there is nothing that would bring me more joy than Arsene Wenger sat in the managers seat next season whilst his players go out and run away with the league.

    As fans we don’t have to agree with everything the club/manager does, and we should certainly feel we have an opinion and a voice, but to hope the team loses to strengthen those opinions is not what being a fan is about.

    In my opinion! 😂

  24. chas says:

  25. GoonerB says:

    Yes VP it was me that asked the question. My blogging irrelevance is legendary 🙂

    Thanks for answering anyway. Actually what FGG has just said above is exactly my position, but as much as I would love AW to win a league next year more than any other manager, I just don’t see that as a realistic possibility.

    With maybe 2-3 more peak years of Ozil, Miki and Aube, among others, I would like the change at the end of this season, to see if we can do something while we still have those players in their prime years. After this they go past that peak and all need replacing with similar quality players, so hanging on too long if we are fairly certain AW will not address the other factors is not great anymore. 2-3 quality additions should complete our squad and then it is just down to having the right man in the modern game to gel it all together.

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m surprised there isn’t a little more fizz about the joint. To-night is both very important and far from job done

    Away we played Xhaka, Ramsey and Jack.

    Is there anyone who would do differently tonight, because you’d be wrong? 🙂

  27. fatgingergooner says:

    I would go with the same 11 as started away at Milan. The temptation would be to swap the full backs, but I want to see Kolasinac and Chambers improve and they’ve done okay recently.

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Another Great post Chas, thanks.

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    A guy ends up with an older woman at a bar last night.

    She looked pretty good for a 55-year-old. In fact, she wasn’t too bad at all, and he found himself thinking she probably had a really hot daughter.

    They drank a couple of beers, and she asked if I’d ever had a “Sportsman’s Double”?

    “What’s that?” the guy asked.

    “It’s a mother and daughter threesome.” she said.

    As the guy’s mind began to embrace the idea, and he wondered what her daughter might look like, he said, “No, I haven’t.”

    They drank a bit more, then she said with a wink, “tonight’s your lucky night.”

    They hopped into a taxi and went back to her place.

    When they arrived back at her place and they walked into the front door, she turned on the hall light and shouted upstairs.

    “Mom… you still awake?”

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Good evening

    BR back in the house, just in time for a big game.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Thank you for writing so many posts. Your PM’s are much better than mine – so – you have earned another job.

    Love the Testudo

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    Nacho and Jack in

  33. mickydidit89 says:

    Ah ha Erik, you’re back

    I’d like to say we missed you, but that would not be telling the truth 🙂

    However, hope you had a nice time

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    Bellerin aswell, so a switch of the full backs.

    Interesting to see Borini playing RB for them. I would expect to see Welbeck and Özil popping up over that side a lot and looking to expose him. They have gone all out attack, so it’s really important we defend well early on and hopefully pick them off on the counter as they get more desperate.

    I’m nervous for the first time in a while. Probably a good thing as it means I’m keen for us to win and I’m actually confident, rather than just going into the game a bit disinterested.

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    Agree with the nice to have a game with an edge again, FGG

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    If AC Milan score the first goal it will get really squeaky especially if it’s a late goal.

    Good to see you back BR.

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks chaps. I would like us to score early and then I can relax with my jetlag

  38. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m waiting for my son and his family to arrive, we are having a family dinner together while we watch the game on delay – so I’m off until later.

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok here we go

    Is jetlag code for grappa

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Only just got home. Will unwrap the Kentucky bourbon at half time

  41. mickydidit89 says:


    Erik, we’re doomed

  42. Big Raddy says:

    That makes the game a little more exciting. Where was Ospina?

  43. RA says:

    Oh, no!!

    Hopeless defending.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    We stopped playing for 5 minutes and paid the price.

    Penalty! Get in!

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    Shockingly decision.

  46. RA says:

    Knew we had it in hand. 😀

  47. mickydidit89 says:

    Ref is a Gunnner 🙂

  48. fatgingergooner says:

    Thought he was going to miss! Get in Danny.

    Need to keep it level before half time now. Milan still only need 2

  49. Big Raddy says:

    Ludicrous penalty decision. What is the point of the goal-line assistant if he gives a joke decision like that?

    Brave of AW to let Danny take it but he finish with style.

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    Tut tut Danny

  51. RA says:


    “The ref is a gunner” — I think you left out “eyed Wally”.

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    High octane half

  53. chas says:

  54. chas says:

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    A dive from Danny knowing he was going out of play. Very poor from the assistant to give it but we won’t complain if it puts us through. He’s played well tonight though apart from that bit of cheating.

    We are going for the win which is important, but maybe after an hour or so we will start to drop back a little. Some good passing though and with a betterfinal ball we could be leading.

  56. RA says:

    Hi GIE,

    I think Danny was tripped — but it was not intentional — would not have mattered if the goal line Wally had not interfered.

    But I cannot pretend I am sorry. 🙂

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    RA 🙂

  58. GoonerB says:

    I think he was clipped and at pace you get that kind of delayed reaction fall. Dint think he cheated. Up to the ref if he feels it was illegal contact or enough contact.

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ok 1-1 is ok, but still tight and I’d rather we pushed for a second meaning they need 4 more, rather than sit on 1 and they only need 2.

    Our goal didn’t really change anything apart from it can’t go to ET, they only ever needed 3 goals to progress if they kept us to 1. Which is what Gattuso will be drumming in to them. Looks like we were continuing to push for a second and we need to carry that on in to second half. Felt like we had decided we could pass it around tire them out but we forgot to keep moving the ball forward and that invited them on.

    If we are attacking they aren’t and that’s better to waste time than tickling across half way line, if we lose the ball after an attack they start from goal line, if we lose it whilst sitting on half way they have less ground to cover and less bodies to get through.

    And I’m still disappointed with Danny, at first glance I thought it must be a penalty and that the defender had turned him round by pulling on his shoulder, Welly saw the arm coming and went to make most of it but touch didn’t really come. Guess he learned that at OT.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Heard the commentator saying Ramsey avoids passing to Jack


  61. Big Raddy says:

    Agree. That pen had SAF written all over it

  62. Gööner In Exile says:

    I hoped to see the contact on every replay they played, first few watching upper body, second trying to see if there was contact down below, thought he could have made the cross if he’d continued and not broken stride, it’s the unnatural leg movement that made me think he must have been impeded, but I seriously don’t think it came.

    But hey they say it evens itself out and I think we need to take our socks off to count how many times those decisions have gone against us.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Total bolleaux

  64. GoonerB says:

    Excellent point GIE. I agree keep playing as if we are looking for another goal.

    Sounds a bit media agenda that Micky. Jack seems to have seen a fair bit of the ball

  65. Gööner In Exile says:

    Mickey it used to be Rambo and Alexis that didn’t pass to each other after a falling out, after it was pointed out you couldn’t help notice it, now you’ve said that we will all be watching for it, thoughts after second half.

    Also Micky think it was you saying Granit would make a good player in Serie A, he certainly seems to be able to be in the right place for their passes out of defence picking up Loose ball and he has more time for passing.

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    My biggest fear? It stays as is and on 75mins Arsene makes subs and tries to see out the game! Hate that

  67. mickydidit89 says:

    You and me Exile
    Eyes on Rambo 🙂

  68. fatgingergooner says:

    The defender did touch Welbeck’s arm twice, but it was not enough to make him fall over. This goes on all over the pitch though, 20-30 times a game. Some are more obvious than others, but how many times do you see a player drop to the floor because he about to lose the ball and get a free kick?

    It’s a dive, it’s pathetic, but let’s not pretend Danny has done something that nobody else on the pitch is doing during the game. Referees and governing bodies do nothing about it and so it continues.

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    I do wonder if we could sacrifice one of these creative players for an extra goalscorer. With the full backs providing the width, we seem to end up Wilshere, Özil, Mkhi and Ramsey all within a 10 yard area around the edge of the box. We’ve had problems in the past with this and I hope we don’t see it again in future.

    If we insist on this group, then I’d rather see Wilshere play behind Ramsey, as Ramsey is more of a goal threat and it would allow him to get beyond the striker safe in the knowledge that Wilshere is covering in midfield.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Phew, that was close 😦

  71. fatgingergooner says:

    No idea what Özil is doing there. Could’ve just brought it down or flicked it on but was too worried about someone clattering him. Poor

  72. fatgingergooner says:

    2 Milan dives in 2 minutes. I’m actually shocked to see a booking! Well done ref.

  73. GoonerB says:

    Warning signs. Cant believe how casual and untroubled Mustaffi and Bellerin looked when that ball came in.

  74. fatgingergooner says:

    We are having one of our lapses again. Need to wake up.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Agree. We have go hold onto the ball and control the game. The last 15 minutes have been all AC.

  76. mickydidit89 says:

    It’s happened early. I’m frightened 🙂

  77. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’ll do nicely 🙂

  78. fatgingergooner says:

    Get in there! Game over.

  79. mickydidit89 says:

    Not frightened 🙂

  80. Big Raddy says:

    Buona Notte Milano.

  81. RA says:

    Does anyone else think Savage is a crap pundit?

    He can really irritate with his banal comments.

  82. fatgingergooner says:

    Dortmund need 2 and Lyon need 1 or they both going out.

  83. RA says:

    Milan are losing and their fans are terrific!!

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    Love Mesut. Always looks so utterly miserable 🙂

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    Özil’s been poor second half. Sloppy, which isn’t like him. Not surprised he’s been subbed.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    I wouldn’t mind a trip to Salzburg

  87. fatgingergooner says:

    Xhaka’s had another solid game. Ramsey all over the pitch as usual (he’s very important for us). Mustafi strong as well.

    Decent performance if unspectacular.

  88. fatgingergooner says:

    Sporting Lisbon would be a nice draw. Avoid Atletico and the 2 Red Bull teams and I’d be happy.

  89. fatgingergooner says:

    Quality from Elneny and Wilshere

  90. Big Raddy says:

    A Danny Double 😀

  91. Big Raddy says:

    5-1 aggregate against AC is a fine result. Well played Arsenal

  92. RA says:

    I agree, FGG, the guys did what they needed to and beating AC Milan is very creditable — 5:1 is no mean feat.

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    When is the draw?

  94. fatgingergooner says:

    Dortmund and Lyon out.

    Could do with Leipzig and Atletico being drawn together as those probably the most dangerous sides left.

  95. fatgingergooner says:

    11am tomorrow I think.

  96. mickydidit89 says:

    Yes, Lisbon in the spring sounds quite delightful 🙂

  97. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh good. Must try and remember

  98. chas says:

    No post from me today, gang.

  99. chas says:

  100. chas says:

    I’ve a feeling I know the topic for the media this morning. 🙂

    Arsenal crush Milan 5-1 – Nah.
    Pires and Eduardo will probably get a mention.

    Fuck em all, Fuck em all, United, West Ham, Liverpool……..

    I fancy Atletico in the draw.

  101. mickydidit89 says:


    Those sorts are busy at the moment blaming The Russians for everything 🙄

    You fancy we’ll get Athletico, or you fancy us playing them?

  102. mickydidit89 says:

    I’ve spent this morning looking for mountains to visit near Salzburg

  103. fatgingergooner says:

    Would we prefer to play Atletico over 2 legs, or in a one off final?

    Hopefully we don’t have to find out because they go out in the next round, but it does look like they are the ones to beat.

  104. mickydidit89 says:

    still there?

  105. LB says:

    Salzburg, Madrid?

    You know it will be Moscow.

  106. mickydidit89 says:

    Leipzig looks awful, so that’s an option as well

  107. chas mobile says:

  108. mickydidit89 says:

    Pants Post sent

  109. I’ll sort it …… give me a few minutes

  110. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ……………… 🙂

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