Arsenal 0 Milan 0
The scoreline suggests a dull game, it was anything but.
Milan arrived in town looking to keep a clean sheet, and perhaps nick a bonus goal on the break. Their chances increased after Toure went off with a calf injury inside five minutes, but Senderos stepped in and played superbly to nullify any Milan threat.
After that, the action was all at the other end, with a series of ‘so nearly’ moments, usually dictated by the boot of Fabregas, who was back to his creative best in the centre.
Crosses were landing in between strikers, shots were being fired wide or straight at the keeper, and as injury time approached, we could claim that 1-0 would be fair. It should’ve ended that way, when Walcott’s devilish cross in the dying seconds found Adebayor, who headed a sitter against the bar.
To criticise the big man would be churlish – in reality the whole team played very very well, and were denied by a combination of snatched finishing and impressive defending. The latter probably caused the former.
The positives for Arsenal are that we proved we could match and then outplay Milan. Also, a clean sheet means that an away goal will cause the Italians huge problems against a defence that has now conceded 12 times in 31 Champions League matches.
The positives for Milan are that they proved they could withstand perhaps the best attacking force in Europe. They will feel confident that a solitary goal will now win them the tie.
Make no mistake about it – Milan are a superb team. But equally, this tie is very much alive.
And when I said earlier that the whole team played well, I meant it. Even Eboue.