It is not often that the World Player of the year/European Player of the year feels frustrated and throws the ball in disgust and gets a yellow card. Even more when the player we are discussing is Kaka, one of the coolest footballing dudes. It showed how much Arsenal has got into their skin of this aging AC Milan side, how much they had tackled and won the ball from these silky footballers like Kaka and Pirlo, how much they had played their passing game and ran around the Milan team. Arsenal qualified to the quarterfinal stage beating Milan by two late goals that set the tone for a new era of youth and exuberance in Europe. This is the end of the Maldini era and the begining of the Fabregas era.
Midfield control has been grasped by the trio of Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb. They played like men possessed to show Europe the hunger and vitality of youth in this young Wenger side. Hleb was here, there, turning, beating 3-4 opponents,stealing possession, Flamini was biting into Gattuso and Kaka and Pirlo and giving them irritating times, Fabregas had all the time in the world to look around play some through balls and also be present in scoring positions from time to time. It was a match dominated by Arsenal and though Milan had their chances, Arsenal were the team that the crowd in San Siro watched.
For all the domination of possession which looked as if Arsenal were playing in the Emirates and not San Siro, it looked for a long time in the match like the same old story of lost chances and defeat at the end. But this team has been scoring late goals after late goals and last nite again was the same. Hleb won the ball from Pirlo I think, and passed it to an advancing Fabregas, who ran with the ball, cut in into the centre and slammed a low shot from almost 30 yards!
It dipped, pitched in front of the really tall goalie, who did not expect Fabregas to take strike and squeezed in between him and the goalpost. I was feeling restless seeing the chances being missed and was shuttling between my bed and the sofa, 5.45 in the morning. I never expected Fabregas to shoot from such long distance and even if he did I did not think that it will go in in anycase. But it did and the joy on Fabregas’s face said it all. he announced his arrival and he has been the main man for Arsenal yet again in a high profile encounter.
Adebayor was a thorn in the Milan defence and he kept troubling them and he was also rewarded with his first European goal, courtesy Walcott. He beat the Milan defender in a race to win the ball, went past him and passed aquare of the goal in front of the goalie for a simple tap in for Adebayor. He deserved his goal as he worked tirelessly, from attack to defence in the whole match. Senderos starting with Gallas again had a tremendous game and Almunia was efficient at the back with a few good saves. Clichy and Sagna were impeccable and Clichy did create some problems to the Milanese players. Eboue and Diaby also played their part. the unfortunate part was the wrongful booking of Hleb by the ref. It was a clear cut unlawful tackle by Nesta and should have been a free-kick or for that matter a penalty.
Hopefully this win should act as a morale booster to the team in their pursuit of the League crown. With Persie also back in the side, it should be a good month for Arsenal. For all those who support Arsenal I am sure this victory at San Siro will go as one of the best nights in Europe.