Friday, 16 December 2011

A draw with the Rossoneri...

2011-12 Champions League last-16 draw

Lyon v Apoel Nicosia
Napoli v Chelsea
AC Milan v Arsenal
Basel v Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica
Marseille v Inter Milan

The draw for the next round has just been announced, and the Gunners have a tricky tie to negotiate with the mighty AC Milan. The two games, surely, will prove to be the highlight of the draw, but it promises to be a very interesting set of fixtures. Chelsea have an equally difficult tie against Napoli, for example, while Real Madrid and Benfica both travel to Russia – never easy trips, and I wouldn't be surprised if an upset was on the cards for one of those two teams, despite their European pedigree.

From a red-and-white perspective playing the rossoneri is not the easiest way through, by any means, but Milan are certainly beatable – indeed, Arsenal won 2-0 last time they played Champions League football at the San Siro in the 2007/08 season, and became the first English side ever to beat Milan at home. We had a rather fetching white and redcurrant away strip that season, if I remember correctly, and two late goals from Fabregas and Adebayor secured the win – one of the more illustrious European nights in Arsenal's recent history.

With the away leg coming first we have a decent chance of going through, and furthermore as the BBC pointed out on their live blog, AC Milan have actually gone out to English clubs at the last-16 stage in each of their last three Champions League campaigns. Time for the Gunners to take on another Italian job then...

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