Let's look ahead to Milan

Good news domestically this morning as it was confirmed that William Gallas would not be punished for his little kick on United’s Nani during the FA Cup. It was a nothing kick really but we’ve seen less punished before so we can count ourselves lucky a bit.

Gallas has also called for the Arsenal players to examine their performance against United and to change their mentality. I hope he starts with himself. When the rest of the players can see the captain doesn’t really care for the game then they’re hardly going to fight tooth and nail, are they?

Anyway, enough of that and it’s time to move on to the Milan game. That’s what’s important now. Arsene Wenger says having such an important game so soon after the United defeat means there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. Apparently we’ve played more games than any other team in Europe this season, so the chances of having a crap day are obviously increased. Let’s just hope it’s something they’ve gotten out of their systems.

In terms of team news the Mirror reports that Almunia will be back in goal (hopefully his haunted house isn’t causing too much distraction) and that Bacary Sagna trained yesterday and will play. Obviously that’s not confirmed but it’s positive if true. The big doubt is left back though. Gael Clichy is struggling and if he doesn’t make it the manager has got a big decision to make. There’s no way he can play Traore against AC Milan. He might be quick and have lots of potential but he’s a long way from being ready for first team action, especially in a game as big as this. If Clichy doesn’t make it then for me it’d have to be Gallas at left back with Senderos alongside Toure in the centre. That’s the strongest combination we’ve got.

Tomas Rosicky misses the game, naturally, with a knee injury. I like Tomas and he seems like a very nice chap too but he really is as brittle as you like. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with the formation though, I suspect a 4-5-1 although the big question is over who plays the right side of midfield. If Diaby is back we may see Hleb right and Diaby left but the manager has to think about whether to use Eboue. Can he risk him in such a big game so soon after his idiocy against United? We shall see.

New England coach Fabio Capello has warned the Italians that Arsenal could be their worst nightmare. He says:

Since the draw I’ve felt that AC Milan could not have got a worse proposition than Arsenal. I believe that at this time Arsenal are one of the very top teams in Europe. They combine great quality with great speed. They will be very different from the team beaten 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Arsenal defend with 10 men and attack with six. They are a very organised side, full of talented players. If you leave them any space, they counter attack with four or five players at such pace that the opposition cannot figure out what’s hitting them.

Nice words indeed but Cesc is warning his teammates about the Milan side. We spoke yesterday about their experience but they have tremendous quality in their squad too, something Cesc is aware of:

They have massive players like Kaka, Pirlo and Gilardino – this kind of world-class player – and we have to be careful.

And just because Milan’s players are a bit older than ours doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to dash hither and thither and between their legs and stuff. They’ve got legs themselves and they know how to use them. As well as spinning guitars. So you just can’t take anything for granted.

I am looking forward to this one though. I do think we’ll see a much different performance from the United one and I think it’s a game we can win at home. It’ll be interesting to see how Adebayor copes with the Milan defence. His scoring record domestically is fantastic this season but in the Champions League I think he’s only scored one goal in his entire [[Arsenal]] career (stattos, feel free to correct me here). It’s time for him to make his mark in Europe.

Right so, that’s more or less it. It’s freezing here this morning. Time for coffee and toast. Mmmm, coast.

Just a reminder that Toffs have just relaunched their website and to celebrate they have given Arseblog readers the chance to get 15% off any purchase until Friday of this week.

All you have to do is fill your basket then use the code – leaders (please note lower case).