Wenger confirms van Persie start against Milan


Despite some doubts over how strong a team Arsenal would put out tomorrow night, Arsene Wenger says he’ll start captain Robin van Persie as the Gunners attempt to overturn a four goal deficit.

Speaking at his press conference the boss said, “We want to have a real go tomorrow, we want to make it possible. I would not be very credible to tell you we want to score five goals and then leave Robin van Persie out.

“We will not accept going out of the Champions League because we want to stay in. We will give it our best shot tomorrow.”

The size of the task at hand is illustrated by the fact Arsenal  will attempt to do what only three clubs have previously managed in UEFA competition – recover a four-goal first-leg deficit.

Real Madrid CF lost 5-1 at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round, winning the return 4-0, while Leixões SC (against FC La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup first round) and FK Partizan (Queens Park Rangers FC, 1984/85 UEFA Cup second round) overturned 6-2 away losses with 5-0 and 4-0 home victories respectively.

However, Milan themselves hold the record for the biggest first-leg victory overturned in the UEFA Champions League era, losing 4-0 at RC Deportivo La Coruña in the 2003/04 quarter-finals having won 4-1 at home.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have scored 12 goals in their two home games and although scoring enough to qualify is a tall order, it is a game that could restore some pride and further boost our confidence and momentum as we head into the final stages of the domestic season.

Milan keeper, Cristian Abiatti, knows his team have a good advantage but is taking nothing for granted and is well aware of the threat posed by Arsenal’s in-form captain. “It’s not over yet,” he told UEFA.com. “We definitely have a good advantage and we need to make the most of that. But we’ll have to work hard until the end.

“So I think we’ll have to be careful against Arsenal, and especially against him. It’s always nice to come up against forwards of that standard in matches like this. When two big teams play against each other, it definitely provides a spectacle.”

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Thanks, Abbiatti, but it’s over. We pray for RvP’s good health.


O my! It’s 3-0 after 45′ of the return leg and we couldn’t have dreamed of a better start!

El Shaarawy’s attempt just before half-time was a warning, though. In the words of Gary Neville: “Just DEFEND, Arsenal! You’ll get your chances!.” If the team does that, then I’ll be the first back here to hold my hand up.

Come On You Gooners!


4-4-2 please Arsene.


Got a bad feeling about this. Santos springs to mind.

Cygan's Left Foot

It is not the same. We are playing for pride here, we were humiliated in Milan, worst game in 20 years in Europe.

We have an outside chance, this Milan side is not the greatest side, we were that bad and made them look good. If we stand a chance, I know it is as close to impossible as it gets, we need RVP to play.


I totally agree. I just have this irrational fear that he might get crocked in the process in this particular game.

No idea why.

Dave Gooner

Nice platitudes there Abbiati.

We all know we didn’t play to our potential, or anywhere near it, in Milan. Since then though, we have had a cracking home victory against Tottenham SoontobeFourth. And ended Liverpool’s chance of CL football next year.

We can do this. 2 – 0 at half time will set it up nicely. COYG!!!!


Platitudes? Doesn’t he run UEFA?


Throw on the lot of them, RVP, Theo, Gerv, AOC, Park, chamack all we need is a goal each

damien joyce

If we safeguard against potential injury to rvp, then that still gives us 5, clean sheet from fabianski and we thru!!!!!!

Red Cannon

That’s actually not terribly far from the super-attacking formation I’ve heard bandied about:
Sagna Verm Kos Gibbs
Song Rosicky
Wolcott Gerv

I like the audacity of the attack that could come from this team. Who knows? …That said, I agree that it seems an unnecessary risk to put van Persie out there in this game. I’d love to eat my words on this one, though!


AND not to concede, which is what worries me. Milan can always be beaten with pace down the flanks, which is why they fucked up their pitch’s wide areas. We can definitely score goals against them, the question is can we simultaneously keep them out.

Hoping and praying for a miracle though!


gooner sami

Arsenal please, make the impossible possible. Go gunners!


If we can pull this off Arsene will be nominated for sainthood!

It will be nice to show the real Arsenal on a proper pitch befitting a Champions League knockout round match! Milan should be ashamed of themselves for subjecting our players to their dirt pile.

Let us all pray for the health and safety of RVP.




He scores when he wants…5 wants should be about right then.

Come On Arsenal.


so it looks like the strongest possible lineup would be:


with the following subs available:
fabianski, jenkinson, chamakh, afobe, miquel, djourou? yennaris?

the little russian, frustrating as he was, might have been very useful for this one!

i hope we really go for it. milan as not nearly as good as we made them look in the first leg and confidence is high right now…


He’s been a trooper this season. Considering the fact that the media regard him as our most injury prone player; he hasn’t been injured once since January 2011 if I’m correct. Despite the fact he is in the dreaded “Red Zone” Arsene speaks of. Plus, he continues to do his job so well on a regular basis.

Let’s just hope it the decision to over use him doesn’t come back to haunt us.


Knock on wood!


I always do that when i see Rvp and that word and am doing so while typing this. Long live the placenta treatment.

Wes Mantooth

Even better… Knock on Coq


Wenger could play this 4-4-2 formation:

Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs;
Oxlade Chamberlain, Song, Rosicky (if fit enough), Gervinho;
Walcott, Van Persie

This formation can easily change to a 4-3-3 during the match with Van Persie dropping off into the AM role OR Chamberlain moving to the AM role with Gervinho moving forwards to form the left of a front three – this will allow fluidity and can be done when we may be getting outnumbered in midfield.

Wes Mantooth

Why not 3-2-5? Playing 4-4-2 won’t get you anywhere against an Italian club playing a 7-2-1 formation. Seriously, what do we have to lose?

Naija gooner

As it stands, we have very little option in the midfield. AOC is my choice for the AM role, the lad has got good passing ability and can power home shots from range. We must be clinical with our chances and ensure they don’t score. Go gooners, it has been done to them before, it can happen again.

Biff Baxter

Wenger really is setting himself up to be crucified here. The shitheads who hate him will be licking their lips at the prospect of a Van Persie injury.


Sorry, no one hates Wenger so much that they would wish injury to Captain Vantastic. But you’re right in one respect–if he gets injured we WILL crucify AW.


Hi Guys

I hope you dont mind me intruding and all that. Even though I’m a spuds fan I just wanted to say how much I respect Arsene for all that he’s done for Arsenal,and for English football in general. I also want to pay tribute to the resilience and style with which you Gooners have responded to a season which has had, let’s face it, a fair share of adversity and criticism for AFC, and I think I speak on behalf of the whole of Shite Hart Lane.

Rad Carrot

Are you actually a Sp*rs fan?!

Because that’s blown my perception of you out of the water. I never thought I’d see a respectful spud.

If you truly do support “them” from the nation of Haringay, then we say Thank you very much for your compliment. But we’d still be happier if you could leave 3rd place for us.


As he called it Shite Hart Lane, I think he’s just having us on. But I appreciate the sentiment nevertheless.

Wilma Fingadu

You’re too stupid for words, I literally have no words.

Found one,



Sorry folks, it’s a bullshit decision to play RVP, and risk injury, in what will be a meaningless game. Why meaningless? Because, when you turn on the game tomorrow, or show up at the Emirates, you are going to see a nice shiny yellow bus sitting in front of Milan’s goal.


Sorry CA, but bollocks to you! IF we somehow manage to get back in the tie, it could be one of the greatest European nights in history. It’s a big if, but FFS do you really want The Arsenal to just lay down to the morally suspect Italians, especially after their antics with the pitch at their place. I’d have a lot less time for the club if they were willing to just bow out like a bunch of pussies. I hope they live up to Wenger’s word, and go full throttle from the off. The boys will go down… Read more »


I don’t want Arsenal to lay down.but–not to indulge in any ethnic stereotypes–Italian footballers know how to park the bus. With a four-goal bulge, why should they try to play an entertaining–read open–game?

If I turn out wrong, I’ll be the first to say bollocks to me!


Fair enough CA. Let me preempt you just in case – bollocks to you! 😉

Rad Carrot

I’d agree – let’s play our youth and reserves and still go for it. Chamakh. Park. Afobe. Let’s play a fucking 4-3-4 with no keeper. No, I’m not joking. Bundle the ball in with your teeth, I don’t care. I’d like a victory, but I’d prefer 3rd place in the EPL.



Well I’ll do the stereotypes then.
Let’s hope it’s an Italian bus and breaks down before they get to park it properly.

Wes Mantooth

I suspect that RvP won’t be running out for the second 45 mins if we’re not up 2-nil by half time…


I have a feeling wenger is gonna use Afobe… wasn’t in the reserve team today… how sweet would it be if he helps RVP and bangs in a couple goals tomorrow?!

Wes Mantooth

Well he definitely won’t be using Chamakh or Park. Arsene’s already come out and said, “Maybe I will play with six strikers as we have to score goals!”

Boom boom pow!

Cygan's Right Foot

For all those questioning Arsene’s decision; hands up who is part of his backroom team or the medical team…. Any one?

I’m guessing he hasn’t just thought to himself “here we go, lets throw our best player on who may well be getting tired and see what happens”. It may be that he has actually spoken to the player, his team and his medical staff to come to this decision.


Will ramsey say “maybe we can get few goals” again?

Runcorn Gooner

Yes,just after he has said we have had a team meeting and decided not to
give up ……. Just before Milan game.
Walk the Walk don’t Talk the Talk

Glenn Helder

I’ll bring my boots.

3 for Theo and one each for Ros and Van Persie. You heard it hear first.

Steve I

My Guess will be a completely different shape to start within nothing to lose and everything to gain. 4:2:4 or even 3:3:4 and see what happens in first 20/30 mins. 😉

Steve I

Maybe even the old W formation! wooo


* Touch wood *


my father knows whats right and what’s wrong.but on tomorrow’s game he says he would speak after we are through. he is tough dad.

Cygan's Right Foot

You must be his long lost son as he only has a daughter….

damien joyce

I’d actually be happy wiv a 2 or 3 goal win, for simple reason being we aint gonna win da champions lge, the invinvibles couldnt win it pre- messi barcelona so we hardly gonna win it now. seriously a 5-0 win wld giv a great boost no doubt, but if we get barca in next round(again!!), then another hammering from them will do far more damage to remainder of season. pinching 3rd place this year wld giv whole club a boost in comparison to one result tomorrow nite, we can then try have a good summer in market as opposed… Read more »


tell you guys.lets have a discussion. does AC Milan game have an impact on league form? I think losing to AC wouldn’t change anything.we are out already according to the way things are.I would like us to progress to uefa final but as we all know it ain’t happening. sometimes I just get fed up with our expection each season. they keep on getting lowered.

Cygan's Right Foot

Winning breeds confidence. If we win 1-0 then at least it’s something but after the Spurs and Liverpool games, losing tonight would just be another set back to our clearly brittle confidence.


If Van Persie stays two more seasons, injuries & form permitting, he will become Arsenals 2nd highest goal scorer ever. An extra season on top of that, injury, form and age permitting, he could become Arsenals all time highest goalscorer.


Dammit, makes you think what a fit Van Persie these past few years could have achieved.


I’d personally be annoyed if we didn’t play Robin. Yeah we’re probably not going to qualify but we have to go for it, I’d be happy (well, you know what I mean) to loose this tie 4-3. We’re on a great little run, won two games nobody really expected us to and we have to keep the momentum going. A win against AC could really be the catalyst for the final stretch of the season, and the team really owe it to the fans for the torrid display in Italy. And to win, Robin needs to play.


You are absolutely correct in your analysis.
Unfortunately I suspect that Milan may well spot the obvious tactical play in this game, which is to go in “dirty” on RvP whenever a player lacking a yellow card gets the opportunity.

I’m worried.

If that starts happening, Wenger needs to spot it and get him off. Sharpish. He’s more important to us than the game is.

[…] improve on that if we want to go through tonight. Arsene says we’re gonna go for it and that Robin van Persie will start, saying: I would not be very credible to tell you we want to score five goals and then leave Robin […]


I think our main priority should be our positioning in the PL. Finishing 3rd would be the best way to restore our pride. The chances of us beating Milan with 4-0 are pretty slim, and I do think that we should rest those players who need it. Resting Arteta, yes, but Robin? He’s been looking anything but tired in the recent couple of games. And there’s plenty of time to rest after this game. There’s a difference in focusing on the PL and giving up this Milan game all together. We should put our strongest side out there tonight. Come… Read more »


I was at the Emirates when we beat Barca with the former little russian ace.
It was the best atmosphere I’ve experienced there.
I hope for whoever is going that they get a night as special as that tonight!

Come on Gooners, support with your heart and who knows!!

the only sam is nelson

Win it for Jack!

Oh, and Abou

And Andre. Not to forget Per, Squilaci and Yossi. As well as Aaron and Johann and Frimmers! And of course – Le Coq.

In fact all we really need is a goal dedicated to each of our injured first teamers and we’re looking at a cricket score.

Perfect motivation there, then

Wilma Fingadu

Hi guys.
I’m a Crystal Palace fan, and every time I hear a Arsenal fan moan, I want to vom up my lungs, lets face it 90% of your fan base has only been supporting you since the PeTIT Overmars era. I overheard a Arsenal fan chatting to his friend outside Starbucks, whilst drinking a hazelnut Latté saying that he might start supporting Man City for a while, ‘cos he likes the way David Silva plays, I felt like choking him with his man-bag.
Modern Football will kill itself.
Love n Light

the only sam is nelson

oh man, are you saying there’s something *wrong* with the broad based tiki-taka portfolio approach to soccer consumption? that fandom isn’t all about sky sports on my iPad? that following Jack Wilshere on twitter isn’t the final word in being a supporter? that aligning my brand choices with the commercial activities of Arsenal (or indeed whoever I am following this week) doesn’t actually make me just like my heroes? that being able to quote amy lawrence in teh grauniad isn’t the only pre-requisite to be a gooner? Shit on the other hand, the eagles really spunked it against cardiff in… Read more »

Wilma Fingadu

“fucking ace football” lord give me strength.
Of course Palace are shit, they probably will always be shit, and the fact you use that in your argument goes to show that you genuinely don’t understand what football is about, you cravet wearing cunt-nugget.

the only sam is nelson

deary me, you must be one of those palace youngsters who can’t remember ian wright coming back from a broken leg and fucking over man utd

clearly “the team of the 80s” was before your time as well. not that they lasted very long.

either way, i’m sorry my response flew over your head, like one of atillo lombardo’s hollywood balls.

Wilma Fingadu

oh and…
My elderly neighbour has alzheimer’s and she still has more of a footballing brain than Walcott.

Drop beats not bombs


segna quando vuole! segna quando vuole!
Robin Van Persie, segna quando vuole!

I looked it up in Google translate.
Let’s give them some tonight. COYG!

Wilma Fingadu


Wilma Fingadu

If you want perfection then by all means go and watch Arsenal, for example. But is it art? To my mind, watching Arsenal has all the attraction of watching a piece of technical drawing. But the way Paddy Mcartney looks up before he sweeps the ball out for a throw in… now that’s real quality. He is a master of his art. •Palace are the New York Dolls to Arsenal’s Elaine Paige •We are The Young Ones to Arsenal’s To The Manor Born •We are Hurricane Higgins to Arsenal’s Steve Davis •Palace are ice creams with flakes on the beach… Read more »

the only sam is nelson

a superb answer to the question “when a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound if there is nobody there to hear it?”

and you never had gus caesar. the bitterness runs deep, and it shows. but, still