AC Milan vs. Arsenal: Arsene Wenger Gives Cold Assessment of the Milan Rout

H AndelAnalyst IIIFebruary 15, 2012

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 15:  Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal gives instructions during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between AC Milan and Arsenal at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 15, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

AC Milan outclassed Arsenal at the San Siro Wednesday evening, to plant their feet firmly in the 2012 Champions League quarterfinal, even though the second leg remains to be played at the Emirates on March 6.

With four unanswered goals to the good for the Italians, the second leg appears a mere formality now. Arsenal have nothing to complain about; they were second best in every department in this match. 

On the performance, Arsene Wenger said this at the post-match conference:

Defeat can happen sometimes when you play well, but I felt that defensively, especially, offensively and as a unit, we were poor. We were beaten and never in the game. It's a big shock.

The Frenchman singled out poor defending as a major culprit for the Gunners in this match. He called it "a big concern."

It's a big concern because we were always in trouble with the same problems – [passes] over the top, slow reading the game, slow to respond, beaten in challenges – it was a big problem for us the whole night.

Can the team still progress to the quarterfinal by staging a comeback at the Emirates in the second leg?

"No," said Wenger.

We don't live in dream world. We may have a 2% chance, or 5%, but realistically we are out.

We have to take our pain and regroup for the next game. Statistically, it's too big [a deficit to recover from]. We'll try, but there is very little hope there. The result is massive for them – a massive advantage and very difficult to turn around. We'll give it our best and I feel that we can't be worse than tonight, anyway.

To make a woeful night more miserable, Arsenal lost another defender to injury, although as yet the nature and seriousness of the injury still is undetermined. Laurent Koscielny, the injured defender, will be out for the weekend's FA fixture at Sunderland.

"Koscielny is certainly out for the weekend, and that's another injury in defense," said Wenger.  "We lost Mertesacker, we lose Koscielny tonight, and that's a big concern." 

"I don't know [how bad it is]," Wenger he added. "It looks like a knee problem, but I haven't spoken to the medical people yet."

Could it have been a two-nil defeat?

I haven't seen [the penalty] well. It looked generous. I was more concerned with the offside for the second goal, but we were in position to change the game very early – we lost balls where you cannot afford to do so and at this level, it's always exposed.

With an important game coming this Saturday, the best Arsenal can do now is put this defeat behind them and concentrate on salvaging what is left of the season.