Let's get the ugly stuff out of the way first.
Milan. Was. A. Disgrace.
And I'm probably doing a disservice to "disgrace."
The best I can say about Arsenal's performance on Wednesday night was that barring a few minutes here and there, we looked like a League One team, on a bad day, against a top Premiership side. We looked like a bunch of young novices playing against a team of wily pros. And we seemed to try and try, but we couldn't blow their house down.
And when the old pros decided to teach us a lesson, they just switched on. And boom, boom, boom, boom! Four goals, easy as you like, bye bye kids, off you go, back to London, say thank you that we stopped at four.
I don't know how you guys viewed the game, but that's what it looked like to me. Maybe it was the time (1:15 am kickoff where I live) that caused my vision to be blurred, but that's exactly how I saw it.
I looked at the match stats, as I often do, and I'm sorry to say that in this case, some stats do mislead. Big time. Apparently, Arsenal had more possession (57:43), more corners (6:5) and made fewer saves (1:4).
But it was not a game that can be analyzed through statistics. Arsenal could have had 75 percent possession and still drawn a blank. We could have spent an hour swinging corners in, but Abbiati, Silva, Mexes and the rest would have kept gobbling them up.
We looked forlorn, dejected, weary, uninspired and bullied. Yes, bullied. There was no spring in our step, no smiles, no energy, no spark. And yes, we looked like we felt sorry for ourselves. Sorry that we could do nothing about the annihilation on the pitch. Sorry that we were facing players of the caliber of Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Boateng. Sorry that we were out there.
It was a Champions League knock-out game against a decent Milan side. A great chance to take a strong step towards progression to the next round. And we blew it.
But all that is history.
And the great beauty about a football season is that however much of a heartbreaker a game may have been, the next game is always just a few days away. Unless, of course, you were a Liverpool supporter in late May 1989. (Here you go, relive it once more)
We go back to the northeast tomorrow to face what is still a very good Sunderland side. Sunderland will be champing at the bit to get revenge for our sneaky little victory last weekend, when the King slotted home his 229th, and possibly last, goal for us. Also, Sunderland will be well rested and didn't get hammered 0-4 since the last time we played them.
Now that we're virtually out of Europe, everyone feels the FA Cup is our most important priority. I don't.
Compare the two: Fourth place, and no FA Cup. Fifth place and FA Cup. No brainer. Fourth in the Premiership is still the priority. However, winning games is still the best tonic, and tomorrow is the next game we face.
Here's who I think Arsene Wenger should put out at the Stadium of Light...