A hard task just got harder
The draw for the last-16 in the European Cup has not been kind to Arsenal. In fairness there were very few "weaker" teams who we could have drawn. However, I think getting AC Milan makes things just that little bit tougher for us than they might have been.
We played Milan a few years ago, of course, when Fabregas inspired one of our greatest European nights. Arsenal's record in Italy, and against Italian sides, is incredible. The worrying thing for me is that all good things must come to an end, and the press will go on and on about our unbeaten run against Serie A teams, going back over 40 years. In general I have little fear of AC Milan, or any other Italian side. Italian football is, to be honest, pretty weak. It has been declining for some time. Inter Milan may have won the European Cup in 2010, but that owed more to Mourinho and his ability to organise an experienced defence than to any great football going forward. The biggest threat to Arsenal from AC Milan is simply that they are AC Milan, and that name is one to be feared. The first leg is away from home, which should provide us with some advantage ahead of the home game. A score draw or (please God) an away win, would see Arsenal as massive favourites. It is certainly a tie that can be won, and then the tournament is anybody's - don't forget that we were Nicklas Bendtner's first-touch away from knocking out Barcelona last season.
Talking of Bendtner I see that the Dane has been arrested on suspicion of damaging cars in Newcastle. It remains to be seen whether he has done anything untoward. However, the sort of adverse publicity this thing tends to bring will not put him in the good books of his new Manager. I suspect that Martin O'Neill will not stand for any nonsense, especially from a "hired-hand" like Bendtner. If O'Neill decides to get rid of Bendtner then Arsenal have a potentially disruptive player knocking about in the second half of the season, having already blotted his copy-book by slagging the Club earlier in the campaign. I just hope he's done nothing wrong and stays put until May so that Arsenal can sell him (though he will need to score some goals for that to happen!)
I'll preview the Manchester City match tomorrow evening.