Ready for mission impossible
Arsenal will look to beat the odds after a string of good results to overturn a four-goal deficit vs Milan. Match pointerssports Updated: Mar 06, 2012 01:37 IST
From the depths of despair after losing 4-0 in the San Siro, Arsenal have rediscovered some hope and will have a spring in their step when they embark on "mission impossible" against AC Milan in their Champions League last 16, second leg on Tuesday.
Logic suggests seasoned Serie A sides like Milan do not fritter away four-goal advantages but after morale boosting back-to-back Premier League victories against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and with Robin van Persie in the form of his life, Arsenal believe there could still be a twist in the tie.
The Emirates is something of a fortress for the Gunners in Europe and goals do tend to flow. They will also seek comfort from Deportivo La Coruna's 4-0 second leg victory against Milan in the 2004 quarterfinals for a 5-4 aggregate victory.Manager Arsene Wenger, who labelled the hammering in Milan a "disaster", believes all may not be lost.
Six of Arsenal's last 19 home wins in Europe have been by four goal margins -- a statistic that will not have gone unnoticed by Milan as they seek to reach the quarter-finals having lost at the last 16 stage to Tottenham last season.
"I love these statistics!" Wenger said after Van Persie's double earned Arsenal a 2-1 win at Liverpool on Saturday that boosted their chances of a top-four finish.
"We can score, we can have a good edge in our game, so let's just go for it. We have it all to win because the result is written before we turn up, but we can change it.
"Nothing would be fatal (if Milan score). If we have the attitude we had against Spurs then nothing is fatal, so we will just go for it." Van Persie, who also scored in the 5-2 hammering of Tottenham, has notched 31 goals in all competitions this season and keeping the Dutchman quiet will be the main priority for Milan.
Milan will also be confident of scoring with their own in-form striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagging a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Palermo at the weekend which sent the champions clear at the top of Serie A.
Benfica look to end slump against Zenit
Lisbon: Benfica sorely need victory over Zenit St Petersburg in their Champions League last-16 second leg at the Luz stadium on Tuesday to end a poor run of form that started three weeks ago in the first leg in Russia which they lost 3-2.