Veteran Maldini believes San Siro test will be too tough for Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 09:38 04 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:49 07 September 2010
A sell-out 85,000 will pack out the stunning San Siro tonight as Arsenal bid to overcome AC Milan on their own hallowed turf but the home team s veteran skipper Paolo Maldini, 40 in June, believes the seven-times winners already have one foot in the next
A sell-out 85,000 will pack out the stunning San Siro tonight as Arsenal bid to overcome AC Milan on their own hallowed turf but the home team's veteran skipper Paolo Maldini, 40 in June, believes the seven-times winners already have one foot in the next round.
"The big advantage is that we're playing the second leg at home," said the defender, who made his Serie A debut in January 1985, four years and two months before Theo Walcott was born.
"We have experience of getting results in that situation against all the big sides. The only exception was the 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in 2006, which was the only match where we didn't play better in the home leg - and it was fatal.
"But we were satisfied with the result [at Emirates]."
"The scoreless draw was an excellent outcome against an Arsenal side first in the Premier League and which everyone has been saying play the best football in Europe."
On the red and white side, Cesc Fabregas is under no illusion as to the task facing Arsenal.
But although Milan have never lost at home to an English side - they beat Manchester United 3-0 in Lombardy last season in the semi-final - the Gunners only need a score draw to go through on the away goals rule.
The Spaniard said: "Milan are very difficult, they have a lot of experience, they know how to play. They defend very well and are very intelligent.
"They never play around - if they have to kick it out they will. It will be very difficult at San Siro but we will see what happens.
"Milan are Milan but we all want to be in the quarter-finals and we will fight for it. If we score, they have to score two, so I think we have a lot of options if we play well."
Arsenal can take heart at the number of chances they created in north London last week. Milan must score to go through without the tie going to a penalty shoot-out - a fact not lost on Wenger. "I feel that they will have to come out in the second leg," he said, optimistically.
No other last-16 tie is as delicately poised.