Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Thursday February 21 2008
Before Arsenal's pretenders took to the field to face the seasoned veterans of AC Milan on Wednesday, their influential midfielder Andrea Pirlo claimed that his team's experience would see them beat Arsenal.
It still could, but I think you'll agree that he was humbled somewhat last night when he watched Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb run rings around his team for almost the entire 90 minutes.
Not only was he not allowed to influence Milan's attacking play, he was forced to sit deeper than I have ever seen him play in order to stop Fabregas and Hleb tearing through Milan's elderly defence.
Before the game Pirlo had this to say: 'We are the champions and this can influence our opponents. But our experience should be the key to winning the game against Arsenal'
'They have a lot of young players but they have been playing as if they were veterans of the game and have competed well in the big competitions.
'We are optimistic going into this game but we know we will need to be at our best over the two legs to get through.
'The game against Arsenal will be the most interesting tie in this round of the Champions League. I think that we are going to give great spectacle to the fans in the two games.'
After the game, and probably still feeling dizzy he said: 'The way in which Arsenal move the ball around on the floor is extraordinary - they are fast and effective.
'I talk a lot about Dutch football with Clarence Seedorf and although I wasn't born when Holland played 'Total Football', I can see that whatever Arsenal team is trained by Arsène Wenger, they have always played beautiful and effective football.
'They have very skilful ball retention, especially on the ground, and they always have great movement to fill empty spaces - it is a kind of total football perhaps.'
Date:Thursday February 21 2008
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