Gut check time for Arsenal
The Champions League game tomorrow versus AC Milan could easily define the season for Arsenal. At times this year no team in Europe has looked better then Arsenal and their free flowing style of football has been a joy to watch. Players such has Fabregas and Gallas have spoken about their desire to win trophies this year and at least early on the team looked unified in proving those who predicted a post Henry collapse wrong.
My outlook on Arsenal’s season changed however after the fifth round FA Cup result versus Man U. In my opinion the total lack of interest and effort shown by Arsenal against a arch rival sent up a red flag concerning the character of the team. This was not a ‘B’ team that was on the pitch and included a core group of team leaders such as Gallas, Toure, Fabregas, and Gilberto. The same players that have spoken so much about winning trophies decided not to show up. Even more concerning was how some players reacted to pressure. Eboue was sent off for a senseless challenge and Gallas could also have easily been sent off with his kicking of Nani.
When the draw was first announced I was elated and felt that Arsenal could easily advance against a injury riddled Milan team that was mired in a disappointing domestic season. I now look at AC Milan as experienced, dangerous foe who will fight to defend their European title. If Arsenal gives a flat, emotionless performance and fails to get a result at home then I feel the season could easily fall apart for them. If Arsenal decides to restore some pride and plays with heart this first leg could be a stepping stone for a special season. I sincerely hope Arsenal responds the right way.