AC Milan fans saw the best and worst of their squad this weekend in London as the club competed in what has become a big-name tournament. The Emirates Cup is a two-day preseason event where host Arsenal and three clubs (many of whom are sponsored by Emirates Airlines) compete to win the Emirates trophy but more importantly have the chance to play their entire squads against good competition.
The 2010 edition was won by Arsenal with eight total points, while the Rossoneri finished last with four. Milan faced the hosts on Saturday and Ligue 1’s Lyon on Sunday, with Celtic as the fourth club. A win was worth three points and a tie worth one, with a point awarded for each goal scored.
The first match against Arsenal could have gone spectacularly wrong for Milan on Saturday. They fell behind early on a goal by new Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh in the 36th minute, and if it were not by some quality keeping by Christian Abbiati they could have been down by more. Arsenal dominated possession early in the second half as substitutes like Theo Wolcott constantly threatened in the Milan half. However, Arsenal lived up to their reputation and despite some nice passing, failed to score the decisive second goal. Alexandre Pato made them pay in the seventy-seventh minute. He headed in a free kick from Clarence Seedorf from just outside the box.
The second match saw new keeper Marco Amelia start in goal, as well as starters Clarence Seedorf and Marco Borriello. It was the latter who scored the first goal of the game in the fifty-fifth minute and it was the former who again set up the scoring chance with a nice pass through to Borriello. While both sides had excellent scoring chances and the Rossoneri played well overall, they still gave up the tying goal in the eightieth minute to deny themselves three points.
While the Emirates Cup is only two preseason matches, AC Milan fans could should feel confident about their club. Both keepers looked quality although it helped that some serious chances hit the crossbars. Clarence Seedorf played very well and looks to be ready for the next season. The new defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos also contributed in the Arsenal match and looks like a good signing so far. So although the club finished last in the standings, the experience looks to have allowed them to tune up effectively for the new season.