Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to put all the Champions League criticism behind him, and his sublime performance against Arsenal, leading AC Milan to a 4-0 thrashing of a helpless and confused Arsenal side with one goal and two assists, was a good start on his way to the Champions League quarter finals.
Every time Ibrahimovic touched the ball something was created, and a player, usually Robinho, found himself in front of Wojciech Szczesny, who had too many one on ones to handle on a very bad, maybe pathetic display by the Arsenal defense, which didn’t get too much help from the rest of the team.
Already thinking ahead, it wouldn’t be surprising to find the quarter finals without any English clubs in the last 8, something that hasn’t happened since the 1995-1996 season. Arsenal have no chance whatsoever of turning this result at the Emirates in two weeks, and Chelsea’s recent form might suggest that Napoli are the favorites in their Anglo-Italian clash.
But the story of the night was AC Milan, and their finest Champions League display since 2007, which was also against an English club, Manchester United at the Semi Final. The midfield, still looking for an identity after both Gattuso and Pirlo are no longer playing together, was at its best with Van Bommel, Boateng and Nocerino dominating the middle of the park.
Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Song were simply useless in their attempts to create something for Van Persie and Walcott and/or help the incapable back four, which proved again how deep Arsenal’s problems are, and added more fuel to the fire calling for Arsene Wenger to end his 16 year tenure as the Arsenal manager.
Robinho played like he was wearing Real Madrid colors again, with the quickness and swift movement that is rarely seen from his these days. Accuracy in front of the net is also something that Robinho hasn’t really shown too often in the last few seasons. From the moment Kevin-Prince Boateng scored his opener, it looked like a done deal. Arsenal, simply putting it, were no match for a much better side. Maybe it was the news of Juventus dropping two more points that pushed Milan to such a dominating display.
But we’ll end with the man of the match, Ibrahimovic. It’s these kind of nights that make me think of him as the best striker in the world. Seemingly lazy, but knows where to be, every touch with purpose, and having Djourou fail again and again in his marking attempts only made him look more impressive. He won’t win the Champions League this season, probably, but only with displays like this one can Milan hope of coming close to their eighth Champions League title.