Ahead of Tuesday’s heavy weight Champions League clash at the San Siro, KP Boateng questioned Arsenal’s mentality on the big stage.
AC Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng slammed tonight’s European opponents Arsenal, claiming they don’t have the experience to win major trophies.
The former Tottenham man became the latest man to stick the boot into Arsene Wenger’s side, stating in the Daily Mail,
“the problem with Arsenal is one day they play amazing football and then they play really badly, in the end they don’t have balance.
They either play unbelievable football or they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Midfielder Boateng pointed to the very issues which have haunted the Gunners in recent years, citing their inexperience and lack of spending power;
“…there’s always something missing at Arsenal. That bit is the experience — we have so much of that at Milan and I think that’s what they need,”
“These days you must spend money if you really want to have success, at the end it doesn’t matter if you spend maybe £20million too much — because you’re trying to win cups. And if you want to win cups you have to bring in fantastic players.”
Arsene Wenger is likely to be furious, having surely earned the respect to continue deploying a stringent policy of selling his best players in order to make room for underwhelming cheaper versions without such criticism. However, KPB’s words are likely to galvanise Wenger’s troops, before they get close to winning the tie and inevitably implode without trace. Here’s the Gunner’s top 5 chokers:
Arsenal 4 – 4 Tottenham October 29th 2008
Arsenal had suffered a stuttering start to the season, but were 3-1 up in this tie after David Bentley had put the visitors ahead with one of the flukiest goals you’re ever likely to see. But with Mikael Silvestre at the back anything was possible, and Darren Bent pulled Spurs back into the Derby with a tidy finish making it 3-2. Van Persie’s 68th minute effort surely should have ended the contest at 4-2, but Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon scored back to back goals in the dying minutes to leave the home fans seething at the final whistle. Arsenal’s soft centre was once again exposed by their bitterest rivals.
Liverpool 4 – 2 Arsenal April 8th 2008
In the same season as their dramatic fall from the 2008 title race, Arsenal blew a great shot at the Champions League. In the 84th minute of the Quarter Final at Anfield Theo Walcott produced one of the great runs to bamboozle the entire Liverpool rearguard before crossing to Adebayor to make it 2-2, and put Arsenal in the ascendancy on the away goals rule.
Almost immediately after that enthralling moment Liverpool regained the lead via a Gerrard penalty, with a stoppage time Babel effort killing off the Gunners as their backline crumbled under pressure. After dominating the tie throughout, Arsenal will always look back on this as a huge missed opportunity.
Newcastle 4 – 4 Arsenal February 5th 2011
This time last year Arsenal were again looking good for a decent title challenge. Against Newcastle at St James Park they opened up a 4-0 lead in the opening half and looked to be completely controlling matters. However, what was to happen in the second would be indicative of Arsenal’s character in recent years, with a red card to Abou Diaby triggering a collapse of ridiculous proportions.
Two penalties from Joey Barton and goals from Leon Best and Cheik Tiote earned Newcastle a famous draw and condemned ten man Arsenal to utter humiliation.
Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool April 17th 2011
In last season’s must win game at the Emirates Arsenal produced a laboured display in a turgid game. After ten minutes stoppage time was shown on the board the Gunners were handed a life line with the award of a penalty, dispatched by Robin Van Persie in the 98th minute.
But having failed to close out the game like any real title contender, full back and chaos merchant Emmanual Eboue clattered with Lucas in the penalty area to allow Dirk Kuyt to slot home after an astonishing 102 minutes of play. An unbelievable closing ten minutes, another unforeseen calamity for Wenger’s men.
Arsenal 1 – 2 Birmingham February 27th 2011
After nearly six years without a trophy, Arsenal fancied their chances so much in last year’s Carling Cup final that they discussed the possibility of an injured Cesc Fabregas collecting the cup at the end of the tie. But it was to be Stephen Carr who got his hands on the silverware to leave Wenger reeling once more. In an enthralling encounter, Birmingham held strong amongst a flurry of Arsenal attacks in the second half.
With the game approaching the 90th minute and the scores level at 1-1, Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny collided comically in an attempt to clear a tame Nikola Zigic header, leaving Obafemi Martins to finish from close range and send the Blues fans into raptures. Arsenal meanwhile were left to look back at another failure on the big stage as they ended the 2011 season in 4th place and, of course, trophyless.
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