Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

David Schiavone On August - 2 - 2010

Emirates Cup: Arsenal vs AC Milan

The Emirates Cup started in entertaining fashion as Arsenal and AC Milan shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, though the score line does not reflect what was an extremely entertaining match. With teams awarded an extra point for each goal in the competition, Celtic and Olympique Lyonnais lead the way with three points apiece after a 2-2 draw in the opening game. Thus, Arsenal and Milan are tucked in behind with two points each.

Arsenal started with Lukasz Fabianski in goal ahead of Manuel Almunia who didn’t even make the bench. New signings Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh both started at the Emirates alongside youngsters Jack Wilshire, Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Frimpong. Arsene Wenger sent out a very attacking side with no recognized holding midfield player.

AC Milan were the complete opposite in terms of starting players as a number of veterans started for the Rossoneri. Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Alessandro Nesta were all in the first eleven. Massimino Allegri also preferred new signings Mario Yepes, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, though he did not pick new goalkeeper Marco Amelia instead choosing Christian Abbiati as his number one. Brazilian Pato also partnered Marco Borriello up front.

Arsenal were neat and tidy from the off with Nasri and Wilshere impressing. And both new boys earned early ripples of applause. Chamakh and Rosicky made inroads down the right in the opening exchanges but Kieran Gibbs’ early inroads down the left looked more likely to do damage.

With the Rossoneri were under pressure early on Pato sprinted into the area but was closed down as he tried to square the ball back along the six-yard area. The same player then dipped a header wide from a Seedorf corner. Flamini had an effort deflected off Koscielny and onto the woodwork after a long ball from Yepes was knocked down into his path.

Arsenal opened the scoring on 36 minutes when Marouane Chamakh slotted home from inside the area after collecting a through ball from Arshavin. Rosicky then shot straight at Abbiati but it was Milan who looked lively going forward in the closing stages of the first-half.

Milan kept Arsenal on their toes after the break but the home side looked more likely to extend their lead than relinquish it. They nearly had a second on the hour mark after Chamakh drove down the left and found Arshavin inside the box with an audacious drag-back. The Russian’s shot was blocked and the rebound just eluded the onrushing Wilshere.

But Milan levelled four minutes after he departed the scene. It was a soft goal from Arsenal’s perspective as Clarence Seedorf curled in a free-kick from the left, Pato was allowed to run free and he glanced a header into the corner. It hinted at defensive failings that will need to be addressed.

Milan then almost snatched victory with two minutes remaining when Gianluca Zambrotta curled an exquisite effort against the bar.
An entertaining match with both side looking to attack from the off and a draw was probably the correct result.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Fabiansky, Ebouè (46 Sagna), Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs (46 Clichy), Rosicky (46 Walcott), Frimpong (69 Djourou), Wilshere, Arshavin (63 Vela), Nasri, Chamakh (73 Randall). Subs not used: Szczesny, Emmanuel-Thomas, Nordtveit.

Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati, Papastathopoulos (65 Zambrotta), Nesta, Yepes, Antonini, Gattuso (62 Merkel), Seedorf, Flamini (77 Strasser), Abate (81 Verdi), Borriello (69), Pato (82 Oddo). Subs not used: Amelia, Roma, Bonera, Albertazzi, Novinic, Adiyah.

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