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Camden New Journal - by RICHARD OSLEY from the SAN SIRO
Published: 6 March 2008
Abou Diaby tackles Kaka during Arsenal’s historic win over AC Milan in the Champions League
Abou Diaby tackles Kaka during Arsenal’s historic win over AC Milan in the Champions League
Gunners ‘fenomeni’

Champions League
AC Milan 0
Arsenal 2

“MILAN: The End”, raged the front page of the Italian pink sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport as Arsenal fans, bleary-eyed from a night of celebratory tomfoolery, grabbed souvenir copies at the airport yesterday (Wednesday) until there were none left to sell.
Only a handful of the supporters understood the words of the articles they were staring at
but “Arsenal: baby fenomeni” and “Wenger: calcio maestro” leapt from the page.
The kids were phenomenal. Arsene Wenger is a football genius.
Whatever the language, this was an unbelievable scoreline.
What made it great was that Arsenal fully deserved it.
This wasn’t like the old days when Wrighty or Alan Smith would score a goal on the break and then the “defend for your lives” orders would go out.
This was Arsenal staring down AC Milan, the European and World Champions, going nose to nose with Maldini and co for three hours and coming out on top.
This was Fabregas and Flamini at their best and Hleb, Sagna and Clichy showing everyone else what the fans exiled to the wind-swept rafters of the San Siro’s visitors section already know: they are exceptional players.
And this was Theo Walcott running 40 yards to catch up with Kaka and delivering a crunching slide challenge to halt the world’s best player.
Who would have thought Walcott was capable of such inspiration when he was looking like a lost boy at Blackburn away earlier in the season, let alone capable of setting up a killer goal here.
The fans who had climbed the turrets of what Emmanuel Adebayor marvelled at afterwards as a “football cathedral” could have stayed for extra choir practice all night.
The thunderous noise of the home crowd, the like I haven’t heard of in an English ground, had been replaced by the strains of Arsenal fans dreaming of a trip to Moscow come May from the moment Fabregas swung his boot at that hopeful 30-yarder which seemed to take an age to reach the net.
By the end, the host fans stopped and applauded.
Some Gooners had seen it coming and printed San Siro shirts in advance, but as the deadlock went on, there must have been others, educated by experience, who thought all the hard work would unravel.
That Wenger’s masterplan could be undone by a silly own goal (like against Villa), a penalty (like Birmingham) or a work of genius from Pirlo or Pato.
I know, I was one of them, the fingernails are in ruins.
But by now we should know to trust Wenger and the only English team to have beaten Real Madrid in the Bernabeu are now the only team to have beaten Milan in the San Siro – take note Manchester United, who have tried and failed at both recently.
The Gunners have had great results in Europe before and ended up with nothing at the end of it all.
But when they play like this, you could forgive Arsene Wenger for allowing himself a smile and insisting his team can go all the way.

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