Arsene Wenger concerned about San Siro pitch
Arsene Wenger said he was worried about the state of the San Siro pitch ahead of Arsenal's meeting with AC Milan here on Wednesday
Arsene Wenger said he was worried about the state of the San Siro pitch ahead of Arsenal's meeting with AC Milan here on Wednesday.
The San Siro is shared by both AC Milan and their bitter city neighbours Inter Milan meaning it gets played on twice as often as other grounds.
Arsene Wenger. Pic/AFP.
It usually needs to be relaid several times a season, something that happened again just a few days ago.
"I'm a bit worried about the quality of the pitch, it doesn't look exceptional but hopefully it will be better (on Wednesday)," said Wenger.
"They told me tomorrow it will be much better, it has been relaid on the flanks very recently.
"When you relay a pitch like that it takes time to settle and become flat and at the moment it isn't."
Wenger continued: "We will try to play our game, Milan are a good side but we think we are also a good side.
"We will go to attack, they certainly will as well, it will be an exciting game."
It is the second time in four seasons that these two have met at this stage of the competition and last time Arsenal progressed thanks to a 2-0 success here, following a scoreless draw at the Emirates.
Only one player remains from that Arsenal side but Wenger believes his new breed still have the capability to repeat that result.
"When we played here Milan had won the Champions League the year before but we knocked them out.
"We had an upcoming team full of confidence, a very young side as well and when we arrived here we were top of the league in England.
"Since then we have lost some players but we're a strong team again, we're building confidence and tomorrow will be important for that."
Last year Arsenal's bitter North London rivals Tottenham came here and managed a 1-0 win after which they too progressed thanks to a goalless draw in the home leg.
Both English sides are brimming with pace on the flanks but Wenger is unsure that his side will be able to exploit that facet in the way Harry Redknapp's team did.
"Milan had a lot of the ball but Tottenham caught them on the break at the end of the game," said the Frenchman.
"You can never decide when you can break, you break when you can.
"(Spurs) were vastly dominated, especially in the second half by Milan.
"It's difficult to predict, we won't decide at the start to sit in our half.
"If we have to do like Tottenham then we will do it and try to catch them on the break.
"At the start we will try to get out of our half and play. Tottenham were well balanced in the first half but they won the game in a moment when they were being dominated."
Arsenal will be coming up against a familiar foe in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored twice in a 2-2 draw in London when wearing the shirt of Barcelona two years ago.
And although he is often accused of failing to produce on the biggest stages, Wenger believes he is a player of top quality.
"He's a great player for two reasons: he can score goals and give assists and all the big strikers for me have these two talents combined well," added Wenger.
When he was a youth player at Ajax, Arsenal centre-back Tomas Vermaelen used to train with the big Swede, before Ibrahimovic left to join Juventus.
"I trained with him a lot of times when I was at Ajax, obviously I know his qualities as everyone does," said the Belgian international.
"I played a few times against him when he played with Barcelona, he's a strong player, a technical player, one of their main players. "It's up to us to keep him quiet."