Arsenal’s Starting XI For Famous AC Milan Win Was Outrageous

Eleven years ago today marks one of the most famous European nights in Arsenal’s history, when Arsene Wenger’s Gunners became the first English team to defeat AC Milan at the San Siro.

A Cesc Fabregas inspired 2-0 victory saw Arsenal advance to the quarter-finals, where they were eliminated 5-3 on aggregate by Liverpool.


 

1The first leg had ended in a stalemate at the Emirates Stadium…

LONDON – FEBRUARY 20: Kaka of AC Milan is challenged by William Gallas of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League first knockout round, first leg match between Arsenal and AC Milan at the Emirates Stadium on February 20, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The reigning European Champions had the likes of Kaka, Seedorf, Nesta, Gattuso and Pirlo at their disposal, but couldn’t find the all important away goal in North London.


 

2However, given Milan’s incredible home European record against English teams, the odds still favoured the Serie A giants going into the return leg…

MILAN, ITALY – MARCH 8: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United is fouled by Gattuso of AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League match between AC Milan and Manchester United on March 8, 2005 at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Manchester United had been soundly beaten in 2005 and again in 2007 at the iconic Milanese stadium, with the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs and Scholes unable to find a breakthrough against the Rossoneri’s famed defence, which included the likes of Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta.


 

3Yet Arsene Wenger’s men had other ideas on the night of 4th March, 2008…

Against the odds, the Gunners came out on top on a famous night in Milan.


 

4Cesc Fabregas struck in the 84th minute to fire Arsenal into the lead, leaving Carlo Ancelotti’s men needing to find two goals in the last six minutes to continue the defence of their European crown…

However, the Italians couldn’t find a way through the Gunners resistance and instead, found themselves further behind when Emmanuel Adebayor added a second for the Gunners two minutes into injury time.


 

5Cesc himself has been reminiscing about the victory on social media, this morning…

It was one of the Spanish midfielder’s finest moments in an Arsenal shirt and clearly one he has treasured in the 11 years since it happened.


 

6We couldn’t resist a little rewatching of the highlights, either…


We still get goosebumps from this, even if the campaign was to come to an end in the next round, this night will live long in the memory.


 

7But what’s perhaps most impressive is that Arsenal achieved such a dramatic, historic triumph with this starting XI…


Almunia? Senderos? Eboue? Hleb? Actually, Abou Diaby being fit is perhaps the most surprising aspect of all.


 

8The result highlighted just how much Arsene Wenger could get out of his players and how money wasn’t always neccessary to generate success…


What.A.Night.