AC Milan v Arsenal Champions League betting odds, tips and preview – 15.02.12

Will Gunners extend AC Milan's English jinx?

Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)

AC Milan v Arsenal Champions League betting is the big highlight match of the first batch of Last 16 games this week. This is a great Anglo-Italian match up, and it really wasn’t the greatest of draws for either side. Arsenal won their group this time around after slipping up last season. They beat out Marseille to top spot by a point, losing just one match along the way, in their final group match away at Olympiakos. It was a much more efficient showing from the Gunners and their rewards weren’t great as being one of the seeded group winners in the draw, as they got the toughest possible match up they could have, AC Milan who finished second in their group behind Barcelona. The draw could have looked a lot easier for Arsene Wenger, but this is what he is going to have to deal with, and the first leg away at the San Siro is not going to be an easy ride at all, because AC are a strong side. The Gunners, with a 2-1 away win over Sunderland in the Premier League on the weekend, head to Italy with two consecutive league wins under their belt, which has turned around their form a bit,, after they suffered three straight losses and a draw prior to those recent wins. With rumours that Robin van Persie may be heading to the continent during the summer, Wenger will be hoping the Dutchman will show up big at the San Siro. Arsenal need him, need his presence to lead the line in a game where there may not be much change out of the Italian defence. Van Persie has been in blistering form with 22 league goals this season, and he has three in five in this year’s Champions League. Do Arsenal have the strength at the back to go all the way in the Champions League this season, or even past the power of AC Milan, who are a great dark horse bet to take the Champions League title this year? Arsenal do have a great record against Italian side though, winning seven of their last contests against Italian opponent, and saw of Udinese in the play off round for this season’s Champions League. Arsenal have won four of their last six trips to Italy, and overall their record against teams from Italy is W13 D8 L6, and that is broken down to W5 D4 L4 away from home. So decent enough form there to suggest that Arsenal can get something out of this match. A score draw at the San Siro would do nicely, and watching AC Milan exit to their North London rivals Spurs in last season’s Champions League, the Gunners will be keen to heap more English misery on AC  Milan.

AC Milan v Arsenal Champions League betting
AC Milan to win: 11/10 at Bet Victor
Draw: 12/5 at Bet365
Arsenal: 29/10 at Stan James

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AC Milan battled well in their hopelessly lopsided group to reach the knockout stage. They gave Real Madrid two really good matches, earning a draw in Spain and then being edged out 3-2 back at the San Siro. With BATE and Plzen the other two group occupiers, it was always going to be Barcelona and AC Milan moving through, and it was the Italians who ended up in second place. AC Milan will be sick of English opponents in the Champions League. They got knocked out by Spurs last season, the season before that they were knocked out by Manchester United and Arsenal also dumped them out of the competition back in the 2007/08 season. So there is an annoying trend for the Italians, exiting the Champions League against English opponents in the last sixteen stage for the last three seasons straight. Back in that 2007/08 meeting against Arsenal, AC Milan were the defending Champions, but Arsenal struck two late goals at the San Siro after the first leg in London had ended goalless. That is where it really all started to go wrong for AC Milan against English opponents, because up until that point, AC Milan had never lost at home to an English side. AC Milan are a very strong, organised side, led up front by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has four goals in four Champions League matches this season. They scored a nice away win over fourth place Udinese in Serie A on the weekend, meaning that they top the domestic league ahead of Juventus (but have played two more games than their nearest title rivals). AC Milan have suffered only one defeat at home this season in Serie A, losing against Inter Milan back in the middle of January. So they are strong at the San Siro and most of their success has been built on a very strong defence. AC Milan have conceded just five goals at home in Serie A this season, and the seven times European Cup winners have a great tradition in Europe of course, but they need to break their English streak. There is big potential in AC Milan going far this season in Europe, and the winner of this tie should take a huge amount of confidence forward from it, because AC Milan v Arsenal Champions League betting looks evenly matched and highly competitive.