AC Milan Vs. Arsenal, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Final Score, Gunners Embarrassed In 4-0 Romp

Arsenal are now very much out of the UEFA Champions League, provided they don't pull off the miracle to end all miracles at the Emirates Stadium. AC Milan were better than their opponents in just about every conceivable way on Wednesday night, obliterating them in a 4-0 romp. The pitch conditions at the San Siro weren't favorable to the Gunners, but they certainly aren't an excuse for terrible defensive mistakes and a lifeless performance.

It didn't take long for things to go badly for Arsenal. Kevin-Prince Boateng scored an absolutely stunning goal to put the Rossoneri ahead just 15 minutes in, taking a ball off of his chest and hitting a perfect volley into the back of the net off of the underside of the crossbar from 12 yards out.

Milan would take a 2-0 lead into halftime, scoring their second in the 38th minute off of some terrible defending. Zlatan Ibrahimović created the chance on a great run down the left, barely keeping himself onside as he ran onto a ball over the top of the defense. He played a cross into the center of the box for Robinho to nod in, and he was unmarked as he easily doubled his team's lead.

Laurent Koscielny was injured shortly afterwards and was substituted off for Johan Djourou just before halftime. Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen would make up the second of Arsenal's three central defense partnerships on the evening. All three conceded goals.

Arsene Wenger opted to start the match with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench, despite the conventional wisdom that fast wide players do the most damage against Milan. With his team down 2-0 at halftime, he took off his other fast wide player, Theo Walcott, and brought on Thierry Henry.

Before anyone would have a chance to see how that worked out, Milan went up 3-0. Ibrahimović set up Robinho for the shooting opportunity again, though this one wasn't quite as clear cut. That is, before Vermaelen fell down, giving Robinho a clear path to shoot into. After 49 minutes, Arsenal led 3-0.

In the 65th minute, Arsenal created their first shot on target in the match. They would hit the target three more times, but this was far and away their best chance. On a well-worked counter, Henry flicked the ball into the path of Robin van Persie, who unloaded on a shot to the back post with his left foot. Christian Abbiati quickly got across and got a hand to the ball, pushing it aside to preserve the clean sheet.

A minute later, Arsenal's third central defense partnership was formed. Oxlade-Chamberlain finally made an appearance, replacing Kieran Gibbs. This moved Vermaelen over to left back and Alex Song back to central defense.

That partnership would give up their goal via a penalty kick. In the 78th minute, Djourou made a tackle on Ibrahimović that wouldn't have been out of place at a rugby or American football match. The referee correctly pointed to the spot and Ibrahimović converted to make it 4-0 and complete the rout.

If any good comes out of this, it's that Arsenal can now focus on finishing fourth in the Premier League and trying to win the FA Cup. This Champions League tie is over before it heads to London.

For more on the two teams, check out The AC Milan Offside and Arsenal blog The Short Fuse.

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