MILAN: Arsenal are effectively as good as out of the Champions League after a 4-0 first-leg defeat by Milan in the Stadio Meazza in their second round first leg tie.
The Gunners were second best throughout and fell behind in the 15th minute courtesy of a spectacular volley from former Tottenham man Kevin Prince-Boateng. Milan doubled their advantage before the break thanks to a close-range header from ex-Manchester City forward Robinho.
The Brazil international added his second of the game after half-time, angling a right-footed drive beyond Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Milan added a fourth in the 79th minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Johan Djourou.
Manager Arsene Wenger was scathing as he contemplated the possible end of Arsenal’s 14-year stay in the Champions League, with their fourth-place status in England under pressure.
He said: “The pitch was a disaster but our performance was at the level of the pitch. It would not be fair to blame the pitch. It was a shocking result and a shocking performance.
“It’s a night never to forget. It was our worst night in Europe. We made mistake after mistake and were punished and deservedly so. Let’s be realistic. There may be a two or five per cent chance statistically but realistically we’re out of the competition.
“Not for one moment in the 90 minutes were we really in the game. We were very poor offensively and defensively. It was shocking to see. It’s our worst performance in Europe by far. We let our ambitions down as a unit. We have to stick together and win our next game.
“I cannot say I got everything perfect when we lose 4-0 but I don’t believe we made big tactical mistakes. I believe we were weak in some areas but didn’t feel we wouldn’t score.”
Arsenal must regroup mentally as much as physically for the FA Cup test at Sunderland on Saturday.
Zenit St Petersburg hit back from a goal down to beat Benfica ‘only’ 3-2 in the night’s other Champions League second round tie.