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Wenger excited by Milan draw
Published : 17 Dec 2011 07:16:49
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his side to maintain their momentum to give themselves every chance of knocking AC Milan out of the Champions League.
The Gunners were paired with the Italians, who were runners-up to Barcelona in their group. Arsenal beat AC Milan 2-0 away at the same stage of the competition in 2008 as they progressed to the quarter-finals and Wenger wants to make sure his team will arrive for the first leg at the San Siro on February 15 at the top of their game.
"It is a difficult draw, but an exciting one, and they could say exactly the same thing I suppose. It is a 50-50," Wenger told the club's official website, www.arsenal.com. "Everybody knows Milan, everybody knows Arsenal. We have been in the Champions League for many years and both sides play positive football."
Milan were knocked out of last season's competition at the last-16 stage by Tottenham.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri told Gazzetta dello Sport. "We know Arsenal, it's a team that plays well. We will have to arrive in February in the best possible condition and without injuries."
Andre Villas-Boas feels Chelsea have been handed "one of the most difficult draws" after being paired with Italian side Napoli in the last 16.
Napoli took four points off Manchester City in Group A to edge Roberto Mancini's side out of the competition, and their forward pairing of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi is one of the most feared in Europe.
Blues boss Villas-Boas knows all about the threat posed by Napoli from his time working under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.
"I think we have one of the most difficult draws, but whichever team you get in the last 16 will be a difficult team," Villas-Boas told Chelsea TV. "Napoli is a club that represents the city and the city has great empathy with the club.
"It has a tremendous fan base and it is one of the most difficult and exciting games of the last 16, no doubt about it. They are a side that works collectively very well and [Napoli coach] Walter Mazzarri has always been a coach that organises his teams very well."