Thomas Vermaelen wants Arsenal response in FA Cup after AC Milan defeat

Arsenal were left dejected in Milan

  • News: O’Neill backs Arsenal to bounce back from Milan defeat
  • Features: Arsenal dropping standards to dangerously low levels
  • News: Petit demands Arsenal changes
  • News: ‘Worst’ display shocked Wenger
  • News: Premier League old boys ambush awful Arsenal

ESPN will be showing the clashes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Stoke City when it continues its coverage of this season’s FA Cup with three matches from the fifth round. For subscription details please click here

Defender Thomas Vermaelen has urged Arsenal to put their San Siro nightmare behind them if they are to get the season back on track with FA Cup victory at Sunderland on Saturday.

The Gunners were thumped 4-0 by a well-drilled AC Milan side in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, which all but ended any hopes of progress.

A place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – which is now the only trophy Arsenal have a realistic chance of winning – would certainly be a welcome tonic and renew belief.

“When you are a professional you put the bad things that happen behind you,” Vermaelen said. “We will have to learn our lessons from what happened in Milan, but it is important at times like this to remain mentally strong and focus on the next game.”

While the second leg at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight is almost redundant, Vermaelen insists the players owe it to the Gunners’ fans to produce a performance.

“The only thing we can do is remember that we’ve still got another game to go. Now we have to show some pride and give 100% in the return leg,” Vermaelen said.

“We have to give something back to all those Arsenal fans who came all the way out here to this stadium, here in Milan, only for us to disappoint them. We must think of them now because what happened was not good. The only thing we can do is give them a good result in the home game.”

Despite a testing playing service, with the turf on the flanks at the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza having only just been relaid, Arsenal were simply not good enough in every department and were not able to limit the damage. No side has recovered from such a first-leg drubbing in the history of the Champions League.

Midfielder Mikel Arteta called for Arsenal to make an early breakthrough when the teams meet again in an attempt to launch the most unlikely of recoveries.

“I will never say never in football because you never know,” he said. “If we score two goals in the first half at the Emirates then it is game on. However, it will be very difficult to get through and we all know that.”

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny also feels if Arsenal can come out of the blocks quickly then there could still be hope.

“It is not impossible to come back, but it is going to be very difficult,” he told Arsenal Player. “We showed [in the 7-1 win] against Blackburn how good we can be if we are on the front foot, and if we manage to score an early goal then anything can happen.

“We have quality attacking players and we can score goals so why not? But we have to realise that it is going to be really, really difficult.”

Szczesny urged his team-mates to regroup and deliver a performance when their domestic campaign resumes – with arch rivals Tottenham set to head to Emirates Stadium on February 26.

“We are full of belief that we can still have a successful season,” the 21-year-old Poland international said. “The Milan defeat is a big blow for us, but I am confident we will pick ourselves up and do our best in all the games we have coming up.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s