Vulnerable Milan there for the taking

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AC Milan will arrive at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow evening with a four-goal cushion after a comfortable Champions League last-16 first leg victory at the San Siro three weeks ago.

Arsenal have been written off by almost everybody before a ball has even been kicked in the second leg, but Arsene Wenger is determined to "make the impossible possible", and progress to the quarter-final stage.

"There is a real possibility that we can go through, of course," he told the club's official website. "Football is football, you know? We lost 4-0 at Milan but they had five shots on target and we had 55 [per cent of the] possession when we did not play well at all.

"Two things that can change: if they can score four then we can as well, why not? We will try. We know we can put a better performance in and you can tell Milan that tomorrow we will play on a football pitch, a real football pitch."

Wenger has urged his Gunners players to forget about their first-leg misery, and instead concentrate on the form that has seen them score 12 goals in their last two home games - the most recent of which helped them record an impressive 5-2 victory over Tottenham in the north London derby last weekend.

"The best way is to ignore the first game and do what we did against Tottenham. We were 2-0 down and we just kept going because we wanted to win the game. That is what we want to do again tomorrow.

"We can score goals, in the last two home games we scored 12. So we know we can score goals. The target is also to find a good balance between attacking and defending because our double target is not to concede as well.

"But I know my players well, I know they have been hurt by the first result and I know they have their pride. They will come out tomorrow and give a performance."

Deportivo La Coruna's stirring comeback against AC Milan in the 2003-04 edition of the Champions League will give Arsenal additional reason for hope. The Spanish club trailed their Serie A opponents 4-1 from the first leg of their quarter-final tie going into the return leg at the Riazor.

Deportivo started brightly, and opened the scoring when Walter Pandiani struck with only five minutes on the clock. The hosts then had to wait until the 34th minute to double their lead through Juan Carlos Valeron, before the tie was well and truly reignited with a third goal, this time through Albert Luque on the stroke of half-time.

Captain Fran then completed the turnaround for a 5-4 aggregate win when he added a fourth goal with just over 15 minutes remaining, sending the home crowd into rapture.

Wenger admits it would count as the most remarkable comeback of his career if Arsenal can overturn their deficit against Milan tomorrow night: "We will give absolutely everything to win.

"We know the statistics are against us, but you can realise the impossible when you don't know it is impossible. Let's ignore that and just go for it. Yes [it would be his greatest comeback] because we have never lost 4-0 away before in a Champions League game.

"It was under special circumstances, but we were placid and have a lot to answer for and to respond to in the second leg. Everyone expects us to be out, but we are not yet, we are still in there."

With the tie all but mathematically over, many expected Wenger to rest a number of key players in a bid to protect them ahead of the Premier League's grueling end of season run-in. But, the Frenchman is determined Arsenal will continue fighting to the very end.

"It is not an argument for us," he concluded in his pre-match press conference. "We want to have a real go tomorrow, we want to make it possible.

"I would not be very credible to tell you we want to score five goals and then leave Robin van Persie out. We will not accept going out of the Champions League because we want to stay in. We will give it our best shot tomorrow."

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Robin Van Persie
UEFA Champions League

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