Group stage, 2003-04

Australian Four Four Two - - FEATURES -

Arsenal fans could have been for­given for ar­riv­ing at the San Siro with some trep­i­da­tion. True, they had won 10 of their open­ing 13 league matches, but de­feats to In­ter (3-0) and Dy­namo Kiev (2-1) and a goal­less draw with Loko­mo­tiv Moscow left the Gun­ners bot­tom of their group with only four points from as many en­coun­ters. On the plus side, they did have Thierry Daniel Henry. Twenty-six and at the peak of his pow­ers, the French for­ward tore apart an In­ter de­fence that con­tained fu­ture World Cup winners Marco Mat­er­azzi and Fabio Can­navaro. Beginning with a first-time side-foot from the edge of the area, Henry was un­stop­pable, also set­ting up Fred­die Ljung­berg four min­utes af­ter the in­ter­val to fire the Lon­don­ers into a 2-1 lead. Henry’s move­ment and prob­ing proved far too much for a shat­tered Ner­az­zurri rear­guard, who al­lowed Henry, Edu and Robert Pires to each find the net in the last five min­utes. “Some play­ers, when they have got the will, are un­con­trol­lable,” wrote Ital­ian pa­per Gazzetta dello Sport the day af­ter Arsenal’s em­phatic win. “Yesterday, Henry had all the will in the world. He mas­sa­cred In­ter. Noth­ing con­tro­ver­sial, no sor­row, only ap­plause for Mr At­tack.” “The only per­for­mance I can com­pare this with was England’s 5-1 in Mu­nich,” said Ash­ley Cole at full-time. “But this was even bet­ter.” So good, in fact, that the Gun­ners won this game com­fort­ably de­spite Pas­cal Cy­gan’s pres­ence at cen­tre-back...

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