According to Kevin Prince Boateng, Arsenal typically chokes when it comes to big games. The former Spurs defender, who now plays for AC Milan, was quoted by the Mail Online as saying the Gunners bottle it when it matters. It’s hard to argue with him when you look at the London team’s record over the past half-dozen years.
Boateng will be a part of the AC Milan squad that takes on Arsenal on Feb. 15th at the San Siro Stadium in Milan for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Milan, who are the league leaders in the Italian Serie A, have nothing to worry about according to Boateng since the Gunners play some amazing football one day and are quite bad the next.
He said there’s no consistency with Arsenal as they’re either other one of the best teams in the world and play some beautiful football or they don’t really have a clue what they’re doing on the pitch. Boateng puts it all down to inexperience and insists the current squad of players doesn’t know what it takes to win anything since none of them, other than Thierry Henry, Robin Van Persie, Johan Djourou, and Manuel Almunia were around the last time Arsenal won a trophy. He said they always come close, but when it comes to do-or-die situations they always break down.
He added that the players are young and obviously hungry enough to win trophies, but they just don’t know how to get over the last hump due to their inexperience. He feels experience is the main ingredient when it comes to winning the league or a domestic or Champions League final. Boateng said Milan has the experience needed to take the final step, but it’s missing in Arsenal and they need it badly if they’re going to succeed.
Boateng pointed out that Arsenal hasn’t won anything since back in 2005 and that’s not going to change until manager Arsene Wenger start spending some serious money on experienced players. Of course, Boateng joins a long list of people who feel this way. “These days you must spend money if you really want to have success,” Boateng stated.
He said it doesn’t matter if you spend about £20million too much for players because the only way you can win cups is to bring in the best in the world. He admits that Arsenal has some tremendous young players in the system, but things would be a lot different if they added a few superstars to the squad. He added that opponents often get scared when they realize they have to face the best players out there and this could be an advantage for the Gunners.
He compared Arsenal to Barcelona because of their excellent movement and one-touch football, but without the same experience as the Spanish side. However, Boateng said his team still needs to be wary of Arsenal because when teams are having poor seasons they often focus on one game to lift them and of course Arsenal could do this in the Champions League. He feels if Arsenal can get a win in Milan they will feel their season hasn’t been such a waste after all.
Looking at Milan’s recent record against English teams there’s a good reason for Boateng to worry. They haven’t beaten an English club in their last seven attempts and have lost three consecutive home games to English competition. They’ve also been knocked out of the Champions League three years running by English teams, starting with Arsenal, then Manchester United and Spurs last season. They’ve been playing well in Serie A though and have only been beaten once in league play at the San Siro this season.
This will mark Henry’s last appearance for the Gunners during his recent loan spell from the New York Bulls of the American MLS league. So far Henry’s scored the winner in an FA Cup victory over Leeds as well as a league-game winner in the 2-1 win over Sunderland last Saturday. Sandwiched in between was a goal in the 7-1 home romp over Blackburn.
It wouldn’t be much of a shock if he produced something dramatic on Wednesday and what could very well be his final farewell in an Arsenal uniform. Boateng said Henry will definitely be watched closely as will Van Persie. But he added that Milan wants to prove they’re still one of the top five teams on the globe and beating Arsenal will be a perfect way to prove it.