Arsenal Greatest Xl v AC Milan Greatest Xl: Who wins?
Arsenal Greatest XI
GK: David Seaman – Forget his leaden footed displays at the tail end of his career. During most of the 1990s, Spunky’s peerless displays between the sticks made him the ultimate big game stopper for the Gunners. 8
RB: Lee Dixon – Feisty, sharp in the tackle and unfussy in his approach, Dixon was just the man you wanted in your back line, especially back in the days when you could boot the opposition winger into the stand without punishment from the ref.7
CB: Tony Adams – His transition from George Graham’s hard drinking, blue collar lieutenant to Arsene Wenger’s poetry loving free thinking, roving skipper was remarkable. What didn’t change was his undimmed will to win. Fergie admitted he couldn’t wait for him to retire. 9
CB: Martin Keown – This grizzled warrior certainly came good during his second spell at the Gunners. Later combined an indomitable desire for combat with much improved distribution at the back. His clash with Van Nistelrooy in 2003 may not have been pretty, but you’d always want him in your team. 8
LB: Ashley Cole – Whatever Arsenal fans think of “Cashley” these days, it cannot be denied that during his six year first team career, he provided excellent service, with his surging runs down the left. His link play with Pires in the “Invincibles” season was a joy to behold. 8
LM: Liam Brady – Arguably the cleverest play maker of his generation in the 1970s, he would glide past opponents with unerring ease, and hit shots with minimal backlift. A genius. 10
CM: Patrick Vieira – A titan of Arsenal’s midfield for nearly a decade, the Frenchman appeared to relish clashed with United more than anyone, if his “fire and brimstone” clashes with rival skipper Roy Keane both on the pitch and in the tunnel are anything to go by. 9
CM: Cesc Fabregas – There is little that the Spanish diamond couldn’t do, and in the Premiership, there was no one who can match his artfulness, vision and creativity. 9
RW: Robert Pires – A goal scoring wide player, defences simply had no answer to the Frenchman’s direct running and setting up of chances for the likes of Henry and Bergkamp during the noughties. 8
CF: Ian Wright – Quite simply the most natural goal scorer seen at Highbury since Bastin in the 1930s. Aggressive and self centred on the pitch, the team’s reliance on his goal poaching under GG effectively made it “Ian Wright FC” for several years. 9
CF: Thierry Henry – “We’ve got the best player in the world” chanted Arsenal fans when Henry (more often than not) was on song. The Gunners’ record goal scorer was, on his day, quite simply unplayable. 10
Manager: Arsene Wenger - The boss would have to be Arsene, given the way he has revolutionised the club and the playing style. However, at the moment, I’d want George Graham in charge. He’d stifle United and go and hit them on the counter. 9
Arsenal Total: 104
AC Milan by Salvatore Landolina
GK- Fabio Cudicini
The father of Tottenham shot-stopper Carlo helped Milan win their second European Cup in 1969, and their first Intercontinental Cup the same year. He also won a Scudetto, Cup Winners Cup and Coppa Italia in his 183 games for the club. 7.
RB- Marcos Evangelista de Morais (Cafu)
Nicknamed the ‘pendolino’ for the speed and power at which he blitzed down the flanks. He arrived at Milan a World Cup winner twice with Brazil 1994 and 2002, and he won the Champions League with the Rossoneri in 2007 against Liverpool in Athens, as well as the FIFA World Cup that year. 8.
CB- Alessandro Costacurta
Alongside Franco Baresi, Costacurta is arguably Milan’s greatest ever centre-back. He won five European Cups, seven Scudetti, two Intercontinental Cups and a hoard of other trophies in a 20-year career at San Siro. 10.
CB- Franco Baresi
Milan retired the number six jersey when Baresi hang up his boots in October 1997 after two decades at the club. A legend in his own right and one of the greatest defenders the world has seen. He captained the team to great success including three European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, six Scudetti, three European SuperCups and many others. 10.
LB- Paolo Maldini
Perhaps the greatest defender of all time in the history of world football – the model footballer in every sense. 26 trophies in 25 years at Milanello says it all, among those were five European Cups and as many Intercontinental Cups as well as seven Scudetti. 10.
RM- Dejan Savicevic
The Montenegrin winger will best be remembered for his stunning lob over Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizaretta in the 1994 Champions League final as Milan bashed the favourites 4-0 in Athens. A classy midfielder who also won three Italian titles and a European SuperCup. 7.
CM- Gianni Rivera
Played under the legendary coach Nereo Rocco and alongside Giovanni Trapattoni to help Milan win their first European Cup at Wembley in 1963 against Eusebio’s Benfica. He repeated the feat in 1969 with another European Cup. He became the first Italian to win the Ballon D’Or whilst playing for the Rossoneri. 8.
CM- Frank Rijkaard
A versatile midfielder who played alongside Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten, Rijkaard was part of the team who won back-to-back European Cups in 1989 and 1990 when he scored the only goal of the game against Benfica. 9.
The world stood up and took note of Kaka when his three goals against Manchester United over both legs of the 2007 semi-final saw Cristiano Ronaldo live in the shadows. Kaka was Milan’s passport to the Athens final where he helped his team exact revenge over Liverpool for the heartbreak of Istanbul two years earlier. He also won the FIFA Club World Cup. That stellar season rewarded him with both the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards – simply sensational. 9
CF- Ruud Gullit
The Dutchman had it all when he arrived at Milan for the 1987/88 season as the world’s most expensive player and Ballon D’or Winner. He proved his worth on the pitch with force and effect and scored twice in the 1989 European Cup final in a 4-0 win over Steaua Bucharest. Won it again the following year. 9.
ST- Marco Van Basten
One of the greatest strikers of all time and the most complete. Van Basten had everything in his locker and his quality helped Milan conquer the European Cup three times. He also won two Intercontinental Cups and four Serie A titles among other trophies. Three Ballon D’Or’s during his time at San Siro pay homage to a true great. Sadly his high-profile career was curtailed by an ankle injury which forced his retirement at just 30 in 1995. 10.
Manager- Carlo Ancelotti
Nils Liedholm, Fabio Capello, Nereo Rocco and Arrigo Sacchi could have made this list, but Ancelotti is, perhaps, Milan’s best-ever coach. He won 17 trophies as a player and manager at the club. As a coach he won the Champions League twice in 2003 and 2007 having already conquered the European Cup as a player in 1989, and then 1990. Led Milan to the 2007 Club World Cup. Delivered the Scudetto in 2004 after a five-year drought. 9.
AC Milan Total Score: 107
Arsenal 104 - Ac Milan 107
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