By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger knows he must find the key to Milan's Champions League success before the Italian side meet Arsenal in this season's Knockout Stage.
The Rossaneri have been to the Final of the competition three times in the past six seasons, winning it twice. They triumphed only last May with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool.
However in recent years Milan have struggled in Serie A. Last season they finished 36 points adrift of the leaders and at the moment the margin is 22 points as Carlo Ancelotti's side languish in 11th place. For Wenger, that chequered history makes them both dangerous and beatable.
"The draw is interesting and exciting," he said. "But do I believe that we can do it? Yes. AC can be really average in the championship but can raise their game on big occasions. That is something that is really surprising. They look invincible in Europe but beatable in Italy. They had an average championship last year and have again this year. We have to analyse what gets them there on the special occasion.
Wenger argued that, "on paper", Milan represented the hardest draw of any of the English sides.
"But I don't believe there is a lot of difference between Inter, the leaders, and AC at the moment," added the Frenchman. "However Inter is dominant in the championship.
"Still I believe we can knock AC Milan out and why should we reduce our ambitions? As well, I believe my squad can improve until the end of February and beginning of March.
"What I would like my squad to do now is to focus on the Premier League and be in a comfortable position when we play Milan, so that, at that time, we can focus completely on the Champions League during these 15 days."
In the meantime the Arsenal manager added that he is starting his research almost immediately. He is flying to Italy for the Milan derby this weekend.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Dec 2007