Arsenal's Champions League quarter-final hopes are in tatters after they were comprehensively beaten by AC Milan in the first leg of the last 16.

The Gunners were second best from the moment Kevin-Prince Boateng's superb strike gave Milan the lead.

Ex-Manchester City forward Robinho headed a second and drove in a third to put the home side firmly in control.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's penalty, after he was fouled, consigned Arsenal to their heaviest European defeat.

Four years ago, Arsenal became the first English side to beat AC Milan at the San Siro courtesy of a 2-0 second-leg victory that eliminated the then holders from the last 16 of the Champions League.

It was a virtuoso performance of defensive efficiency and ruthless counter-attacking football. It was cool, classy and confident. It was light years ahead of what they produced in Italy's second largest city on Wednesday.

Such is Arsenal's decline from those hopeful heights of 2008, and such is their mental fragility following the inconsistencies of this season, that even despite a relatively assured opening 15 minutes, the moment they fell behind they fell apart.

ARSENAL'S TALE OF MISERY

  • Arsenal's defeat is their heaviest in European competition.
  • Wednesday's match was the first time in 222 European games (excluding qualifiers) that Arsenal have lost by 4 or more goals.
  • No team has ever recovered from a 4-0 away defeat to reach the next round of a European knockout tie.

What followed was one-way traffic as defenders dithered and were dragged about with ease while possession-starved forwards looked on forlornly.

Star striker Robin van Persie has excelled for his side this season, but he was largely a passenger, barring one second-half volley saved by Christian Abbiati, as was half-time substitute Thierry Henry, whose final appearance in an Arsenal shirt will be one he will want to quickly forget.

In contrast, Milan, who despite their position at the top of Serie A have not entirely convinced this season, were as sprightly and ruthless as their opponents had been four years previous.

Boateng was an ever-willing and powerful presence in midfield, Robinho showed more in 90 minutes than he did in his entire second season at Manchester City, while Ibrahimovic seems to be saving his Champions League best just for the Gunners. The Swedish striker has scored three goals in European competition against English sides, all of them against Wenger's men.

It was Boateng who set Milan on their way with a superb opening goal. The Ghanaian chested down Antonio Nocerino's long ball forward before unleashing a first time shot that beat Wojciech Szczesny and found the net via the underside of the bar. That the midfielder is a former Tottenham Hotspur player added further misery for the travelling Arsenal fans.

With momentum behind them and their opponents rattled it was surprising that it took the home side so long to add to their lead.

However, just before half-time the inevitable second came, again courtesy of a former Premier League player as Robinho stooped to glance Ibrahimovic's cross into the far corner of the net.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger introduced Henry at the break, hoping to coax one last miracle from the Frenchman before he jetted back to New York, but before the forward could touch the ball, Milan had a third.

Ibrahimovic again fed Robinho, this time on the edge of the box, who was given time and space by a slip from the out-of-sorts Thomas Vermaelen to pick his spot in the bottom corner of Szczesny's net.

Having worked so hard for others it was fitting reward for Ibrahimovic that he scored the fourth, stepping up to slot home a penalty after going down in the area under a challenge from the clumsy Johan Djourou.

At full-time, Arsenal's dejected players trudged from the field. 2008 seems a long, long time ago.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

AC Milan

  • 32 Abbiati
  • 05 Mexes Booked
  • 33 Thiago Silva
  • 04 Van Bommel
  • 10 Seedorf (Emanuelson - 12' )
  • 20 Abate
  • 22 Nocerino
  • 27 Boateng (Ambrosini - 69' Booked )
  • 77 Antonini Booked
  • 11 Ibrahimovic
  • 70 Robinho (Alexandre Pato - 84' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Amelia
  • 13 Nesta
  • 25 Bonera
  • 23 Ambrosini
  • 28 Emanuelson
  • 92 El Shaarawy
  • 07 Alexandre Pato

Arsenal

  • 13 Szczesny
  • 03 Sagna
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 06 Koscielny (Djourou - 44' Booked )
  • 28 Gibbs (Oxlade-Chamberlain - 66' )
  • 07 Rosicky
  • 08 Arteta
  • 14 Walcott (Henry - 46' )
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 17 Song Booked
  • 10 Van Persie

Substitutes

  • 21 Fabianski
  • 20 Djourou
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 30 Benayoun
  • 39 Coquelin
  • 12 Henry
Ref: V Kassai
Att: 68,257

Match Stats

Shots

16 8

On target

6 5

Corners

5 6

Fouls

11 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:08 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +3:04

Da Silva Alexandre Pato takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

90:00 +2:29

Centre by Aaron Ramsey, Christian Abbiati makes a save.

90:00 +1:14

Urby Emanuelson has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

88:01

The referee blows for offside against da Silva Alexandre Pato. Johan Djourou takes the indirect free kick.

87:40

Unfair challenge on Massimo Ambrosini by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick. Mark Van Bommel restarts play with the free kick.

86:45

Thomas Vermaelen delivers the ball, clearance made by Emiliano Thiago Silva.

84:27

Inswinging corner taken by Mikel Arteta, save by Christian Abbiati.

84:17

Corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta from the left by-line, Ignazio Abate makes a clearance.

84:00

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sends in a cross, Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Christian Abbiati.

83:05 Substitution

Substitution Da Silva Alexandre Pato on for De Souza Robinho.

82:50

Effort from the edge of the area by Tomas Rosicky goes wide of the right-hand post.

80:13 Booking

Booking Massimo Ambrosini receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

80:05

Unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Massimo Ambrosini results in a free kick. Aaron Ramsey takes the direct free kick.

78:56 Goal scored

Goal! - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - AC Milan 4 - 0 Arsenal Placed penalty scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. AC Milan 4-0 Arsenal.

77:50 Booking

Booking Johan Djourou is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

77:37

Unfair challenge on Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Johan Djourou results in a Penalty.

76:37

Corner taken left-footed by Urby Emanuelson from the left by-line, De Souza Robinho has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

76:04

A cross is delivered by Antonio Nocerino, clearance by Johan Djourou.

75:52

Urby Emanuelson delivers the ball, Thomas Vermaelen makes a clearance.

75:19

Shot by Robin van Persie. Save by Christian Abbiati.

74:25

Unfair challenge on Luca Antonini by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain results in a free kick. Christian Abbiati takes the direct free kick.

74:17

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain crosses the ball, Philippe Mexes makes a clearance.

72:46

Unfair challenge on Massimo Ambrosini by Bacary Sagna results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Urby Emanuelson.

71:22

Mark Van Bommel takes the direct free kick.

71:22 Booking

Booking The referee shows Alex Song a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

71:10

Alex Song challenges Zlatan Ibrahimovic unfairly and gives away a free kick.

70:58

The ball is sent over by Thierry Henry, Emiliano Thiago Silva makes a clearance.

68:34

The ball is delivered by Urby Emanuelson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the left-hand post.

68:34 Substitution

Substitution Massimo Ambrosini joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kevin-Prince Boateng.

66:14

Alex Song concedes a free kick for a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Free kick taken by Mark Van Bommel.

65:21

Save made by Christian Abbiati.

65:21 Substitution

Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is brought on as a substitute for Kieran Gibbs.

65:21

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robin van Persie,

65:01

Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Christian Abbiati.

63:35

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Aaron Ramsey goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

61:58

Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Blocked by Philippe Mexes.

61:58 Booking

Booking Philippe Mexes booked.

61:48

Philippe Mexes challenges Tomas Rosicky unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robin van Persie restarts play with the free kick.

60:54

De Souza Robinho takes a shot. Blocked by Kieran Gibbs.

58:26

Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Luca Antonini goes wide of the right-hand upright.

57:53

Corner taken by Mikel Arteta, save by Christian Abbiati.

57:30

Zlatan Ibrahimovic challenges Johan Djourou unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.

57:06

Foul by De Souza Robinho on Johan Djourou, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Johan Djourou.

56:22

The ball is delivered by Bacary Sagna, save by Christian Abbiati.

48:38

Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided the assist for the goal.

48:38 Goal scored

Goal! - De Souza Robinho - AC Milan 3 - 0 Arsenal Goal scored by De Souza Robinho from just outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. AC Milan 3-0 Arsenal.

47:06

The ball is crossed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, clearance made by Johan Djourou.

46:08

The assistant referee signals for offside against Kevin-Prince Boateng. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.

45:01

The referee starts the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Theo Walcott leaves the field to be replaced by Thierry Henry.

45:00 +3:05 Half time

Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.

45:00 +2:43

Direct free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

45:00 +2:43 Booking

Booking The referee shows Luca Antonini a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

45:00 +2:37

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wojciech Szczesny by Luca Antonini.

45:00 +1:46

Shot by Luca Antonini from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

45:00 +0:53

Effort on goal by Kevin-Prince Boateng from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.

44:33

Alex Song fouled by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Johan Djourou.

43:22

Tomas Rosicky takes the direct free kick.

43:22 Substitution

Substitution Johan Djourou on for Laurent Koscielny.

43:22

Kevin-Prince Boateng concedes a free kick for a foul on Alex Song.

41:24

The ball is swung over by Kevin-Prince Boateng, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.

39:50

The assistant referee signals for offside against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

37:17

Assist on the goal came from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

37:17 Goal scored

Goal! - De Souza Robinho - AC Milan 2 - 0 Arsenal De Souza Robinho scores a headed goal from close range. AC Milan 2-0 Arsenal.

37:14

A cross is delivered by Zlatan Ibrahimovic,

35:56

Zlatan Ibrahimovic sends in a cross, Laurent Koscielny makes a clearance.

34:04

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is penalised for a handball. Laurent Koscielny restarts play with the free kick.

33:33

Effort on goal by Antonio Nocerino from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

33:20

Luca Antonini takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

30:47

The official flags Zlatan Ibrahimovic offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.

29:51

The referee blows for offside against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

27:35

Free kick awarded for a foul by Laurent Koscielny on Urby Emanuelson. Mark Van Bommel takes the free kick.

25:56

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta, Kevin-Prince Boateng makes a clearance.

25:17

Emiliano Thiago Silva challenges Robin van Persie unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.

24:32

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin-Prince Boateng by Alex Song. Mark Van Bommel takes the free kick.

23:33

Foul by Emiliano Thiago Silva on Robin van Persie, free kick awarded. Robin van Persie produces a cross, Laurent Koscielny takes a shot. Christian Abbiati makes a comfortable save.

22:58

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thomas Vermaelen, free kick awarded. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

20:09

Effort on goal by Antonio Nocerino from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

19:34

Alex Song gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin-Prince Boateng. Mark Van Bommel takes the direct free kick.

14:52

Antonio Nocerino provided the assist for the goal.

14:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Kevin-Prince Boateng - AC Milan 1 - 0 Arsenal Goal scored by Kevin-Prince Boateng from deep inside the penalty area high into the middle of the goal. AC Milan 1-0 Arsenal.

12:36

Shot by Urby Emanuelson from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.

10:53

Free kick taken by Christian Abbiati.

10:53 Substitution

Substitution Urby Emanuelson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Clarence Seedorf.

10:53

Aaron Ramsey challenges Mark Van Bommel unfairly and gives away a free kick.

9:44

The ball is sent over by Bacary Sagna, clearance by Emiliano Thiago Silva.

8:13

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by De Souza Robinho, Kieran Gibbs makes a clearance.

8:00

Ignazio Abate sends in a cross, blocked by Kieran Gibbs.

5:49

Corner taken short by De Souza Robinho, A cross is delivered by Clarence Seedorf, Thomas Vermaelen makes a clearance.

4:39

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Clarence Seedorf from the left by-line, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.

3:46

Clarence Seedorf produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.

2:29

Unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Antonio Nocerino results in a free kick. Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.

1:33

Tomas Rosicky has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.

0:28

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is caught offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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