Former Spurs man Kevin Prince Boateng has no doubt endeared himself once more to his former club by claiming that their North London rivals Arsenal do not have the bottle to win in the big games.
Boateng, now at AC Milan will face Arsenal on Tuesday night in the Champions League and believes his current side should have no issues seeing off the English side.
Whilst admitting that Arsenal will occasionally “play amazing football” he is equally confident that they tend to follow up such displays with displays where “they play really badly”. This criticism that the Gunners lack the consistency to compete at the business end of competitions will ring all too true with many Arsenal fans, having not won a trophy in over six years they are developing a reputation for the nearly men of football. They are the side that came so close to eliminating Barcelona in last year’s Champions League but were also humbled in the Carling Cup Final by Birmingham, who would go on to be relegated from the Premiership.
Boating puts it down to inexperience claiming that “Arsenal don’t know what you have to do to win titles – they’re always close but they break down.” Arsenal’s class is no doubt apparent, when they turn it on they are as good as anyone in the world but in big games they do seem to struggle.
Boateng’s complacency may come back to bite him and his team mates though. A last 16 tie with a side who have not challenged at the business end of European competition in recent years may not be the scale of game Boateng is implying. Arsenal have shown, even this season they can beat some big names in Chelsea, Dortmund and Marseilles. All perhaps sides that have fallen from the very top of the European game, but the same can surely be said of Milan.
With the two Manchester clubs having crashed out of Europe and with no side yet standing out as Barcelona and Inter Milan have the last couple of years this season’s competition provides an opportunity for Arsenal to prove they are not the perennial bottlers that many have them down as. AC Milan will be the first chance to prove they can cope with pressure and Arsenal fans will no doubt be hoping they prove they are capable of proving themselves under pressure.