• Champions League

If I had the chance, I'd chip it again - Van Persie

ESPN staff
March 7, 2012
Robin van Persie had the chance to force extra-time during Arsenal's tie with AC Milan © Getty Images

Robin van Persie insists he would attempt to chip AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati again if placed in the same circumstances, after his miss led to Arsenal dropping out of the Champions League by one goal.

The Gunners turned in a sensational first-half display to lead Milan 3-0 in the second leg of their last-16 tie at the Emirates. However, having lost the first leg 4-0 they still needed one more goal in the second period to force extra-time.

On the hour a golden chance fell to the one man Arsenal would have wished for the ball to fall as Van Persie found himself in front of goal six yards out. However, with the home crowd ready to lift the roof off their relatively new stadium, the Dutchman opted for a chip - saved by Abbiati.

It was suggested to Van Persie in the aftermath to the match that, in retrospect, he might have just rolled the ball either side of the keeper, but the striker says he would do the same again.

"I think so," Van Persie told Sky Sports. "The way I saw it, the keeper was quite close to me so the option wasn't there to pass it left or right of him.

"I had to go for the chip, I'll have to watch back, but that's how I felt."

Despite Arsenal's 4-3 aggregate exit, a strong feeling of confidence is oozing out of the Gunners, who must now focus on finishing in the top four this season. Currently four points behind third-placed Tottenham, Wojciech Szczesny is adamant his team can still finish above their rivals come the end of the campaign.

"We can beat anyone in the country and in Europe so it'll give us a lot of confidence," Szczesny said. "It hurts because it wasn't enough and we got knocked out, but there are a lot of positives.

"I wouldn't settle now for fourth place. We're four points behind the other north London club, we can challenge them, Chelsea can challenge them as well, and I'll be really pleased to see Tottenham in the Europa League next season."

Szczesny's thoughts were echoed by Thomas Vermaelen, who commented: "If we play like we did in the first half and we are consistent, I am not worried about the top four. Because if we play like we played today we can beat every team. It's just a case of being consistent in games and if we do that we'll be top four or top three."

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