Arsene Wenger opted on the side of caution by deploying Emmanuel Adebayor as a lone striker when Arsenal took on AC Milan for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the San Siro tonight.
Theo Walcott – criticised by captain William Gallas for a perceived lack of progress – dropped to the bench, with Abou Diaby retaining his place on the left and Winger Emmanuel Eboue, currently serving a domestic ban, coming back on the right side of midfield.
Alexander Hleb was pushed up in support of the Togo frontman as the Gunners looked for a crucial away goal, with the tie delicately poised at 0-0 following the first leg.
Fit-again Dutchman Robin van Persie was named on the bench.
Milan – who have never lost to an English team at home and thrashed Manchester United 3-0 here last season – may be trailing Serie A leaders and city rivals Inter by 18 points, but the Champions League holders remain a force to be reckoned with.
Carlo Ancelotti was able to call on FIFA World Player of the Year Kaka, the Brazilian playmaker having shrugged off a knee problem.
Veteran captain Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo, Filippo Inzaghi and Pato all started.
However, Holland international Clarence Seedorf missed out because of a hamstring injury.
AC Milan: Kalac, Maldini, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Gattuso, Alexandre Pato, Kaka, Inzaghi.
Subs: Fiori, Emerson, Gilardino, Simic, Favalli, Gourcuff, Bonera.
Arsenal: Almunia, Clichy, Senderos, Gallas, Sagna, Diaby, Fabregas, Flamini, Eboue, Hleb, Adebayor.
Subs: Lehmann, Van Persie, Denilson, Gilbert, Bendtner, Justin Hoyte, Walcott.
Referee: Konrad Plautz (Austria)