Arteta is still believing there is a way past AC Milan.

The Spanish midfielder’s optimism comes as a surprise after the Italian giants took an almost unassailable lead in the first leg of the round of 16 tie yesterday, winning 4-0.

After being confident prior to the visit to the San Siro due to a 2-0 victory at that ground in 2008, Arsenal were humbled by goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng, Robinho (double) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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Wenger’s men went into this knock-out round affair with an impressive record against Italian sides in this competition, and according to Mikel Arteta, the Gunners can still manage to maintain that record by making a miraculous comeback in the second-leg on March 6 at the Emirates Stadium.

Milan dismantled Arsenal yesterday by robbing the Gunners of their confidence through an early goal before going into half-time 2-0 up. Those events rattled an Arsenal side who were consigned to defeat once Ibrahimovic netted a late penalty.

And Arteta believes making a similar dream start with his teammates at the Emirates Stadium in the return leg could turn the tables dramatically.

“Never say never in football,” said the Spaniard.

“If we score two goals in the first half at the Emirates then it is game on. After last night, it will be very difficult to get through and we all know that.

“There is nothing we can do about the pitch. It was absolutely awful – you had no control at all. They are more used to it because they play here every week but I don’t think we need excuses. They were the better team and deserved to win. We go to London with a really disappointing result.

“Everything became difficult after the first goal. They scored three goals on the counter-attack. It is difficult to take in and we have to change our mindset. We have another tough game on Saturday [at Sunderland in the FA Cup].”

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