Cesc Fàbregas and Emmanuel Adebayor both scored in Milan as the Gunners beat the Serie A side at the same stage of the 2007-08 competition – and Vermaelen is convinced the Gunners can repeat the feat this time around.
“We are all really excited,” Vermaelen, 26, told Arsenal’s website. “It is a big game – an important one too – so it’s a good one to look forward to. For everybody it will be special so it will be a great evening.
“Of course they have a great history and they have won it a few times. They still have some good players and they are a solid team. They are also doing well in Serie A. It won’t be easy but I am confident that we can qualify.
“The San Siro is a great stadium of course and it will be a great evening. I think it is probably the best game of the round and a lot of people will be watching.”
• The encounter four years ago, when Milan were the defending champions, was the teams’ first in the Champions League.
• The Gunners have won just three of their last 12 European games on the road, including the play-off victory at Udinese.
• Milan have collected nine yellow cards, the joint lowest total of the teams in the last 16 along with Barcelona.
• Yossi Benayoun’s goal against Olympiakos on matchday six was the Gunners’ 250th in the European Cup.
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