Arsenal showed great team spirit and gave a massive effort, but it just wasn't enough in the end. They had given themselves too big a mountain to climb, trailing Milan 4-0 after the first match at the San Siro. The only real surprise, in the end, is how disappointed all Arsenal fans must be feeling. At the start of the match, they would have hoped, but not expected, to move on to the next round in the Champion's League. They could only be disappointed because Arsenal worked so hard, and played so well in the first half, scoring three goals to create the belief that the Gunners could do the improbable. And they might have, but for a rare van Persie miscue on a rebound he should easily have put away. By the same token, Milan really should have scored later in the second half, when instead of tapping the ball into a gaping net, Antonio Nocierino, tapped it straight to Wojciech Szczesny. As the second half wore on, the Gunners plainly ran out of steam, and injuries to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott certainly did not help.
If this was a failure, it was a glorious failure that can only give the Arsenal team greater confidence that they can finish the Premier League season strong and take their accustomed place in the Champion's League again next season.