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Villarreal vs. Arsenal

Madrigal Stadium

7/4/09

19:45

Villarreal v. Arsenal

This is why I love football. The intense feeling of anticipation has had a firm grip over me since Saturday. I honestly don't think it gets much better than spring European nights away from home. That's why I wanted to draw a non-English team for this round. It's not that I'm afraid of playing the other big four teams, but traveling the short distance to Stamford Bridge doesn't have the same special intoxication as crossing the English Channel into continental Europe. For this reason is why I feel for Liverpool and Chelsea fans. Playing the same team over and over must make the games almost as boring to them as the matches are for the rest of us. If these nights get me this excited to watch them on my TV, then the feeling must be exponentially multiplied when you travel the continent following the Arsenal. I can't wait for my chance; it can't come soon enough.

Anyways, onto this match. Arsenal versus Villarreal, a repeat of the 06 semifinal. A lot has changed since we last met. Both coaches have completely changed and reorganized their squads. The tie winner, Kolo Toure, is the only Arsenal player left from three years ago, while I believe Marcus Senna is the only remaining yellow submarine, please correct me if I'm wrong. This makes all the talk of revenge meaningless. For the fans revenge is important, but for the Villarreal players it is nonexistent because this is two totally different teams.

The results over the weekend by both clubs also couldn't be more different. Arsenal smashed Manchester City, while Villarreal was rocked by Almeria. In these late stages of the competition every team has talented players, but its the confidence and belief that sets teams apart. Arsenal have the advantage here. I think that will be crucial here. Considering the away goal rule, a team can effective put the tie beyond doubt, and I expect our boys to do that tomorrow.

Vital Quotes:

Thanks to the rags, Arsenal player's futures are always under constant speculation. But Arsene has put a hold on all this till the end of the season. "My thinking is that we focus completely on short-term and not long-term because we have such important targets in front of us.

"We have to show maturity and get rid of all the talks that are not helping us to win the games.

"We play every three days and we cannot sit around with the players, we have to focus completely on the short-term.We can always talk to the agents and I believe when a player comes back from an away game you do not want a player sitting around the desk at 8am, you want him to recover and rest and prepare for the next game."

"We have taken this approach because we have a tight schedule and we know that every game is decisive for us."

The importance of this competition was reiterated by both Arsene and Ade this week when they spoke about last years Anfield exit. Wenger said: 'We were [the better team over the two legs]'.

'I feel that we were guilty of not being focused when we scored the second goal [in the second leg] and we paid for that.'

Our Togolese hit man was left with an empty heart. "I didn't watch the Champions League last year [after we went out]. I switched off as I couldn't bring myself to watch it.

"That means I will do everything and give everything to play in it and once you are in the Semi-Finals anything can happen.

'We know it will be very difficult. We are expecting a hard game and a very good atmosphere in Villarreal. As a kid, I always dreamed of playing in a Champions League Quarter-Final and now I just want to enjoy it."

Kolo Toure remembers the trip to Villarreal on the way to Paris. . He had this to say about the trek. "When we played them in 2006 they made us work hard," Kolo told Arsenal TV Online.

"I was happy to score a goal in that first match but the second game was really difficult and in the end we were lucky that Jens saved the penalty. This time it is going to be really tight again. We have to concentrate and not think it is going to be easy."

"The atmosphere there is unbelievable, you can feel the pressure from the fans because they are so close. However, we are used to that in the Premier League, which is going to help us a lot."

Villarreal Team News:

Villarreal got a slap to the face in the midst of the beating by Almeria. Star winger Santi Cazorla broke his leg in an awkward challenge in the second half. For me he is their best player, and its going to be real hard to replace such a quality player in the matter of days. Pires will most likely move out wide to fill the hole.

Some better news for Villarreal is that Marcus Senna, who was originally a major doubt, has been included in the squad and is expected to take on the task of containing Cesc.

Player to watch: Marcus Senna

Here's where the tie will be won and lost in my opinion. A pair of Euro 2008 champions will be the crucial match up in deciding who advances to the Semi-finals. Senna plays just in front of defense, but he is well known for moving up with the offense to offer his thunderous shot as attacking alternative. He will need to concentrate on the defensive side of his game to control Fabregas.

Arsenal Team News:

The injury news for Arsenal is a blessing in disguise for Wenger. On the road in Europe he prefers to play a 4-5-1, but if van Persie was passed fit then it would have been almost impossible to deny him and Adebayor starting spots up front. Fortunately van Persie just missed the cut, which is fine by me. I want him fully ready to go for Wigan. Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott have both been given the thumbs up for the match so expect to see those two lineup on the wings for Arsenal, with Song and Denilson combining to sure up the defense. Cesc will play in the hole behind Ade up front.

Eduardo, Diaby, and Rosicky are also out.

Expected Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Fabregas, Adebayor

Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas

Just as I though the Denilson-De Rossi matchup in the last round was oh so crucial, the Fabregas v. Senna battle will decide this tie. Even though it was clear Fabregas was not at his usual sharpness, he still ran the match like a magician playing in an attack minded position. After being out for so long, I somehow forgot how good Cesc was. Back in his homeland, I'm sure tomorrow his great awareness and ability will see Arsenal top Villarreal.

Match Facts & Stats

In the last five home matches against English opposition, Villarreal are unbeaten. And in fact they have never lost a home CL match in their brief European history.

Arsenal's only two losses in the last 27 matches were on the road in the Champions League. (Porto and Roma)

Arsenal have used 24 players so far in the Champions League.

Villarreal substitutes have scored more goals than their starters in this year's competition.

Diaby and van Persie are both one booking away from a suspension, but neither will play a part in this match.

Ariel Ibagaza, Marcos Senna, Angel, and Guillermo Franco are all on the verge of suspension.

Villarreal have two former Arsenal players, Robert Pires and Pascal Cygan.

Ref Watch:

Tom Henning Øvrebø, of Norway, will be the head official for this match. He was the referee for Arsenal's first leg, round of 16 loss to PSV in Holland a couple of years back. He has also been preselected to be an official at the World Cup in South Africa.

Match Prediction:

Let me start off by saying that I have put 20 dollars US on Arsenal scoring at least 2 goals. I'm confident about this match. Unfortunately this season when I have been confident about an Arsenal game, the Gunners have fallen straight on their buttocks. But I push on and will keep the faith. Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal. Adebayor with another brace, and Walcott completing the task.

Next Fixtures:

11/4 (Sat)- Wigan (A)- Premier League

15/4 (Wed)- Villarreal (H)- Champions League

18/4 (Sat)- Chelsea (N)- FA Cup




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 6 2009

Time: 7:20PM

Your Comments

Fabregas played, and Clichy made his return against Villareal if I am not mistaken. Oh I just love correcting you :D
Tom14
Fabregas played, and Clichy made his return against Villareal if I am not mistaken. Oh I just love correcting you :D
Tom14
Haha I need to run all my articles by Tom before posting them up!
gunnerkid107
Haha I need to run all my articles by Tom before posting them up!
gunnerkid107
come on GK, you're not the least bit excited about the championship game tonight?
TPowell
come on GK, you're not the least bit excited about the championship game tonight?
TPowell
Eboue, Diaby, Cesc, RvP, Walcott, Song, Djourou, Clichy were all around the first time. Also another interesting story is that their reserve keeper, Sebastien Vieira, nearly joined us in 2005 but we didn't sign him because he turned up at the training ground and AW realised that Vieira's agent had lied about how tall Vieira was! Guillermo Franco is also still there and he missed two gilt edged sitters in that semi final 2nd leg and infamously blamed God after the game.
Little Dutch
Eboue, Diaby, Cesc, RvP, Walcott, Song, Djourou, Clichy were all around the first time. Also another interesting story is that their reserve keeper, Sebastien Vieira, nearly joined us in 2005 but we didn't sign him because he turned up at the training ground and AW realised that Vieira's agent had lied about how tall Vieira was! Guillermo Franco is also still there and he missed two gilt edged sitters in that semi final 2nd leg and infamously blamed God after the game.
Little Dutch
Sorry kid, but how come Adebayor and Toure have the same dream quote attributed to them? Is one parroting the other or as is more likely, has your computer developed a mind of its own? lol!
deledudu
Sorry kid, but how come Adebayor and Toure have the same dream quote attributed to them? Is one parroting the other or as is more likely, has your computer developed a mind of its own? lol!
deledudu
Ah wow. The quotes was pasting error and has been fixed, but I have no excuses for the squad part. My apologies for not looking that up.
gunnerkid107
Ah wow. The quotes was pasting error and has been fixed, but I have no excuses for the squad part. My apologies for not looking that up.
gunnerkid107
So to correct myself Toure, Eboue, and Cesc started both games in 06, while van Persie came off the bench for Bergkamp in the first game at Highbury and Clichy was a sub for Flamini very early in the second match.
gunnerkid107
So to correct myself Toure, Eboue, and Cesc started both games in 06, while van Persie came off the bench for Bergkamp in the first game at Highbury and Clichy was a sub for Flamini very early in the second match.
gunnerkid107
their RB Javi Venta was also around in 06 if my memory serves me well. He's coming on a bit now.
G4L
their RB Javi Venta was also around in 06 if my memory serves me well. He's coming on a bit now.
G4L
you guys need to help me out here,there is a viscious argument goin on here about which arsenal player should be sold in the summer. Diaby is leading in the polls right now,but not by a landslide as I expected. Close behind are : Gallas,Silvestre and even Senderos. So what do you guys think?
D'arsassin
you guys need to help me out here,there is a viscious argument goin on here about which arsenal player should be sold in the summer. Diaby is leading in the polls right now,but not by a landslide as I expected. Close behind are : Gallas,Silvestre and even Senderos. So what do you guys think?
D'arsassin
Villareal will be relying on Diego Godin to keep things together in Defence. He was rested for the Almeria game, and it was clear that they couldn't cope without him. How he performs, as well as Senna and Ibagaza, will be crucial here. Remember, although, they were smashed on the weekend, they have never lost to an English club at home, in 5 games, and have proved a difficult side to play in the past. On the other hand, Arsenal do have a tendancy to be the first to finish these records, recently AC and Real, of course. I reckon 2-0 to us and we miss a few chances, too. Ade and Nasri to score.
ArsenalRob
Villareal will be relying on Diego Godin to keep things together in Defence. He was rested for the Almeria game, and it was clear that they couldn't cope without him. How he performs, as well as Senna and Ibagaza, will be crucial here. Remember, although, they were smashed on the weekend, they have never lost to an English club at home, in 5 games, and have proved a difficult side to play in the past. On the other hand, Arsenal do have a tendancy to be the first to finish these records, recently AC and Real, of course. I reckon 2-0 to us and we miss a few chances, too. Ade and Nasri to score.
ArsenalRob
Take a nice rest gk, you will feel better in the moring.
Tom14
Take a nice rest gk, you will feel better in the moring.
Tom14
Also, just to add to the anal nature of the comments so far, it is Marcos Senna, not Marcus.
Ozi Gooner
Also, just to add to the anal nature of the comments so far, it is Marcos Senna, not Marcus.
Ozi Gooner
I'd thought I was being bullish when I said 2-0 to us - I thought we could well do a Milan again. 3-0 would be worthy of a DVD imo!
GoonerLou
I'd thought I was being bullish when I said 2-0 to us - I thought we could well do a Milan again. 3-0 would be worthy of a DVD imo!
GoonerLou
I'd take a score draw here all day long, I think a lot of people are taking Villarreal very lightly indeed, which is exactly the mistake our supporters made last time. I remember coming out of the ground after that 1st leg in 06 and everyone was complaining that we had only won 1-0 and that complacency could and should have bitten us in the arse for the second leg where Villarreal should have won by three clear goals at least. They are an excellent side, with an unrivalled home record and they are in the same position in La Liga as we are in the Premiership, so we have no reason to feel over confident. If we won 3-0 or 2-0, I'd be absolutely astounded quite frankly.
Little Dutch
I'd take a score draw here all day long, I think a lot of people are taking Villarreal very lightly indeed, which is exactly the mistake our supporters made last time. I remember coming out of the ground after that 1st leg in 06 and everyone was complaining that we had only won 1-0 and that complacency could and should have bitten us in the arse for the second leg where Villarreal should have won by three clear goals at least. They are an excellent side, with an unrivalled home record and they are in the same position in La Liga as we are in the Premiership, so we have no reason to feel over confident. If we won 3-0 or 2-0, I'd be absolutely astounded quite frankly.
Little Dutch
Written like a true Sun journalist ;-) Let's not forget their 0-0 at OT this season, they're a cracking team. If we get a goal out there i'll be happy.
shewore
Written like a true Sun journalist ;-) Let's not forget their 0-0 at OT this season, they're a cracking team. If we get a goal out there i'll be happy.
shewore
I'm never as nervous for the first leg as I am for the second ...... with that in mind I better have some spare undies on standby next week if this weeks nerves are anything to go by.
Rocky7
I'm never as nervous for the first leg as I am for the second ...... with that in mind I better have some spare undies on standby next week if this weeks nerves are anything to go by.
Rocky7
We've got a massive and nervy 11 days ahead of us. I'm really looking forward to the game tonight, not because I think it'll be easy but both teams will try to play good football.
navydave
We've got a massive and nervy 11 days ahead of us. I'm really looking forward to the game tonight, not because I think it'll be easy but both teams will try to play good football.
navydave
I cant beleive people think we will go there and win 3-0!! would you predict we can go to OT and win 3-0? Arsenal's style of play away from home in europe is generally quite poor - we can never build up a ryhthm for some reason. games like we had in the san siro last season are the exception, not the rule. If we can get it together and boss the game then yes we can win, but its all a big IF. However, over the 2 legs I would expect us to progress.
gazzap
I cant beleive people think we will go there and win 3-0!! would you predict we can go to OT and win 3-0? Arsenal's style of play away from home in europe is generally quite poor - we can never build up a ryhthm for some reason. games like we had in the san siro last season are the exception, not the rule. If we can get it together and boss the game then yes we can win, but its all a big IF. However, over the 2 legs I would expect us to progress.
gazzap
Have to agree with LD and gazzap entirely -- if we can manage 1 away goal, I'll be very happy and impressed, esp. if we keep a clean sheet--which I doubt. At least their best player is out, that's a plus for us. But Senna's a monster, he'll be very tough to handle and highly motivated from our last encounter with them.
jaelle
Have to agree with LD and gazzap entirely -- if we can manage 1 away goal, I'll be very happy and impressed, esp. if we keep a clean sheet--which I doubt. At least their best player is out, that's a plus for us. But Senna's a monster, he'll be very tough to handle and highly motivated from our last encounter with them.
jaelle
These guys have kept 5 clean sheets in 6 games against the 2 best attacking teams in the Premiership (ourselves and united). If we get an away goal it would be fantastic but its going to be difficult if we play like we did in Rome.
iceman10
These guys have kept 5 clean sheets in 6 games against the 2 best attacking teams in the Premiership (ourselves and united). If we get an away goal it would be fantastic but its going to be difficult if we play like we did in Rome.
iceman10
I still think 2-0, although they're a very good side, they may still be a bit dizzy after the Almeria game, and seeing their best player break his leg. It will be tight, but with Faby playing just behind Ade, Senna will have to drop deeper to mark him, and Song and Denilson will have more time on the ball to control the game, and I fancy Ade to cause them some problems. Hopefully with the ovation Pires gets, Nasri might get some inspiration. He has stated his desire to emulate him on several occaisions. It will be a tight game, but if we're hungry enough, then we'll get our fill.
ArsenalRob
I still think 2-0, although they're a very good side, they may still be a bit dizzy after the Almeria game, and seeing their best player break his leg. It will be tight, but with Faby playing just behind Ade, Senna will have to drop deeper to mark him, and Song and Denilson will have more time on the ball to control the game, and I fancy Ade to cause them some problems. Hopefully with the ovation Pires gets, Nasri might get some inspiration. He has stated his desire to emulate him on several occaisions. It will be a tight game, but if we're hungry enough, then we'll get our fill.
ArsenalRob
With predictions I like to stick my head out and give something a little out of the ordinary. And to me, especially after watching their game this weekend, I feel we can score.
gunnerkid107
With predictions I like to stick my head out and give something a little out of the ordinary. And to me, especially after watching their game this weekend, I feel we can score.
gunnerkid107
Nothing wrong with being bullish GK :) I got a feeling if we play the 5 across the middle Denilson could be the Ace in the pack tonight. If Senna tracks Fabregas everywhere theres bound to be space in that central midfield for us to exploit.
iceman10
Nothing wrong with being bullish GK :) I got a feeling if we play the 5 across the middle Denilson could be the Ace in the pack tonight. If Senna tracks Fabregas everywhere theres bound to be space in that central midfield for us to exploit.
iceman10
Playing with Villareal last night, I lost 3-1 to Arsenal on FIFA 09 but that was at the Emirates! This leg has 0-0 written all over it in my opinion
ForeverUnited
Playing with Villareal last night, I lost 3-1 to Arsenal on FIFA 09 but that was at the Emirates! This leg has 0-0 written all over it in my opinion
ForeverUnited
I was suddenly very nervous before kick-off. This box to box stuff is making me even more tense! :s
GoonerLou
I was suddenly very nervous before kick-off. This box to box stuff is making me even more tense! :s
GoonerLou
Lovely. Senna scores a screamer after we give him all the time and space in the world!
jaelle
Lovely. Senna scores a screamer after we give him all the time and space in the world!
jaelle
Ah well, we're a younger team and hopefully we'll tire them out and take our chances better.
GoonerLou
Ah well, we're a younger team and hopefully we'll tire them out and take our chances better.
GoonerLou
OMG, Almunia's subbed due to injury. We have to rely on Fabs now.
jaelle
OMG, Almunia's subbed due to injury. We have to rely on Fabs now.
jaelle
Well done Fabi and the defence for keeping us in the game...!
GoonerLou
Well done Fabi and the defence for keeping us in the game...!
GoonerLou
This is very very bad.
jaelle
This is very very bad.
jaelle
What a stupid collection of yellow cards. We really need to keep cool to stand a chance at all.
GoonerLou
What a stupid collection of yellow cards. We really need to keep cool to stand a chance at all.
GoonerLou
One of those nights again.We HAVE to score
ajwb
One of those nights again.We HAVE to score
ajwb
Pretty terrible half, how on earth did Senna have that much time to shoot when we are supposedly playing 2 defensive minded central midfielders?
iceman10
WE CAN'T KEEP F-----G POSSESSION! WE CAN'T GET NEAR THE BALL FOR LONG STRETCHES! OUR PLAYERS DON'T FIGHT FOR THE BALL! We have two holding players and yet they're running rings around us! These guys aren't Man City, FFS!
jaelle
Pretty terrible half, how on earth did Senna have that much time to shoot when we are supposedly playing 2 defensive minded central midfielders?
iceman10
WE CAN'T KEEP F-----G POSSESSION! WE CAN'T GET NEAR THE BALL FOR LONG STRETCHES! OUR PLAYERS DON'T FIGHT FOR THE BALL! We have two holding players and yet they're running rings around us! These guys aren't Man City, FFS!
jaelle
I can't stand the American commentator's persistent pronunciation of "Angel" with a hard "g" sound anymore I think lol
GoonerLou
I can't stand the American commentator's persistent pronunciation of "Angel" with a hard "g" sound anymore I think lol
GoonerLou
I want to cry now!!!! :D
GoonerLou
I want to cry now!!!! :D
GoonerLou
OMIGOD! THAT WAS ADE WHO SCORED THAT WONDER GOAL! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT GOAL!
jaelle
OMIGOD! THAT WAS ADE WHO SCORED THAT WONDER GOAL! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT GOAL!
jaelle
My heartbeat still hasn't slowed down!! But PHEWW
GoonerLou
My heartbeat still hasn't slowed down!! But PHEWW
GoonerLou
Thank god that's over...but now we've got Gallas badly injured (Almunia looks like he'll heal quickly) and so many yellow cards!
jaelle
Villarreal were much better than I thought they would be, and we were worse than I thought. ******* brilliant goal from Ade! No player but Fabianski and Toure should be happy with their preformance today IMO.
gunnerkid107
An old cliche but what a game of two halves. Oddly enough I thought Walcott was at his best when Arsenal were at their worst, he was excellent in the first half but when we started to play he tailed off. We saw all the sides of Ade tonight, poor touch, no positional sense, awesome work ethic and an absolute friggin wonder goal, I need to see it again because I'm pretty sure he excued the chest and finish without ever touching the floor. Breath taking. My man of the match? Kolo Toure ...... what a f******* rock!!!
Rocky7
Thank god that's over...but now we've got Gallas badly injured (Almunia looks like he'll heal quickly) and so many yellow cards!
jaelle
Villarreal were much better than I thought they would be, and we were worse than I thought. ******* brilliant goal from Ade! No player but Fabianski and Toure should be happy with their preformance today IMO.
gunnerkid107
An old cliche but what a game of two halves. Oddly enough I thought Walcott was at his best when Arsenal were at their worst, he was excellent in the first half but when we started to play he tailed off. We saw all the sides of Ade tonight, poor touch, no positional sense, awesome work ethic and an absolute friggin wonder goal, I need to see it again because I'm pretty sure he excued the chest and finish without ever touching the floor. Breath taking. My man of the match? Kolo Toure ...... what a f******* rock!!!
Rocky7
A little bit harsh I feel GK - We bossed the game in the second half, good display imo.
Rocky7
A little bit harsh I feel GK - We bossed the game in the second half, good display imo.
Rocky7
Yea, but I was talking more in general throughout the whole match. I thought only Toure and Fabianski did well in both halves, so that's why I said that.
gunnerkid107
Yea, but I was talking more in general throughout the whole match. I thought only Toure and Fabianski did well in both halves, so that's why I said that.
gunnerkid107
go on Adi!!!!
G4L
Song and Denilson, individually good one the night, did not have there best game collectively, they must work out who is going to pick out the runners from mid field, no one challenged Senna until to late.
Armory
go on Adi!!!!
G4L
Song and Denilson, individually good one the night, did not have there best game collectively, they must work out who is going to pick out the runners from mid field, no one challenged Senna until to late.
Armory
Song and Denilson bossed the central areas in the 2nd half and gave Cesc a better platform on which to play, 1st half they were undisciplined. Still a lot of work to do IMO but 2nd half was encouraging.
iceman10
Song and Denilson bossed the central areas in the 2nd half and gave Cesc a better platform on which to play, 1st half they were undisciplined. Still a lot of work to do IMO but 2nd half was encouraging.
iceman10
Porto have a player called Hulk who apparently gave UTD all sorts of problems, We had the invisible man! (Samir Nasri) Also can someone tell Theo that when he's 1 on 1 with the fullback to occasionally run at him?
iceman10
Horrible quality but no matter what it's still an AMAZING GOAL! http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/2333568/
gunnerkid107
Porto have a player called Hulk who apparently gave UTD all sorts of problems, We had the invisible man! (Samir Nasri) Also can someone tell Theo that when he's 1 on 1 with the fullback to occasionally run at him?
iceman10
Horrible quality but no matter what it's still an AMAZING GOAL! http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/2333568/
gunnerkid107
Icey - Sami wasn't the best going forward, but I thought he tracked back like a trooper. Covering for clichy really well!
Rocky7
Icey - Sami wasn't the best going forward, but I thought he tracked back like a trooper. Covering for clichy really well!
Rocky7
I guess, Maybe im being a bit harsh because of What Arshavin has given to the team in recent games, Sami Definetly has more quality than what he displayed tonight.
iceman10
I guess, Maybe im being a bit harsh because of What Arshavin has given to the team in recent games, Sami Definetly has more quality than what he displayed tonight.
iceman10
Just saw on ITV that Almunia should be back in two weeks but Gallas's injury could potentially be quite serious, medial ligament damage they said and if true we are talking months.
Armory
Just saw on ITV that Almunia should be back in two weeks but Gallas's injury could potentially be quite serious, medial ligament damage they said and if true we are talking months.
Armory
I felt that Nasri's problem was that there was not much movement in front of him, he like Cesc needs options therefore he was not that much of an attacking threat but he defended quite well.
Armory
I felt that Nasri's problem was that there was not much movement in front of him, he like Cesc needs options therefore he was not that much of an attacking threat but he defended quite well.
Armory
To be fair, we were a bit shocked by Villarreal's combination of pressing and passing as well as the injuries in the 1st half. Great credit for the lads for turning things around in the 2nd. I agree that Den and Song were individually okay but didn't have a clear division of labour in the 1st half, probably bcos they were less familiar with their responsibilities in the 5-man midfield. But the boss clearly gave them some instructions at half time and they were great in the 2nd. Yes Rocky, we saw the great old Kolo again!! Credit should also go to Fabi who pulled off a couple of good saves to keep us in the game, especially before we equalised. I thought Djourou, bar that little mix-up with Fabi, was excellent too. I'd be okay seeing Kolo-Djourou in the next games while Gallas is out. (I was so scared Arsene would send on Silvestre when Gallas got injured, as he's the guy I saw warming up! lol)
GoonerLou
To be fair, we were a bit shocked by Villarreal's combination of pressing and passing as well as the injuries in the 1st half. Great credit for the lads for turning things around in the 2nd. I agree that Den and Song were individually okay but didn't have a clear division of labour in the 1st half, probably bcos they were less familiar with their responsibilities in the 5-man midfield. But the boss clearly gave them some instructions at half time and they were great in the 2nd. Yes Rocky, we saw the great old Kolo again!! Credit should also go to Fabi who pulled off a couple of good saves to keep us in the game, especially before we equalised. I thought Djourou, bar that little mix-up with Fabi, was excellent too. I'd be okay seeing Kolo-Djourou in the next games while Gallas is out. (I was so scared Arsene would send on Silvestre when Gallas got injured, as he's the guy I saw warming up! lol)
GoonerLou
Cesc looked a bit unhappy playing so far up the field, and his best moments occured mostly when he dropped deep. I thought Nasri did OK, he worked hard and gave Clichy some help at the back. I think the season could be over for Gallas, medial ligament damage is a long-term problem. Arsene shouldn't have let him carry on. Djourou played very well when he came on, as did Lukasz. Referee did very well, too. We can't pretend that it was all bad luck, Villareal could easily have had 2 or 3. We were the better side for most of the second half, but we lacked penetration. I think we'll need RvP back at the Emirates.
ArsenalRob
Cesc looked a bit unhappy playing so far up the field, and his best moments occured mostly when he dropped deep. I thought Nasri did OK, he worked hard and gave Clichy some help at the back. I think the season could be over for Gallas, medial ligament damage is a long-term problem. Arsene shouldn't have let him carry on. Djourou played very well when he came on, as did Lukasz. Referee did very well, too. We can't pretend that it was all bad luck, Villareal could easily have had 2 or 3. We were the better side for most of the second half, but we lacked penetration. I think we'll need RvP back at the Emirates.
ArsenalRob
Yeah same Lou, i saw Silvestre warming up and got very worried. Song, like many on our side, looked a bit shocked at Villareal's good start, and seemed to feel very worried, but grew as the game went on and did well.
ArsenalRob
Yeah same Lou, i saw Silvestre warming up and got very worried. Song, like many on our side, looked a bit shocked at Villareal's good start, and seemed to feel very worried, but grew as the game went on and did well.
ArsenalRob
Lol gunnerlou, I was the same Sylvestre's name popped up in my mind and I thought ohno now we are *****ed but to my relieve Djourou came on and I agree he should fit well in with Toure. I actually think Djourou wit either Toure or Gallas is a better partnership than Toure and Gallas
Armory
Lol gunnerlou, I was the same Sylvestre's name popped up in my mind and I thought ohno now we are *****ed but to my relieve Djourou came on and I agree he should fit well in with Toure. I actually think Djourou wit either Toure or Gallas is a better partnership than Toure and Gallas
Armory
Too bad our trip to OT is not soon but the 2nd last fixture in the season... Let's all cheer on Porto next week!!
GoonerLou
Too bad our trip to OT is not soon but the 2nd last fixture in the season... Let's all cheer on Porto next week!!
GoonerLou
"Referee did very well, too" - he did? I don't think so. Too many yellow cards! Terrible to hear about Gallas, he's been such a rock for us. I like seeing Djourou back but it's hard to replace Gallas' experience at such a critical point in the season and in both cup competitions. My reaction to our terrible first half was that it looked like yet another repeat of our players not taking the opponent seriously. It's like they underestimated Villareal, haven't they watched them in preparation for this game? The fact that they didn't even have their best player on the pitch and yet still dominated us so effectively for so long shows that they are a damned good team. Pellegrini's a rare creature: a South American manager who's successful in Europe. And didn't they come away from OT with a 0-0 draw? So they won't be a walk in the part at the Grove either. // Way to go, Porto! Two precious away goals!!
jaelle
"Referee did very well, too" - he did? I don't think so. Too many yellow cards! Terrible to hear about Gallas, he's been such a rock for us. I like seeing Djourou back but it's hard to replace Gallas' experience at such a critical point in the season and in both cup competitions. My reaction to our terrible first half was that it looked like yet another repeat of our players not taking the opponent seriously. It's like they underestimated Villareal, haven't they watched them in preparation for this game? The fact that they didn't even have their best player on the pitch and yet still dominated us so effectively for so long shows that they are a damned good team. Pellegrini's a rare creature: a South American manager who's successful in Europe. And didn't they come away from OT with a 0-0 draw? So they won't be a walk in the part at the Grove either. // Way to go, Porto! Two precious away goals!!
jaelle
Jaelle, it's true that there were quite a few yellows, but personally I thought they were mostly justified, although Nasri's and Fabregas's were debatable (We don't know what Sami said, but apparently it was offensive language). I thought, he let the game flow pretty well, and he spotted when a player dived, which happened frequently, both teams culprable. I agree, they did underestimate Villareal, I had a bad feeling about that with the noises the players were making before the game.
ArsenalRob
I think the ref actually did do quite well jaelle I cant complain much about the yellow cards and a weaker ref would have given Fab a second yellow he also did not tolerate any playacting from either side.
Armory
Jaelle, it's true that there were quite a few yellows, but personally I thought they were mostly justified, although Nasri's and Fabregas's were debatable (We don't know what Sami said, but apparently it was offensive language). I thought, he let the game flow pretty well, and he spotted when a player dived, which happened frequently, both teams culprable. I agree, they did underestimate Villareal, I had a bad feeling about that with the noises the players were making before the game.
ArsenalRob
I think the ref actually did do quite well jaelle I cant complain much about the yellow cards and a weaker ref would have given Fab a second yellow he also did not tolerate any playacting from either side.
Armory
By the way, wasn't Walcott a lot better defensively today than usual. That has always been a problem with him not helping Sagna (not that he needs much help) down that right hand side, but today he was much more enthusiastic in getting back, and actually made a great, important challenge in the box in the first half.
ArsenalRob
By the way, wasn't Walcott a lot better defensively today than usual. That has always been a problem with him not helping Sagna (not that he needs much help) down that right hand side, but today he was much more enthusiastic in getting back, and actually made a great, important challenge in the box in the first half.
ArsenalRob
im confident Gallas will be back soon. onto the game, too much space given to Villarreal to pass the ball around especially in the central midfield area. we made them look a lot better than what they really are..
luckys_10
im confident Gallas will be back soon. onto the game, too much space given to Villarreal to pass the ball around especially in the central midfield area. we made them look a lot better than what they really are..
luckys_10
Yeah I thought both Theo and Samir did well (probably on Arsene's instruction) in tracking back and help the defence. It's rather Song/Den who disappointed in midfield with the Senna goal. But they too stepped up in the 2nd half. And nah Luckys, the press are saying that Gallas could be out for the season. :(
GoonerLou
Yeah I thought both Theo and Samir did well (probably on Arsene's instruction) in tracking back and help the defence. It's rather Song/Den who disappointed in midfield with the Senna goal. But they too stepped up in the 2nd half. And nah Luckys, the press are saying that Gallas could be out for the season. :(
GoonerLou
Let's watch this again and again and again: http://www.offthepost.info/2009/04/video-emmanuel-adebayors-stunning-bicycle-kick-against-villarreal/
GoonerLou
Let's watch this again and again and again: http://www.offthepost.info/2009/04/video-emmanuel-adebayors-stunning-bicycle-kick-against-villarreal/
GoonerLou
I'd be surprised if Gallas came back this season. A friend of mine had medial ligament damage, and he was hobbling around for about 3 months. Djourou and Toure are still a good partnership, arguably a better one than the Toure-Gallas pairing, but I'd be concerned if one of them picked up an injury, then we'd have to have Silvestre... Shame, I was looking forward to Billy getting the opportunity to put one over Chelsea at Wembley.
ArsenalRob
I'd be surprised if Gallas came back this season. A friend of mine had medial ligament damage, and he was hobbling around for about 3 months. Djourou and Toure are still a good partnership, arguably a better one than the Toure-Gallas pairing, but I'd be concerned if one of them picked up an injury, then we'd have to have Silvestre... Shame, I was looking forward to Billy getting the opportunity to put one over Chelsea at Wembley.
ArsenalRob
well done Arsenal- a good result in a tough stadium and we are looking much better than United are for next week now. Fabulous and very important away goal there from Ade! 1-1 at El Madrigal? That'll do nicely, ta.
julieloveshenry4ever
well done Arsenal- a good result in a tough stadium and we are looking much better than United are for next week now. Fabulous and very important away goal there from Ade! 1-1 at El Madrigal? That'll do nicely, ta.
julieloveshenry4ever
And next week we will hopefully have RVP back and possibly Eduardo.
Armory
And next week we will hopefully have RVP back and possibly Eduardo.
Armory
but before the return fixture we have Wigan away. They are a decent team. I could be wrong but I think it will be Fabianski's first Premier League start- he subbed late against ManU but I think that's it in the league. That said aside from the mix-up with Djourou he was pretty solid tonight. Gallas is a big loss though. I think we'll use Silvestre in the league and Djourou in the cups unless one or the other makes himself undroppable. We're in good shape having all of these great players coming back fresh from injury. Liverpool looks to be in good shape too, Chelsea is just not a good mix, Villa and their small squad is a spent force, and aside from Rooney, who is on fire, and maybe Tevez, ManU is worn out (esp. Carrick), past their due date (esp. Scholes), disinterested prima donnas (Ronaldo and Berbatov), or just not good enough (this is a long list- Park, O'Shea, Evans come to mind). So while the league is out of reach, we have a good shot at the Champs league. If we get by Villareal first of course, and ManU beats Porto.
elbondo
but before the return fixture we have Wigan away. They are a decent team. I could be wrong but I think it will be Fabianski's first Premier League start- he subbed late against ManU but I think that's it in the league. That said aside from the mix-up with Djourou he was pretty solid tonight. Gallas is a big loss though. I think we'll use Silvestre in the league and Djourou in the cups unless one or the other makes himself undroppable. We're in good shape having all of these great players coming back fresh from injury. Liverpool looks to be in good shape too, Chelsea is just not a good mix, Villa and their small squad is a spent force, and aside from Rooney, who is on fire, and maybe Tevez, ManU is worn out (esp. Carrick), past their due date (esp. Scholes), disinterested prima donnas (Ronaldo and Berbatov), or just not good enough (this is a long list- Park, O'Shea, Evans come to mind). So while the league is out of reach, we have a good shot at the Champs league. If we get by Villareal first of course, and ManU beats Porto.
elbondo
I can understand everyone's disappointment about parts of our performance but I think we need to give credit to Villareal. They play very good football and its a difficult place for any team to go. Plus their style of playing is very different to what our players have been used to so I think we should cut ourselves some slack. I find myself feeling very confident about the second leg and I hope this doesn't come back and haunt me. We need the players to keep their feet on the ground and hope that our style and pace of play in England will prove too much for them at our home ground.
Gooner_Vin
I can understand everyone's disappointment about parts of our performance but I think we need to give credit to Villareal. They play very good football and its a difficult place for any team to go. Plus their style of playing is very different to what our players have been used to so I think we should cut ourselves some slack. I find myself feeling very confident about the second leg and I hope this doesn't come back and haunt me. We need the players to keep their feet on the ground and hope that our style and pace of play in England will prove too much for them at our home ground.
Gooner_Vin
I wish people would stop harping on like we were supposed to go out there and smash this mob 3/4-0, show some respect, they're a superb little side.
shewore
I wish people would stop harping on like we were supposed to go out there and smash this mob 3/4-0, show some respect, they're a superb little side.
shewore
Reading the many posts prior and after the match, I think many have wrongly underestimated Villarreal and so unrealistic expectations were built on it. When the scoreline read 0-1 instead of 2-0, 3-0, then it must be we've had a bad first half. IMO while we were certainly not excellent in the 1st half but neither were we bad. Probably close to an average performance.
Temasek
Reading the many posts prior and after the match, I think many have wrongly underestimated Villarreal and so unrealistic expectations were built on it. When the scoreline read 0-1 instead of 2-0, 3-0, then it must be we've had a bad first half. IMO while we were certainly not excellent in the 1st half but neither were we bad. Probably close to an average performance.
Temasek
I'd say Cesc was rather quite out of it, and in playing the same system we did against Citeh, Arsene Who? made a mistake coz Nasri is no Ourshavin. I love Nasri, mind, but the class and experience of Ourshavin is something else.
Gaga
I'd say Cesc was rather quite out of it, and in playing the same system we did against Citeh, Arsene Who? made a mistake coz Nasri is no Ourshavin. I love Nasri, mind, but the class and experience of Ourshavin is something else.
Gaga
I really don't like Fabregas in that position. I know it is the only way to ease him in, but he does not play that role anywhere near as good as him in the middle of the park. Song and Denilson were ok, but due to the way Villareal set up, they had nobody to mark, making them redundant on the most part, until one of the brave fellows went forward and gave themselves a nose bleed. They had to watch the wingers instead.
Tom14
I really don't like Fabregas in that position. I know it is the only way to ease him in, but he does not play that role anywhere near as good as him in the middle of the park. Song and Denilson were ok, but due to the way Villareal set up, they had nobody to mark, making them redundant on the most part, until one of the brave fellows went forward and gave themselves a nose bleed. They had to watch the wingers instead.
Tom14
 

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