Changes up front… Van Persie, Bendtner Injured… Adebayor & Eduardo back in contention…

Incy Wincy spider climbing up the spout, Down came the rain and washed the spider out, Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, Now Incy Wincy spider went up the spout again!

On second thoughts, that has nothing to do with the International break...

So, contrary to discussions yesterday, Robin Van Persie has picked up a groin injury and will play no further part in the Internationals this week - he's joined by Nikki B who has suffered a knee injury - both players returning to Arsenal - both players unable to play hopscotch with Rosicky due to their groin and knee injuries respectively...

Adebayor and Eduardo will be playing for their countries tomorrow and I'm very nervous. Both players are fit and very much needed now that we have the aforementioned two injuries. Talking about injuries and talking about Adebayor, here's what the Togan had to say about our season so far:

Incy Wincy spider climbing up the spout, Down came the rain and washed the spider out, Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, Now Incy Wincy spider went up the spout again!

Only kidding, this is the real quote:

“Most of our players have been injured. We have missed Eduardo for several months, Tomas Rosicky for about a year, Theo Walcott for three or four months, Cesc Fabregas for almost six months and I have also been injured for two or three weeks.

If Manchester United had to do without Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs, Berbatov and Nani, they would not have the same team as they have now – they would not be winning every game. When we get those players back, we will have a chance of winning something.”

And that’s something I’m quite sure of… although, early season defeats did see Ade, Walcott and Cesc in the team, but I see where the big man is coming from.

There’s quite a storm brewing over in the legal department after Cesc Fabregas admitted the tapping up incident with Real Madrid last summer. What will happen now? Will Real Madrid be fined? The Arsenal captain spoke about the tapping up and his commitment to Arsenal:

“It’s true the president of Real Madrid called me personally – we spoke on the phone. But I never gave him my word that I was going to sign for Real Madrid. He asked about my progress and that was it. I have not given him nor anyone else the expectation that I will join them. The same goes for anyone who represents me.

“I am a person of my work and I can assure you that I have never given any club reason to believe that I would leave Arsenal. Nobody can say that they have agreed with me that I become part of their project. That is clear. It is an incredible compliment that two of the most important clubs in the world are interested in you, but I am an Arsenal player and have a contract with them until 2014.”

Astonishing revelation by the skipper – what does this mean now? Will Arsenal take action? I certainly would.

Do you remember something Ramon “I am a liar” Calderon once said:

“Every coach likes him but my policy is that it has to be the player who makes the first step for the signing because we don’t want conflicts with any team”

It’s outrageous that the president of one club can personally call the player of another club, who is under contract. That is tapping up at the highest degree and something must be done about it.

More Cesc related news and Hull have submitted their phoney made up lie evidence in regards to the spitting incident that never was… Phil “I am a liar” Brown, aka Hull “We’re going down” manager said this:

“My evidence has gone in, Brian Horton’s evidence has gone in and Sean Rush’s evidence has as well. That is all that has been necessary as regards to us up to now. There is an independent solicitor representing us and hopefully there will be no bias towards any one club.”

Brown is such a stupid little Arsenal hating manager – a la Sam Allardyce – why do they hate us so much? It’s because they’re stupid and little. Well, Big Sam is not little, maybe little in the brain, big in the pie eating department…

Hmmm… food for thought. Under 21′s tonight and they’ll be without Agbonlahor who’s been called up for Darren Bent who got injured (how many strikers can get injured in one International break?)…

More tomorrow…]]>

A blogless weekend as the board cashuffle a little…

So, it's Monday and week 2 of the International break... England won on the weekend, which was interesting, no Arsenal players, so not all that interesting... Although in Arsenal related Internationals, Adebayor scored for Togo and Nikki B got injured for Denmark - look's like it one in and one out in the striking department. Van Persie also scored and had a good run out.

Today I feel like some major quoting. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote. Quote, quote, quote.

Back to the goings on at board level, and announced over at Arsenal.com was the board cahuffle and reshuffle of shares. Fiszman looks to have pocketed a fair amount of cash and Kroenke has increase his share in the club... here's the official text from the web site:

Commenting on the transaction, Mr Fiszman said: 

“I am pleased that Stan Kroenke has made a further substantial commitment to the Club by acquiring approximately a third of my holding. Stan’s long term commitment to sport in general and football in particular has been well documented. I am therefore delighted that he has shown this desire to deepen his ties with Arsenal. I will of course continue to work for Arsenal with the best interests of the Club at heart and have no intention of selling any more of my shareholding.”

Mr Kroenke stated:

“After having been invited to join the Board last year I am delighted to be able to increase my shareholding in Arsenal. I will continue to work closely with my Board colleagues to maintain the stable environment in which the Club operates and to preserve the self-sustaining business model enjoyed by the Club.”

Peter Hill-Wood, Chairman, commented:

“Stan Kroenke has proved to be a valuable member of the Board and I am pleased that he has demonstrated further commitment to the Club by adding to his shareholding.  Danny Fiszman remains a driving influence on the Board and is fully committed to the Club’s long term future.”

Read more here: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/chief-executive-ivan-gazidis-interview

So…

Our captain and maestro extraordinaire, Cesc Fabregas, thinks that a miracle is possible. I think a miracle is possible too. We’ve got 24 points to play for and 24 points can be won. We’ve got United, Chelsea and Liverpool to play, so can reduce their points tally by 3 a peice. Of course we start again this Saturday with Man City at home. You can just see Cesc Fab breaking into song now…

“I believe in miracles.

“It has happened before in football so why not this year? But it is going to be difficult. Right now we have to think about catching Chelsea and then we will think about the others. But what we have to think about is winning the eight games we have remaining.”

“You can see he (Arshavin) is a special player and when he plays everyone expects him to do something,” added the 21-year-old. “We are very happy to have him. It is a shame he cannot play in the Champions League, but I am sure he can have a very big impact until the end of the season.”

P.S. If you want a laugh then check this out… http://www.oleole.com/media/main/podcasts/arsecast/hull_evidence.jpg.

Okay, time for tea and to look forward to tomorrows Under 21 clash…]]>

It's a crazy busy Friday…

* Not exactly a million, but maybe somewhere between 4 and 6.

So, let’s take a whizz around and see what’s going on…

News broke yesterday that Milan are interesting in signing Emmanuel Adebayor. And that’s great news. The Togan is not worth anything near £35m and if we were to get even half that, I’d be a happy man. The report / quote below was taken from the Daily Mail, which also reports that Ade is currently on £160,000 per week. Anyone think that is a little bit crazy and maybe a little untrue.

AC Milan are hatching a plan to lure Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor to Italy, according to reports. 

Il Corriere Dello Sport claims Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who also has Gunners left back Gael Clichy on his radar, is devising a master plan to convince Arsene Wenger to part with the £35million-rated Adebayor.

But the striker signed a long-term contract with Arsenal last summer after fervent transfer speculation, which was reported to have doubled his wages to £80,000-a-week. 

What would happen if Ade left us? Well, I think we would be richer and still have a target man who misses a lot in Bendtner. I think we’d play Eduardo, Vela and Walcott more, albeit not a fan of reducing our squad size, so if he did go, I’d suggest we promote Simpson or Sunu. Someone else who may be leaving in the Summer in Amaury “I’m crap” Bischoff… who’s agent, Pascal Granier has been in the press.

“We have clubs interested in Amaury, there are plenty of clubs in Europe interested in my players.

“I have links in France, Germany and even in England for my players.

“We just need to wait a bit and sit down with him [Bischoff] and we will decide his future.”

Oh well, what a big loss! What a disloyal agent too…

So down to the more interesting news and Gael Clichy is looking past Villarea-who? and Man Who-nited and looking straight to the final where he wants to meet Barcelona. Okay, well, I’m sure he’s not really looking past those two teams and knows that it’s going to be hard, but of course, that would be a dream final (especially out of Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona and Munich) and would be awesome to exact some kind of revenge.

So Villareal want revenge on us (for beating them a couple a years back)… United want revenge for their 2-1 defeat at the Emirates and we want revenge for Barcelona’s win in the CL final all those years ago…

Clichy had this to say:

“The final of the Champions League will be played against a top European team. But I think, and have a feeling, it will be Barcelona.

“They have so many great players. It will be good for revenge because they beat us last time. However, it is a task to go through by beating Villarreal and Manchester United.”

And the rest of the news sees Van Persie talk about how we’re better suited than Villa to clinch the CL positions… also how he wanted to move to Rangers in his early days and finally some guy called Moussa Dembele isn’t coming to us this summer… oh no!

So after 4 days of silence, there it is, a massive day of footballing stories for your pleasure…

All that leaves me to say is “Come On England…”

Til tomorrow]]>

Much a do about nothing… day 4…

Almunia has been hosting a web chat over on arsenal.com, but that's about all that's going on. Breaking news about Mark Randall wanting to get some loan experience just doesn't cut the intensity of a game every three days and fighting on all fronts...

The only news we have today is that fact that despite not playing for us for the previous X amounts of weeks, Emmanuel Adebayor is going to play for his country. In one way, it's good - if he's ready, then it's good match practice before he returns to the Emirates. The Togan coach said:

“Ade did not come here for nothing, he is here to play against Cameroon.

“He is the main man for the national team. He is my captain, the nation can count on him.

“He has always given his best for the country so he will be a boost to the squad. He is a wonderful player.”

Okay, if you say so Mr. Thissen – the fact that he’s been woeful for Arsenal this season surely may contribute to the fact that you shouldn’t play an injured player. Anywho – I’ve lost my ability to care about what happens with Adebayor – since he’s been out of the team, we started to win and score goals…

In the meanwhile, Matty Almunia must be mega-bored when the International break comes. He’s stuck at the Emirates with… hmmm, let me think… the injured players, so that’s Cesc at the moment and always Rosicky. Maybe Rosicky organises games for these weeks or something. Hopscotch?

Almunia probably hates hopscotch and said:

“People are asking this question now because I have been in England for five years and am able to apply for a passport.

“I am taking in the information, what I need to do for a passport. I think, for January next year, maybe I can have the permission.

“Maybe I will get a passport, then after, if I get the call-up [from England], I will think about this.”

Oh yeah, baby, that’s the spirit – it would be the weirdest thing ever seeing Almunia play for England. I’m surprised he hasn’t got a Spanish call up to be honest. So hang in there Matty A… someone will come a calling soon…]]>

Much a do about nothing…

Having spent 7 hours in A&E yesterday, as my sister came down with a severe bout of food poisoning, and then a whole day at the office, my energy levels are at an all time low.

News today is than Milan are interested in signing Gael Clichy to replace the legend that is Paulo Maldini, but to be honest, it's all paper talk. Here's the quote from Clichy if you're interested:

“I don’t know anything. I am very happy at Arsenal. It is true AC Milan are a great club. It is flattering to know you are followed by such a team.”

Arsene is the other person to make a little squeak this transfer window and he has touched on the youth policy versus bringing in established signings. We’ve seen players like Bendtner, Walcott, Djourou, Denilson and Song really get their chances this season and all of them have started to come through now after a dodgy start to the season.

“I knew when I decided to go for a young team what would hit me,” he said. “I was prepared for that. I am pleased that I was not wrong but we have a long way to go and a lot to improve.”

With Arshavin joining and Eduardo coming back, we’ve got a bit more International pedigree. I don’t want to sound like a Sp*rs supporter, but next season could really be the start of something special.

And that’s about it for today. More tomorrow.]]>

2009 unbeatables?

If I'm correct our unbeaten run looks something like this:

  1. Chelsea – 2 – 1
  2. Wigan Athletic – 1 – 0
  3. Middlesbrough – 1 – 1
  4. Liverpool – 1 – 1
  5. Aston Villa – 2 – 2
  6. Portsmouth – 1 – 0
  7. Bolton Wanderers – 1 – 0
  8. Hull City – 3 – 1
  9. Everton – 1 – 1
  10. West Ham United – 0 – 0
  11. Tottenham Hotspur – 0 – 0
  12. Sunderland – 0 – 0
  13. Fulham – 0 – 0
  14. W.B.A. – 3 – 1
  15. Blackburn Rovers – 4 – 0
  16. Newcastle United – 3 – 1

Yes, there are a lot of draws in there, but a decent little run we’ve put together. We’ve got a tough run in which sees us start by playing Man City on Saturday 4th April as well as trips to Liverpool, Manchester United and a home game against Chelsea. But it’s good to put this sort of a run together. With the addition of Arshavin and Walcott and Eduardo in and out of the side recently it’s added a bit more of an attacking presence. In one way, the International break has given time to Theo to recover and Arsene thinks he’ll be back for the home game against Villareal, which is awesome news.

Van Persie, two assists on Saturday, is feeling good about the way we’re playing…

“I feel we are unbeatable.I go out there thinking we can win every game.

“Even when Newcastle drew level I couldn’t help but feel confident. I never thought ‘oh no, we are not going to win’. When Martins scored the first thing I did was look at the time and I saw we had another half-hour left and I was convinced we would win. We are just not dropping points anymore. We are not doing those silly things which have cost us earlier in the season. 

“I still look back at the dropped points and it hurts. We are 10 points behind Manchester United and six points behind Chelsea. They were silly mistakes and we lost some silly points against teams who we should have beaten. It is hard to take but that is football. It is a tough lesson to learn.  But if we carry on in the same way we will not drop any more silly points and who knows what will happen in the League, the FA Cup and the Champions League? We are certainly coming into great form at just the right time.”

It’s good to here a bit of fight from the team. We do have a serious chance of winning the Champions League and FA Cup. And we do have a serious chance of catching at least one of the three teams above us. Arhsavin has been a great addition to the team. He’s a really good player and when Walcott got injured to have the depth to be able to field Arshavin and Nasri and have Vela and Eboue on the bench is finally where we want to be. Just one player addition has really made the difference.

Arshavin is illegible for the Champions League, which is such a shame – imagine if he was legible, we’d have a greater chance. He’s come out and said that he’s enjoying his stay and much more comfortable now:

“The players have been friendly, I feel comfortable with the team. It is too early to make any conclusions, since little time has past, but my contract is long enough. It will probably last until the end of my career.”

Which is also very good news… it’s important for him to feel good and there is an air of respect between him and the rest of the team. Walcottt’s back soon, and so is Cesc and Ade. Rosicky aside, we’ll have a full compliment eventually – oh yeah, and then there’s this player we signed from Man United, Silvest-something or other…

Anyway, happy Tuesdays… not much else going on in the world of Arsenal – damn International break!]]>

The start of the two week break…

Today is a very frustrating day in the world of Arsenal as we start a two week International break. Just as we were gathering momentum and Man United and Chelsea started losing, the law of International games breaking up the lovely Premier League campaign has duly kicked in... England are playing [hold, let me google this] two teams this mid-week and weekend and they're probably going to be dull and dour affairs - with no Arsenal players involved for England, we'll have to look abroad to see how our players do. Knowing the consequences of an International window, we should all be crossing our fingers hoping we don't suffer from more injuries!

Arsene has been in the papers again. He said he is crazy and he says we can still win the league. It's true, we can - but it would require a massive slip up by United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

“I still have hope because I am a little bit crazy. Realistically, no [it is not on]. But it does not matter how much chance that we have, we have to get as close as possible. It happens to teams. Manchester United are still in a strong position. No team has looked like they were not vulnerable at all this year. Nobody has been really dominating this League this year. We have all had our weak periods.   Manchester United won 10 games 1-0 and they have the quality to finish it off. But you can see how important psychology is to a team.

“They had a big disappointment last week. That is difficult for everybody. When you have a big knock it sometime takes you a long time to recover but they will recover. I am sure of that because their manager has experience, their players have experience and they have one game in hand.”

So, if we do somehow win every single fixture we play, then we will end up on 89 points. By winning all of our remaining 8 fixtures, we will beat United, Chelsea and Liverpool on the way. United have an easy run in, but do have to play Villa next,  Middlesborough away and the Manchester derby. Three more games they could easily drop points in. Let’s say they draw all three, suddenly, we’ve made up 9 points on them (including when we beat them, which would see us level on points)… very interesting…

It’s a crazy ambition, but very possible – just as Man United won 10 games in a row earlier this season, we could do the same. I really do think we’re on a run so fingers crossed, let’s see how far up the table we can finish!

Meanwhile, up in the Midlands, Matin O’Neill has talking playing down Villa top four hope and commented that Arsenal are not cactchable – a little bit of a mind game telling us we’re safe a dry now, trying to pounce if we slip up. Let’s use this as a warning:

“You would have to say now there won’t be much of a threat from us to Arsenal’s position. It’s no fluke that the top four are where they are and we are in a dip right now. We are not as strong as those four clubs. I have said it many times before and I will say it again – we still have a lot of catching up to do. It is still reachable as Arsenal have many tough games to come. But they are getting some of their injured players back and it’s going to be very, very tough.”

We do need to focus on gaining ground and our next game is a home game against Man City – the team who inflicted our heaviest defeat of the season on us… time for more revenge? That game is on the 4th of April… it’ll be agony!

The next two weeks will see me write about not much at all…!!!

Til tomorrow…]]>

Newcastle 1 – 3 Arsenal…

A couple of weeks ago, the table looked very grim. It felt like we were something like 16 points behind Man United - we were 6 points Villa and within minutes of going 8 points behind them (thanks Stoke), a worse goal difference and an inability to score but after this weekend, we've scored three goals away from home, to keep ourselves unbeaten this year. We've clawed back 9 points on Villa to go three points ahead of them (they're playing United next) and have much better goal difference. What a difference a month makes in the world of football.

Yesterday was a nervy game, a game that we would have struggled with before - but did really well to come away with the win. Newcastle have been struggling and have found themselves in the bottom 3 - the game yesterday had a lot of importance for them and just as much for us, which made for a great game.

Our line up saw a familiar 11 with Diaby in for Song and Nasri and Arshavin starting on the wings. Eduardo was on the bench and good to see he's recovered from his latest injury - I'd expect him to start on the bench for a while as he's been suffering with a few injuries since he's been back in action.

Newcastle started the stronger team and for the best part of the first half, they were the better team. Damien Duff was inspired and with Duff, Martins and Lovenkrands they had invention, pace and desire. But our defence was up to the challenge and Sagna and Clichy both showed why they were named full backs of the year last year. A dodgy penalty for an innocuous challenge could have seen us go behind, but Almunia saved well from a half hearted Martins penalty.

The second half was much more interesting from our point of view and it was certainly a game of two halves. A free kick on the left of midfield and our new hero, Andrei Arshavin, who seems to be involved in everything good at the moment, swung in a great cross and Bendtner headed from close-ish range. It was less than 60 seconds later when Newcastle equalised through Martins. He was a livewire up front and a player above the team he was playing in, so as the ball bobbled for a split second past our defence, Martins snapshot ended up in the back of the net.

It was fitting that we regain the lead soon afterwards - especially when Steven Taylor was off the pitch - the Newcastle player having assaulted Andrei Arshavin earlier - as Diaby burst into the middle of the opposition's defence, finishing with aplomb. Within minutes, Nasri, from a tight angle, finished well, and the points were secure.

A few things to talk about - firstly, the rugby tackle on Clichy - how on earth did that go unpunished? Secondly, the clothes line attack on Arshavin - a definite red! And finally, why has nothing been done about Diouf's attack on Almunia? Answers on a postcard.

Arsene spoke after the game and said:

“I think it was a very good football game, one where Newcastle played well. They had a very good first half and put us under pressure and could have been in front, of course, with the penalty. They had two or three other good chances. In the second half we kept the tempo high, slowly took over and then won the game in a convincing way. I must say as well Newcastle were unfortunate to lose players, like Sebastien Bassong and Steven Taylor, at the wrong period of the game.”

“It was a good opportunity today, to close in on those at the top. You never know, even in a one in a billion chance, we want to come back and fight to get as close to the team at the top.”

“We feel that we are on a very good run and improving in every game. This is a young side and the spirit is great, the quality is there and we feel we can go forward from game to game. People don’t realise how young we are in the Premier League, and what we achieve. I think today you had six or seven players between 20 and 22-years of age.”

That’s very true – and just imagine if we win all our games from now until the end of the season, surely that would see us finish second? With the news that Walcott’s injury is not as bad as first thought, it’s been a good weekend for the Arsenal.

———————————————————————————–

 

Newcastle: Harper, Steven Taylor (Owen 65), Coloccini, Bassong (Beye 38), Jose Enrique, Ryan Taylor, Butt, Nolan, Duff, Lovenkrands (Ameobi 79), Martins.
Subs Not Used: Krul, Smith, Gutierrez, Geremi.

Goals: Martins 58.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Arshavin (Song Billong 74), Denilson, Diaby, Nasri, Van Persie, Bendtner (Eboue 89).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Eduardo, Vela, Djourou, Gibbs.

Booked: Gallas.

Goals: Bendtner 57, Diaby 64, Nasri 67.

Att: 49,972

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).]]>

Newcastle vs Arsenal: Team

Almunia

Sagna  - Toure (c) – Gallas – Clichy

Nasri – Denilson – Diaby – Arshavin

Bendtner – Van Persie

With a bench of:

Fabianski, Djourou, Song, Gibbs, Eboue, Edaurdo and Vela

Come on you Gunners!!!]]>

Match Preview: Newcastle United vs Arsenal

Newcastle United v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, March 21, 2009, 17:30

Newcastle are a team whom always seem to struggle, always seems to lose to Man United but always give us a hard time.

Walcott out, Eduardo In

We’ve got a decent group of players back from injury apart from Theo Walcott who picked up an injury training yesterday. The Walcott injury is the most worrying of them all. Some sources say he is out for the rest of the season, some say it’s two weeks – the truth is unkown! Eduardo is back in the squad and will most probably start on the bench.

Arsene revealed that he is worried about the new injury:

“Walcott got injured today in training. We have to test it, he has a scan on his knee today.  We are surprised and worried. He was in very good form coming back and that is very bad news for us and for England. For the rest of the season might be too long, but he’s out of tomorrow’s squad and he could be out of the England squad. He locked his knee so it could be a cartilage problem. He did it walking back from training. He was fully normal during training but maybe it only came out when he stopped. We have to see how he responds today and I hope it’s not really serious.”

It was very good to have him back in the team, so quite a loss. We don’t have another league game until April 4th so, it gives him two weeks to recover. But I supposed we won’t know more until tomorrow or Monday.

On a better note, Almunia is back and ready to play so, no doubt, he’ll start in goal tomorrow. Having had some rest and before an International break, I’d expect Nasri and Van Persie both to start and being away, Bendtner should start as well.

I expect the following line up:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Toure – Clichy

Nasri – Song – Denilson – Arshavin

Bendtner – Van Persie

With Fabianksi, Djourou, Gibbs, Diaby, Eboue, Eduardo and Vela on the bench.

More team news may follow, but if not then come on you Gooners!!!]]>

Bring it on… Villareal and then United and then Barcelona…

It's been a busy morning and we've all joined forces on the previous posts, whilst the draw was revealed and partaken in the nail biting slow one by one selection.

So we've got Villareal, and I have to say I am happy with the tie, no doubt. Villareal and Porto were the two weakest teams in the last 8 and Villareal probably weaker than Porto, so we've got a good deal. We do have to tendancy to not play well when we're favourites but this year I think we've learnt a lot. We've nearly been out of the Champions League when we really should have sown it up - we've nearly been languishing 5th and somehow got back to 4th in the league.

This draw is a draw in our favour. Yes, we can beat Villareal and yes I believe, Manchester United will beat Porto. So that would leave a mouth-watering tie against Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Champions League. It will be epic.

 Ivan Gazidis was the first to speak about it...

“Villarreal are going to be a real challenge. We have a young team, and we believe in the quality of our team, but every step in this journey is a challenge for us. We are laser-focused on the next round. We think we can get a result, but when we played them in 2006 we only just squeaked by. It will be a difficult test.

“The one thing we do believe in is not just the quality of the team, but also the character of our team. I think we saw that in the really difficult environment in Rome. Young player after young player made their penalty kicks when they had to. And we will have to draw on those reserves of character to get past Villarreal.

“We have never lost belief in ourselves. We have a superb group of young players. We still believe there is a potential for a really great season for us. We can beat anybody on our day. But we can’t think beyond Villarreal. We will worry about the next step if we can get by the Yellow Submarine.

“In 2006 we missed out on this trophy by a nose. It might be our year this year. But it is not going to happen just because we want it to. Don’t underestimate the depth of character we have.”

Put all of this in your diary!

Quarter Finals: 1st leg
Villarreal CF v Arsenal
At Estadio El Madrigal
Tuesday 7th April 2009

Quarter Final: 2nd leg
Arsenal v Villarreal CF
At Emirates Stadium
Wednesday 15th April 2009

and the dates and times for the semi’s are:

Semi Final: 1st leg
Manchester United v Arsenal
Wednesday 29th April 2009

Semi Final:  2nd leg
Arsenal v Manchester United
Tuesday 5th May 2009
All matches kick off 19.45 UK time]]>