Villareal 1 – 1 Arsenal… The away goal is in the locker…

Villarreal 1-1 Arsenal

UEFA Champions League
Tuesday, April 07, 2009, 19:45

I was livid during the first half, as we seemed to give the ball away and our play was reminiscent of a team scared of playing. It reminded me of last time we were there, and I wasn’t a happy bunny whatsoever. With Senna putting the “submarines” ahead, it looked like the home team may have gone on to really turn the screw.

But well done to the team for coming back into it. It was really a game of two halves. Having been outclassed by the Spanish opposition in the first half, we were quite irresistible the second (except for the last 5 minutes + stoppage time)… but for all our play we were not clinical in front of goal. Adebayor was heavily marked, but he was guilty of some bad play – but how can you criticise a man who possibly scored the goal of the Champions League to equalise? And what a goal it was. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s worth finding and watching… Arsene was very happy at the goal and said this about it:

“It was a great goal, but it was a great game as well. [The goal] was unexpected. At the start his body was a bit in the wrong position to score, but he managed to turn that into an advantage for him. After we had many dangerous situations where we could have scored a second goal.”

And indeed, well done Ade. 

1-1 is a decent result. We didn’t lose, we got the away goal and now we can win at the Emirates. Yesterday’s result at Old Trafford should be a warning that we can easily be undone if we’re not focussed enough. But focus starts this Saturday with the league…

But the game came with some problems and we’ve got two of our best players out – Almunia and Gallas. Fabianski came on for Almunia in the first half and Djourou for Gallas, both playing well. Initial reports are that Gallas has a serious knee ligament injury – which raises the question – why was he sent back on? Surely it’s only made it worse. News from the grapevine is that he’s out for the season. With Almunia suffering a recurrence of his ankle injury – we may be without the stopper for the next month.

These two injuries could prove very costly.

“With Gallas, it looks quite serious and could be medial knee ligament injury. We will have to assess it. I am not a doctor, but the first signs do not look too good. Manuel is a reoccurrence of an ankle injury, which probably will be a couple of weeks.”

Arsene spoke about the match after the game and commented on how the players always find an answer… maybe not always Arsene (Hull, Stoke, Fulham…) but yesterday’s “comeback” was quite spiriting:

“Both teams played well at a high tempo and in an offensive way. Villarreal started stronger than us and the early goal made it very difficult. But In the second half, it was a great response and we took over. It puts us in a great position, but we want to qualify at home and to repeat the type of performance we did in the second half.

“I am confident, [because of] the quality we have shown added to the mental strength and desire we have shown. But we know Villarreal are a good team as well, so we will be on our toes and focused at Emirates. We have a little chance to recover some players who are out as well. But before that we have a big game at Wigan and we need not to lose other players.” 

“This team has shown the whole season they are mentally very strong and when they have back to the wall, these young players always find an answer which is very interesting for a young team. I believe we have created momentum. We are a very young team, but are able to focus. We have shown with the consistency we have in the Premier League that we are able to concentrate every three days, and at that age, that is a big quality.”

So, time to forget about the Champions League for the next four days and concentrate on Wigan away… our time to extend the gap between us and Villa and close in on the top three.

————————————————————————-

Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Angel, Godin, Rodriguez, Capdevila, Cani (Fernandez 46), Senna, Eguren, Ibagaza (Franco 79), Rossi, Llorente (Pires 70). 

Subs Not Used: Viera, Nihat, Javi Venta, Fuentes.

Goals: Senna 10.

Arsenal: Almunia (Fabianski 28), Sagna, Toure, Gallas (Djourou 42), Clichy, Denilson, Song Billong, Walcott (Eboue 78), Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor. 
Subs Not Used: Vela, Silvestre, Bendtner, Gibbs.

Booked: Song Billong, Fabregas, Adebayor, Nasri.

Goals: Adebayor 66.

Ref: Tom Ovrebo (Norway).]]>

  • devday

    Fabianski got man of the match…!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[woah ! Congrats to him. He seems to have handled the pressure very well. It was his first Champions League game, was it ? Certainly his first Champions League quarterfinal.

    I'm not yet completely comfortable with him. I think he has room to improve. Maybe he just needs more games. But I think it's fair to say he's a pretty decent keeper.]]>

  • Debs

    It was his second CL game. And yeah, he definitely has room to improve, but the signs are good. And he seems like such a confident lad, which is one of the reasons why I like him.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA["Meanwhile, injury-plagued midfielder Tomas Rosicky has asked not to feature for the club's reserve side against Tottenham this Thursday in a bid to avoid any further setbacks."

    I find that statement slightly worrying.]]>

  • Debs

    I hope to God that it’s simply precautionary, not anything else, but I’m slightly confident, cos in his interview with ATVO recently, it sounded as if he was definitely going to be back soon. I hope so with all my heart!!!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…he played against Fener didn’t he? He deserves his MOM award. And that is very very worrying indeed Zohaib…i can’t make sense of it… If u r fit to play….well plz do! That’s certainly not what Edu’s attitude was… I hope it was typed wrong/misinterpreted as opposed to him actually meaning that…

  • Debs

    maybe he’s just ever so slightly concerned and feels like he needs a bit more time?

  • Debs

    On a lighter note, just watching past seasons CL highlights, including one against Dinamo Zagreb in 2006 and guess who scores against us? Eduardo!!!

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Thought football was mathematics, today I learnt better. Whoever says the premier league is not the best should check if he is with his right senses. How on earth can you explain Liverpool doing Man U and couple of weeks later, Chelsea do Liverpool.

    Its had me worried so much because we have to meet Chelsea and play them in the FA cup, the sign to me isnt good because whenever Drogba and The beast
    (Essien) plays for them we never get it right. Am really scared to death.

    And again I was assessing what players do we have to challenge them Walcott , Nasiri; oh unless Arshavin and Rosicky plays. To me the answer to Chelsea will have to be a fit Rosicky. Then again the defence, our defence, am so gutted and sooooo concerned it worries me to death. But like I said earlier football is not mathematics and can never be.]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Got my ticket! Can't wait!

    Barca were unbelievable tonight and looks like they'll meet Chelsea for an exciting semi.

    Our half of the draw is much tighter, and Wednesday will be really especially with the man u game playing out simultaneously.]]>