Arsenal 3 – 0 Villareal, through to the semis…

Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal
UEFA Champions League
Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 19:45

For those of you who missed the goals, here they are. So, we’re through – a slighty nervy game, of course, until we scored the third!

The line up was pretty much as expected, Sagna, however suffering a virus and a surprise absence. Eboue came in at right back, Denilson dropped to the bench and Van Persie was fit enough to start. The line up was:

Fabianski

Eboue – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs

Walcott – Song – Cesc – Nasri

Adebayor – Van Persie

We started well and it only took 10 mins for us to establish a lead when Cesc flighted a beautiful ball into Theo’s path who delightfully chipped the keeper. It was a goal deserving of a good start and our formation was clearly working for us as we dominated the early proceedings. Walcott was a continual threat down the right and Cesc was showing the form that we saw last season. We first closing down the opposition at every opportunity and really had the bit between our teeth.

However, the dominance wore off and Villareal had a decent spell after the opening 30 minutes, the referee awarding a plethora of free kicks, but Fabianski’s aerial prowess ensured there were no real chances. The makeshift defence holding strong. Villareal surely identified Eboue and Gibbs as two potential weak areas and focused their play down the wings, but both players did well to stiffle their chances. Despite our defensive fralities, it was Villareal’s defence that looked like it was there for the taking. A tactical rest of the half saw the half end 1-0.

In the second half , the Spanish opposition came out with more intent, and for the first fifteen minutes dominated possession. Robert Pires, who was given a standing ovation pre-game, was instrumental, but we were ready to counter attack. The second goal came from such an event, when Van Persie slipped in Adebayor for his 5th goal in 4 games (for club and country) finishing well with the outside of his right. It has to be said that the Togan was very very guilty of overplaying and being offside, but when the record says 5 in 4, I suppose you’ve got to put up with it – wait for the moment of magic.

After the second goal, it was really all us, and it looked like we could take Villareal to the cleaners. A somewhat harsh penalty was awarded to us and Eguren was sent off. Van Persie duly made it 3-0 and chances also fell to Ade, VP, Eboue and substitutes Bendtner and Diaby. All in all a very good result and 3-0 is quite a statement in the quaterfinal of the Champions League.

After the game, the boss said:

“I announced before the game that we would play to win and you could see that with the team we had out. It was a very offensive team and we did it in a convincing way against a team who kept the ball well. But every time we won the ball back, we used our passing and our pace and caused them a lot of problems with that.”I believe that I was more impressed by the quality of our game and overall the speed of our game. Overall I believe against Villarreal who have a very good techincal level, we gave them problems where they didn’t like it. That means going in behind them with the ball and being very explosive in our counter-attacking. We did that very well.”

“We have confidence and that is down to the slow progress we have accumulated from game to game in the championship. Confidence transfers from one competition to the other thats why we cannot choose any competition and just want to play well in every single competition.”

“In the first half sometimes I think he [Adebayor] was a bit affected mentally because he was a few times offiside But now he is strong mentally and he just kept going and scored a great goal in the second half.”Theo’s finishing – he is now calm in front of goal. The way he finished last week at Wigan and this week in a Champions League game shows that he will score goals.”

“Sagna was sick and he has played many games as well so we decided to send him home and rest him today, I knew that had Eboue who is as well very good and can play midfield, or right-back or anywhere.”

Well done to the boys, we’ve got Man United in the semi finals…

But before that, a small matter of Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final at Wembley…

Til tomorrow…

—————————————————————-

Arsenal: Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Walcott (Denilson 77), Song Billong, Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor (Bendtner 83), Van Persie (Diaby 77). 

Subs Not Used: Mannone, Eduardo, Vela, Ramsey.

Booked: Silvestre, Gibbs.

Goals: Walcott 10, Adebayor 60, Van Persie 69 pen.

Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Angel, Rodriguez, Godin, Capdevila, Cani (Pablo 70), Eguren, Bruno (Nihat 64), Fernandez (Ibagaza 64), Pires, Rossi. 

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

Sent Off: Eguren (68).

Booked: Eguren, Cani, Godin.

Agg (4-1)

Att: 58,233

Ref: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Just got back from the game, and the overall impression is that it was a cruise. We really dominated the game, and it even looked as tho the ball had crossed the line for a villareal o.g. shortly before half time.

    Some great finishing from a lively Theo, and a frequently offside Ade.

    (I'm a fan of Ade but must admit it's annoying when he's offside for a whole move, calls for the ball, doesn't get it cos he's offside, and then complains to Eboue or Walcott cos they didn't pass!)

    But it was a great team effort with Fabianski, Gibbs and Silvestre doing well. Bring on the semis.]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I thought Song was immense last night...played a blinding game. Cracking result for the gooners and hope we continue our good form through to the end of the campaign.

    I am gutted that Man U are through as I really wanted to play Porto in the next round.]]>

  • Yemi

    T’was a great game and a great result. apart from the referees decisions that were sometimes off mark. Like the penalty, maybe he looked at intent rather than the actual challenge and theo did a good job of falling too. Ade, nasri – good. cesc, song, back four, fabianski – better. Theo- the best!!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Wenger went with a 4 - 4 - 2, which was brave. And I have to say, I respect him for being brave. I suppose he had one eye on the Chelsea FA cup semifinal game on the weekend too, so he decided to rest Denilson and possibly Sagna too, which shows that he was being intelligent as well as brave. Great stuff from the professor.

    As a result of us being sure that we wanted to attack, coupled with the attacking line-up and formation, we looked comfortable and solid, and by the 70th minute, had the game wrapped up with a score of 3 - 0. I was getting a bit annoyed why he wasn't bringing people off and putting substitutes on, and finally he did.

    So now, in effect, we have Sagna (possibly), Djourou (possibly), Clichy (possibly), Denilson (played 25 mins), Diaby (played 25 mins), Vela, Arshavin, Walcott (played 75 mins), Bendtner (played 8 mins), VanPersie (played 75 mins), and Eduardo (possibly), all fit and fresh for the Chelsea game.

    Cesc, Song, Nasri and Ade (played 82 mins) had a long game. They might be a bit jaded for Chelsea, though I hope not.
    Cesc's got back from injury and needs games, so hopefully his tank isn't close to empty just yet. Diaby's just got back and maybe Diaby - Cesc would be a decent shout at CM, since Song may be too tired. Denilson's available and fresh too. Arshavin in for Nasri, Walcott at RM, and VanPersie and Eduardo up front. Ooh la la.
    Just hope we can get Sagna and Djourou back for this. Fingers crossed.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I suppose Gallas is a loss too, for the Chelsea game. He had personal reasons to perform at 110%. And now he won't be involved. Djourou being a mostly solid defender would probably be a decent substitute. He's good in the air and strong. But needs more experience. Maybe he could play Drogba well. And if he isn't available, I just hope Silvestre/Toure can do the job.

    As for our strikers. Please test Cech at every opportunity. He's experiencing a loss of form and we need to capitalize !]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Suprised u didn't mention Ade and the offsides Zohaib :P It was pretty annoying honestly! Song was my man of the match... Absolutely top-class game! Got in players faces and took the ball most of the time. Top-notch stuff! The make-shift defense was solid...Eboue did well... Kolo played at his usual high standard...Silvestre showed an experienced head...felt he was a bit slow at times tho...and Gibbs did well...brilliant attacking play by him. Hopefully the boys just eat, sleep and train between now n the Chelsea game! lol Get rest lads... And we need injured players back quickly!

    Man U next? I'm pretty confident actually. We need our 1st choice players back in defence tho...and Edu fit! Kinda wanted Porto to win...but the are a tough and physical side. It seemed a rugby match at times for Utd. We kno we can beat Utd so let's have a go at the Theatre of Dreams and carry a decent result back to The Emirates! :D]]>

  • Fabrez

    *they are a tough

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Top stuff from the lads! They'll be relishing the prospect of playing the likes of Chelsea and United in such important games. Not bad for a so callec "bunch of kids" eh lol :D

    Am excited about playing United actually. It'll be tough but great to see. Resurrect our rivalry from the good old days :D Just realised that we could end up playing them 4 times before the season ends if we both progress to the FA Cup final!

    We'll done to the Gunners! All the best for Saturday!]]>

  • Kteik

    < ![CDATA[I'm here again to praise Song. (Oops, he has slowly become my Mr.Arsenal). Throughout the match, he is all over the place. Apart from ball tackling and creating a wall of back four, he seems to have a very good footwork.... incredible should be the word. I see from the match against Wigan and Villareal, top class... maybe the best among all Arsenal player...

    Seems that Flamini leaves Arsenal at the right time for Song... Wenger even prefer Song over Denilson in such an important game. This show that the future in the centre mid is Fabregas and Song]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Means that Song and Arshavin has really been the turn around fro us this season; constant playing of Song gradually built his confidence, and that FA cup against Cardiff, the one he had 2 assists really helped. As for Arshavin his buy really was a massive moral boaster for the team.

    Overall am glad to see smiles in the fans faces, hope it lingers till the end of the season.

    Zohaib, I know you still not convinced about Song, you seem not to talk too much about his play and improvement. He might be our secret weapon against Chelsea and Man U you never know.

    Hindink is a professional in exploiting weakness in team, see Lescott for England and see Gerrard for Liverpool. But to be fair i don't see what he can exploit against us, save Djourou and Gibbs. But hopefully Djourou will disappoint him and then Clichy might play.]]>

  • Pissed off

    And the young lad has really got style ( Song). Hope Fabregas doesn’t get jealous LOL. Hleb and Flamini are really missing the party so far.

  • devday

    Song was immense yesterday – he is so good in the tackle – it’s amazing how even when a player isn’t playing well (Song two years ago) he seems to know that they’ll come good!

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[All of a sudden i feel as if we aren't missing Flamini bcuz Song is indeed playing fantastically well. Credit to him. He's one of my favourites. The way he goes and goes and goes at a player until he just edges the ball away is amazing. His determination and persistence with tackiling is very good. And it is true to say that Song won't b as good as he is if Flamini were here. He has grasped his chance and when the majority were writing him off...credit to Arsene...he seems stubborn but he can see things in players and he's done well with seeing that Song would repay his trust. All of a sudden, we don't need a DM? Hmm? Denilson has been steadily improving too.

    To me, Arsene has done something special with giving these young guys a chance because the faith he shows in them, they'll hopefully repay to him, the fans and the Club. We know clubs will want to buy the likes of Song and Denilson 1 day but hopefully that faith and loyalty will make them want to stay and make us an even more amazing football club. Arsenal is a special club with special players... Gooner 4 life!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Pissed off - I apologize for causing some misunderstanding about Song, although it was completely unintentional.

    It's not that I don't notice Song's incredible performances. It's just that everybody's already said everything there is to say, so I try not to be redundant. But by no means did I intend to not give credit where it's due. Song has been absolutely fantastic recently.

    Everything seems to be coming good but still we keep having injuries to important players. I just can't understand when the injury problems will be behind us.

    I say, if there's an option to choose between buying a DM and between buying a magic potion which prevents these guys from getting injured, I'd take the magic potion. Notice the irony - 'magic potion'.

    Isn't there anything we can do to stop the injuries from screwing every season ?!]]>

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Unfortunately zohaib, injuries are part of the game. I guess this is the time for the defenders with gallas, djourou, gibbs (doubt), clichy, alumina and sagna(doubt).
    Arsene has said he might have to play sagna in leftback if gibbs is out. That means we might have a lineup like:

    fabianski
    ebuoue -- toure -- silvestre -- sagna
    theo -- cesc -- song -- arshavin
    VP -- ade

    with vela, nasri, bendner, and others on the bench
    We have 3 left backs, 1 has been deployed to centre back and 2 are out. quite fustrating.
    But i think what we have lost in defence, we can make up in attack by putting chelsea under pressure.]]>

  • zohaib

    Sure they are part of the game, but the way and the sheer amount that we’ve had them, you’d have to agree, is quite mind-boggling. It’s insane. No other team has injuries the way we do. With almost 3 or 4 players out regularly. When they come back, someone else gets injured. And it just doesn’t end. It goes right through the season. Nobody else has injuries that go through the season. Maybe to 1 or 2 players at the most. But we get even double that !