Arsenal 3-0 Villarreal: Arsenal can be the European Champions

In Arsenal FC, Champions League 2008/09 on April 16, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

Last night started off with nerves aplenty, it finished with probably the best result at the Grove so far. Theo Walcott shone, Adebayor showed why he is key to this football team and Robin van Persie fired the killer blow to sink the Yellow Submarines.

Arsene’s view | “Rewind” highlights

Before I get stuck into the match I want to reserve praise for Bobby Pires, an Arsenal legend and a player I loved when he was at the club, and still love to this day. He received an amazing reception and he was clearly touched by the appreciation of our fans. Speaking afterwards he said:

“On a personal level, it was very nice and very inspiring, Honestly, I did not expect it. Although I know that Arsenal players never forget their old colleagues, it still touched my heart. Also, I found out what it’s like to play in this stadium, as I’ve never been here before. In spite of the defeat, this will stay in my memory for a long time. It has been very emotional. This is a big team that have a lot of potential, a lot of pace, freshness and youth. I would wish to see them, as well as Wenger, go all the way to the final and win the Champions League. Today, I am still a fan of this team, especially because they play the kind of football that I love,”

The guy is amazing and will never be forgotten by any Arsenal fan, his reception should serve as motivation for the current crop of players to elevate themselves to Robert’s kind of status. He is one of the clubs greatest ever players in my opinion.

It’s such a shame that one of Villarreal’s players had to result to personal insults to relive their anger. Fabregas being the butt of Eguren’s anger. There are also reports he elbowed him as he was walking off after his red card.

Onto the game and we started quite slowly but dominant in possession, there was no great snap about our passing but the speed of Theo Walcott had the Villarreal full back absolutely shitting bricks. He skinned him several times and when he capitalised on a defensive mishap – started by a superb touch from Cesc Fabregas, he proceeded to clip the ball over the keeper on the angle. A fantastic, cool and composed finish that shows why Wenger sees him as a center forward in the long term. Brilliant.

After that goal Villarreal started to come into things a bit more and whilst having no clear cut chances they still made a nuisance of themselves, Fabianski patrolled his area with great composure and ease making up for the chronic lack of pace by Silvestre who didn’t really do too much wrong. The defensive display, considering Sagna was ruled out with a virus at late notice, was relatively sound. Lets hope that continues.

As soon as Villarreal were starting to believe they could score and the crowd were getting twitchy, Adebayor stepped up and delivered with a clinical finish after a van Persie pass. He took one touch and flicked the ball past the ‘keeper with consummate ease, the tie well and truly over.

He did spend the majority of the game offside but if he scores more crucial goals like that I certainly won’t be complaining. He has proven time and time again he is a big game player who scores big goals. Like in the first leg, this goal was hugely important.

Eight minutes later Walcott was felled by a challenge that was not particularly deserving of a penalty in all honesty, the only justace being Eguren managing to talk himself off the pitch, dirty, elbowing, spiv.Robin van Persie picked up the ball, ignored the gamesmanship from the Villarreal keeper, thumped the ball home and promptly sank any hopes of a comeback for the Yellow Submarines.

After that the only matter remaining was preserving players for a massive game on Saturday evening and making sure no silly bookings were picked up.

On April 29th (i think), we take on Manchester United in the Semi Final, the first leg being at Old Trafford where we are well capable of getting a result. Hopefully the title race will still be alive and sapping energy from ‘Ol red nose’s players. One thing is for sure though, we will need to be at our best. But, as Wenger emphasises, we need to take each game as it comes:

“It is a test, but it is a challenge which we relish and we are excited about that. Before Man United, the most important is the Chelsea game. We have to focus on the short-term targets, and that is now Chelsea for us.  I would not like to speculate on any weakness of Man United. We expect them to be strong on the day they play against us, and that should encourage us to be at our best and that is how we will try to play the game. We have games before we play Man United, so let’s try to continue our run, and start with Chelsea. We are still super-outsiders.”

The season is hotting up and the side are showing maturity beyond their years, this season still has so much potential and to reach two cup finals would be a massive, massive achievement. To win something would be simply amazing but a club of this stature should go on to lift some sort of trophy from this position. Of the three other clubs in the competition we have beaten two of them this season.

Its been a rough and nail biting ride so far, but rest assured, its going to get a whole lot worse!

Up the Arsenal!

’til tomorrow.


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