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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Arsenal walking to the final

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Highbury Park hosted it's last international game with an epic result in the greatest moment of Arsenal's history. Thierry Henry's team got a 1-0 win over Villarreal and is closer to the Champions League Final. Kolo Touré scored his first goal of the season, and the most important in his career.

However, Manuel Pellegrini, Villarreal's coach, departed this first leg with a grievance because the referee Konrad Plautz had denied his side the chance to equalise with a penalty spot in the 45th minute when he did not realise that Gilberto Silva had brought down José Mari from behind.

The first half showed Arsenal dominating the game, and creating many good chances to score, mainly with Robert Pires and Thierry Henry. But it was Kolo Touré the one that signed the winning goal.

It's important to say that the second half opened with Arsenal relishing their lead and reeling off commanding moves. Following a bout of passing on the right involving Hleb and Pires, Emmanuel Eboué was released. Indeed, his low cross went slightly behind Henry and the forward lifted his finish enough for Arzo to head clear.

The pressure, however, did not drop. Though keeper Lehmann had to dive to save Marcos Senna's long-range shot after 68 minutes, Villarreal were still struggling to cause alarm. If this match did not feel as if it was as great an occasion as, say, the match against Real Madrid, that was because of the lack of tension.

Manager Wenger, contemptuous of the idea that he should wrench his system out of shape by man-marking even a performer of Roman Riquelme's capabilities, was vindicated. Yes, there remained the usual anxieties of the closing stretch of a game to be negotiated but the Gunners never faltered. Another excellent performance next week will ensure their spot in the final.

2 Comments:

Blogger Daniel Franklin Gomez said...

Scrat the Squirrel stole the show from the Spanish playactors of Villareal. Its debut was way better than that RAT @ Old Trafford some time ago. Will leave it to you to decide which RAT is was! Hahaha!

2:38 AM  
Blogger Csai D. said...

Hey man,

Henry is probably leaving Arsenal next season. Until yesterday it seemed pretty clear he would go to Barcelona, but now it seems Madrid is showing his interest...

What do you think? I have posted something on my blog regarding this issue, but I'd still be very interested in your opinion

3:09 PM  

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