Arsenal book place in Champions League semi
Arsenal yesterday triumphed 3-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate against Villarreal in the Champions League Quarter Finals.
An inspired Arsenal performance saw the Gunners breeze past their Spanish opposition to book their place in an all English Semi Final against Manchester UTD.
Arsenal got off to a great start to the game and had Villarreal on the back foot right from the kick off.
Walcott, who gave the Villarreal left back Capdevila problems with his pace all evening, charged onto a through-ball from Fabregas on the edge of the box and chipped sublimely over Lopez in the Villarreal goal to open the scoring for Arsenal in the 10th minute.
Arsenal were in the driving seat and with the exception of a few nervous moments at the start of the second half, continued to dominate the game – Villarreal were out-played and showed little signs of the excellent passing, attacking football they showed in the first leg in Spain last week.
The Arsenal players gave excellent performances all over the pitch, except for the notably poor performance of Adebayor. We won the game and Ade took his goal well so I do not wish to nit-pick too much, but that really seem to me like it was the only thing he did right all night. He is so inconsistent, regularly giving the ball away or getting offside, which of course has the same effect. Very frustrating.
Score Adebayor did though, when Van Persie picked a great pass to Ade in space, and the Togolese striker made no mistake in slotting past the keeper with outside of his right boot.
Arsenal’s next goal came in contentious circumstances when Walcott was adjudged to have been fouled by Godin within the Villarreal area and Arsenal were awarded a penalty. The Villareal players were incensed and surrounded the referee, only making the matter worse for them when Eguren was booked a second time and sent off for his complaints.
Van Persie stepped up and kept a cool head after all the drama and remonstrations, slotting a strong left foot shot to the keeper’s left. 3 – 0 Arsenal and game over.
10 man Villarreal offered little further threat and appeared resigned to their fate.
Here’s what Wenger had to say at his post-match news conference :
“We used our passing well and gave them a lot of problems. We were explosive on the counter-attack, We sent out a very offensive team and we played in a convincing way. I was impressed with our quality and speed.
Villarreal have a good technical level but we gave them problems they didn’t like.”
As I mentioned earlier, I thought with the exception of Adebayor all the Gunners played excellently, and played great attacking football which protected a depleted back four very well. In particular Walcott and the rest of the midfield all had excellent games, and Arsenal’s quick and incisive passing kept Villarreal out of the game.I should also mention the great performance of Fabianski in goal, who was filling in for the injured Almunia and hasn’t got a lot of first team experience. He didn’t have a particularly busy night between the posts but everything he did do he did solidly and with confidence, coming out quickly to protect his defence on a couple of occaisions.
Altogether it was a highly satisfactory performance that will have left Gunners fans very pleased with a team that on the form shown last night should have nothing to fear against Manchester Utd in the next round.
Arsenal have a busy fixture list in front of them before that, taking on Chelsea in the F.A. Cup Semi Final this weekend and facing off against Liverpool in the Premier League next week.