A Tale of Play-Acting, Diving, A Disallowed Goal, Penalty Shouts and The Squirrel Stripper

A night that everyone was waiting for, the biggest night we have ever experienced in the Champions League…it was a tough one to call, were the players going to be overawed by the new experience of a European Champions League Semi-Final? Or were they going to stand up to the task set out and deliver a stunning display backed by the “special-ness” of the feeling at Highbury? A young inexperienced side facing a deceitful and conniving set of players in yellow, who knew all the tricks in the book to break up the rhythm of play for Arsenal, mainly in the middle of the pitch…by tripping up our players unnecessarily…where the ref would keep giving out “last warnings” but hardly any yellows.

Villarreal knew exactly what they needed to do to stop Arsenal play, but Lehmann had nothing to do all night apart from the Riquelme free kick that was smack bang in the middle of the goal. I went to my family’s house to watch the game, who are all diehard Arsenal fans. Even my little nephew, who is 6, and annoying as ever, was wearing his Henry shirt cheering on the gunners like an old pro. The match started well enough, we kept the ball for the opening spell like we always seem to do, and had an Henry goal disallowed….HE WAS LEVEL, if not behind, when the ball was played…a terrible decision! I knew that once it was disallowed it would be a low scoring affair. Hleb was fantastic along with Gilberto who showed why he played every single minute of the world cup when Brazil won with the “Three R’s”…Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

Gilberto was tight on Riquelme all night and made several brilliant tackles while breaking up play without having to resort to the Spaniards antics of tripping people up! Gilberto was probably our best player on the night, or Hleb who once again was top class on the right wing. If he had that same penetration on the left wing with Reyes then we might have got another goal or two. Henry didn’t get a chance to do much apart from the goal that never was, and that cute little reverse pass that set Hleb up for Toure to finish. It was too congested in the middle of the park, with Ljungberg, Pires and Flamini all being right footed, all 3 never wanted to go on the outside and kept cutting inside. That made our play too narrow and with 7 of there players continuously behind the ball, it was going to be tough to break them down in that way.

To be honest it was an anti-climax to a huge occasion BUT to be fair to the players, they got a goal and should have had two, while maintaining this terrific run of defensive stableness. Yet another clean sheet, in a scrappy affair that was more crucial then even scoring. Even though they should have had a penalty, it just shows justice was served for them continuously falling when they shouldn’t have…never cry wolf as they say…HOWEVER this result now means that if we score out there, which I fancy us to do, then they will need to score three to beat us. They are a tough side, who are well disciplined as said before…and they don’t concede many at all…BUT THEY DON’T SCORE MANY EITHER….they wont score three goals against this side who are now able to protect their lead and haven’t conceded in 9 straight champions league games. The likes of Ronaldo, Robinho, Raul, Zidane, Beckham, Ibrahimovic, Trezeguet, Nedved haven’t scored even one, let alone 3…in one game. If you are an Arsenal supporter, you should be happy that we are in this position, one game away from a memorable final in Theirry’s home town in Paris. A lot can happen in 90mins….but heres the plan:

GO there….play 4-5-1…play Reyes on the left…Hleb on the right…use the width that we have at our disposal and keep tight on Riquelme and CO…break on the counter with our ridiculous pace…be positive rather than negative….and meet Barcelona in Paris….HMMM that sounds nice…but still a lot of hard work to do in a match still only at half time.

It’s a Thursday and we have the SCUM’s game to look forward to now, another historic game in the making…the LAST EVER North London derby at Highbury…Wenger has already told us he will “rotate”…but a full preview on that will be written later. For now, sit back and relax…just don’t get too over-hyped and remember it is only half time!….BUT…ONE CANT HELP BUT TO THINK ABOUT the mouth-watering tie that could await us in Paris, Henry vs Ronaldinho? The two best footballers on the planet playing on different attacking teams, in a stadium fit for the occasion. They could be playing together next season, but for now lets cherish what is, a situation we have never been in before! On the brink of a game of two, FOOTBALLING TEAMS…NO NOT TOTTENHAM…Barcelona and Arsenal are two of the most entertaining teams in the world, a game that will be a delight for a neutral…not for me though…I get agitated and nervous and sweat like a porn star on set…but for the rest of you…enjoy!

  • Highbury06

    nice 1 mate, was waiting for your article all day, overall good result! Come on you gunners

  • Titi

    Man of the match: Squirel! Then Gilberto, Hleb, Senderos, Flamini.

  • Luke, London

    Henry dissapointed, but still did ok. Spot on with your man of the match, nice informative comments you have written!

  • ROBMBASINGSTOKE

    Again, a dissaopinted spectator in the east lower.
    We simply need to start taking our chances. Fair enough henry was 5 yards onside and the second dissalowed was miles on, but we simply wasted too much. In the second half we were too good for them, they coulnt cope with alex hleb on the right and eboue storming down the line. We could and possibly should have had 4 or 5. I’m dissapointed but I still believe that we can get a result on tuesday and go through to the final. Who we meet is another matter, Milan are a great tean, capable of scoring at any time, whereas as Barca are just immense all over the pitch….Should be a tight one.
    All I can say is AW needs to sit down with the lads and tell them to stop tring to pass the ball into the net and just hit the f***ing thing. Rob V.Persie seems to be the one person who comes in gets the ball and has a crack at goal. Who knows what will happen in the cramped mess that is El Madrigal but i’ll be there, hoping that we step up a gear and send out a warning to the teams playing wednesday night….UP THE ARSENAL

  • Anonymous

    Squirrel was poor. I’d give it 3. Could have bitten their ankles.

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Lol thanks for your comments, indeed he could have done better…and Rob…your right, if I payed to watch the match I may have been extra PISSED off, but if Henrys goal had stood and it was 2-0, we may be just saying job well done…but I think we have done the most important thing by not conceding….lets just see what happens, Sp*rs to play next, any predictions on that match?

  • Rohan

    2-0 to the Arsenal. One just before half time and one near the end of the match…sorted. Wenger might wanna rest some players though, just hope hleb isn’t cos he is awesome.

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Ye…Wenger already said he will “rotate” players, Campbell is out still, along with Cole. I think Djourou might get a run out, love it if Walcott did too! Diaby probably aswel then, but you never really know what Wenger means when he says “rotation”…last time he said that, he played Alex Song in midfield, that is just a bit too much rotation if you ask me! I think Adebayor or Van Persie will also play, and expect us to revert to 4-4-2. Henry the scorer then??

  • Rohan

    Henry and Manu, who will start, the scorers. This will probably be the team: Lehmann

    Eboue(or Djourou)
    Senderos Toure Flamini

    Hleb Diaby Gilberto Reyes

    Adebayor Henry

    Cesc has just come back from injury so we’ll rest him and Reyes is fresh after missing the game.

  • Anonymous

    If Henry starts, how much effort do you think he’ll he put in? The impression I’m getting from the odd quote in the papers is that the main concern of most of the players is not to get too exhausted or injured.

    Can’t say I blame them. Though obviously they should be aware of the importance of the game for next season’s CL – those who are staying, that is – the fact is, reaching this year’s final is what they’ve all set their hearts on. After all, will we ever have the opportunity again? For the next five years we could get terrible draws – like Chelsea, or Bayern, or Barca or Milan in the quarters. Given the inevitable slight lack of focus, I hope Wenger rotates really radically, resting Henry, Cesc, Hleb and Toure, for starters – all of whom look very tired – and using those with a strong interest in proving themselves and securing fourth spot. Don’t forget Spurs are going to be missing crucial players as well: Mido? Carrick? Jenas? Definitely King. Villarreal – naturally – are resting everyone crucial: Riquelme, Sorin, Senna, the full back Arru-what’sit and probably more.

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Well I dont know, it isnt like we havent had hard teams to play already, Juve and Real Madrid are two of the superpowers in Europe, but ye…I understand what you mean, I think the importance of this game should be highlighted, because even if we get to the final, it isnt guarenteed we will be in the competition next year…which is vital for our financial situation…and to attract world class players in with the new stadium just being built….and of course to KEEP HENRY…it will be a massive advantage if we won the Champions League, or were secure to be in it next year…it is make it or break it time, this next week would decide whether the season would be a good one, or a TERRIBLE one…if we lose or draw today, then we are pretty much not going to be 4th….then if we got to the final and lost, the season would be completely empty…well apart from the progression of the young players etc…but you know what I mean. Gonna go get ready for the Arsenal game now! Will publish the team news as soon as I get it.