We all knew Villareal are no pushovers, they proved that in 2006 when we had a fight to get past them and they’ve proved that this year or they wouldn’t be playing us in the Champions League quarter-finals would they??? Yet most of us knew with the right team selection and the right formation we had a chance last night of putting the tie to bed before the home leg….
We were going into the game brimming with confidence after a good run of results and a convincing win over Citeh and Villareal were still reeling after getting hammered at the weekend and losing one of their star players, who makes them tick, to a broken leg…
Judging by the first half we didn’t seem like the confidence team, we were appalling and they were fluent, direct and had us by the balls and the thing about it was, if we are all honest that team and that formation was the one we all would of picked ourselves….
Villareal showed us a sign of things to come when they won the ball inside the 1st minute, passed through our midfield like it wasn’t there and Almunia spent the 1st two minutes sweeping up at right back…..until he picked up an injury in a collision with Rossi….It was a bad start and it was only the beginning…..
Villareal’s passing and movement was causing us problems, they were all over us for the 1st quarter of an hour and they deserved the goal, that goal was coming…and what a goal… We had a lineup that had two DM’s and they were still tearing us a new arsehole….We didn’t close down, we didn’t get stuck in and Senna was given all the room in the world to pick a shot from 30yards out and when your a player of Sennas ability your going to hit the target…and with Almunia carrying a knock, the chances of it going in the net was increased and going in the net it did….Almunia was well beaten and the DM duo of Denilson and Song were nowhere to be seen….
Our midfield triangle of Song, Denilson and Cesc had no shape with the ball and no shape without it and Senna was dominating and Villareal were outplaying us with ease…..
Things went from bad to worse when Gallas was injured shortly before half time and the half time whistle couldn’t come soon enough….
The second half started much of the same…and it carried on until the hour mark when we started to settle down and find our feet…Song and Denilson started to win tackles and throw themselves about a bit and Theo was causing problems down the right, we needed to take advantage and that’s just what we did…. Cesc found a bit of room, floated a pin point ball to Ade (who was in the box for once) who took it calmly on his chest and overhead kicked it into the net… GET IN…a world class goal and it eased the nerves…..
Villareal still looked dangerous but we weren’t as disorganised as the 1st half so we held on, we could of won it….which would of been a crime, but hey, that’s football….
Almunia…6…brave and swept up well until he had to go off….no chance with the goal…
Sagna….5….never got forward and was pinned back most of the game….
Clichy…4…looks a bag of nerves, seems to have gone backwards from last year and as much as I love him I want him dropped, just as I did with Kolo until he finds form…unless Wenger doesn’t trust Gibbs..I know on current form I do…
Gallas…7…held the defence well in the 1st half siege..unlucky to be injured..
Kolo..8..he was fantastic…helped Gallas marshal the defence and took over with ease in the second half…Gallas wasn’t missed.
Theo…7…good game, created problems with his pace and was our best attacking player in the whole game..gave the Vllareal LB problems all night…
Nasri..4..doesn’t travel does he???
Denilson…4….didn’t close down, missed tackles, lost possession, put us under pressure most of the game
Song…4… see Denilson..
Cesc..5…woeful captains performance…wasn’t in the game and made the same mistakes as Denilsong..the extra mark is for the assist…
Ade…5…again woeful…played most of the game out on the wing and was constantly offside…never went for the 50-50’s and the ball just kept coming back every time it went up to him…if it wasn’t for that finish he’d of got a 3….
Fabianski…7…wonderful double save and collected the high balls with ease…it was a difficult night and one would of forgiven him if he had made a mistake under the circumstances but this lad is going to be a star…
JD….6…did well when he came on…played deputy to Kolo and made a thunderous Keown type tackle which I applauded….
Overall, it was a performance I won’t take, but the result I will, a bit like in Rome…and the added bonus is that Manure have it all to do in Porto so there’s a strong possibility that it will be us and Porto in the semis….I’ll take that, we just need to sort it out in the home leg which I’m sure we will…Maybe the Gods are with us this year???
It just goes to show how much of an impact Arshavin has made since he joined, without him we don’t look the same side…In the league we have been good, going unbeaten and since he arrived we have turned those draws into wins, on the other hand our European game has gone to pot and its no coincidence he cant play in Europe…..
Somehow we have found ourselves in pole position for the 2nd leg,it’s ours to lose and after the 1st 45mins last night I didn’t think I’d be saying that this morning…..