The Enigma Which Is The Yellow Submarine..
Here are some interesting statistics on Villarreal and Arsenal before tonights huge game:
- Villarreal have played 11 CL matches, and only won 3.
- In comparision, Arsenal have won 8 of those 11 games.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in this years Champions League.
- They have only conceded 2 goals at home, from 5 matches.
- Arsenal have scored 6 away goals from 5 away games.
- Villarreal have knocked out 3 British teams already; Man United, Rangers and Everton.
Villarreal are so dangerous because you know they generally don’t concede many goals, and have won when it has mattered. Winning only 3 games in the competition so far is amazing when you think they are in the semi-finals and only 90 minutes away from Paris!
The first leg saw a disciplined Villarreal team that when they conceded the first goal, they still defended deep and in numbers, and were seemingly happy with losing 1-0 – because it’s still all to play for when we play at El Madrigal.
But good news for Arsenal is that they haven’t won by 2 clear goals yet in the competition, which is what they will have to do to progress to the final.
Things do look good for Arsenal, but Villarreal did rest 6/7 of their key players at the weekend and – it goes without saying – they will give tonight absolutely everything. This is their cup final.
In comparison, Arsenal were embroiled in a tense and controversial North London derby that saw most of the key players (with the exception of Hleb and Ljungberg) make an appearence. Hardly the best preparation for the European game.
Also the impressive Senderos injured himself – possibly for the rest of the season.
The other main news regarding the Arsenal team is that Sol Campbell will make his return.
I for one have not been impressed with what he has done this season, although he did look much slimmer and in better shape against Portsmouth. But we didn’t win that game and would we have conceded that goal with Senderos at the back?
But Sol could not have a bigger game to show what he is made out of and show Arsenal fans he is focused and back on form.
Of course, he doesn’t have anything to prove since he has been colossus for us over the last few seasons – but now he has to step up.
Sol has been showing signs of sluggishness this season and that would worry Arsenal fans. Riquelme isn’t the quickest player in the world but his movement and technqique are fantastic and Gilberto will have to play the game of his life to keep him quiet.
Jose Antonio Reyes will have to have a good game – which he didn’t against Spurs on Saturday. Jose will surely be hyped up to be back in Spain and hopefully he can do what he did so well against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Wenger will keep with the same team that has served him well over most of the Champions League campaign, with the exception of Campbell in for Senderos.
Arsenal will have to be patient tonight because Villarreal are a shrewd team who will be happy if the scoreline is 0-0 with 15/20 minutes remaining.
They won’t panic and if they nick a goal then the game will become totally different and they will rely on the other team getting nervous. They will be more than happy with a 1-0 win, especially with extra time at home and with most of their players having being rested since last weeks first leg.
I’m not even going to predict a score – I’m far to superstitious for that!