Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Arsenal Attempt To Sink Yellow Submarine

Champions League Semifinal 2nd Leg
11.45 a.m. PST. ESPN2.

(Arsenal lead 1-0 on aggregate)

It's pretty simple. If Arsenal score tonight in El Madrigal, they will go through, because with 2 goals, 1 being an away goal, Villarreal would need to score three to beat them, and I just cannot see that happening. If they don't, it will be tense and nervy and anything can happen, including the dreaded lottery of penalties (extra time will only happen if Villarreal win 1-0 tonight and it is 1-1 on aggreagate).

Arsene has put all of his eggs in one basket by playing weakened sides in the last two weeks against Portsmouth and Spurs, earning a draw in each for a total of 2 points out of a possible six, thus relinquishing control over their own destiny for 4th place in the league. I'm not sure about his strategy, but given our comparative records as professional football managers, I am not really in a position to second guess the guy.

Senderos injured his knee on Saturday, so broken-beaked colossus Sol Campbell is back in the side tonight. The key matchup is again how well Gilberto can contain Riquelme. In the first leg he completely stifled him in one of the best games I have ever seen G19 play: rinse and repeat, please. I think Spaniards Reyes & Fabregas will play great in their home country just as they did in Madrid, and I belive that TH14 is truly inspired to reach the final in his hometown. He has 49 Champions League goals in 100 appearances; here's hoping he hits the half century tonight.

Air Henry Flight 14, awaiting takeoff to Paris

Arsenal will do the business, score a goal, and go through to their first ever Champions League Final.


moin said...

I'd be lying if I didn't confess that I'm really pulling for Villareal, those plucky underdogs, a la Porto or Monaco a couple years back, except even more so. But I suppose, the consolation of seeing good attacking football in the Final isn't too bad either.

Kanu said...

No worries Moin, I can see how any 'neutral' fan would root for a team from a town of 47,000 against the big city clubs in Europe.

I just hope they take it easy with the playacting, timewasting, and rolling around on the ground routine tonight. I fear if they get the lead they will all just lie down on the pitch at once.

moin said...

Good ol'Forlan, missing a gaping goal.

Arsenal sitting back ALOT.

Moin said...

Lehman to the rescue. Poorly taken PK though, and not much effort to try for the rebound.

moin said...

Just goes to show ya, nobody is above playing a bit of Catenaccio. Sometimes, ya just gotta defend.

Kanu said...

Yup. A horribly insipid display, but it worked thanks to VRs bad finishing.

1 shot (in the 89th minute) is just embarrassing.