MaCinJay’s Musings

another case of inverse vandalism

Posts Tagged ‘Emirates Stadium

Champions League: Arsenal 1 – Liverpool 1

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It seems that Arsenal fare better these days against European opposition than domestic rivals. The only victory they have managed since the win at the San Siro was against the hapless Bolton, who incredibly threw away a two-goal lead with a one-man advantage after Diaby was sent off following a challenge he made similar to the one that brought Eduardo’s season to a premature end. (Thankfully Steinsson, the Bolton player on the receiving end of Diaby’s challenge, was not seriously injured.)

The first leg of the Champions League 1/4 Final against Liverpool started brightly enough when Adebayor scored a headed goal from a corner early in the first half, only for Kuyt to equalise a few minutes after Gerrard penetrated Arsenal’s box with one of his trademark runs. There were no more goals scored in the match although there were opportunities for both sides. Arsenal also had a penalty appeal turned down in the second half after Hleb appeared to be manhandled by Kuyt. Then, bizarrely, Bendtner doubled as a Liverpool defender by blocking a Fabregas shot destined for the net. 

I fancy that Liverpool will be happy to go to Anfield with the away goal under their belt. It is not quite the fortress of old for them perhaps but it will still be an uphill battle for the Gunners in the second leg. Before that though they will have to face Liverpool again on Saturday at the Emirates stadium for a crucial Premier League game. Arsenal have to win to keep alive any challenge they might still have for the title. Similarly Liverpool need a victory to help secure the all-important fourth place to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Talk about make-or-break!

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Written by macinjay

April 4, 2008 at 7:58 am

Checkmate: AC Milan 0 – Arsenal 2

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It hasn’t been an easy time for Arsenal supporters. Two indifferent performances in the Premier League have seen the team’s lead whittled down to just one point. The game against Birmingham City was overshadowed by the horrendous injury early in the match to striker Eduardo, as the result of the sort of lunging, studs-first challenge that is all too common in the English game. Martin Taylor, the offending player, was rightfully sent off but Arsenal contrived to draw the game 2-2 after a lapse in concentration from Gaël Clichy gifted Birmingham a penalty in the dying moments of the match. After that came another draw against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium when Arsenal were lucky to score their only goal of the game deep in injury time.

So one would have expected a demoralised side to turn out against European Champions AC Milan at the San Siro.

Instead we were treated to a truly dominating performance from the Gunners, who completely outplayed their illustrious opponents – at one stage in the second half a stat was shown indicating that possession was 60-40 in Arsenal’s favour! Besides a spell early in the game when Milan caused problems for Arsenal’s defence with crosses from open play and set-pieces, and another in the second half when it looked like the Italian side were getting a foothold in the game, the Italians could do nothing but lay on a grim defence in the face of the Gunner’s irresistible passing game. As the match wore on it looked like that they had done enough to stymie the English side after weathering early threats from Adebayor (fingertip save by Kalac) and the sublime Fabregas (hit the crossbar), as well as a series of missed opportunities from the likes of Senderos and Walcott.

Then with seven minutes of normal time left Fabregas picked up the ball deep in Milan’s half, ghosted through their midfield and fired a long-range shot into the bottom-left corner of Kalac’s net. After that it was virtually game over, as Milan needed two goals to win the tie with time running out due to the away-goals rule. In fact it was Arsenal who scored again in injury time when Walcott made amends for his earlier profligacy by beating a tiring Milan defender to the ball and laying on a cross for Adebayor to score his first Champions League goal for the club – a fitting end to a great night of European football for Arsenal.

Hopefully this will be the fillip they need for their two-prong assault on the English Premier and Champions League titles!

Five points clear: Arsenal 2 – Blackburn Rovers 0

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Up to now the current English Premier League season has been a real nail-biter. But after both Manchester Utd and Chelsea dropped points over the weekend Arsenal had a chance to go five points clear by beating Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates Stadium on Monday evening. (United’s home defeat against local rivals City was certainly an unexpected boost; they had not lost to City at Old Trafford since 1974!)

Arsenal had the perfect start, going 1-0 up from a corner kick after Phillippe Senderos cut loose from his marker (the hapless Benni McCarthy, who looks a shadow of the player from last season) and scored with a rocket of a header. For a while after that it looked like Arsenal might go on to repeat the demolition of Rovers from last season, when they won 6-2. But while some of Arsenal’s passing movements were a joy to behold the final ball often let them down and too much possession was conceded, allowing Rovers to get a toehold in the game. Even so the deficit would have been a lot higher if it wasn’t for Brad Friedel, who made a series of crucial saves. Alexander Hleb – easily the best player on the night – also hit Friedel’s right post with a low shot in the second half. He had the last laugh though after setting up Adebayor in the dying seconds of the match for yet another goal in his incredible scoring streak that now stretches to nine games.

While the season is far from over the five-point cushion will provide a nice psychological boost for Arsenal before the FA Cup tie against Utd, who will surely be harbouring a few self-doubts now after the defeat against City.

Champions League

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Right now I am watching Arsenal playing Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League at their Emirates Stadium. (My wife Chantelle and son David are in bed.)

I’ve been supporting Arsenal since they won the then English First Division back in 1989. Since then they have had a few ups-and-downs. At the moment they are the surprise leaders of the Premier League, quite remarkable when you consider that they lost their best player Thierry Henry to Barcelona at the end of last season.

Which just proves the old cliche – no-one is irreplaceable. I just hope they can sustain it. In any event they are 1-0 up in this match with about thirty minutes to go.

Written by macinjay

September 19, 2007 at 11:14 pm