Champions League Quarter Final Preview – Villarreal vs Arsenal

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Sportboy 2 is usually very good about getting his Champions League previews done but this round Sportboy 2 has been very bad. In fact, I have left it to the day of the match for this one. While that means hardly anyone will read this before the match has been played, it also means I am incredibly excited and will transpose this into blog excellence.

 

The boys are back in town

Yes, like the song you only hear being played pre-kick off in football grounds… the boys are back in town. Not any old boys but Emmanuel Ade-bayor, Ade-bayor and Cesc ‘let’s talk about Cesc baby’ Fabregas. Having been at the match on Saturday, it was nice to see both of them look sharp and productive in their first game back.

Both players will be massive tonight, particularly because Arsenal are suffering new injuries and ineligible Russian play-makers who can’t open their eyes very well.

 

Arsenal Lineup

With aforementioned returning players and aforementioned absences, the lineup is likely to be one we haven’t seen this season. Wenger seems to have a new found fondness for a Liverpool-esque 4-1-4-1 formation, with Fabregas playing the ‘Gerrard’ role. Alex Song has impressed me recently, looking like he has finally found a sense of positioning and using his strengths well – literally… the man is a brute. Theo is looking very lively and will give us some much needed pace and width. Hopefully we have Nasri back but Eboue can fill in with a slight more defensive midfield role, especially as we  are away from home.

Predicted lineup:

Almunia

Sagna   Toure   Gallas   Clichy

Song

Walcott   Denilson   Nasri/Eboue

  Fabregas

  Adebayor

 

Return of Le Bob

Le Bob

Le Bob

Tonight Arsenal fans will be reacquainted with the legend that is Bobby Pires. He may have possibly the weirdest way of running but man do we miss his goal-scoring feats and finger wagging. He may have been a diver but god do we miss his sexy strip beard thing.

Tonight he will be a 35 year old former shadow of himself that can barely play 60 minutes but he still has the quality and Los Submarinos Amarillos love him too. He even got himself sent off during Villarreal’s 3-0 defeat at Almeria at the weekend, partly because he wanted to rest himself for tonight and partly because he was so psyched up with that part Basque blood of revenge for Wenger’s withdrawal of him during the Champions League final of 2006.

 

Return of Psi-bubba

Pascal Cygan

Pascal Cygan

Oh his bald head, how shiny it is… let’s not forget that for it we got 3 and a half million squids.

 

Oh yeah, and a bit about Villarreal

Most Arsenal fans seem to have this one down as a foregone conclusion but I think Villarreal are a dangerous team to play, even if they are susceptible to the same kind of crap performances that see them in fourth place, same as Arsenal. Manual Pelligrini is a very astute manager, who has a shockingly similar hairstyle to our very own Arsene.

They undoubtedly have better strength in depth this season than in 2006, even without the mercurial Riquelme and Scouse teaser, Diego Forlan. Particularly in midfield they have some real talent – Cani, Ibagaza, Cazorla, Pires and Senna. They may not be household names in England but then again, I doubt Gareth Barry is in Spain.

Lucky for us then that Santi Cazorla, the play-maker of the side is injured for the rest of the season. Nevertheless, Villarreal are a team comfortable in possession and have the ability to restrict Arsenal’s ability to play the game they like.

 

Prediction

While I think that Arsenal are more than capable of going away and winning this tie, especially in light of their recent good form, the likely outcome will be a draw. Villarreal are strong at home and I think chances for both sides will be restricted to a minimum despite both sides attacking instincts. I will go for a 1-1 draw – although if Pascal Cygan plays I will go for an Arsenal win.

 

P.

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One Response to “Champions League Quarter Final Preview – Villarreal vs Arsenal”

  1. Football Guy Says:

    BTW, here is the real Sai Baba – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sathya_Sai_Baba

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