Arsenal 1-0 Villarreal
Cracking game, sizzling atmosphere, great result, and 50% of the job done.
I think the fact that we didnâ€™t let a goal in is more significant than anything â€“ Villarreal will have to come at us in the second leg in a way they rarely did last night. Some have said that we should have scored more, but in reality, they defended extremely well and were a tough nut to crack, and there werenâ€™t that many clear cut chances during the game.
But overall, a great performance, with Arsenal showing their resilience at times, as youâ€™d expect in a semi-final. For me, Gilberto was the man. He really was superb last night, breaking up attacks, distributing well, and to top it all off he even managed to get away with what looked like a clear penalty. Iâ€™m sure it was part of his gameplanâ€¦
Finally â€“ I canâ€™t write much this morning â€“ a word about Villarrealâ€™s shameful play-acting. I lost count of the amount of times one of their players writhed around on the ground pretending to be hurt, either to guarantee a free-kick or to break down Arsenal moves and Arsenal momentum. How many were actually injured? None. Fortunately for us, the Austrian referee spotted it all and was superb, never falling for their pathetic tricks.
I hope we have as sensible a ref in the second leg, I really do.
Otherwise, fantastic stuff. And onwards we go â€“ to Saturday.