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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Arsenal vs Villarreal CL 08-09: Analysis and Live Score

(This entry was originally published on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009)

Arsenal hosts Spanish outfit Villarreal in the second round quarter final showdown of Champions League 2008-09 on 15 April at the Emirates Stadium. With a 1-1 draw from last week’s first round match at El Madrigal, Arsenal holds an advantage ahead of the second round match on Wednesday. Even a goalless draw is enough for the Gunners to make it to the semi final of the competition. For Villarreal, they must score in the match in order to keep their semi final hopes alive. Another 1-1d raw would see the match going into extra time, and if needed, into the tie-breaker. So, it is pretty much understandable that Arsenal defense and Villarreal attack are now left with a crucial role to play in the match.

Match: Arsenal vs Villarreal, Quarter Final, UEFA Champions League 08-09

Date: 15 April 2009, Wednesday

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England

Kick off: 19:45 BST (British Standard Time)

The interesting thing is that both Arsenal defense and Villarreal attack are now severely hit by injury. Villarreal will miss their spirited captain, midfielder Marcos Senna who has sustained a hamstring problem during their 2-0 weekend defeat at home. The Spanish outfits will also miss the service of Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla who picked up a broken leg last week. Both the players will surely miss Wednesday’s Champions league match away from home. Moreover, Mati Fernández and Cani are also carrying injury, but have been included in the Villarreal squad.

In the same way, Arsenal defense has been badly hit by injury as the Gunners will be without three of their five regular back line players including regular goalkeeper Manuel Almunia who sustained an injury during Arsenal’s first leg visit to Villarreal. Former captain and prime central defender William Gallas is already out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury sustained during 1-1 first round draw. Left back Gael Clichy is also out for the visit of Villarreal, and the latest injury blow to Arsenal defense is Johan Djourou who picked up a knee injury during last weekend’s 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic. Kieran Gibbs or Armand Traore could replace Clichy in the left back, while Summer signing Mikael Silvestre would partner Kolo Toure at the heart of Arsenal defense.

No doubt, both sides will miss their injured players in the match, and the result of the match will vastly depend on how well Arsenal and Villarreal would be able to come to terms with the injuries. Villarreal has lost in England only once and that was against Arsenal. The Gunners are unbeaten in Champions League home games since their defeat to Chelsea in 2004. Moreover, Wenger boys did not concede any goal at home in Europe this season.

Though a goalless draw would earn Arsenal a semi final berth, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has already indicated that his side would not rely on defense and would not play for a draw. With Emmanuel Adebayor and Captain Cesc Fàbregas back in action with top form, Arsenal’s attacking line up has been strengthened and their 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic last weekend has proven their scoring form of recent. Adebayor scored an excellent equalizer in the first leg match up, now Arsenal looks for another special performance against Villarreal at home. Cesc Fàbregas has just returned to action after more than three months out injured. Fàbregas, however, returned with his top form and it seems that the Gunners captain will have to play a big role in the midfielder in the absence of cup-tied Andrei Arshavin.

Villarreal will have some problems in their attack in the absence of two key midfielders and in their absence, Giuseppe Rossi is left with more responsibility when they will take on Arsenal away from home. If Cani and Mati Fernandez can not become fully fit to make it to the starting eleven, then I am not sure who will fill the void of Senna and Cazorla.

Villarreal’s recent form is not very impressive as they were defeated by Malaga 2-0 last weekend at home and the Spanish side cinched only 3 points from their last four games in La Liga and they are now in the fifth place with a point adrift of fourth placed Valencia who now seems to be favorite for next season’s Champions league qualification. Arsenal is also out of the title race in the premier league, but the Gunners are now unbeaten for a number of games in premier league and sits in the fourth place with an eight points advantage over fifth placed Aston Villa.

Online Live Score and Updates

Here, I am giving some live score and update websites from where you can get the live score and updates of the match between Arsenal and Villarreal:

Live Score

Goalzz

Live Football Scores

Goal.com

Footie Scorez

Arsenal is clearly favorite, considering their first leg advantage, recent form and home advantage. However, overall it is a 90-minute affair and you know anything can happen in these 90 minutes. So, you can not simply write off Villarreal, specially when you know that they are the team who finished second to Real Madrid last season in La Liga. I just expect a hard-fought match which will be entertaining for the football fans.

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