03 April 2006

Arsenal 2-0 Juve; Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa

What can I say about two fantastic matches? I've been slow to post for a few reasons (no match video and new computer). But the good news is that I haven't had to. Plenty of news outlets and blogs have covered Arsenal's success of late. Nothing brings attention like success I suppose.

So what's the consensus?
And the thing is, Arsenal really did dominate Juve to that degree. Their two red cards were perhaps the best illustation of how frustrated they became. Of course, it's only half the story, and taking a 2-0 lead into Turin guarantees nothing. But the cards will help, as three Juve players are ruled out for Wednesday.

As for the Villa match, well, simply yet another brilliant performance. Two brilliant goals for Henry, another as good for van Persie, and a fine debut goal for Diaby. The defense played well, and even Jens got in on the fun with a couple of fantastic saves. But I think you have to make Emmanuel Adebayor the Man of the Match. His opening goal was, frankly, ugly -- a header off a clearance that found first the bar, then the back of the defender's head. Yet for much of this season we've lacked just that sort of positioning that finds rebounds and puts them away. And he had wonderful play throughout the match. He had a great touch with the sole of his foot on a 60-yard ball, flicking it onto Henry's feet for his beautiful second goal. And his incisive run left the middle wide open for Diaby's goal. All match long, Adebayor was in good positions, making nice runs, and generally doing very useful things. He's really making a spot for himself, and is really going to put the pressure on Robin van Persie (not to mention Theo Walcott) to find playing time.

The match had its down side though, with Fabregas and Eboue both departing due to injuries. Wenger says that "Both are a small 50/50 for Wednesday night. That means a 60/40 against.", which means I'm fairly sure he's a football genius but not a math genius. But in any event, it reduces our options for Wednesday, which is unfortunate. Hopefully one or both of them will be able to play, but we'll only know for sure on Wednesday.

And I can't wait. It should be an intriguing match, though I'll admit to some nerves for it. 2-0 is not insurmountable, and Juve will be tough at home. I'm sure they'd like nothing better than to craft a huge upset. But if Arsenal can play on Wednesday like they have in their past several matches, I think they'll be OK.

Much more to post this week, there's a lot going on. Juve on Wednesday, followed by a visit with Man United on Sunday. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

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