06 April 2006

Juventus 0-0 Arsenal (0-2 agg.)

We're going to the SE-mis! We're going to the SE-mis! We're going to the SE-mis!

What a great night to be a Gunner. Unlike the home game against Madrid, this was not "the best 0-0 draw ever." It was a bit too chaotic for that, and the 2-0 lead meant that the tension just wasn't the same. Juve had their chances, and so did the Gunners, but only one team needed goals. Frankly I was surprised that Juventus weren't able to score at home. I believed they would press hard, and that would both get them a goal and leave them open to Arsenal attacks. They did try to bring pressure, but they also knew that one Arsenal goal would effectively end the tie. That tension left them indecisive and adrift. On the other hand, Arsenal knew exactly what they needed to produce, and that was disciplined enough to make it happen. It was a gritty, disciplined performance, and I can't help but love it just for that.

A few of the more pithy quotes:So there you have it. The work isn't done, by a long shot. You don't get to the semis of the Champions League without quality, and Villareal are no exception. They're not such a pillar of world soccer as Juventus or Real Madrid, and so there's some sense that we're on the brink of the final. Don't believe it. We have just as much work to do against the el Submarino Amarillo as we did against la Vecchia Signora or los merengues. In the end, what the fans believe doesn't matter (no jinx! no jinx!) but let's hope that the players don't give in to the hype either. And if they listen to their captain, they won't:
Everyone is congratulating us for having made history but we haven't done anything yet, We need to reach the end of the journey and that means winning the final in Paris in May. It's amazing what these young guys are doing and the stage that they are doing it on, but we can't let up. We must keep attacking and defending as a team and reach the end of the line.
Thierry Henry via UEFA.com
And right he is. Not to mention, there's a pretty big game coming up this Sunday, as Arsenal visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. Back into the league for the Gunners, and points are crucial at this stage. Let's hope that there's no hangover for the lads. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

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