1-1 it ended and Arsenal got a (stunning!) vital away goal. The result surely shifts the balance even further in favour of Arsenal.
The first half started in disastrous fashion for Arsenal. Early on Clichy had to clear off the line and it hinted what was to come from Villareal tonight. After just 10 minutes Marcos Senna unleashed a 25 yard thunderbolt. Almunia was helpless despite full stretch dive as the ball ended up in the top corner. Just like away at Roma, we were trailing very early in the game.
But the goal awakened the Arsenal. After some clever work by Walcott and the Fabregas, the ball came to Nasri whose shot was pushed aside by Diego Lopez. Arsenal also forced a couple of corners but were unable to convert either of them.
The start went from bad to worse as Almunia had to go off with an ankle injury just around the half hour mark.
His replacement Fabianski immediately had some serious work to do. First saving a shot from Senna and then denying Capdevilla from the rebound.
Things were not looking good for Arsenal. This time Song tripped Rossi outside the box and the Italian forward fell on Gallas, injuring our ex-captain. He had to be taken off on a stretcher for an injury that according to Arsene Wenger looks bad and the Frechman’s season may well be over.
A few half chances came Villareal’s way but the final chance of the half fell to Arsenal. Adebayor was fouled outside the box. Fabregas found the back of the net from the resulting free-kick but the referee wasn’t pleased. He brandished a yellow card at Fabregas, possibly because the Spaniard had taken the kick too quickly. The free kick was retaken. Toure had a go at it but hit straight at the wall.
That was the end of a poor first half for Arsenal. If they kept playing this way in the second half, it could easily have been a defeat for Arsenal but the Gunners had other plans.
Arsenal were a different side right after the second half whistle. There was an urgency in their attacks and their swift passing seemed too hot to handle. Chances came Nasri’s and Adebayor’s ways but it remained 1-0.
In the 66th minute Fabregas chipped the ball to Adebayor. The Togolese forward chested the ball and then drilled the ball into the far corner with a stunning overhead kick. The El Madrigal was silenced.
Nasri and Walcott had opportunities to seal the win but couldn’t take them. Senna also threatened with another long range effort but it went wide.
1-1 it ended and Arsenal deserved it. With Almunia and Gallas out, they still managed to avoid conceding and on the other hand kept their cool to get the equaliser after a poor first half.
One would fancy Arsenal to get a win at the Emirates so Arsenal should go through but it could get interesting if Villareal put up a fight just like Porto did at Old Trafford. We aren’t into the semis yet but we are nearly there.