It's quite amazing how many goals one needs to feel safe in a football match, even at three nil I had paranoid ideas about a quick flurry of Villareal goals, luckily it didn't materialise and we march onwards and upwards. The strength of our squad was shown as we did this with four of our back five our injured, all injuries that have occurred in the last two weeks. Thankfully Arsene opted for a 4-4-2 formation with RVP and Ade up top, and Walcott and Nasri on the flanks, Cesc and Song paired up in the middle of the park.
We started well, a sublime finish from Theo, after he had been played through by Eboue's ball that was then flicked on cutely by Cesc, put us one nil up, how important the early goal can be. A second goal was threatened and there were several near misses and missed opportunities, Ade worked hard but his final touch was not the sharpest, RVP had fire in his belly and fought for every single loose scrap. Meanwhile Villareal were doing their best to cheat and con the referee, several theatrical dives after minimal contact were rewarded with free kicks, while their filthy Argentinian centre back Godin committed three clear yellow card offences and amazingly escaped the book, one dangerous scissor tackle on Song, one rake down Ade's Achilles when almost last man and a rather disgraceful trip from behind on Cesc I think. What an embarrassment these kind of below the belt tactics are.
Villareal started more positively in the second half, and continued to be aided and abetted by the referee who gave them three or four soft free kicks at the beginning of the second half, amazingly several Villareal players were trying to get Mikel Silvestre a second yellow for a nothing challenge, that surely would have been the softest and most undeserved red card ever if the unsportsmanlike Villareal players had had their way, it appeared though that their attempts to do the ref's job turned the officials against them. There were a few moments of danger, Silvestre looked slower than a P&O ferry trying to leave France, but Fabianski swept up very effectively, rushing off his line with speed and an appropriate aggression. Song kept his fantastic form going, looking positive and assertive with and without the ball, alongside him Cesc started the game well but errors crept into his game more and more as the minutes passed.
Just when you thought it was not going to be Ade's day, he received a lovely fizzed RVP pass on the edge of the box, took in on nicely with a neat first touch, then buried the ball into the bottom corner with the outside of his right foot, great goal, we could relax a smidgeon at last. The game was then over, a slightly soft penalty was given as Godin won the ball but did go through the man that was Theo Walcott in a rather nonthreatening position, RVP slotted the penalty home. Villareal didn't like the penalty decision and the pathetic Eguren was booked for second time for his aggressive dissent, I can't imagine Villareal would have disagreed with this decision if it had been Silvestre on Rossi in the box, they would probably have also beckoned for a yellow card for the tackle.
Overall job done and given the absentees in our defense it was a great achievement to dispatch a decent Villareal side so convincingly. Some of our less known names were outstanding, Song was excellent, Nasri worked so hard defensively, Walcott was awesome especially given his recent lack of games, RVP gave his all, Fabianski did all that was asked of him very effectively, the much maligned Eboue was comfortable in his right back slot, Gibbs did admirably and looks a great emerging talent, other than his lack of pace Silvestre looked a good defender. Manu await, however I feel that we shall need Djourou fit for this one, the lack of news on his knee is rather ominous. Our home record in the Champions League is formidable, unbeaten in 25 and no goal conceded for over eight hours, we'll certainly need to be at our best to beat the Manc scum, come on you Gunners.