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Poll: Who was Arsenal's Man Of The Match against Liverpool?

So the first of Arsenal's trio of games against Liverpool ended all square, but as with the draw in the first leg against AC Milan, the Gunners can take heart knowing that they were the better team on the pitch.

The visitors created very little, while Arsenal had 65% of the possession, but failed to convert that advantage into goals and must therefore travel to Merseyside next week knowing that they need to score to progress to the semi finals of the Champions League.

Before that they host Liverpool again on Saturday and a more steely and clinical approach in that game could still hand Arsene Wenger a psychological edge before Tuesday's away game, although we may have to do without Robin Van Persie who, once again, limped off and failed to finish the game.

The Dutchman was looking a bit sharper in the 45 minutes that he did play, while his replacement, Theo Walcott, also looked lively. Elsewhere last night, Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini controlled the midfield well, while Gael Clichy and Philippe Senderos shone in defence. And it was good to see Alexander Hleb actually running at a defence for once. He should have won the Gunners a penalty, but the referee was not in the mood for any big decisions last night.

Ahead of Saturday's game, share your thoughts here on who Arsenal's best player was last night.. Or simply vote for you Man Of The Match by selecting his name and clicking on Vote.

Posted by Gordon Masson on April 3, 2008 9:25 AM in Champions League| Match Report| Players| Poll
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11 games to go: time for Arsenal to show top form

If Arsenal are to satisfy Le Gaffer's ambition of winning the Champions League, then they have 11 games left this season in which to hit and sustain top form - starting tonight against Liverpool.

There are 18 points still to play for in the Premier League title chase and while I can't see Man United dropping too many, if the Gunners can beat Alex Ferguson's men on their own turf on April 13, then the pressure we can put the league leaders under will certainly help our cause.

A victory at Old Trafford would also turn up the temperature on what could well be our Champions League final opponents too, with Manure's 2-0 win in Rome last night hinting that they will be the team to beat.

Before we get to that date, we have a triple header with Liverpool, starting tonight at Dubaibury. Keeping Steven Gerrard quiet tonight will be key to Arsenal getting a result, while not allowing Fernando Torres too many sights of goal will be crucial.

But we all know that Arsenal are capable of beating Liverpool, so I'm looking forward to what could be three great games during which Arsene Wenger's side will hopefully start to create the momentum that can bring home some silverware at the end of the season.

What do you think? Are Arsenal capable of bringing a trophy home this season? Or did the team peak too early? Share your thoughts here.

Posted by Gordon Masson on April 2, 2008 10:29 AM in Champions League| Debate of the Day
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Play Fantasy Arsene Wenger: Who would you choose to start against Liverpool?

Arsenal will have home advantage tomorrow night in the first of our triple header against Liverpool and it's vital that we make that advantage count as when we travel to Merseyside next week, it will be a tough place to get a result.

The character that the Gunners showed in coming back against Bolton at the weekend came just at the right time and my guess would be that Arsene Wenger will keep the faith in those players when it comes to taking on Rafa Benitez and his team tomorrow.

I'd fancy Emmanuel Adebayor to start ahead of Nicklas Bendtner, mind you, and I reckon Emmanuel Eboue will get the nod over Abou Diaby, with the prospect of Theo Walcott coming off the bench in the latter stages of the game to test the tiring Liverpool defence.

Whatever teams the managers pick, you can be sure there will be changes in the following encounters on Saturday and next Tuesday, but the starting line-ups tomorrow could prove vital for confidence across all three games, so I think both managers will go with their strongest possible teams.

Share your thoughts on the starting 11 here. My choice would be this:

Almunia
Toure Gallas Senderos Clichy
Eboue Fabregas Flamini Hleb
Adebayor Van Persie

Posted by Gordon Masson on April 1, 2008 12:44 PM in Champions League| Debate of the Day| Players
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It's Liverpool! Arsenal must travel to Merseyside to progress in the Champions League

Arsenal must overcome Liverpool if they are to keep Arsene Wenger's dream of Champions League success alive.

The Gunners were drawn out of the hat alongside Rafa Benitez's side in today's draw for the European Cup and will travel to Liverpool on April 8th or 9th after entertaining the five times champions at Emirates Stadium on April 1st or 2nd.

Unfortunately, we also play the Reds in the Premier League game that falls between both Champions League ties, meaning that we'll playing the same team three times in the same week.

If Arsenal can progress to the semi-final stage they will face either Fenerbahce or Chelsea, meaning that the final in Moscow could see us play one of four teams - Roma, Manchester United, Schalke or Barcelona - who are in the other half of the draw.

The full draw is:

Arsenal v Liverpool
Roma v Manchester United
Schalke v Barcelona
Fenerbahce v Chelsea

What do you reckon Arsenal's chances are to make it through to the semi finals of the Champions League? Are you happy with the draw or would you rather have faced other opposition? Share your thoughts here.

Posted by Gordon Masson on March 14, 2008 12:22 PM in Champions League| News
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Poll: Who do you want to face in the Champions League quarter finals?

If anyone was seeking proof that the Premier League is now the strongest domestic competition in Europe, then they surely need only look at the fact that all four English sides in the Champions League have made it through to the quarter finals.

Liverpool downed Italian league leaders Inter Milan last night to join Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in the last eight of the competition and unlike in previous rounds, the restrictions that prevent teams from the same country from meeting are now gone, meaning we have a more than 40% chance of coming up against Premier League opposition in the quarter finals.

None of the big four teams will be relishing an all English clash, but if we are drawn out of the hat aginst a domestic rival, I'd rather it was Liverpool or Chelsea than Manchester United.

Our other opponents could be Barcelona, Fenerbahce, Roma or Schalke 04. Cesc Fabregas has stated that he'd like to play Barcelona in the final so that the Gunners can exact their revenge for the loss in the Paris final two years ago. And Arsene Wenger tipped Roma as a dark horse for the competition at the start of the season, so I wouldn't mind avoiding them.

I'm guessing that our Premier League rivals will all be hoping to be picked out alongside either Fenerbahce or Schalke 04 in Friday's draw and I'd go along with that as well. But I have the feeling that we might face Chelsea in the quarter finals, allowing us to take revenge for the defeat at Highbury at the same stage in the competition four years ago.

Ahead of Friday's draw, let us know who you'd like Arsenal to be drawn against - I've given you all seven options and all it takes is a simple couple of clicks to vote. And if you have any particular reasons to back up your choice, share them here using our comments section below.

Posted by Gordon Masson on March 12, 2008 1:08 PM in Champions League| Debate of the Day| Poll
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Can win in Milan inspire Arsenal to win the double?

A magnificent performance in Milan was just what the doctor ordered last night as Arsenal well and truly got their season back on track.

Comprehensively beating AC Milan on their home turf sets the Gunners up for a tremendous finale to the season and Arsene Wenger's men can now approach each game without fear of the opposition.

Cesc Fabregas's 84th minute strike - from all of 40 yards - would have been enough to secure his team's place in the quarter finals of the Champions League, but Emmanuel Adebayor's 90th minute goal, courtesy of great work by Theo Walcott, sealed a historic win in Italy.

If the team can build on their performance at the San Siro, then I just can't see them failing to win the Premier League, while it would take a very special performance from the opposition to prevent them from lifting the European Cup too. But for every great win Arsenal have recorded this season, the Gunners have also had some mediocre displays and it's these that must be avoided in the run-in to May.

What do you think? Are Arsenal good enough to go all the way? Or do you reckon the team peaked last night and will find it difficult to repeat such a performance? Share your thoughts here

Play Fantasy Arsene Wenger: Who would you pick to face AC Milan?

We're just a few hours away from the biggest game of Arsenal's season today and Arsene Wenger is finalising his team sheet for the visit to the San Siro.

The squad that travelled to Milan is: Jens Lehmann, Abou Diaby, Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fabregas, Philippe Senderos, William Gallas, Robin Van Persie, Alexander Hleb, Denilson, Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto, Gael Clichy, Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Adebayor, Nicklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Eboue, Justin Hoyte and Theo Walcott.

I agree with Gael Clichy's sentiments that Arsenal can pose Milan problems from the flanks, so I reckon Clichy and Alexander Hleb will provide that threat on the left, while Emmanuel Eboue and Bacary Sagna will do likewise on the right.

And upfront I'd go for Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner to provide both an aerial assault and give us options on the ground.

Share your thoughts on who you'd choose for Arsenal's starting line up here. For the record, here's what my team would be:

Almunia
Sagna Gallas Senderos Clichy
Eboue Fabregas Flamini Hleb
Adebayor Bendtner

Posted by Gordon Masson on March 4, 2008 2:56 PM in Champions League| Debate of the Day| News| Players
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