by : Antony Melvin
Villarreal bossed possession in a match that they never really looked like winning. Riquelme was not his normal authoritative self – but nevertheless Villarreal restricted Arsenal sufficiently to set up an intriguing second leg.
Overall Toure’s conversion of one of the few real chances in the match was a realistic reflection of a game that left the tie nicely balanced at 1-0 to Arsenal.
Decent evening for the stand-in ‘keeper. Little to do, but he blocked a couple of efforts and could not be faulted on the goal itself.
Javi Venta 7/10
The Villarreal defence played well – and Javi Venta epitomised their work ethic.
Quique Alvarez 7/10
May not have been a first choice, but his heading was accurate and his defending unfussy.
Almost amusingly named, Arzo was calm enough to bring the ball out of defence and link with the midfield.
Spent much of the second half complaining about perceived injustices. Nice scrabble score.
Another picture perfect passer who kept things simple without being dazzling – would easily slot into Arsenal’s midfield.
Picked up a booking that precludes him from the second leg – consistent, but hardly a world beater these days.
Largely anonymous and replaced by Josico after 72 minutes.
Well marshalled by Gilberto, Riquelme picked up a booking complaining in vain over the vexed penalty decision. Not the influence he sometimes is.
Jose Mari 6/10
His only contribution of note was his screaming collapse under pressure from Gilberto on the edge of the box. He may have deserved a penalty but the theatrics probably cost him that. Replaced by Franco after 55 minutes.
Reminded everyone how hard he works, but on a night when Villarreal needed a flash of genius Forlan offered hard work. Replaced on 90 minutes by Calleja.
19 April 2006