Champions’ League quarter-finals: Chelsea 1 – Arsenal 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
March 27th, 2004 • 2:04 am

As expected, it was a pretty intense affair, with two highly focused teams of top-class players. They managed to neutralize each other during the first half.

Then a rather unfortunate defensive mistake on Arsenal’s part and a bit of luck for Chelsea led to the first goal for the home side. The goal was followed by about 5 minutes of intense pressure from Chelsea, who were clearly trying to take advantage of this blow and the possible psychological frailty in Arsenal’s defense.

But then a wonderful combination between Ashley Cole and Robert Pires led to the equalizer just 6 minutes after the opening goal. Ashley Cole’s cross was perfect and Pires’ header was beautifully taken.

Chelsea were stunned and it’s unfortunate that Arsenal weren’t able to take advantage of this reversal of fortune to score a winning goal. In truth, however, several Arsenal players had a somewhat subpar game, including Thierry Henry, Bergkamp, and Vieira. So overall the result was fair. It gives Arsenal something of an advantage (an away goal), but there’s still lots to do and Chelsea will not give up without a fight.

Now Arsenal must concentrate on the two fixtures against Manchester United, first on Sunday in the league and then next Saturday in the FA Cup semi-final. These two games are obviously going to be very important for Arsenal. What happened at Old Trafford last fall was the only major disappointment in Arsenal’s season so far, and here’s hoping that it remains a bad but distant memory.

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