Today's match is at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven. The four times these two squads have met in European competition Arsenal is unbeaten with 2 wins and 2 draws.
Last year's Champions League (CL) runner-up, Arsenal, finds itself back in the hunt for the European Cup and in 4th place in the Premiership with a long shot of challenging for the league title. PSV the defending Dutch Eredivisie champion leads Ajax by five points this season. Arsenal advanced from group G in first place over FC Porto. PSV advanced behind Liverpool out of group C.
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Arsenal will be led by its graceful French striker Thierry Henry, who sat out the recent Cup match against Blackburn. The Gunners will be boosted by the return of William Gallas after a long stay on the injured list but are still without Dutch striker Robin Van Persie, who has a broken foot. Arsenal is running out a 4-4-2 (defenders, mids, strikers).
Arsenal- Lehmann, Gallas, Toure, Senderos, Clichy, Hleb, Silva, Fabregas, Rosicky, Henry, Adebayor
Subs- Almunia, Ljungberg, Julio Baptista, Denilson, Flamini, Djourou, Aliadiere
PSV is led by its captain Phillip Cocu. But, the Dutch side is facing a serious injury problem with Patrick Kluivert, Michael Reiziger and John DeJong all out with injuries and Jefferson Farfan doubtful for the match. PSV comes out with a 4-4-2 as well.
PSV Eindhoven- Gomes, Kromkamp, Alex, Da Costa, Salcido, Culina, Simons, Cocu, Mendez, Kone, Tardelli
Subs- Moens, Vayrynen, Addo, Feher, Sun
For some reason a few of the Dutch fans are dressed as M&Ms. I wonder if those little kids the players walk out with ever have sticky hands? Like they've been eating PB&J right beforehand. I wouldn't like that.
Well, it looks like I might have been wrong about PSV. It looks like they may have a 4-3-3 lineup with the same players. Oh well.
3:00 - Early on PSV controls the ball and Kone gets a shot off from the 18 after Arsenal failed to clear a set piece. There is no clock on the broadcast so I'm just guessing on the time.
Still no clock and PSV is showing some spirit and have controlled the play so far. Arsenal seems relaxed and just biding its time until the moment strikes.
(9:00 mark???) Kone just blew by Gallas but let the ball go out. I could seen Kone causing some problems with his speed.
11:00 - Tardelli just blew a gilt-edged opportunity after Fabregas misplayed a ball in the 18. Tardelli had a hard touch and the ball went right to Lehmann.
14:00?? - PSV and Gomes just got lucky when Rosicky's shot was barely deflected by the keeper and Salcido cleared it off the line as it trickled toward the goal. It wasn't a great shot but it wasn't a great save either.
17:00 - Arsenal is finally gaining its form with good possession and dangerous opportunities. Senderos headed a Fabregas corner wide left. (Technical difficulties are slowing me down. Read: my crappy computer.)
22:00 - PSV mounts its first attack on Arsenal in some minutes with a Mendez shot on goal from 22 yards. Arsenal is still unable to link up the midfield and strikers successfully so far.
25:00 - So far Rosicky seems to be the biggest threat for Arsenal but Adebayor looks like he could cause some trouble today. The reason Arsenal may be having trouble linking up is that PSV seems to 9 or 10 men behind the ball all the time with Kone up top on his own.
27:00 - Henry tried to squeeze one in over the keeper but sent the ball over the crossbar by a lot.
31:00 - Cocu has a strong shot easily stopped by Lehmann who was in perfect position. After a two good stops by both teams defenders, Arsenal found the possession and Henry found Rosicky who got off a good shot. Rosicky will be scoring or assisting in this game. Mark my words. He looks really good today.
32:00 - Smyth, the announcer, "we've seen both sides of Arsenal this year. The side that plays brilliantly and scores. And, the side that plays brilliantly and doesn't score." ????
37:00 - Pleasantly surprised that there has not been much diving and theatrics so far in the match.
40:00 - Culina just hit another of PSV's shots that went straight to Lehmann. Let me just say it is a real pleasure to see Henry on the ball. Right before Culina's shot he was on the ball for 10-15 seconds and nobody could take it from him and he got off a decent shot from the 18.
42:00 - Adebayor is called for the first offside of the match. That goes to show how tentatively this match is being played thus far. Right as I say that, Rosicky fed Henry the ball in traffic, the ball pops up in the air off a defender's foot and Henry volleys the ball at Gomes. Beautiful little play.
45:00 - Right before the end of the half Henry finds Adebayor on a through ball. PSV slows him up and Adebayor knocks it back to Henry who quickly turns and attempts to curl a shot into the right upper corner of the goal from the left side but it goes high as several of his attempts so far.
Halftime - 0 - 0.
Elsewhere, ManU and Lille are knotted at zero as are Celtic an AC Milan. However, Real Madrid is throttling Bayern Munich 3-1 with two goals by Gonzalez Blanco and one by Van Nistelrooy. I'll be putting up a new post for the 2nd half. Thanks for joining me.