Friday, February 24, 2006

Arsenal's great victory over Real Madrid

Thierry Henry scored in Arsenal's 1-0 upset victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, while AC Milan ended Bayern Munich's 15-clash winning streak at home with a 1-1 draw.

Europe's top club competition resumed after a 2-1/2 month break this week with the first leg of the opening knock-out round. In other clashes on Tuesday, defending champion Liverpool lost 1-0 to Benfica and Lyon won 1-0 against PSV Eindhoven.

In fact, Arsenal travelled to Madrid with a youthful defence, without the experienced Dennis Bergkamp and low on confidence after its poor recent record. But it had three opportunities to score in the opening 10 minutes — Jose Antonio Reyes, Fredrik Ljungberg and Henry all going close.

It's important to notice that Henry scored in the 47th minute, eluding four defenders to net past Madrid keeper Iker Casillas. It was the first time an English club won at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu scenario.

``For a really long time, I didn't see an Arsenal squad like that,'' Henry noticed. ``We were brilliant defensively, but more importantly we were not scared to play.''

In fact, Real Madrid had two English players — David Beckham and Jonathan Woodgate — starting against Arsenal. Woodgate just lasted eight minutes before coming off with a hamstring injury.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Beckham and Real Madrid ready to beat Arsenal

Today David Beckham will face an English team for the first time since moving to Spain when Real Madrid hosts Arsenal. It may be the last chance for Madrid to win a title this year: The Champions League.

"I've been waiting for this moment for three years," Beckham admits. "From the start I wanted to wear Real Madrid's shirt in England. There's a special aura about being a Real Madrid player and I want to show it in England. To play in London, where I was born, is going to be meaningful."

Is important to notice that Madrid's 3-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday was its sixth straight in the league and continued its improvement since the appointment of reserve team coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro to replace the fired Vanderlei Luxemburgo on Dec. 4.

In fact, Madrid was boosted by the return of captain Raul Gonzalez on Saturday after three months with serious knee trouble. Striker Ronaldo is expected to play his first Champions League match of the season after missing all six group games because of suspension and injury.

Newspapers assure that Arsenal is struggling to qualify for Europe next season. The Gunners are out of both domestic cup competitions and are fifth in the Premier League standings, 25 points behind Chelsea.