UEFA Champions League

April 29, 2009


Manchester United

1 - 0


UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, April 29, 2009

Old Trafford, England

Referee: Claus Bo Larsen

  • 95'

    There we are. A slightly disappointing game but at least it was better than last night. United should have won by more goals, but Arsenal had a few half chances to equalise as the game wore on. Its nicely poised for the second leg in a week's time though. Thanks for your company.

  • 94'

    A poor ball from Rooney goes out of play and that should be that.

  • 92'

    Berbatov earns a cheer as he tracks back to intercept a ball from Gibbs. Sagna then turns in a ball that Vidic clears.

  • 91'

    A poor ball from Fabregas is cut out by Fletcher and Ronaldo hits a half volley over the bar.

  • 90'

    Four minutes to be added as Rooney wins a free kick off Sagna.

  • 89'

    Gibbs muscles Rooney out of the way as he charged towards goal. Almunia mopped up. He's had an excellent night the young left-back, especially having had to mark Rooney and Ronaldo in each half.

  • 88'

    Ferdinand shouts something non-repeatable as he realises he's been substituted. Calm down Rio, there's only three minutes left.

  • 87'

    Looks like Rio's game is over. Johnny Evans comes on as Rio hobbles off holding his side. Maybe a rib injury.

  • 86'

    Bendtner misses a great chance for Arsenal as Van der Sar got caught in a sea of bodies. He just needed to glance the ball into the net but he got too much on it and it sailed over the bar. Poor. Ferdinand down again.

  • 84'

    Eduardo wins a free kick as Ferdinand clattered him from behind. Its Rio who has stayed down though.

  • 83'

    Rooney plays a poor ball inside for Giggs as he got into the area but Sagna had tracked the run well.

  • 82'

    Giggs gets behind Sagna and it took a long while for Alumina to realise he'd have to come and get the ball. He did, just in the nick of time.

  • 81'

    Eduardo is coming on for Arsenal as Wenger makes a final dart for an away goal. Adebayor is coming off. Not surprising, he's worked hard but been poor.

  • 80'

    Carrick spreads the ball wide for Evra but Ronaldo miscontrols his ball slighty and its a goal kick.

  • 79'

    Bendtner proves how useless he is by collecting a Fabregas ball on the dge of the box before turning and passing to Rooney. Brilliant.

  • 78'

    Giggs has the ball in the net but he's been flagged offside. He looked a fraction off to this, impartial observer. I'm a Brighton fan actually, thanks for asking.

  • 77'

    Sagna crosses looking for Adebayor but United win the goal kick as he and Ferdinand went to ground.

  • 76'

    Two crosses from Giggs fail to find their target. The second one flashed past Ferdinand who looked totally unprepared for it.

  • 75'

    Lovely United move as Berbatov finds Ronaldo, who finds Giggs; he stands the ball up towards the back post but Silvestre heads over the bar. Corner.

  • 74'

    Brilliant cross from Rooney but very well defended by Silvestre - he's had a good game back on his old stomping ground.

  • 73'

    Giggs slides a ball down the line for Ronaldo but Almunia is out to clear.

  • 72'

    More possession for Arsenal but nothing comes of it, and as United break Rooney gets round the back but can't get his cross past Silvestre, then Carrick fizzes a low shot just wide.

  • 70'

    Fabregas drifts right and drags a shot well wide. Nicklas Bendtner is preparing to come on for Arsenal. Ooh, that'll make them more dangerous. Walcott makes way, largely due to the fact that he's had about four kicks of the ball all night.

  • 69'

    Ronaldo has hit the bar! He whacked one from 35 yards and Almunia just stood and watched as the ball dipped and crashed into the bar. Brilliant effort.

  • 68'

    Rooney goes right and Giggs goes left. Berbatov goes central.

  • 67'

    Attacking changes from Sir Alex then; he smells more goals with Arsenal is such poor form.

  • 66'

    Changes for United and Ryan Giggs will get his 800th appearance in place of Anderson. Berbatov is also on, for Tevez.

  • 65'

    Ronaldo is for once denied a free kick and as Arsenal clear and break Fabregas threads a super ball inside Ferdinand for Adebayor but his cross is poor, and Walcott didn't even jump to challenge Evra.

  • 63'

    First decent strike from Adebayor as he chests down a ball from Song and fires a volley just over the bar. Ferdinand has a pop at Fletcher and Carrick the second the ball wnet out of play.

  • 62'

    Ronaldo flicks on for Fletcher who neglected to shoot for some reason, then Arsenal break donwfield but Diaby and Adebayor demonstrate their complete lack of synergy by making a mess of a simple ball.

  • 61'

    Nice movement between Ronaldo and Rooney allows Anderson a chance to shoot but his sidefooted effort was high, wide and ugly.

  • 59'

    There's something missing from Arsenal tonight. They are nowhere near as slick in possession as usual. In fact, they've been wasteful.

  • 58'

    Poor, poor ball from Fabregas as Diaby went down the left. Then Adebayor tried to slip in Fabregas but Ferdinand got across to clear.

  • 57'

    Arsenal can feel a little wronged there as Song was sent flying by Ronaldo but the ref waved play on. Luckily for the Gunners, Silvestre dealt with Evra's cross.

  • 55'

    Another bitty attack from Arsenal as Adebayor can't control, then Fabregas takes the ball off the toes of Nasri. Gibbs then flies forward but doesn't get the return ball he was after.

  • 53'

    O'Shea's flick allows Ronaldo to shoot but Silvestre makes the block. Corner. Another poor one from Anderson. He might find himself usurped when the next one arrives.

  • 52'

    A poor touch from Nasri allows Vidic to nick the ball from him. Its just not happening for Arsenal this evening. Rooney found himself some room there but Sagna did well to snuff out the danger.

  • 50'

    Where are Arsenal's holding midfielders?! Carrick gaily skipped 50 yards then under no pressure whatsoever. How can they be short in attack and still open at the back?

  • 49'

    Arsenal need to get Walcott on the ball more too, so he can have a go at Evra, the man who looked less than solid when faced with Aaron Lennon on Saturday.

  • 48'

    Arsenal have started the second half like they ended the first, with plenty of possession but no penetration at all.

  • 47'

    No changes for either side but we may see Arsenal committing more men forward in pursuit of that crucial away goal.

  • 46'

    We're off again...

  • 45'

    That's half time and United deservedly in front. They've been by far the better side but Arsenal came back into it towards the end of the opening period. Should be a belter of a second half.

  • 45'

    Toure sells Almunia a little short with a back pass, forcing the keeper to slide ain and clear then Arsenal have another chance as Walcott finds himself with space, he should have gone past Vidic but opted to try and flick a ball over for Adebayor. He failed and the chance is gone.

  • 44'

    Well done Silvestre; he puts an end to a delightful passing move from United as Carrick looked to get on the end of Anderson's pass.

  • 43'

    A tussle between Diaby and Rooney sees the Arsenal man prosper but as Sagna waits on the right edge of the area Diaby's pass is poor and sends him too wide. Chance gone.

  • 42'

    Anderson is offside as he ran into an ocean of space. Replay shows he was level. Oooh.

  • 41'

    Toure streaks forward and tries to take on Evra but the left back gets firmly in his way. In Toure's absence United feed Rooney but his curling shot is wide of the far post.

  • 40'

    Adebayor is frustrated as he gets himself a slice of space in between the centre backs but Fabregas' ball for him was too strong.

  • 39'

    A 20-pass Arsenal move breaks down and in truth, it never looked like going anywhere.

  • 37'

    Carrick tries too be a little too clever by slipping a ball inside Sagna when Rooney wanted it to feet. Lots of space again for United players in the final third though.

  • 36'

    Gibbs not only nutmegs Ronaldo but leaves him on his rear as he scampers into the box but his cross is poor. The Gunners need to sharpen up their final ball.

  • 35'

    A lovely piece of possession nearly releases Diaby, who swapped passes with Fabregas. Arsenal coming into the game more now.

  • 34'

    Adebayor releases Gibbs down the left but again only Diaby was in the area. Vidic is up to nod clear.

  • 33'

    Tevez gets a yellow for his challenge.

  • 32'

    Tevez collects an Anderson pass and as Almunia comes out the Argentine slides in and everyone knew what was coming; a nasty collision. Both are down, but Almunia seems ok seeing as he's already giving Kolo Toure a rollocking.

  • 31'

    Arsenal build down the right but Evra blocks Walcott's cross.

  • 29'

    Great chance for Ronaldo! He set Tevez away on the right and as the cross came in he had a free header at goal but it was right at Almunia. Then as United rebuild Almunia makes another save from a Ronaldo shot.

  • 28'

    O'Shea wins an excellent header to release Ronaldo on the right, he looks for Rooney with his cross but Toure clears with a firm header. Good defending.

  • 27'

    First sight of goal for Arsenal as Walcott and Adebayor combine to set up a shot for Fabreagas. It was low and hard, but too near VDS.

  • 26'

    Fletcher is adjudged to have hauled down Song, as the Arsenal man drove into the United half. Bit harsh maybe.

  • 25'

    A faint sniff for Arsenal as Song nicks the ball from Fletcher, Diaby spreads it wide for Fabregas but he fluffs his shot, much to the delight of the Stretford End.

  • 24'

    Anderson's corner is too deep and he gets an earful from Ronaldo for his trouble.

  • 23'

    Gibbs does well to get up in front of Ronaldo as Rooney swings in a deep cross. Arsenal are rocking here though. United corner.

  • 22'

    Toure's hack down the line underlines the lack of attacking options for Arsenal at the minute. No-one was in 40 yards of his ball.

  • 20'

    Van der Sar rushes out to clear but Silvestre opts not to go for long distance glory and finds Adebayor instead, who wins a free kick. Van der Sar claims well as Fabregas launches it in though.

  • 19'

    Great start for United, a nightmare for Arsenal's makeshift defence.

  • 18'

    It was a case of following the ball from Arsenal, as soon as Carrick got it they all drifted out to the right and as he crossed three Red shirts were unmarked at the back stick. Great finish from O'Shea though.

  • 17'

    The corner goes deep, Carrick hits it back across goal and three United players are cueing up. O'Shea catches it clean on the half volley and Alumina has no chance. Game on!

  • 17'

    GOAL! O'Shea!

  • 17'

    First big chance of the game, O'Shea in space on the right crosses low for Tevez who doesn't get in cleanly and Almunia saves well. Corner.

  • 16'

    Already it looks as though Arsenal's main threat will come from the trio of Walcott, Fabregas and Adebayor. They combined there but Ferdinand intercepted Fabregas' ball for the England winger.

  • 15'

    Ronaldo launches another bursting run inside Gibbs but Carrick's ball is again too strong.

  • 14'

    Nice work from Diaby, who spins away from Fletcher and Ronaldo before finding Nasri. The ball is soon with Rooney though, but his cross is short and Toure whacks clear.

  • 12'

    Arsenal's first forray forward as Song finds Fabreagas, he plays in Walcott down the right channel but only Diaby was in the box as Vidic hacks clear.

  • 11'

    Ronaldo unloads his first shot but Silvestre gets a touch and it rolls comfortably into the arms of Almunia.

  • 10'

    Silvestre cuts out Fletcher's ball for Ronaldo as Arsenal remain penned into their half.

  • 9'

    Fletcher makes a run through the centre but Carrick's ball is overhit.

  • 8'

    Ronaldo is cleaned up by Song this time and Arsenal win the throw in.

  • 7'

    Looks like Diaby is playing left and Nasri is in the centre. Perhaps because of the Ronaldo threat. Fabregas is trying to get up in support of Adebayor, but hasn't had reason to yet as the ball has hardly got into the United half.

  • 6'

    There's a cracking atmosphere inside Old Trafford as United pour forward. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball as yet.

  • 5'

    A fabulous ball from Carrick finds Rooney on the left but as he cuts in and searches for Ronaldo Song intervenes.

  • 4'

    First flashpoint; Nasri has a little lash out at Anderson, who tried to get the ball off him to take a quick free kick.

  • 3'

    Then as Rooney sweeps the ball crossfield, Gibbs slips and Ronaldo fires one across goal but no red shirt is there to tap in.

  • 2'

    First chance, Ronaldo's cross, Rooney's header is slightly deflected and as it loops towards the far corner Almunia makes a brilliant save.

  • 1'

    We begin..


    Anybody who is watching the pictures from Old Trafford will note the referee looks a little over-excited ahead of the game, if you know what I mean.


    As for Arsenal, Adebayor will play the lone front man with a cast of supporting midfielders. Expect Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott to push on with Song and Diaby to sit in. The teams are in the tunnel; let the Euro goal-fest commence!


    So, the terrier Tevez gets the nod ahead of the laconic sulkmaster that is Berbatov, despite the latter having a decent game at the weekend. Carrick and Fletcher provide the grit in midfield while Sir Alex will look to Rooney and Ronaldo to unlock a patched up Arsenal back line.


    Fret ye not United fans, the PFA Player of the Year is on the bench. Fitting really, seeing as that is where he's spent most of the season.


    Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Diaby, Fabregas, Song, Walcott, Nasri and Adebayor.


    Manchester United: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney.


    After last night's snooze fest in Spain, let's hope this all-Premier League clash can fly the flag for entertaining football at Old Trafford. It should do, with United in healthy form in front of the onion bag and Arsenal threatening to push forward in search of a precious away goal.


    Tune in at 1945 BST to see if the entente-cordiale between Wenger and Fergie lasts for 90 minutes as Arsenal take on Manchester United at Old Trafford.