A Night Juventus Wouldn’t Like To Remember


As a die-hard Arsenal fan, it really is frustrating when it comes to the transfer window, everyone turns into an Arsenal informant and act as though they have a close working relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and the affairs of the club.

Most of us fans are highly gullible during this period, so we entertain whatever news comes our considering the clubs’ slow-pace of signing players; I could start a wildfire rumour of Arsenal on the verge of signing Marco Verratti and have it headline on the Daily Mail paper.

Massive credit has to go to Arsene Wenger for the only signing we’ve made in this transfer window thus far in the mole of Sead Kolasinac. The formidable left back, who was named in the Bundesliga team of the season would bring competition to Nacho Monreal who has been a good servant to the club.

Away from transfer rants, I’d like to cast our memory to the time when Francesc Soler Fabregas fully announced himself in world football, in the Champions League match against Juventus. This was in the 2005-2006 season when we (Arsenal) made it through to the Final losing 2-1 to FC Barcelona in Paris. The UCL final defeat in 2006 is Wenger’s only time of making it to the final of the competition.

The Line-up

Arsenals’ line-up consisted of Jens Lehmann, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Philippe Senderos, Jose Antonio Reyes, Gilberto Silva, Aleksandr Hleb, Robert Pires, Matthieu Flamini, Francesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry in the starting line-up.

Juventus had a team of Gianluigi Buffon, Patrick Vieira, Emerson, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Mauro Camoranesi, David Trezeguet, Adrian Mutu, Gianluca Zambrotta, Lilian Thuram, Jonathan Zebina and Fabio Cannavaro to face the Gunners in the thrilling European match.

How The Match Unfolded

This football match had so much intensity right from the buildup; former Gunner Patrick Vieira was making a return to Highbury, after transferring from Arsenal to Juventus. His prodigy Francesc Fabregas was in line to face him, with many thinking the Frenchman would outclass the then young Spaniard – but Fabregas has other ideas that were to be executed.

Fabregas and Arsenal played and outclassed Juventus in what was a thrilling performance, with the game ending in a 2-0 win in favour of the Gunners – thanks to goals in each half from Fabregas and Henry.

Right before the half-time break, Robert Pirès dispossessed Patrick Vieira in midfield and found his compatriot midway inside the Juventus half and Henry turned to roll a perfect pass into the path of Fabregas, who escaped Thuram to shoot low beyond Buffon that was left rooted to the ground.

The goal brought Highbury to life and it was exciting watching a young Fabregas score in what seemed to be the biggest match of his career then. Henry might have added a second soon after but his effort from a narrow-angle slid past the far post.

In the second half the lead was extended, as Buffon was powerless to prevent Arsenal extending their lead in the 69th minute, although Arsenal was slicing through the Juventus defence with increasing frequency and once again broke clear as Fabregas ran on to Aleksandr Hleb’s pass and pulled away the Italian goalkeeper Buffon from his goalpost, before unselfishly squaring for Henry to turn in.

The Italians were completed outplayed in the first leg of the Champions League match at Highbury, and could well have found themselves trailing by more goals had it not been for the heroics of Gianluigi Buffon.

Arsenal would eventually proceed to the semi-final of the Champions League against Villarreal, with the 2nd leg of the Juventus match ending in a goalless scoreline.