DAVID RAYA CEMENTS #1 STATUS WITH HERO PERFORMANCE!

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Arsenal is through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010.

Wow.

14 years out in the cold. And here we are. What a feeling!

I’m a touch emotional about it because I wasn’t sure we’d ever get back the peak of European football. The club allowed itself to sag and bloat under a manager who had declined, they made a horrible mistake hiring a meek replacement paired with a horrendous football director… they finally saw the light and hired Arteta.

So few wanted to accept hiring someone with City and Pep ID was a good idea, no one wanted to accept he had the sauce, and people constantly ridiculed the idea he was generational.

Where are these guys now? They’re Steve Ballmer laughing at the iPhone. Alan Hansen saying, ‘You don’t win it with kids.’ Gary Neville scoffing at the Arsenal strategy.

There are so many people that have helped pull Arsenal back from a very dark place and I hope all of them are enjoying this moment.

Arsenal has been honest about who they are, what the strengths of the club could be, and they’ve gone all-in on a strategy that required taking a lot of pain along the way.

4 years into Arteta’s tenure, and we’re one of the 4 best clubs in Europe.

That is mad. Wild. Crazy. Too good to be true.

The FC Porto game was absolutely disgusting. We won, but I felt dirty. Like I’d tripped an old lady to win a sack race. I’d forgotten what the Champions League was about – the nostalgia always takes you back to attacking free-flowing football. The reality is closer to a brutal chess game in a very nasty prison cell.

Arsenal weren’t at their best, but they handled a very streetwise Porto side, then nailed them in a penalty shoot-out for the ages.

I told you I wasn’t selling my stocks in David Raya, and thank goodness I didn’t; he’s just gone NVIDIA on the base. As Matt said on the Arsenal Opinion, ‘he’s been near perfection since Dubai.’

That was his best game in an Arsenal shirt. He made saves, caught crosses, distributed like a king all night, then pulled off two world-class penalty saves (nearly three) and sent us into the next round.

There were rumblings we had two number twos at the club. Those silly proclamations can be laid to rest. David Raya is a special keeper and he’ll be knocking on the door of Ederson and Allisson very soon if he isn’t already.

Other notable performances: Martin Odegaard. He was an all action hero again. He pressed, he dropped deep, he drew players from all over the pitch to track his danger… then he struck with a Bergkamp like assist, serving up Trossard with a stunning pass he could dink home.

Not a big game player? Please.

There weren’t too many individual performances worthy of paragraphs – so I want to talk about the team.

Only Jorgi and Havertz have been this far in the Champions League. No one else in that team had. The game was tough, the opponent relentless, the jeopardy serious. Those boys did men things out there. They showed the type of maturity many a Wenger team could not. It was a very, very professional performance under huge pressure.

Then the penalties came… my word. They were stunning.

Odegaard – BANG

Saka – BANG

Havertz – BANG

Declan – BANG

I doubted every single one of them – but those guys didn’t. They were brutal penalties struck by young men keen to impress on the greatest club comp in the world.

We moved into the next round. Bayern, Madrid, PSG, Man City, and Barcelona… the sort of names you dream of! The only team I fear is Man City… and I suspect the only team Man City fears is Arsenal.

Let’s enjoy the moment and see what the Friday draw kicks up for us! x

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allezkev

Need to be drawn away for 1st leg, then if it goes to pens it’ll be at the Emirates.

MidwestGun

Italian teams all out.. not good for Serie A.

Dissenter

What did I just do?
I praised Luton town for being up 3-0 then they suffered a massive collapse!

Last edited 29 days ago by Dissenter
WengerEagle

He is old Middy, 35 for a forward despite the modernising of the game is still basically the time for the slippers and rocking chair barring the freak exceptions like Ibra, CR7, etc.

We’re all getting old because I still remember when Sanchez was a mere whippersnapper at Udinese vividly.

allezkev

Our record against Spanish teams ain’t that great, pity about all the Italians going out as we usually do well against them.

WengerEagle

So 3 Spanish teams, 2 English, 2 German and 1 French side in the QF.

Strange that neither of those German teams are Leverkusen given how superior they’ve been to Bayern and Dortmund this season but alas that is one epic QF line-up.

Rich

Need Villa to qualify tomorrow night, our game will get pushed back likely to the Sunday..

But would rather play Villa after they’ve been involved in Thursday night exploits, rather than them having a full week to prepare.

Their squad is already at bare bones.

MidwestGun

Agreed Habesha-

Don’t want any teams from Madrid .. next round,really or City… we don’t need to play them an extra time this season. Other than that.. I’d be good with whatever.

Based on history .. we gonna get Bayern or Barca is my prediction.

WengerEagle

Luton is sadly going down, that one tonight has got to be crushing for morale.

I’m more upset at the fact that Everton will survive yet again in spite of their current state by default as the 3 promoted teams have been pretty hopeless (barring Luton who have had moments).

Rich

Real Madrid would be simultaneously daunting and incredibly exciting..

Particularly if the 2nd leg was at the Emirates.

That’s the sexy tie.. But other than City over 2 legs, I don’t really care, there’s plenty of really tasty looking fixtures.

This is some Quarter Final line up:

Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, PSG, City.

Dissenter

We are the least club with the least squad CL experience in the quarter finals draws.
Five clubs left – Barca, Real, Bayern, city and Dortmund have won the competition before. These are perennial last 8 clubs.
The other two Atletico and PSG are almost always in the final stages

Everyone will want to get us in the draws, which we can use to our advantage.

Last edited 29 days ago by Dissenter
salparadisenyc

Nice thing about winning group in round of 16 you get second leg at home which is a solid advantage.

Drawing for quarter finals its luck of draw with first team drawn playing its first match at home against second team drawn etc

Best possible ties for me in this order

Dortmund vs Arsenal
Barcelona
PSG
Bayern
Atletico
Real Madrid
Man City

WengerEagle

Rich

I wouldn’t like Real. They still have their core in Modric, Kroos, Carvajal who are all 5 time CL winners. Then you look at basically the rest of their side barring Bellingham who are all also CL winners (2022).

A side packed with power, pace, quality and their elite experience and intangibles trumps anything from any other European side, even City who are superior in quality but not experience or intangibles.

I would like to avoid them and City, the dream is that they draw each other so we won’t have to worry about both.

Luteo Guenreira

I hope we get Dortmund obviously. And I hope it’s Barca-Bayern to round out our half bracket.

That leaves PSG City and both Madrid teams on the other side.

WengerEagle

Sal

More or less agree although I’d swap Bayern and Atleti. Ze Germans still have so much individual attacking quality that can hurt us in Kane, Musiala, Coman, Sane, fatboi Serge and even that kid Tel looks useful.

I’d actually fancy PSG over Barca too, they are so bang average outside of Mboopi who carries them hard. If Galiba can in anyway nullify his threat they are limited.

Rich

WE

Agreed that it’s probably the 2nd hardest fixture.. But it’s also the most exciting.

Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world, the opportunity to play them over 2 legs in a CL Quarter Final would be incredibly exciting.

Whoever we draw at the next stage is going to be difficult, particularly with 12-14 games in 7 weeks.

salparadisenyc

WE

Before watching second leg of 16 i’d of put PSG right up there with Dortmund, they looked so good on the second leg in San Sebastian with crazy physicality of youth all clicking.

Inconsistent but when its firing quite dangerous with Kylian the obvious main killer.

Nobody going to be a walk in the park and the deep end of me wants Real Madrid and the Bernabau!

Don’t agree on Bayern, give me Kanes Bayern for redemption.

Last edited 29 days ago by salparadisenyc
Mr Serge

Bayern are not allowed to have away fans in the quarter finals so,I would love to get them imagine 65000 gooners booing Kane at the emirates,

also Eddie has been told he can leave in the summer 35m fee wanted

China1

Once you hit the QFs of the CL the opportunity for a kind draw diminishes pretty close to zero I suppose Dortmund would be the lowest ranked among them but they’re a good team At the end of the day if you wanna win it from here you have to expect 3 elite opponents so no need to worry, as long as we stay in the comp, the elite teams are coming our way In terms of who I would most like to avoid – teams who are more defense focused like athletico as they’d have a better chance of… Read more »

China1

To be honest, whoever we draw is going to be more scared of us than we are of them. I do believe this…

Teams like city won’t admit that but they will not want to face us.

Guns of SF

China im with you, Id like to whip Barca – still scarred from all those hidings they gave us. Like Manu in my book, forever hated.

Kan

Give me Barca/Bayern or give me death! It’s time for them to pay!

Olatunde

Why is everyone scared of Madrid? They have been overrated this season. I don’t see why we can’t beat them. Our record against them is good. The fact that they have so many experience players who by now should be retired might even work in our favor as the will tend to be too careful hence won’t start strongly.
Any club from Madrid is what I want.

Habesha Gooner

Completely agree with not wanting to draw Man City or Real Madrid. But I would rather play Real Madrid than city. Playing city takes the gloss off the European tie.

After that I would like to avoid Atletico’s haram football. They are going to be difficult to play. Other than those three, I don’t mind who we draw. It is going to be a fantastic game either way.

Habesha Gooner

Olatunde
You are underrating this Madrid team. They still have Vini and Bellingham who are top class footballers. And they have the know how to get through matches. They didn’t play well in both matches against RB Leipzig but they went through anyway. I ideally would like to avoid them because they are a weird side to play against.

Guns of SF

Can you imagine if the final is us v barca again. Shit man! unlikely but who knows