Date: 7th April 2009 at 3:10pm
Written by:

Alan Hansen, pundit for the New Football Pools on Villarreal v Arsenal

‘Arsenal are doing very well at the moment and with their big players all returning such as Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor they will fancy their chances against Villarreal. I think Arsene Wenger will be overjoyed to have avoided the fellow English clubs and of course Barcelona at this stage. If he could have handpicked any side to meet in the quarter-finals then it would have been the Villarreal.

I believe we will have three English sides in the semi-final so I would expect Arsenal to progress over two legs though I wouldn`t be surprised if they drew this one. The Spanish club are a strong defensive outfit and as they showed against Manchester United earlier in the competition are well capable of getting draws.

The Gunners will have to watch out for former United player Giuseppe Rossi who has proved a big hit in Spain with 23 goals in 49 league appearances for the club. However, the game is likely to be won in midfield where Fabregas will be up against his Spanish international team-mate Marcos Senna who is an excellent experienced player.

There will also be an ex-Arsenal star in the Villarreal squad in the shape of Robert Pires. At 35-years-old the Frenchman is not as quick as he once was and the days of regular goal scoring are gone but he is still a talent on the ball and will have to be watched as he has the ability to drift into dangerous positions.

Arsenal should go through to the semi`s but the away leg won`t be easy so I`d expect a tight low-scoring match which will suit Arsene as few teams get results at the Emirates.’

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