Greatest European Nights

My greatest European night

Villarreal 0-0 Arsenal, Champions League semi-final, second leg, 25 April 2006. John Williamson, 60, looks back at the game in Spain when Arsenal booked a place in the final for the first time

I’ve seen Arsenal play 132 away games in Europe, but this was the first time we’d reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it was always going to be special. We’d had amazing results all through that season, beating Real Madrid and Juventus on the way. We had such an iconic team in those days: Sol Campbell at the back; Robert Pirès; Thierry Henry was a real world-class player. It’s the best Arsenal team I’ve ever seen.

The first leg of the semi-final was the last European game played at Highbury. We won 1-0 with a Kolo Touré goal, so we went to Spain feeling relatively optimistic. We went out there for four nights of sun in a holiday resort on the coast. The atmosphere was really good at the game, although only 1,500 Arsenal fans were allowed because of the size of the ground. We were under the cosh all game, and there were very few chances. It was heading to 0-0 when they were awarded a penalty near the end, but Jens Lehmann pulled off a wonderful save. Had Villarreal scored, I think they’d have gone on to win the tie as they had the momentum. We enjoyed the rest of the evening as we got invited into hospitality to celebrate with champagne.

Lehmann was a hero that night, but became the villain in the final when he was sent off and we lost 2-1 to Barcelona in Paris. Had we won the trophy, it would have been a stepping stone for the club: it would have been so different moving into the new ground as European champions.

I’ve seen Arsenal play 132 away games in Europe, but this was the first time we’d reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it was always going to be special. We’d had amazing results all through that season, beating Real Madrid and Juventus on the way. We had such an iconic team in those days: Sol Campbell at the back; Robert Pirès; Thierry Henry was a real world-class player. It’s the best Arsenal team I’ve ever seen.

The first leg of the semi-final was the last European game played at Highbury. We won 1-0 with a Kolo Touré goal, so we went to Spain feeling relatively optimistic. We went out there for four nights of sun in a holiday resort on the coast. The atmosphere was really good at the game, although only 1,500 Arsenal fans were allowed because of the size of the ground. We were under the cosh all game, and there were very few chances. It was heading to 0-0 when they were awarded a penalty near the end, but Jens Lehmann pulled off a wonderful save. Had Villarreal scored, I think they’d have gone on to win the tie as they had the momentum. We enjoyed the rest of the evening as we got invited into hospitality to celebrate with champagne.

Lehmann was a hero that night, but became the villain in the final when he was sent off and we lost 2-1 to Barcelona in Paris. Had we won the trophy, it would have been a stepping stone for the club: it would have been so different moving into the new ground as European champions.

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I’ve seen Arsenal play 132 away games in Europe, but this was the first time we’d reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it was always going to be special. We’d had amazing results all through that season, beating Real Madrid and Juventus on the way. We had such an iconic team in those days: Sol Campbell at the back; Robert Pirès; Thierry Henry was a real world-class player. It’s the best Arsenal team I’ve ever seen.

The first leg of the semi-final was the last European game played at Highbury. We won 1-0 with a Kolo Touré goal, so we went to Spain feeling relatively optimistic. We went out there for four nights of sun in a holiday resort on the coast. The atmosphere was really good at the game, although only 1,500 Arsenal fans were allowed because of the size of the ground. We were under the cosh all game, and there were very few chances. It was heading to 0-0 when they were awarded a penalty near the end, but Jens Lehmann pulled off a wonderful save. Had Villarreal scored, I think they’d have gone on to win the tie as they had the momentum. We enjoyed the rest of the evening as we got invited into hospitality to celebrate with champagne.

Lehmann was a hero that night, but became the villain in the final when he was sent off and we lost 2-1 to Barcelona in Paris. Had we won the trophy, it would have been a stepping stone for the club: it would have been so different moving into the new ground as European champions.

My greatest European night
Greatest European Nights

My greatest European night

Villarreal 0-0 Arsenal, Champions League semi-final, second leg, 25 April 2006. John Williamson, 60, looks back at the game in Spain when Arsenal booked a place in the final for the first time

I’ve seen Arsenal play 132 away games in Europe, but this was the first time we’d reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it was always going to be special. We’d had amazing results all through that season, beating Real Madrid and Juventus on the way. We had such an iconic team in those days: Sol Campbell at the back; Robert Pirès; Thierry Henry was a real world-class player. It’s the best Arsenal team I’ve ever seen.

The first leg of the semi-final was the last European game played at Highbury. We won 1-0 with a Kolo Touré goal, so we went to Spain feeling relatively optimistic. We went out there for four nights of sun in a holiday resort on the coast. The atmosphere was really good at the game, although only 1,500 Arsenal fans were allowed because of the size of the ground. We were under the cosh all game, and there were very few chances. It was heading to 0-0 when they were awarded a penalty near the end, but Jens Lehmann pulled off a wonderful save. Had Villarreal scored, I think they’d have gone on to win the tie as they had the momentum. We enjoyed the rest of the evening as we got invited into hospitality to celebrate with champagne.

Lehmann was a hero that night, but became the villain in the final when he was sent off and we lost 2-1 to Barcelona in Paris. Had we won the trophy, it would have been a stepping stone for the club: it would have been so different moving into the new ground as European champions.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

I’ve seen Arsenal play 132 away games in Europe, but this was the first time we’d reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it was always going to be special. We’d had amazing results all through that season, beating Real Madrid and Juventus on the way. We had such an iconic team in those days: Sol Campbell at the back; Robert Pirès; Thierry Henry was a real world-class player. It’s the best Arsenal team I’ve ever seen.

The first leg of the semi-final was the last European game played at Highbury. We won 1-0 with a Kolo Touré goal, so we went to Spain feeling relatively optimistic. We went out there for four nights of sun in a holiday resort on the coast. The atmosphere was really good at the game, although only 1,500 Arsenal fans were allowed because of the size of the ground. We were under the cosh all game, and there were very few chances. It was heading to 0-0 when they were awarded a penalty near the end, but Jens Lehmann pulled off a wonderful save. Had Villarreal scored, I think they’d have gone on to win the tie as they had the momentum. We enjoyed the rest of the evening as we got invited into hospitality to celebrate with champagne.

Lehmann was a hero that night, but became the villain in the final when he was sent off and we lost 2-1 to Barcelona in Paris. Had we won the trophy, it would have been a stepping stone for the club: it would have been so different moving into the new ground as European champions.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

I’ve seen Arsenal play 132 away games in Europe, but this was the first time we’d reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it was always going to be special. We’d had amazing results all through that season, beating Real Madrid and Juventus on the way. We had such an iconic team in those days: Sol Campbell at the back; Robert Pirès; Thierry Henry was a real world-class player. It’s the best Arsenal team I’ve ever seen.

The first leg of the semi-final was the last European game played at Highbury. We won 1-0 with a Kolo Touré goal, so we went to Spain feeling relatively optimistic. We went out there for four nights of sun in a holiday resort on the coast. The atmosphere was really good at the game, although only 1,500 Arsenal fans were allowed because of the size of the ground. We were under the cosh all game, and there were very few chances. It was heading to 0-0 when they were awarded a penalty near the end, but Jens Lehmann pulled off a wonderful save. Had Villarreal scored, I think they’d have gone on to win the tie as they had the momentum. We enjoyed the rest of the evening as we got invited into hospitality to celebrate with champagne.

Lehmann was a hero that night, but became the villain in the final when he was sent off and we lost 2-1 to Barcelona in Paris. Had we won the trophy, it would have been a stepping stone for the club: it would have been so different moving into the new ground as European champions.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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