El Madrigal has been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 11:03 07 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:04 07 September 2010
PREVIEW 2 Villarreal CF v Arsenal Champions League, Quarter final, 1st leg Tuesday April 7 KO: 7.45pm Villarreal s compact 25,000-seat El Madrigal home holds happy memories for Arsenal. Three years ago a last minute Jens Lehmann penalty save from Juan R
Villarreal CF v Arsenal
Champions League, Quarter final, 1st leg
Tuesday April 7
Villarreal's compact 25,000-seat El Madrigal home holds happy memories for Arsenal.
Three years ago a last minute Jens Lehmann penalty save from Juan Riquelme put Arsenal through to their first, and only, Champions League final.
A Kolo Toure goal two weeks before earned the Gunners a slender 1-0 advantage in the first leg.
Robert Pires, who played for Arsenal in that semi-final, is now pulling on the yellow of Villarreal.
"It will be the first time I've played against Arsenal," the 35-year-old said. "I'm really looking forward to going back, albeit to a new stadium. It's going to be a tricky tie. As a Villarreal player, the only thing going through my head at the moment is knocking them out."
Another ex-Gunner to make an impression on Spain's north-east coast is Pascal Cygan, the much-maligned centre-half who has enjoyed a new lease of life since moving to the club.
Last year Pires and Cygan helped Villarreal to a second place finish - their highest ever.
This year they are again on course for Champions League qualification, currently lying in fourth place in La Liga, five points clear of Atletico Madrid.
In the group stages, Manuel Pellegrini's side finished second behind Manchester United in a group that also included Aalborg and Glasgow Celtic, before edging past Panathinaikos in the first knock-out stage, winning 2-1 in Athens after a 1-1 draw at home to take the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Arsene Wenger expects a tough test: "In this game I feel there are no real favourites ... it is a difficult 50:50 draw."
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