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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Graham Taylor's verdict
Graham Taylor
Graham Taylor
BBC Radio Five Live summariser

There could be few people who can suggest Arsenal do not thoroughly deserve to be in the last four of the Champions League.

The Juventus manager Fabio Capello knew long before the final whistle his team had not done enough but all the credit has to go to the side from north London.

It wasn't a case of Arsenal taking the game to Juventus. They didn't need to. They just got the job done and now everyone will be hoping they can go all the way, just like Liverpool did last year.

There are certainly plenty of parallels to last season, not least that Arsenal have had what they would consider a disappointing Premiership campaign, just like last year's European champions.

But to go eight games in the Champions League without conceding a goal is a fantastic achievement.

Arsene Wenger has done a fantastic job at Highbury this season

Although the players have been on the pitch and completed the task, so much credit has to go to Arsene Wenger.

He has such a great knowledge of French-African players and that has been demonstrated in the last few weeks.

Who would have thought that Lauren would not have been missed. But Emanuel Eboue has been fantastic.

But what is so impressive about this achievement has been that Wenger has been able to make the progress with this young team in the heat of the Premiership.

For the last couple of summers at Highbury, everyone has been talking about whether Patrick Vieira would stay or go.

He's let him go and put his faith in this young team and they are rewarding him.

The Premiership may be fierce but they have demonstrated in Europe that they have fantastic ability - even if I would not be surprised to see them lose at Old Trafford at the weekend.

They now face Villarreal, who I have seen a couple of times this season. They are hard-working and well-organised and, if Juan Roman Riquelme is on song, they will be a handful.

But Arsenal showed a great deal of maturity at Juventus.

Cesc Fabregas played a great holding role and did nothing stupid to affect the shape of the team.

And the one person I admire is Gilberto. Claude Makelele gets plenty of plaudits at Chelsea but this man plays really well in that role as well.

All the ingredients are there and maybe we will be looking at another success for an English club. I hope so.


Graham Taylor was speaking on BBC Radio Five Live.




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