The Arsenal-Mania Player of the Month: April

Date: 5th May 2006 at 7:30 am
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April has been one of our better months this season. We saw the return of some of our injured players and also lost some ahead of our final month at Highbury. On a happier note we reached the final of the Champions League, a fitting end to our life at Highbury.

Our month in the league began on a high note with a 5-0 win home win over Aston Villa. Winter singing Emmanuel Adebayor got his name on the scoresheet as did captain Thierry Henry, twice, Robin van Persie and Abou Diaby.

Juventus were the hosts in midweek for the 2nd leg of our quarterfinal tie. We were the favourites to go through thanks to the two goals scored by Henry and Fabregas in the first leg at Highbury. The two goals proved to be too much for Juventus, which meant we had reached the semi-final of the Champions League for the first time in our history. Villarreal awaited us in the semi-finals after knocking out Inter Milan; the first match was to be played at Highbury.

We were on a high, following our midweek result as we travelled to Old Trafford. We were brought back down to earth with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of one of our biggest rivals further denting our push for 4th spot.

We were on the road again days later as we travelled south to play Portsmouth. We took the lead through Henry but were pegged back by Lua Lua, which further damaged our pursuit of Tottenham and 4th spot.

3 days later West Brom made their way to Highbury for the last time. We needed to get back on track in the race for 4th spot and we did with a deserved 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Alexander Hleb, Robért Píres and Dennis Bergkamp.

We were back in action on the following Wednesday for the first leg of our CL semi-final against Villarreal.
The lads played really well and got a deserved goal through Kolo Touré, an valuable advantage ahead of the second leg.

The last North London Derby to be played at Highbury took place on the following Saturday and it lived up to all the hype surrounding the game during the week. Tottenham took the lead in highly controversial circumstances much to the ignorance of Martin Jol, in the second half. We however got back on level terms late on through captain Thierry Henry, whose stunning shot has kept us in the running for 4th spot.

We took the one goal advantage from the first leg to Spain looking to reach our first Champions League final in our final season at Highbury. Villarreal were geared up for the match and made life hard for our defenders however we held on with determination and confidence to go secure our place in the final in Paris.

And that is the way the month ended, 3 victories, 4 draws and 1 defeat. Next month we can look forward in sadness to our final game at Highbury and the Champions League final on May 17th against Barcelona.

After thinking and discussing about that has happened during the month the Arsenal-Mania forum users have decided that the Arsenal-Mania Player of the Month for April is Gilberto Silva.

Gilberto has been fantastic throughout the month and deserves this award. He has shown us how important his experience and skills are to our team and the type of role he plays. Gilberto was immense throughout the two semi-final legs and without him (and Lehmann) I don’t think we would have the opportunity to win this competition for the first time in our history. He was rightly named MOTM for the Man Utd clash and the first leg of the Villarreal semi.

Gilberto won the award with 44% of the votes closely followed by Jens Lehmann who had 40% and Thierry Henry was had 6%.

Gilberto’s stats for April:
Appearances: 8
Goals: 0
A-M Man of the Match awards: Man Utd and Villarreal

Best quotes from the POTM voters on the forum

ExiledInNewcastle Gilberto for me. Nice to see he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves.
kamikaze80_18 Our inspirational Irishman, Gilbert O’Silva

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