Roma 1 Arsenal 3: Our Time Is Now?

Last updated : 27 November 2002 By Darren Hawken

Henry scores his second goal
Roma have been struggling of late, but when you can call on players like Totti, Cafu and Batistuta, you know you are in for a hard night.

Shabaan came in for the injured Seaman and Gilberto was back alongside Patrick Vieira, Wiltord started up front with Thierry Henry. Martin Keown made a welcome return to the subs bench, which included Van Bronckhorst and Franny Jeffers.

Our defence have come in for some criticism and obviously when Chris asked me to do this report, I hoped it wouldn't be like my last effort, which was the end of our unbeaten Premiership record up at Everton.

Shabaan looked shaky early on and Cole was in for a hard night up against Cafu. Cygan had a big task on tonight to placate some worried Gooners and also to keep an eye on Totti who was returning from injury.

So what happens after four minutes, Luzhny jumps in and mises the ball, Totti feeds Cassano who in turn stops takes on Campbell and plants the ball in off the post, one down and only four minutes gone, thanks Chris.

Our reply was instant as the hugely impressive Gilberto was fed by Pires, he skipped a couple of challenges before playing a cross-field ball that left Panucci on his behind and Henry coolly slotted home with his right foot. Game on again.

Arsenal then preceded to play some nice football and at the same time keep hold of the ball, Roma hardly had a touch for the next twenty minutes before it was their turn to play with the ball. Henry skipped past four or five players before shooting straight at the goalie and at the other end Totti got himself into a brilliant position and as the ball was just about to bulge the net, there was Cygan with an incredible goal-line clearance.

Paddy tussles with Lima
Half time and all square, although Arsenal looked pretty comfortable, although the back four were stretched a few times. Second half was all Arsenal as again we kept the ball and Roma seemed to run out of ideas of how to break through our midfield in which Vieira and Gilberto were outstanding.

Twenty minutes to go and the game evenly poised and Henry decided to take the game by scruff of the neck, first he headed a deep cross against the defender and as it landed hit it first time with his left foot past the goalie, 2-1 Arsenal winning away from home again and Henry again the man.

Five minutes later Wiltord steams through and gets pushed over for a free-kick about 25 yards from goal. Pires steps over it and Henry curls it in the top left hand corner with the goalie stranded and Arsenal looking at a massive win.

The Arsenal fans start to sing 'you might as well go home" as Van Bronckhorst comes on for Pires, who had a top game and was always probing and trying to find a way through the Roma defence.

Guigou ran through after a Campbell slip and block but Shabaan just managed to get a toe end on the ball before decapitating the Roma player. Totti by now is totally ineffective and resorts to diving and holding to try and win something.

Keown comes on for Wiltord, who again has ran himself into the ground and of course won the free-kick for the third goal, Edu comes on for Ljungberg with a couple of minutes to go and in-between that Batistuta took out Gilberto with a wild lunge that deserved a red, but only got a yellow and then tried it again on Gilberto, this time the ref let him off.

It's that man again... the genius of Henry
I was going to give man of the match to Gilberto Silva who was class all game and we missed him big time at the sorry Saints, Cygan was also hugely impressive and did a good job of keeping Totti quiet. Cole and Cafu, the old and the new had a right battle down the right, but Cole just edged him.

But yes the man of the moment was Thierry Henry, A hat-trick at Roma was the icing as his all round play was World Class. The question remains how good can he become as his games continues to improve.

As the Arsenal fans sung at the end

"We're By Far The Greatest Team The World Has Ever Seen"