Goals in each half from Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry gave Arsenal FC a real chance of reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time as England's sole surviving representatives produced an exceptionally disciplined and hard-working display to defeat Juventus, who finished with nine men.
The home team were the more enterprising throughout and expertly contained a Juve attack shorn of Alessandro Del Piero and Pavel Nedvěd through injury and suspension respectively to record a seventh successive clean sheet in the competition, equalling AC Milan's record of last season. Arsenal always looked in control from the moment the magnificent Fabregas collected Henry's pass to secure the lead five minutes before half-time. The pair then reversed roles for the second goal midway through the second half, Henry scoring against his former club to put Arsenal firmly in control of the tie.
Juventus were undone by two early strikes against Liverpool FC at the same stage of last year's tournament, and were similarly pushed on to the back foot in the opening moments by Arsenal. With the home side giving the ball away more than usual, however, the first shot on goal was carved out by the visitors, Zlatan Ibrahimović's free-kick deflecting just wide, although in the main the two teams appeared content to play their way slowly into the match.
Just past the quarter-hour the hosts picked a way through the Italian champions' rearguard for the first time, Robert Pirès finding Fabregas advancing into the area with a clever back-heel but, under pressure from Lilian Thuram, the midfielder dragged his shot wide. Gianluigi Buffon was then called into action, making a routine stop from Kolo Touré before Henry tried to catch out the Juve goalkeeper with a quick free-kick that drifted a metre wide.
Fabregas delightHenry delight
That was the first of three set-piece attempts from the Arsenal captain in the opening period, and it was no surprise that, when the home side did find a way past Buffon, Henry played a crucial role. Pirès dispossessed Patrick Vieira in midfield and found his compatriot midway inside the Juventus half and Henry turned to roll a perfect pass into the path of Fabregas, who evaded Thuram to shoot low beyond Buffon. The goal brought Highbury to life and Henry might have added a second soon after but his effort from a narrow angle slid past the far post.
The visitors started the second half in determined mood, and within five minutes Touré produced a vital tackle to deny Ibrahimović inside the penalty area, his second such intervention on the Juve striker. Arsenal held firm in the face of the initial pressure, however, and might have doubled their advantage just past the hour as José Antonio Reyes and Fabregas combined to find Henry in space on the right only for Buffon to palm away his left-foot attempt before the Juve goalkeeper denied both Fabregas and Pirès with his legs.
Buffon was powerless to prevent Arsenal extending their lead in the 69th minute, though. Arsenal were slicing through the Juve rearguard with increasing frequency and broke clear again as Fabregas ran on to Aleksandr Hleb's pass and drew the goalkeeper before unselfishly squaring for Henry to turn in. Late dismissals
Juve's troubles were compounded as both Mauro Camoranesi and Jonathan Zebina were dismissed in the final three minutes after tackles earned them second bookings. Vieira, who will want to quickly forget his first game back at Highbury since leaving last summer, will also miss next week's return.