Arsenal 1, Villareal 0 (Kolo Toure’, 41 min)

(you’ve got to admit, Toure has come a long way since the first season of “The Real World”)

Basking in “the thrilling reality that Arsenal have taken a significant step towards the climax of the Champions League in Paris on May 17”, the Telegraph’s Henry Winter chronicles the first leg of the Gunners’ semi-final with Villareal, a match featuring a squirrelly pitch invasion.

At the perfect moment, Henry slipped the ball down the channel and Hleb was free. Villarreal were caught square, Toure stole in and met Hleb’s driven cross with the neatest of close-range finishes.

Euphoria swept Highbury because, until then, Arsenal had failed to impose their smooth-passing game in a first half surprisingly pockmarked by mistakes. Arsenal were coping well with Riquelme. Whenever the Argentine sorcerer gained possession, Arsenal players were on him straight away. First Freddie Ljungberg, then Gilberto, then Cesc Fabregas, then Hleb.

The squirrel appeared to be roaming more effectively than Riquelme in Arsenal’s half, the runaway rodent serenaded by the North Bank with a chant of: “There’s only one squirrel.” Arsenal fans avoided “Nice One Squirrel” on the grounds of its Tottenham Hotspur associations.

The furry insurgent eventually disappeared towards Hampstead Heath and the fans’ attention returned to a fascinating encounter.