Saturday, May 20, 2006


End of a Gunner dream

It was the end of a dream. The 76th minute equalizer from Samuel Eto'o left me shattered. Had I been physically present in Stade de France at that very moment, I would have broken down, I am sure of it. As the jubilant Barcelona players ran towards Eto'o to celebrate the equalizer, an ecstatic Barca fan called me up to announce - 'Its all over man'. Yup, it was all over. To use the cliched phrase it was 'Game, set, match Barcelona' from then on. The goal that eventually sealed the match a few minutes later was simply inevitable as the equalizer had already broken the spirit of the Gunners who had battled brave and hard for 70 odd minutes to keep the Barca attack at bay.

Going into the finals, Barcelona were the clear favorites to win the match. As some would say - the difference in 'pedigree' was glaring. Barca probably has the most potent strike force and midfield in Europe at the moment. Hence it would should make logical sense to accept the outcome of the match and move on but somehow this result just didn't seem right. I have seen the Gunners lose before in many a match (especially this season) but the memory of this defeat seems to linger, it seems implausible that the Gunners actually lost the match, it seems impossible to accept the outcome.

The strong emotions seem to stem from the fact that it was Arsenal's best ever performance in Europe. Enroute to the final they had run into some of the powerhouses of European football namely, Real Madrid and Juventus and emerged victorious. They had miraculously gotten past a injury time penalty scare against Villarreal to get to the final. They had not conceded a single goal in ten consecutive Champions league games. Yes, the Gunner fan truly believed that it was a sign from heaven itself- It was the year of the Gunners. Even during the course of the final despite having a player sent off the Gunners managed to sneak ahead, an Arsenal victory just seemed pre-destined.

Alas, as events unfolded the belief and the dream were shattered. To their credit the Gunners showed great spirit and determination in the final, a truly worthy and inspiring performance indeed. They also proved that the likes of Ronaldinho could be marked and checked effectively even when you are a man down. The standard of referring in the match seems to be a talking point but I guess thats part and parcel of the game and no point in making a big issue of it. The cruel part of the entire sending off episode was that the hero of the semi finals Jens Lehmann happened to be at the receiving end of it and also the fact that the substitution for the replacement goalie involved the exit of Robert Pires who was playing his last match for the Gunners, a tragic manner to bid adieu.

Looking forward, Henry is staying put in Arsenal and a whole new bunch of talented players maybe signed up during this summer, positive signs indeed. However I really doubt if the performance next season (or ever in the future),however amazing it might be, would ever emotionally match up to this final in the fact that it would completely convince an Arsenal supporter that the cup was truly destined for Arsenal and Arsenal only.

Friday, May 12, 2006


The Rising Sun..

The Rising Sun seemed to matter more than the Rising Son (Stalin) for the voters of Tamizh Nadu. Or did anything matter at all ?? Was it a choice between Karunanidhi and Amma? or was it a choice between a stupid promise of free Colour TV's Vs an outrageous one of 4 gms free gold ? Crazy....

Life goes on for us people, no change at all. Change in guard does not mean anything to you and me. Neither would we get the free Colour TV's nor the promised gold... :-)

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