Tuesday, April 08, 2008
From invincible .....to invisible
A little over a month is all it takes for dreams of grandeur to turn to nightmares of misery. One month was all it took for the Arsenal dream of winning the Premier League and basking in the glory of Europe's ultimate crown - the Champions League title, to turn to nothingness. The defeat at Anfield tonight was the final nail in the coffin, ensuring that the Arsenal cupboard yet again remains devoid of any new trophies.
The 84th minute dream run by Walcott setting up for a clinical finish from Adebayor would have on any given day seen Arsenal through. But alas fate cannot be changed, for the events that unfolded in the next 6 minutes of the game, unbelievable to say the least, broke the spirit of many an Arsenal fan. 6 minutes, 2 goals from Liverpool, the game was dead and buried for Arsenal. The heroes who had conquered Milan are gone, the tournament moves on without them.
Were Arsenal the better team tonight? Debatable surely, in fact definitely not in my opinion. The Gunners looked jaded for most part of the game, especially after the first half equaliser from Liverpool. The defence was patchy to say the least. All said and done, the dream run and the equaliser catapulted Arsenal right back in, promising for a moment to erase their ignominious fate in the premier league. Alas, the moment was fleeting indeed. Yet another trophy less season, and that's the sad reality.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Champions League...at last!!
Not sure when I last watched a complete Arsenal match or a full length Champions League game. The intersection of the 2 events mentioned has not happened in the past seven months since I landed here. Well, given such a pathetic personal track record, getting to watch the match a couple of days ago, between Arsenal and Liverpool was a big event indeed. And, well at the risk of sounding even more pathetic, let me clarify that I am talking about watching the match on TV only (and not in the stadium)!!!
Well, the match got off to a good start for Arsenal. However, I can't echo the same personal feeling since by the time I had 'launched' and completed 'other formalities' Arsenal had already scored the first goal. Darn, I bloody missed the Arsenal goal, only to land up promptly to witness the Liverpool equaliser :-( . I consoled myself with the thought that a goal a piece within the first half hour would surely open up the game, leading up to an exciting finale.
I am certain all that I hoped for would have happened had it not been for the fact that Liverpool was the team involved in this game. It didn't take me too long to realize that the only attacking move from Liverpool in the entire game had already happened, that's when they scored the bloody equaliser. From then on it was a wave after wave of Arsenal attack thwarted not by the Liverpool defence, but strangely by the referee and in one instance bizarrely by an Arsenal player itself!! The Dutch referee got the penalty decision completely wrong. Hleb was clearly brought down in the box, but the referee didn't entertain calls for a penalty. The weirdest incident in the match had be that of Bendtner getting in the way of the ball in what would have been a sure fire goal from teammate Fabregas' strike. Grrrr!!!!
Torres was the solo Liverpool player who was in the Arsenal side of the pitch for most of the game. Apart from faking and diving though, he did not contribute much to the game.
Liverpool bashing could go on, but the unfortunate reality is that Liverpool are in the drivers seat going into the return leg at Anfield. I predict a 0-0 or 1-0 in favour of Liverpool, ensuring their passage to the next round. Though for sure, the better game would have been played by Arsenal.