Daily Archives: May 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Champions League Final from an Arsenal Perspective

The Champions League is regarded as one of football’s biggest spectacles because it showcases Europe’s elite teams on the biggest stage of them all, with the sole aim of winning the trophy that would earn the club that right to be called the Kings of Europe.

The enthralling 2011/12 season reaches its climax with the world waiting eagerly to know who the new kings of Europe would be. Barcelona has had a stranglehold of the Champions League in recent times and it took a nervy, dogged, disciplined and valiant performance from Chelsea to knock them out. Bayern Munich on the other hand will be forever thankful to Sergio Ramos that launched his penalty into orbit.

It was fabled that Ramos’ penalty was pelted so far into the galaxy; it gathered some matter along the way and formed a new planet after Neptune called Planet Ramos.

Football readers love stats and my pal, eromzy, culled up some interesting stats with every one of them favoring Chelsea, and it’s worth sharing:

The last team (Inter Milan) to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League went on to lift the trophy winning Bayern Munich in the process.

The last English team (Manchester United) to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League went on to win the trophy

The last time Atletico Madrid won the Europa League (2010), Chelsea won a double.

An English team (Manchester United) has previously won the FA Cup and went on to win the Champions League, beating Bayern Munich in the final, which lost the DFB Pokal final that same season.

The last time Manchester City won the League, an English team (Manchester United) won the European Cup.

All Champions League finals played in the city of Munich produced a winner of the competition for the first time in their history (Nottingham Forest, Olympique Marseille, Dortmund)

The last time Manchester United ended a season without a trophy, another English side (Liverpool) won the Champions League and they didn’t finish in the top four.

The Champions League final is on 19-05 (19th of May) and Chelsea was formed in 1905.

Finally, Chelsea were quarterfinalists in 2000, semifinalists in 2004, finalists in 2008 and could be _____ in 2012.

Jack Wilshere offered his support to Chelsea on Twitter and urged his followers to follow suit. With Arsenal’s third place finish good enough to hand them an automatic Champions League slot, fans of Tottenham will be hoping for a Red night today.

In this situation, many Arsenal fans are placed between the Devil and the deep blue sea as a chunk of them are hoping for a Chelsea win because it would relegate the enemy, Tottenham, into the Europa League while others (me included), want Bayern Munich to win because Chelsea would become the pride of London if they attain victory.

There are also the fits of arrogance, vitriol and taunts we will have to face from them in the coming days, weeks, months and probably years from those goons that support the club.

Sitting on the left corner, is the Arsenal fan that wants Chelsea to win the Champions League. If his wish comes true, Tottenham goes to the Europa League. He tends to forget that there’ll be that Chelsea fan that can come up with quotes like,

“Shut it mate, go and win the Champions League before you argue with men like me.”

There are also the pundits, journos and media vultures that will feast on it like flies on shite, run out of superlatives, wax lyrical about Chelsea and painful quotes of how cash can buy trophies will surface yet again with every line aimed at yours truly, Arsenal.

Sitting on the right corner, is enigma106, a proud Arsenal fan that hates everything Tottenham stands for but he’ll prefer to see Bayern winning the competition, thereby granting Tottenham a place in the Champions League playoffs. Chelsea will also reap the rewards of their shambolic Premier League season, the Europa League.

Like in their maiden competition, the Spuds might win their fixture (or lose too) to qualify for the Champions League proper, but they could be paired in a group were their shortcomings could be exploited. Hopefully, there’ll be no Maicons or Internazionales that will make that Chimp, Gareth Bale, feel like the world’s best player for a night yet again.

For what it’s worth, Arsenal has all the bragging rights in the pre-Mourinho era but the Special One came around to shift the balance a bit. After his exit, managers like Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti have gotten their fair share of success but Arsenal still has a bigger trophy cabinet than Chelsea, if you want to judge by the numbers.

However, it’s the Highbury cabinet that’s laden with trophies of all sorts. The Emirates Stadium’s trophy cabinet is currently occupied by a Black Widow Spider that has spun webs large enough to make Spiderman feel at home. I heard he’s still pissed that he wasn’t called up to join the Avengers.

Bayern’s run to the final saw them top a relatively tough group containing surprise package, Napoli, newbies, Manchester City and the recently relegated Villarreal. The Bavarians ran riot against FC Basel before strolling past Olympique Marseille. A true test sufficed in the form of favorites, Real Madrid, but they excelled admirably.

Chelsea on the other hand eased past Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and Genk in the group stage before suffering defeat in the first leg of knockout phase against Napoli. If Andre Villas Boa Constrictor was still at the helm of affairs, nobody would have been singing their tunes so credit should be rightfully given to Roberto di Matteo.

After seeing off Napoli, the Londoners ousted Benfica and outfoxed Barcelona.

Both sides would be without so key players courtesy of suspensions but we can only hope for a great game of football.

Chelsea’s Ashley Cole has lost two Champions League finals (2006 with Arsenal, 2008) and I’m hoping for a hat-trick of losses tonight. At least, he can sleep well at night knowing that he has won seven FA Cups winners medals.

These are my thoughts on the Champions League final, feel free to share yours with your comments.