Champions’ League: Let the worse teams win

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
March 11th, 2005 • 12:48 am

I am afraid I am in full agreement with Gordon Strachan over the outcome of this week’s round of Champions’ League games. God knows I am not a Manchester United fan by any stretch of the imagination, but the perspective of Milan AC winning yet another boring final is just too much to bear. Like Gordon, I remember the final two years ago and it was just atrocious.

The final last year wasn’t much better, and the winning team was coached by Jose Mourinho, so you know what to expect this year…

Arsenal had a decent game against a very strong Bayern Munich, but still weren’t able to create more than one moment of magic with Thierry Henry’s goal. (His commitment was very impressive. Jens Lehmann had a good game. Senderos did quite well, except for the bad header at the end of the game. But it all just wasn’t good enough in the end.)

Manchester United were very flat and looked quite immature, but still… Another (admittedly nice, but maybe a bit fortunate) Crespo header was all the difference, yet again. See above for the prospect of another final involving Milan AC.

Liverpool and Chelsea in the next round? Good lord. The former will collapse at the first real hurdle, and the latter will cheat their way to the top. Once more, negative, defensive football with lots of theatrics and dubious off-the-ball incidents wins the day… The only reason the score was 4-2 was the atrocious performance of the Barcelona defense during the first half. Like Arsenal, Barcelona were undone by their defense. The day someone in the Chelsea team scores a goal like the one scored by Ronaldinho, maybe I’ll change my mind about this team. Until them…

And then there is Real Madrid and Juventus… There is no doubt that Real Madrid’s football is much more attractive. On the other hand, many key players are entering the twilight of their careers, if they are not already well into it. So they are out too. However, it takes more than an occasional flash of brilliance or luck by an opportunistic striker such as Trézéguet to make great football.

And so the same story unfolds yet again. It’s enough to turn us all into Lyon supporters! They are about the only excitement left in this tournament — and unless something miraculous happens and they win the trophy, the bottom-line will be that this week was the last week of really interesting football this year. And I guess we all have studious Jose Mourinho to thank for it!

2 Responses to “Champions’ League: Let the worse teams win”

  1. Pierre Igot says:

    May I remind you that no one forces you to read my “litanies”? :-)

    As for the supposed “French lobby” at Arsenal and my bias, this is a remark that borders on xenophobia. I think I have made it quite clear over the years that what I like about Arsenal is not that the players are French or Dutch or whatever, but that they can play beautiful, flowing attacking football.

    Yes, this has come at the expense of defensive solidity, and Arsène Wenger will need to remedy this if he really wants to achieve European heights. But there is no need to insult him or his legacy. Most footballing experts appear to agree that he has brought a lot to the English game. He’s certainly not perfect, and his failure in Europe is a clear demonstration of this. But that doesn’t mean that he cannot improve.

    Regarding this year’s Champions’ League competition, I am afraid the damage has been done. Chelsea might win it, and might even deserve it on the whole — but they will not have won it cleanly and with the right attitude. Too bad. But then, it won’t be the first time the competition disappoints. Unlike some, I have no forgotten, for example, Claude Makelele’s antics in last year’s semi-finals…

  2. vaag says:

    Any comment about this weeks Champions League games that doesn’t hail the attractiveness of Chelsea-Barcelona, with its interesting clash of two totally different systems – Chelsea trying to win with very well executed counterattack football, and Barcelona by trying to dominate the game -, is a joke. And so is yours and Strachan’s. And it’s a shame that you show admiration for Ronaldinho’s trickery – who can build a team on trickery? -, but show no appreciation, for instance, for the way the first or third Chelsea goal were executed – beautiful one touch football -, but, even worse, you just play it down (“The only reason […] was the atrocious performance of the Barcelona defense”).
    No real credits either for Bayern Munich. They were not only “very strong”, but over two games they were by far the better, the more intelligent, the more skilled and the more brave team. And they certainly have a far better manager (doesn’t take that much). They fully deserved to win. No word about that.
    For the rest it was the same disrespectful litany you deliver here week after week: opponents are the ones that cheat, look immature, play negative, defensive, theatrics, dubious off-ball incidents, can only score because of luck or bad defensive play, have an ugly team, commit as many fouls as possible…
    “Let the worse teams win” – You are a very very bad loser.
    Now, with Wenger, will Arsenal ever reach something substantial (let’s say semi-final Champions League)? No, of course not. I don’t think any other manager had that many opportunities as he had during the last six-seven years. He failed time after time, and that’s no bad luck, that’s pure incompetence. So will he go? No, of course not, because he doesn’t know, as every good manager knows, that five years should be the maximum; and he won’t go because of the strong french lobby at Arsenal – the main reason of course that you support this team!

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