Most seasons in the UEFA Champions League you’re presented with a game, before the final, that makes fans wonder if they should switch allegiance to one of the two teams involved. It’s not the same as when everyone at school decided to start supporting Man Utd. In that case it was glory whereas in this one it’s sheer admiration for what is put in front of you.
Tonight’s game between Arsenal and Barcelona has been played often over the last two seasons, meaning it’s earned a nickname: the Arselona derby. In hindsight, perhaps not the most flattering of names but it’s stuck. The pitch will be where these two show off their résumés’ and we’re not likely to see a Gennaro Gattuso fight club ala the San Siro last night.
Unlike last season, the home side, Arsenal, will have all their most influential players available to them and there is a real chance that they could achieve a draw and I’m not even going to say the other result they might be able to get close to. Oh go on then. They could lose to the side considered the best team in the world. There it’s been said. Having tainted them on both those two sides it must mean they get the win though, right?
One other fact that the media have jumped on is the void left in the middle of the defence by the absence of Barcelona captain Carles Puyol and when he doesn’t play apparently it’s as if Pep Guardiola simply doesn’t replace him. Like when the wing mirror falls off your car and you say, “fuck it” and just carry on.
Of course a replacement will be sought for Puyol and they could do a lot worse than employing someone to kick Arsenal’s players until they get injured. Trust me it shouldn’t take too long.
Being able to put money on one of the home side writhing in agony on the turf might be where the smart punters should be going with their pennies and other than money on the draw there’s one other novelty market we’d like to see – Cesc Fabregas celebrating a goal by removing his jersey to reveal a Barcelona one underneath. Now that would be quite the controversial way to end the night.