I remember a friend once told me a story. He was playing in a football match on a Saturday afternoon in Cornwall’s junior leagues. His team were near the bottom, and they were playing a side with a good reputation.
You can imagine the sort of game, the sort where the weather conditions and general environment have a big impact on the game. The sort where players get kicked more than the ball. With the wind and down the slope, his side battled hard and led 1-0 at half-time.
The manager, think Big Ron only Sunday league, laid into them at half time. He said that with the advantage of the slope and wind in the first half, they should have led by more. He said they would not win the match from that point. They didn’t. They lost 4-1.
I get the feeling that despite a fantastic night at the Emirates, Arsenal just might find themselves in the same scenario. Don’t get me wrong Arsenal surpassed my expectations in the second half last night, and I am keen for them to continue to fly the English flag in the Champions League.
However, in Spain they will be up the hill and against the wind. Barcelona are, for me, the best team of my generation- not just my thoughts but Cesc Fabregas’ also. The Gunners fought back last year to take hope to the Nou Camp, albeit in the form of a draw. I just doubt whether they can get the draw which they need, let alone the win- prove me wrong Arsene.
On a different note, the commentary on ITV raised a few chuckles in my household last night. Tyldesley was full of admiration for Barca- particularly in the first half. Here are some of my favourite lines:
‘I don’t know if there is a trade descriptions act in Brazil, but Daniel Alves is as much a full back as Aaaron Lennon.’
‘I don’t know about geometry, but I know a good triangle when I see one.’