Nothing was more dramatic than the two semifinals of the Champions League! And what a contrast both matches were. In the English Premier League, Arsenal had a mediocre April though we had a great start to the month. Personally Van Persie won two awards which he would cherish for his entire career.
Lets start with Arsenal. We started the month with a dominant performance against Man City. Complete domination resulted in an unjust scoreline of 1-0 though. What a great match that was and it almost put an end to Man City’s title aspirations. This match was followed by another good performance against Wolves away from home. Then came two under-par performances against Wigan and Chelsea. Arsenal had everything to play for against Chelsea but looked like they didn’t plan to attack.
Van Persie won the Professional Footballers’ Association award and the Football Writers Association award in 2012. It’s an irony that when he got the award, he had not scored in the last 3-4 matches.
Robin Van Persie with the 2012 PFA Award
And then lets come to the Champions League. Barcelona which started the tie at home with a goal deficit attacked from the whistle but Chelsea’s defensive strategy paid off. John Terry got sent off, rightfully so,but that did not deter the determination of Chelsea and they did not let Messi and co thread pass in the final quarter of the ground. I don’t know if it was anti-football, but it was quite boring stuff from Chelsea. The only thing that kept us (football fans) glued on to the TV was whether Barca could get a goal or if Chelsea can do a quick counter attack.
Dejected Barca; Ecstatic Chelsea
The second CL semifinal was quite a contrast and both teams played attacking football. But the big thing was how the Madrid players missed their penalties. And that too the most expensive footballers in the team – Ronaldo and Kaka.
So the race for the automatic Champions league spot is under threat again. Arsenal was sitting kind of pretty till they lost to QPR. So what I did is tried to see how the rest of the season pans out for the contenders for the 3rd and 4th spot.I wish we still had a 3 point lead over the Spuds and could have gone in a much more relaxed manner into our next match.
At the outset Arsenal and Chelsea do have tougher fixtures compared to Spuds. Now lets look at each of the 3 teams and who they play against.
Chelsea: At home they will take all the 3 points against Wigan, QPR and Blackburn. Lets not question how tough a Wigan or a QPR will be. Their away matches are key here. I am assuming they will drop points against a good Fulham at Craven Cottage, against Arsenal at the Emirates and against Liverpool at Anfield. Liverpool will be all charged up at the end of the season wanting to win their last home match. So Chelsea will end up with 68. Not good enough for 3rd or 4th I think.
Tottenham Hotspurs: Spurs home matches against Norwich, Blackburn and Fulham, I am assuming are 3 points each in the bag. No questions on that,though I think Fulham will be a tough one. Interestingly they play Sunderland next and under Martin ‘O Neil, Sunderland is no pushover and my guess is that Spurs can lose that one. QPR at home is becoming a tough place for all teams. Bolton away at that stage will be a tough one as they will be fighting to avoid relegation. So that is 72 points. Good show for the Spuds but most probably not good enough.
Prediction for the rest of the matches
Arsenal: Arsenal have some tough games coming up and it is all about focus from now on. Starting with Man City this weekend, they cannot slip up. I think a draw would be a good result. By that time I am assuming Utd would have taken a 8 point lead over City and the Citizens would be demoralised. But against Wigan and Norwich it should be 3 points each. And a draw against a fighting but tired Chelsea could be a draw or a win for this Arsenal team who are not playing in any other tournament. If we look at the away matches, 3 points each surely from Wolves and West Brom and a fighting draw against Stoke. I hope the fixtures turn out like this or get better 🙂 which means Arsenal will end up one point above Spurs!!!