Well its been a month since I posted on this blog and a lot has happened in the last 30 days in the football world. Not just in England but in Europe as well as in India!!!
Lets talk about about Arsenal first. We got beaten in the CL match against Bayern. It was expected and 3-1 sounds quite harsh. I was on my annual anniversary holiday and so missed this match. But thank god I missed it 🙂 Would not have wanted to see us beaten that badly. And if we thought Europe was bad, we lost to our London rivals Spurs. I thought we might at worst come up with a draw int hat match, but the high line that we left back at the defence proved costly against two of the fastest players in the Premier League – Bale and Lennon. we gotta see if we can make up for the lost points in the next 10 matches and finish on top of the Spurs like we do every season. All I can say is it needs something short of a miracle for that to happen.
In the other Champions league matches, Real overcame a resolute United though under some dubious refereeing decision. But the fact that in that current situation, Mourinho made a tactical substitution and Fergie did not proved costly. United looked like the better team but in the end, it was the Spanish team that reigned supreme. And Real have been having a great 8 days in which they beat Barcelona twice and drew and beat Manchester United. Mourinho will be happy to lift the Champions League once again. So if he does that will be Real’s Decima, yes the 10th one.
Its not nice to talk about your rivals when they are in a crisis. But it looks like Rooney and United are not in the best of relationships. Its strange when you see Rooney not being part of a United game-plan. Ferguson has used the hard working Wellbeck in some of the most critical matches this season along with Van Persie. So it would be interesting to see what happens to Rooney’s future come summer.
In the 67th edition of the Santosh Trophy which returned to the Kerala shores I think after a long time was a heart break for the locals. The team reached the finals after a long long time. I don’t remember any instance in the recent past. We were in the semis last year but that was it. Doordarshan’s programme display screwed up and I got to see the extra time of the match. And honestly I thought we played well during those 30 minutes and had majority of the possession during that period and hence the better chances. We did an Arsenal by not converting those chances and then paid in the end in the sudden death. But I saw3 some promising talents in the team and hope it augurs well for the team and some of them feature in the Indian team
Uefa Champions League last 16 draw:
Galatasaray v Schalke – I have a couple of Galatasaray jerseys at home, gifted by one of my distributors when I used to work with a pharma company in Hyderabad, so for senti sake, lets hope the Turkish club makes it to the next round
Celtic v Juventus – Celtic has had a dream run so far…but Juventus is in top form in the last 18 odd months, so it could be the Italians going through here
Arsenal v Bayern Munich – Heart says Arsenal, but brain says Bayern Munich! Bayern’s strong record at the Allianz Arena would be a big plus for them
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund – I haven’t seen these two teams play so far in the CL, but I have been reading a lot about how these two teams were the most exciting teams in this year’s CL so far…so anyone would do
AC Milan v Barcelona – Barcelona is having an incredible season in La Liga and they did have a couple of blips in the group stage of CL, but you never know. I won’t be surprised if Milan makes it in this tie
Real Madrid v Manchester United – Standout match of the draw, no doubt about that. This is one of the matches I will not miss for sure. I would like Madrid to make it. If real win this match, they would be favourites to win the CL this time.
Valencia v Paris St Germain – Ibrahimovic might inspire PSG to sail through this tie. If Valencia win this one it would be an upset I guess
Porto v Malaga – Malaga should win this one and be in the 16 for the first time. Porto played good so far but this is as far as they can go
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.