Cesc Fabregas: Man Of The Moment
Cesc Fabregas had a great game in Madrid, and now Real apparently want the midfield maestro – funny how they bring this all up just before the biggest game of his career. No dirty mind tricks going on here then…
With Arsenal winning 1-0 at the Bernabeu, if Madrid get two goals then Arsenal will have to get two back to go through – that’s a given.
The first goal will be vital to the outcome of the match. If Arsenal get it, you can expect Arsenal to make the home advantage count and maybe add another one or two. But if Real Madrid get it, it will start to become a very tense game.
A lot has been made about the narrow pitch at Highbury, with Gilberto saying it will suit Arsenal, and Wenger saying it will suit Madrid. I’d have to say after watching the 1st leg that it would probably favour the team from Spain. At the Bernabeu, Reyes, Henry, Freddie and Hleb used the full width of the pitch and exposed the space and which then created openings in the middle. That probably won’t happen tonight.
We know Arsenal will give it everything.
But Real are a bit unpredictable. We all saw what happened when they really are in the groove – they destroyed Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Ronaldo scoring an impressive hattrick.
But then we all saw the crashing 6-1 defeat to the hands of Real Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey earlier this year.
Basically a one goal lead against any of the last 16 of this competition is never enough, so Arsenal will have to give another awesome performance to get past one of the greats of European and World football.
All it takes is a moment of brilliance from Beckham, Ronaldo, Guti, Zidane, Robinho, Raul et al.
I had a feeling that Bergkamp would start tonight, because of his ability to cut open defences, but with him just coming back from injury and without having many games under his belt this campaign, I think Arsene would probably stick with the tight 4-5-1 that worked so well in Spain.
I predicted that Arsenal would win 1-0 in the 1st leg, with Henry being the first goalscorer. At odds of 50/1 I managed to make a tidy little profit.
This time round however, it will be harder to predict what will happen.
At home, Arsenal can be effective from corners and set pieces, so a goal for Toure or Senderos might open the scoring. But we’ll see…
Last night was was cruel night for some of the Champions League teams.
Werder Bremen were robbed by Juventus with 2 minutes remaining, when keeper Tim Wiese dropped the ball in the area for Emerson to stroke into the empty net.
Everyone could have done with the mighty Juventus being knocked out of the competition.
Rangers were just one goal away from reaching the last eight, but they conceded a sloppy goal just after half time to be put out on away goals to Villarreal.
In the biggest game of the night, I’ll have to admit that I did want Chelsea to make it, because although I hate them in the league, it’s always good to have a English team progress.
But they simply didn’t do enough to deserve going through.
Lampard was far too deep, and I was surprised that Crespo didn’t start the game. The ball on the ground suited his style of play, unlike the long balls used in the first leg on that dodgy Stamford Bridge pitch.
I thought that Drogba should have started the 1st leg, and Crespo the 2nd.
On the touchline however, Mourinho was being his arrogant self, shaking his head at every decision and sarcastically applauding the referee.
Then in the post-match interviews he blamed the referee for blowing the whistle too much, and made a sly comment about not being in the G14.
I don’t know if Jose Mourinho wants everyone to hate him, because when he first came I actually liked him – probably like most of the football fans in this country.
But recently he has been creating this siege mentality by being unnecessarily sarcastic and disrespectful in interviews, arguing with other managers like Bryan Robson, refusing to shake hands (even Arsene and Fergie shake hands), running onto the pitch and celebrating like a deranged lunatic, making up serious allegations without any proof (which lead to death threats to Anders Frisk and his retirement), blasting Wenger for his obsession with Chelsea (and then exposing his own hundred page Wenger & Arsenal dossier), and the list goes on.
Man United’s seige mentality came from ‘No one likes us, so we don’t care’, whereas Chelsea’s comes from ‘We don’t care, so no one likes us’.