May 18, 2006

Let's Do a Mourinho!

Reasons why we lost: -

1. Obvious one is referee superkayu - To be fair, Lehmann's sending off was a correct decision. But overall he had a STINKER! Henry's yellow card was a joke. Oleguer chopped down Ljungberg on the break, no yellow!... Eto'o's (doesn't it look weird if his name was with an apostrophe S?) equaliser could have been offside while the Lehmann's foul on him was also questionably offside. Linesman also on the take?

2. Dodgy officials - One day before the match, the lino HAD to be pictured in a Barcelona shirt. The ref was overheard saying "Dude!! You almost blew our cover dude!!!".

3. Barcelona "rasuah" referees - So that's 3 games against English sides in which they were playing against 10 men.

4. The weather - Our Ivorian defenders not used to so much rain.

5. Commentator's curse - Around the 74th - 75th minute, Mr. Andy Gray just HADDD to mention whether at this point Arsenal could hold on. 76th minute - we all know what happened.

Ok on a more serious note, this is why we lost: -

1. Not taking chances - Henry and Ljungberg had great chances to put the game to bed but didn't take it. And also no one in the media has given credit to Victor Valdes who had a solid game in goal.

2. The Almunia factor - I'm not a goalkeeper (in fact I'm not much of a footballer), but here me out on this. If the attacker was rushing inwards from the flanks with an acute angle, wouldn't it be better to slide in horizontally or with a semi-split? That would force your man to go wider and possibly harder angle to shoot. In the worst case scenario if the attacker is fouled, it could be argued that he was not in a proper goalscoring position to be awarded a foul/penalty. What the hell was Almunia doing crouching and bending his legs doing the chicken dance???

3. Larsson? - We somehow managed to quash the threat of Ronaldinho (albeit not in the way proposed here). While Eto'o looked dangerous with the ball at his feet, I'd say our defence held firm against him, bar the superb turn against Campbell. Deco was practically non-existant... But to me, Larsson was the one who made the difference. Man of the match IMO.

4. Tired legs - Rijkaard made a good tactical switch by bringing on Iniesta and later Larsson, both of whom were obvisouly told to run with the ball. Playing with 10 men in the rain is no mean feat, and it showed in Barca's two goals where the midfielders failed to track back along the flanks. And Henry looked absolutely knackered playing up front alone, which could explain the rather tame shot that Valdes saved in the second half.

But on a positive note, this is still a young side. With or without Henry, the whole final experience would have left the lads craving for more in the future. At least for me as a Gooner, watching my team play in the Champs League finals really is something else (something that fans of the other London team wouldn't know haha). We could definitely get used to this....

p/s: The French TV crew really sucked

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