Thursday, 26 May 2011

Invincible underachievers?

Nearly men?
Referenciing Captain Kirk at toboldlygo some may be aghast by that question but a treble was within the grasp of this set of players and tactics & selection cost dear in two games. Firstly, in The Champions League having taken a draw away from Stamford Bridge and scored, courtesy of Reyes in the second leg at Highbury just before half time, Arsenal needed to shut up shop in the second half to progress to the quarter final of an eminently winnable ECL. Failure to do so led to a late Bridges winner and Chelsea progressing and subsequently being knocked out.

Second was the FA cup game against Man Utd and some baffling team selection resulting in an exit. The team did bounce back magnificently against Liverpool at Highbury in the league and go on to claim an unprecedented  unbeaten season though.

It’s noticeable that Ferguson, when speaking of United’s achievements says that he feels the club should have had more success in Europe. That smacks of a winning mentality and a desire to keep on reaching.

When you consider the level of players at the club; winners of World Cups, Titles, European Championships.  Internationals throughout the squad not just the starting eleven; players with a winning mentality , backbone, desire on top of talent you have to say that they should have and could have won the ultimate trophy the Champions League, that this didn't happen puts them into the category of the Dutch Total football side; underachievers at the highest level.
The foundations seemed to have been laid to move forward; Domestic success then European to follow.

For example players like Gilberto, Pires and Lauren could have stayed at the club much in the way that, Scholes, Giggs and Neville did at Man Utd, that experience could have supported the younger set and shown the way. You only have to look at Campbell’s and Lehmann’s  brief returns to see what a ‘mentality’ of success can add.

But that’s conjecture. Had this group not been dismantled so quickly they may have achieved even more. The invincibles could really have  been an unstoppable force.

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