Wednesday, 24 October 2012

AGAINST ALL ODDS?



Manchester United came back from the dead to win the Champions League on a night of high drama at the Camp Nou. Liverpool came back from the dead to win the Champions League on a night of high drama. In Istanbul Chelsea came back from the dead to win the Champions League on a night of high drama in Munich.

The Arsenal, after a dramatic opening reduced us to 10 men, drew first blood in Paris but could not hold firm against Barca’s passing game. Our moment of glory in the ultimate club competition did not materialise. Are we one of those clubs who like Aston Villa had one shot and one shot only? How near have we been to that pinnacle since then?

For me the Champions League and our failure to maintain a realistic challenge is a bone of contention. Qualifying year on year is an achievement, that has to be said but the merits of qualifying for a tournament that we are nowhere near to winning can only be a matter of commerce.

I’m not envious of those English clubs that have reached the summit, I am jealous; there is a distinction. I’m jealous that we didn’t experience the drama and elation, I’m jealous of the feeling of triumph when the chips were down.

There was an Arsenal who gave that feeling; in Copenhagen, at Anfield, at Wembley at White Hart Lane and at Old Trafford, but that Arsenal seems a distant memory. An Arsenal that could beat the odds in a Champions League final seems like a myth now.

Watching another campaign creep out of the garage towards the highway of qualification from the first group stage, I don’t feel that our final destination will be Wembley, I feel we will break down yet again on Broken Dream Avenue.

I hope not and I would love to be proved wrong at the home of football.

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