The struggles of the Champions League




It seems that in the past few years, every Champions League matchday has been an opportunity for nations who have previously suffered at the hands of the English to administer their revenge and take advantage of the Premier League’s slow and pitiful demise as a European force. Well not this year! Okay Chelsea may be out and Arsenal and City’s European lives are about as secure as the Greek economy, but a little bit of positivity never hurt anyone. Well that’s what my nana taught me. That and the fact that you should never drink in flat roofed pubs. So I’m sticking with both.

Chelsea 2-2 P.S.G

This game was a Jeremy-Clarkson punch away from having it all. A joke of a red card for Zlatan after 32 minutes should have meant that the tie was over. But in a game where Chelsea excelled at full-team intimidation, vicious tactical fouling and exaggerating every moment of physical contact, their football was about as impressive as the referee’s performance. An 11-yard Cahill thunderbolt on the volley looked to have secured a lucky win for Chelsea, but then Side Show Dave returned to the Bridge in style. With his hair resembling a palm tree, the energy of a red-bull-drunken puppy and his aroma of injustifiable expensiveness, the £50 million-pound Brazilian headed an exquisite equaliser late on. An extra thirty was then needed, but when Hazard converted a penalty in extra-time, the Parisian bullet looked to have been dodged by the home side. Then Thiago Silva headed home to realign that bullet and send it straight through the heart of Chelsea’s Champions League campaign.

Monaco v Arsenal

Yet again thanks to an abysmal first-leg performance at the Emirates, Arsenal will need a miracle to progress against Monaco. November was the last time that the French lot conceded at home in either the League or Europe…November. To put that feat into perspective, five months ago: Van Gaal was still a respected manager, Alan Pardew was forbidden from walking freely around Newcastle for his own safety and Adam Johnson was legally allowed within 100 metres of a park. But again, we must be positive.

So, a few reasons why Arsenal could still get through:

  • Arsenal no longer have players like Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh, Andre Santos and Park Chu-young weighing them down
  • Alex Sanchez is an unbelievably good footballer who has been born with freakish, inhuman powers that were formally only believed to exist in magical, fantasy lands. Like Catalunya.
  • Alex Sanchez plays for Arsenal

Again it’s the curse of the first-leg. If it wasn’t for the fact that Messi was either bribed, drunk or is secretly a City fan (missing a last minute penalty before heading the rebound wide of an open net – I mean come on, my Grandma forgot her own name last week and considers watching Songs of Praise as exercise but she would have still put that away). As it is, the Mancs need to score two past a solid Barca defence, and even that might not be enough if they themselves cannot keep a clean sheet. But stranger things have happened. I mean, in this world where a Justin Bieber haircut constitutes ‘news’, the Kardashians have managed to become the most famous family in America and 50 Shades of Grey makes the top-seller list when my novel ‘Sepp Blatter: The Lives and Love of a He-Devil’ fails to even make it to print, a City win in Spain doesn’t seem entirely out of the question. Does it?


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