The first weekend ‘sans Arsenal’ is all but a memory, and a very strange one at that. The pining for the Gunners didn’t really kick in on Saturday. Let’s face it, how many Saturday games do we have these days? Besides, I had an expected battle about a broken Hoover to deal with. I emerged with a replacement far less stressfully than I had anticipated, so thank you Currys for that.
Of course it was also Champions League Final night, and so a fresh meaty pizza with tzatziki and a few bottles of Bass helped to ease the nagging ache as once again two teams other than Arsenal contested that object of long-term desire otherwise known as Big Ears. 2006, seen just the once and never again, was never far from the mind as Barca once again justified favourtism.
I read elsewhere, from more than one source, that we are lightyears away from the last four in this season’s competition. Although our usual early exit suggests that is so I am not convinced. Yes, we certainly need to strengthen in a couple of areas, but with the strongest team currently available to us I really believe we could have beaten Juventus last night. It is of course something easily typed, and can never be tested.
Yes, it is clear that Barca are on a different plane to the rest of Europe this season, and they have surely the most potent front three on the planet right now, but nobody exemplifies the fickle nature of Lady Luck more than them. Never have they retained Big Ears, so next year would be a good one to play them in the Final! (Yes, that was tongue in cheek.)
If the Champions League went to the best team every year then a host of teams (Porto 2004, Liverpool 2005, Chelsea 2012, and in European Cup days Steaua Bucharest and Red Star Belgrade, among others) would never have got their hands on the trophy. That we haven’t when those have will hurt until the wrong is righted.
This is a particularly important summer. We have the guts of a very good side indeed. Real quality in the likes of Koscielny, Mertesacker, Ozil, Cazorla, and of course the irrepressible Alexis. Balance is provided by a very impressive British core of Rambo, Jack, Theo, the Ox, and Danny Welbeck. There is real potential in the likes of Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin. Nacho Monreal has come on in leaps and bounds. Olivier Giroud needs to add consistency to be a beast of a striker.
So how far away are we really? A world-class goalkeeper would be a dream signing before we get under way again in August. Per isn’t getting any younger so maybe a centre-half to supplement he, Kos, and Gabriel? Someone to challenge or support the Coq at the base of the midfield, and another true goalscorer to similarly challenge or support Giroud. The money is there. The wage bill is likely to be trimmed further this summer. This is what we were told the move to the Grove would provide in time.
That time is now!
He’s One Of Our Own
Now I know a number of you are much entertained by Gunnersaurus Stunt Double in the drinks, and a select few had the pleasure of meeting him in the Tollie earlier this season. He is vibrant company, and despite the somewhat undersized dinosaur costume he wears, is very level headed.
I say level headed, but the bloody idiot is intending to jump out of an aeroplane in his dinosaur costume for C.H.A.O.S, a wonderful charity that “gives around 100 children each year the opportunity to truly be children for a week where they otherwise simply would not be able.”
The camps provide children with a safe, nurturing, learning, loving and most importantly, FUN environment where they can just be kids. They learn a great deal about a new environment, team work and how to look after each other through team games, nature walks, camping, and beach activities. Many for the first time in their lives!
So could you follow the example of the wonderful Abb and sponsor the mental sod. You will find the link here. Why anybody would choose to chuck themselves out of a perfectly serviceable flying machine and put his faith in a sewing machine is beyond me, but is certainly worthy of our support.
Thank you, ‘holics.