Why Can’t Both Teams Lose The Champions League Final

That’s the sad part of the biggest game of the season I guess. One of the two teams will go home as winners. I am finding it hard to pick a team to support and that will make watching the game that much more difficult.

When the same sides met each other three years ago it was easy to support Barcelona. Since then the antics and attitude of the various members of the club, from the players to the board, has been classless and shameful to put it politely. And I don’t have to remind gooners how intolerable United can get.

It will take me a long time to condition myself in order to focus on the game and not on the players/clubs. Those who will succeed in watching the game for the sake of football will find a lot to observe. Such a game might not be an enthralling end-to-end contest, but it will have immense educational value.

Many consider Barcelona to be favourites but I feel this game will be a very close battle with an odd moment of magic or individual mistake settling the tie in a 1-0 result. That’s another disappointing aspect of these big games; they tend to be cagey affairs with very few memorable moments.

Fergie will undoubtedly send his team out to stifle the opponents. It is their single biggest strength so we will get an excellent example of how to keep a defence organized even against the best of attacks. It might be interesting to watch this game and then revisit the Arsenal-Barca games soon after. The difference in styles between the two English sides will be stark even though both will be chasing the ball. I am pretty sure United’s performance will highlight some of the systemic issues that have been troubling the Gunners.

All the noise and nuisance created by the Dark Lord after his side were convincingly dispatched by the Catalans will help Fergie and his players. The referee in this game is likely to be extremely lenient and that will allow the English side to thrive. I also expect more focus on Barcelona so their theatrics might be punished even if they’re somewhat justified.

The point made by Wenger – Barcelona look tired – is valid and will have an impact. Don’t be surprised if Ferguson copies Arsene’s tactic of attacking these opponents late in the game. Guardiola’s team might start as favourites but if the game is deadlocked after an hour his side will struggle.

Both teams have relatively poor away records, certainly when compared to their respective home form. If I’m not mistaken, Messi hasn’t scored yet in England (unlucky to have the goal at the Emirates ruled out). Since the game is at Wembley United might have an edge.

For gooners, there are some aspects that we can learn from both teams. Barcelona will show how to play a patient possession game. This includes the art of defensive possession, preventing counter-attacks by unparalleled pressing and positioning, and picking the right moments to penetrate. There are times when Arsenal try too hard against opponents like United. It stretches the Gunners out of shape and opens the game up for the opponents. I’ll be surprised if Barcelona do it even once. The Manchester side will have to produce quality football to get a goal; they won’t get a gift (They might get one from a set-piece).

From a defensive point of view we will be able to see the importance of concentration as the English side chase the ball and close the opponents down. Their positioning, shape, and decision making (when to press and when to back off) will also be worth watching. I believe Arsenal struggle on this front. There are times when the players get their decisions wrong. On other occasions players are not in sync, some press while others back away. United will show what a well-drilled defensive machine they are. Exemplary if you can tolerate it.

Unless there is a freak early goal, this game is not likely to have too much goalmouth action. It will be boring from that point of view. But to those interested in the details it will be a fascinating duel. I’ve already started conditioning my mind in the effort to focus on the game. Hopefully, it will work out by tomorrow afternoon.


28 Responses to Why Can’t Both Teams Lose The Champions League Final

  1. ak47 says:

    i hope barca smash manure by 4 goals. i hate them but there in a two horse race league. if you like playing football why would you choose la liga? one of the reasons i hope will make cesc stay.
    plus id love to see the ref favour barca. as you’ve implied though its seems to be set up for a poo double.

  2. RoyalArsenal says:

    couldnt agree more

  3. G4L says:

    Very interesting points. I think Arsenal can learn from both teams and that could be where the problem lies. We are neither here nor there at the moment. So when it clicks the team can be a real delight but it can just as easily be a complete shambles. Often both sides can be seen in the same game, e.g. – Newcastle, Tottenham, etc.

    I want to see how deep United sit and the positioning of their midfield . Given their aerial strength they can give the flanks to Barcelona without any real concerns. So Barca have to break them down the middle, something Arsenal have struggled to do in the last two seasons.

    • Claver says:

      Arsenal have nothing to learn from ManU football-wise. If it was Arsenal playing here in London, Arsenal would have won.

  4. David says:

    Agree. I fimd it hard to watch tis game.

  5. RVp says:

    I was thinking the same thing.. Is there any way they both can loose.. They can’t..

    I hate Barca but I hate Man U more.. Just coz they always get decisions from teh ref in EPL.. blackpool shud have been and cud have been in EPL nxt season only if they wud have got the right decisions whn they plyd Manure at home..

    So I hope Barca can give Manure a hiding and shut evra’s filthy mouth..

  6. arvind says:

    IT is evil vs evil tomorrow. I have to admit,that I hate both teams. HOwever, I like the humbleness of Messi and the honest hard work of David Villa. ( loved him with Valencia).

    I will go for barca but they are cheaters and need not be. its arrogance and a sense of entitlement they have.

    I respect Guardiola and think he is a great young coach. IF AW were to leave, I would like to see him at our helm.

    Rooney is ugly and also a cheating diver. I hate him.

    I predict Barca 2 Maure 1

  7. Bergkamp10 says:

    To be honest, the entertainment value of this match purely rests on the first goal. If Barcelona score the first, they will play their passing possession game and United will be chasing shadows for much of the time. However, i think that if United score the first goal, the match will be interesting as it will force Barcelona out, and therefore open up the play a bit more. I predict is Barcelona coming from behind to win 2-1.

  8. Boop says:

    Barca can be insufferable at times, and Dani Alves is about the only player I detest more than Evra (while amazed at their ability to play). But for me Barca mostly are just lads enjoying the unbelievable luck of being the best club side and forming the nucleus of the best national side as well. Truly on top of the world. Along with that one expects a few pranks and highjinxs, and truth be told they are right – Cesc does want to leave us (and they don’t push too awful hard comparatively to get him to be honest; I seem to remember similar with ManU courting Vieira two summers running and Evra courting Nasri more recently, for instance). All in, a damn sight easier to tolerate for me than Mourinho or Ferguson led arrogance and bullying. Don’t forget rooney’s dive against a fellow international, RvN slash at Ashley Cole’s knee, the Neville’s targeting Reyes and don’t forget who underwrites the arsenal antipathy from Mark Hughes, Sam Allardyce, Tony Pulis and Alex McLeish, among others. In short, those few of you on here who are having trouble deciding between clubs on the basis of their relationship to Arsenal, well, you haven’t really been paying attention. (I have left out assorted misdemeanors adding up to a rip tide of antipathy toward United dating back to the mid 1980s.)

  9. NJGunner says:

    I’m sorry, but I am so tired of Barcelonas diving, whining and serial courting of Fabregas. Wait for this summers “(insert random barca player name here): Cesc has got barcelona dna etc etc etc and cant wait to join us”. Regarding previous comment, if AFC played Barce as often as they played Manure, I think there would be plenty of irritating happenings (mostly of a diving or face-clutching sort, I think). Frankly, I hope Manu stuff them.

  10. deiman says:

    I’m supporting ManUTD. A bit patriotic on that one. Also Barca are mostly of arrogant morons.

  11. Asiyo says:

    I’ll support any team playing against Man Referee(Read Man United)….even if it’s Osama 11 vs Man Referee….I’ll still support Osama 11….

  12. G4L says:

    Ramsey’s goal for Wales. Nice technique

  13. Steve says:

    Messi deserves the trophy. All others are cretins.

    Did anyone notice, Liverpool clinched Honda deal 😉

  14. Phil23 says:

    Very good points. I have a feeling that the game will either pan out exactly as you say, or that Barcelona take United by surprise and score early. Just because it’d be boring to just follow what you think, I predict that Barca will score early and that will be game over. Something that must be said is I would hate to be trying to hold a lead against Barca for 30+ minutes…

  15. Gooner from Sydney says:

    Hard choice but going for utd. I just hate barca so much.

  16. Tacklr says:

    I hope Barca win because of Evra’s antics. Yes, Barca players are twats, but they play nice football, unlike Evra who found himself in the middle of good players who defended for him and attacked for him and I’m sure if United had another Rafael on that flank he would warm the bench. I’m OK with whatever Rooney, Ferdinand and Vidic say about Arsenal, because they’re at least good players and I would have any of them in Arsenal, but Evra of all people? Hope he costs his team the glory. He got the opportunity to captain his nation and fucked it up. Now he can’t remember who many titles he was won with United.

    Having said that, I wished if there’s a disqualification in the champions league final, so if both teams end up in 0-0 draw, they both disqualify and no one wins the CL.

    Why can’t UEFA bring up such rule?

  17. Pkay says:

    Hate Barca. Hate Manu. Hate SKY more and just so we don’t have to go through a season plus of ‘You have to play dirty sometimes’ bullish, I’m resigned to preferring that Barca, the c*nts, win it.

  18. para says:

    Would like Barca to completely humiliate ManU.
    But knowing Fergie’s tactical ability(wish we had that) we may well get a surprise.

  19. para says:

    Forgot to say, i will be watching on German TV, as i could not stand to hear the UK commentry fawning over ManU.

  20. Leon says:

    May Barcelona trash Man utd by 4 goals to nil.Man utd have never supported Arsenal,then why should we support them. I hope they concede a goal in the first 10 minutes.Lastly dont blame Barcelona alone 4 the Fabregas saga,Wenger should also take part of the blame 4 refusing to make the team competitive,no wonder Nasri is stalling over a new deal.

  21. critic says:

    did u watch arsenal v/s barca at camp nou? because if u had then that was really good defending by arsenal until starry eyed fabregase gifted them the goal.

    And after rvp red card, arsenal stopped believing, so much for mental toughness of the team that arsene brags about, huh?!..

    • santori says:

      I have to agree with you there for once.

      We could have won that match but for the sending off although I must say it is an extremely difficult ask for ANY team to beat Barca with just 10. Ask Real Madrid (who are IMO the other team to have offered some resistance against them this season..apart from Hercules) of course :D)

      But even 3-1 down, we were only a goal away from qualifying. Had RVP been at the end of the ball instead of Nicklas Bendtner, we would have knocked them out.

      I hope the team reflect on this (and the fact that despite the poor run, we were still in the title race up to the 36th game). As you said, the mental aspect was sadly lacking.

      One or two experience voices I feel will help but ones with talent to accompany (Not squillaci). A Lucio would be fantastic.

  22. ozziearsenal says:

    how CL final is over Arsenal in my opion were more dangerous in attack then Mun U I still believe Arsene is on the right track in the way we play the most noticeable thing about the CL final was the referring it was up to world class football NOT EPL standard where a lot of foul play is let go as committed tackles if England want to win a world cup they have to change their hole system to fair play referring this would signal Arsenal,s true chance to win the title.and improve the standard of football in the EPL and England chance to win the W Cup.

  23. santori says:

    Just watch the game.

    You have to say that we can be justifiably proud of ourselves for winning against this Barca team.

    And I hope the lads take this to heart that we could beat both these teams on our day. Now how they can draw blanks against the likes of Stoke and Villa leads me to believe that something is intrinsically wrong with our tactics.

    or rather we lack tactical variation when need be.

    It seems to me that whict we are able to go toe to toe with the best this season (at least be competitive with Barca) when such team play open against us (Remember, United when 4-4-2 this time and not five across midfield), that we struggle when lesser teams sit deep and strangle us.

    Maybe an article on this Desi?

    IMO, we need a tactical approach and I think Wenger has been attempting that with 4-4-1-1 (Chamakh up top with RVP in the hole and license to roam), although whether this is a concious move for variation in play or a desperate measure taken up seems yet to draw its conclusion.

    Whilst I agree that I’d rather not see either of United or Barca win it this year, you have to give credence to the superiority in this Barca team.

    Their passing and control is sublime and Messi adds the extra quality to an already talented squad.

    A couple of things to note :

    1) Marscha in defense.

    2) There have been a lot of calls for some gritty tall players to come in and add steel to our squad and make us more copetitive. Woorth noting that most of the Barca players aren’t particularly tall. Did you see them getting bullied by United?

    3)Seems United are not as invincible as the press will have you believe. After all, we did beat them and they spurn many chances to extend their lead at the top this season. And whilst I thought they were good value in spurts, they were no better (if not worse) than us when facing Barca (on home soil)

    I hope this adds some belief into our players and they see some positives to their recent season along with the numerous chances they have spured.

    We have a good team basis to build upon and experience will again be added on. A couple of key (QUALITY) signings should add to our Arsenal next season.

  24. JJ Pittman says:

    Very happy with the result. There should have been no question about which team Arsenal supporters should have been backing. I have this argument frequently with US football supporters, most recently in our college national championship game: if you are an Alabama grad, you must support Oregon, not your archival Auburn. Enmity to your enemy is more important than conference or even national loyalty! This would be true even without all the examples cited above and not cited. Watched in a bar with many Mexicans rooting for Chicharito, and can understand that, but most other backstretch workers here at Saratoga, many from Ireland, were for the team that played the better football. Except for Vandersaar, that was Barca!

  25. ozziearsenal says:

    @ Santori your 2nd point about Barca and the size of their players still think if Barca were in the EPL they would have great problems because of their size due to the style of English way of referring a game and in my eyes it is well below world class.in fact would love to know how many broken legs each league has I would bet the EPL would be short price favourite.

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