Archive for May 4th, 2007

I’m back: Champions League thoughts

301 comments May 4th, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, thankyou for your patience. You can stop lighting candles, praying to the darkest gods, and ringing emergency services asking if they’ve heard anything about the whereabouts of a man going by the name of “Gilbertosilver”: I’m back.

So Manchester United and Chelsea have crashed out of the Champions League. To be more accurate, Chelsea slipped out on penalties. Man U crashed, burned, and ultimately exploded after a real tonking by Milan. Forza!

Chelsea are not the side they were last season. People have praised Man United, but for me, it’s Chelsea going backwards that’s been the difference. Bringing in Ballack and Shevchenko, which looked like it would make them the undisputed dominant force of English football, hasn’t worked out at all. How much better would they have been this season with Hernan Crespo alongside Drogba?

Liverpool were good, but in honesty, it was a poor game – two sides launching long balls in a dull, tennis-type affair. Why Mourinho waited so late to introduce Robben and Wright-Phillips is mystifying. One thing is certain though – Chelsea remain a superior side to Liverpool, who now have a massive task in Athens. Still, write them off at your peril, it seems…

Milan put on an absolute masterclass to beat Man U, and I have to say I thought Clarence Seedorf was absolutely unbelievable. A lot of people will rave about Kaka, and with a good deal of justification, but Seedorf is a genius. He managed to outplay the entire United midfield without ever breaking into a sprint – it seems you don’t win the Champions League with three different clubs if you can’t play a bit. Cristiano Ronaldo, yet again, was shown up on the big stage – good player, but still a way to go.

Arsene could learn a lot from Milan about the value of experience. Players like Seedorf, Inzaghi, Cafu, and Maldini are no spring chickens, but have all learnt to adapt their games accordingly. I’m not saying we should sign a bunch of 35+ players this summer, but perhaps we shouldn’t be so hasty in letting the elder lads go. Certainly Giggs and Scholes have shown that it’s possible to find new ways of making an impact – real talent never goes.

Finally: is this the only way to stop Stan Kroenke…?

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