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Arsenal show some mental fortitude (at last)

VanPersie and Wenger

About this time of year Arsenal regularly crash out of the Champions League, and the first leg match at home against Barcelona looked
like it was going to script at half-time last night.

And then, when the home side were available for the win @ odds of 16/1, well into the final half, things dramatically turned around. This photo was taken after Van Persie’s acutely angled equaliser and it speaks for itself.

After the match the players thanked the fans for their contribution
to the victory: for once The Library had run amok.

The only fly in the ointment was the stupid question in the post-match interview with Robin Van Persie. Fortunately, the Number 10 shirt can not only score goals, he can also smell rank hyperbole when it’s
shoved under his nose.

Champions’ League Final

Madrid flares, but they sleep.
The Brownie in the Planetarium beside stuffed animals,
the Crazy Bones in the wrong bed with Charlie and Lola.
The Cat, that I work for, on the idle boiler – doh!
The Dog, with his teeth sheathed, on worn leather and
the Guv’nor, sun-blasted and Pinot Noired out,
tired from hanging off the scaffold all day.
He turned it on: Inter &…
but only Jose and I are watching.
Calm down he gesticulates
in Portugese.
And the house will wake for the last minute and say –
What a cracking match!

I am heartily grateful

that I can observe most sporting action in a BBC-type “impartial” manner, for if I cared too much about all of the delights offered I would have long since died of a cardiac arrest.

If I was an Arsenal supporter then I would have been gnashing my teeth last night and if I was a Liverpool fan by now I would be locked in the cupboard under the stairs refusing to come out until they had a) managed to win a game b) sacked Senor Jellybean Benitez.

What the Man Utd fans make of their manager’s latest hissy fit at the press, who knows. To me he most definitely belongs in the pantomime of Cinderella, certainly as Griselda – an ugly sister. His sibling could be – well anyone from the Prem really.

Then there’s Jenson. He drove an elegant and dashing sort of race in Brazil, particularly given the dismal qualifying session. It was great that we have a another British F1 Champion. Great for about 24 hours until he arrived back here and went to Bluewater. Bluewater! That’s not what champions are meant to do is it? Pop into John Lewis for some pillow cases. Come on Jenson you can do better than that!

So to conclude, the makemeadiva panto cast looks like this so far:-

Cinders

Cinders

The Fairy Godmother

The Fairy Godmother

Griselda

Griselda

Anastasia

Anastasia

If I were going for the Disney version I would still be looking for the evil cat, Buttons, Prince Charming and some mice…

Champions League Final Night Pt II

There is a nice little 7f coming up from Beverley.  As it’s my blog I’ll also commit the crime of aftertiming and tell you that I backed Lady Hillingdon to place at Southwell and she obliged in 2nd place, which puts me back up, a bit.

7f is a specialist distance, harder for a sprinter to last and miler to fudge back over.  Can I find the winner though?  My favourite 7f sire is Green Desert on good to firmer ground.  Off to see if that’s an option here.  Man U fans look a bit solemn, hard to do in a gold and very shiny centurion’s helmet.

No Green Deserts so gone with a Diktat filly to place.  No win bets tonight because I am playing with a piddling pot so to speak!  Football started again.  Man U have never lost a European final.

Edwin van der Sar saves Henry’s effort.  Man U “teetering”.  Free kick to Barca on the edge, Diktat filly does not place think 4th not much in it, always very annoying to be beat short distances.

Piquet off the post.

Man U “familiarising themselves with the ball”.

Ronaldo offside.  Racing this side of the pond finishing up at Southwell, vow not to even peek at the US markets as that way madness lies…

Wayne Rooney onside but can’t keep the ball in.  Apparently Barca have a multi-talented bench.  I wish I had one of those.  Corner to Man U, Giggs delivers into Vidic, didn’t quite get it together.  Berbatov taking his jacket off.  Headband in place already.  Who’s coming off?

Realised I forgot to get my glasses.  Can’t be bothered now.  We agree on the settee that it is boring mostly so far.  The other end reminds me he predicted that they would nullify each other earlier today.  Why does Ronaldo look like he’s wearing a gum shield? 

Official commentary say Man U need a goal “out of the blue”.  I am sure Sir A has trained them better than that lads.  I don’t feel at all schadenfraude ish yet.  I would suggest Sir A brings on Berbatov before Barca score again – too late!!!

Messi scores (he’s 5 ft 7 apparently).  Van der Sar no chance.  Henry off.  I think it’s all over now with 20 minutes to go.

Goodnight.

Oops no, Berbatov is on and Man U very nearly score through Giggs.  Tactically I think Sir A has made a mistake, Berbatov should have been on at the 30 mins to go mark.  I think the horse has bolted, the bird has flown.  It’s a lot less boring now but at 2-0 goodnight 🙂

P.S. the red army have found their voice but it may have to be a lament

Messi - it is for Manchester

Messi - it is for Manchester

Champions League Final Night

According to Steve on ITV it’s warm and sultry in Rome tonight.  According to Teddy its a game of “ups and downs” and Gary Neville will recover from the “bombshell” of being left out of the squad tonight.  Andy joins in with the craic.

Wayne Rooney has muttered his way more or less incomprehensibly through a pre-match interview and they’ve debated his merits vis Messi’s nearly to death.

So long as no-one starts going on ad infinitum (when in Rome) about Thierry Henry having to leave his beloved Arsenal for his bite at the Champions League cherry I’ll watch the lot and provide incisive comment (not commentary)!

We have learned that Eric Cantona will be trapped at the cinema somewhere in France tonight demanding to know the match score every minute.

Sir Alex looks as avuncular as I have ever seen him, I even almost warmed to him there.

I think the build-up is too fulsome.  They should have less of it IMO and I really hate that choir that roar “THE CHAMPIONS” on every ad break.

I am interested to see if a Man Utd loss tonight will give me the same unfamiliar schadenfraude that I had at the weekend when Newcastle went pot-holing. 

They’re about to come out: Ryan Giggs looks greying like me.  The opera singer Andrea Boccelli is highly grey but it suits him although the acoustics aren’t coming across so well.  Some women in strange get-ups are wandering around the pitch.  Andrea Boccelli finishes the unannounced song on a very long note.  Now he’s started up again.  Another long vibrato note.  Clapping and a touching fans white shirt tribute to Sir Matt.

The referee is Swiss “Massimo Moussaka or similar”, jokes about him being neutral and he had an audience with Pope Benedict today.  Lucky him, I wonder who his Holiness supports?

Average age of Man U squad is 28, Barca slightly older.  I can access something deeply exciting if I press the red button now – I’ll pass thanks.  I can multi-task but watching the match, manning the blog and pressing red buttons will be too much.

First free kick of the night taken by Ronaldo – saved by the goalkeeper.  We are told Ronaldo has the “most flexible ankles in football”…

Henry has not played for 25 days and not done much training, preferring to lie about in the treatment room.

I might back Waffle in the 7.50 at Beverley.

I backed Waffle to place only, running scared of Noble Storm for who the money is down.

Noble Storm beats Waffle, good call 🙂

The other end of the settee is yawning loudly – a lifelong Gooner he is only here to see the mighty fall.

All the pressure from Man U (wearing white).  Ronaldo shoots again looked wide, must get glasses at half-time.

A minute after Ronaldo’s attempt Barca score through Samuel Et’to – Man U defender and van der Sar in the right places but doing the wrong things.  Now a Barca corner.  Having trouble with the spellings of these Barca players.  I think their manager is younger than me 😦

Man U look a bit rattled momentarily.  Commentator reminds us they must play “calmly”.  May remind the children of that when they come home from the awaydays break at the grandparents.

Next race at Beverley is a 10f handicap, ignoring the Southwell race as it is a selling hurdle handicap aka a makemeadiva punting bloodbath.

Ronaldo fouled – free kick given about 30 yards out, remember I am not wearing glasses.

Height over the wall achieved, ball continues a fruitless trajectory over the top of the posts.

Backed McCoy’s ride in the selling hurdle in running – I will get what I deserve!

Messi shot!  Full of velocity it skims over the roof of the net.

Ronaldo shot goes wide.

McCoy loses at Southwell.  I must learn to heed my own advice.

We have lost count of Ronaldo’s shots on goal.  Maybe I’ll back Man Utd to win now they are 1-0 down. 

Swiss referee does not play advantage Barca.  Free kick awarded, goes for goal but nada.

The ball is “tied to Messi’s toe” and he wins a free kick.  I would like a bag of redbacks tied to my toe.

The 8.20 at Beverley does not look enticing.  Undecided.

Space for Rooney comes to nothing.  Barca has been monopolising possession.  The other end of the settee has fallen asleep; I wish they had a permanent clock in the tv screen corner.  Apparently 30mins gone, wish it was longer frankly. 

Racing selections, can’t decide between Rosbay or Riley Boys.  Go with Riley Boys to place.  Telly goes funny for a second.  Corner to Barca.  Thierry has not aged a bit since he left Arsenal.  Way over the goal.  Rosbay places at the track, Riley Boys does not!

Nothing to report from Roma.  End of sofa wakes, speaks one sentence and yawns.  I miss Kempton all-weather racing on a Wednesday evening.  Notice there are rather a lot of words here for one post.  Will keep quiet until the half-time whistle goes.

1 added minute, I’m bored, I’m going to hit publish.  The other end of the settee just muttered, “oh shut-up!” to the tv.  The commentator says the night is clammy?  I think he means sticky…

The Stadio Olimpico in a quieter moment

The Stadio Olimpico in a quieter moment

Are you a Gooner? Champions League semi-final (2nd leg) May 5th

Well, if you are, you should be suffering from jumping frogs in your stomach right now (that’s according to all the staunch supporters I’ve been canvassing this morning).  They go from wanting to talk about nothing else, at length, to having to turn off all the idle prattle and go inside themselves for a bit of vital inner calm before tonight’s crunch match.

The Man U fans, with the goal in hand, might not be quite so tortured as the average Gunner.  I would hazard a guess (I won’t be talking to any to find out the facts!!!) that a goal in hand at home scored by a defender is not the most comforable position to be in either.  On the tighter Emirates pitch we can hope that Arsenal will play as if their lives depended up on it.  It seems like a long time since they scaled the heights – in fact my daughter was born the day after their last big victory parade through Islington on Sunday May 12th 2002 when they won the Premiership and FA Cup double.  Of course, the cupboard’s not been entirely bare since then but still, this one means a lot. 

As I’ve said before I’m pretty impartial but I can’t say I’ve ever taken to the might that is Manchester United.  Neither to the undisputed manager of managers Sir Alex.  I’m not naysaying his genius and I respect the guy but I don’t take to him.  So tonight my loyalties will most certainly lie with the home side and I would remind you Gooners of Arsene Wenger’s words.  He is expecting his team to be “magnificent” and he expects the home fans to make some

N O I S E!!!

So if you are going tonight (and if even if you aren’t) lets have none of this Library @ Highbury business and more of a Gunners’ Roar – after all you are named after a store for arms and weapons 🙂

CMON THE ARSENAL!!!

C'M'ON THE ARSENAL!!!