Monday, 22 May 2006

one rainy night in paris

So near...

Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal

Thanks to a mystery benefactor (you know who you are) I was able to get a ticket for this illustrious occasion and, with a late dash on Eurostar, enjoyed some excellent French hospitality with the Gooners in the square outside Gare du Nord before heading to the magnificent Stade de France. The atmosphere was amazing with a healthy mix of Arsenal and Barca milling about outside the stadium and in the local bars. Tickets were changing hands for €2,000+ so we hastily clung onto ours and took our seats; right behind the goal in the middle of a sea of (thoughtfully provided by AFC) yellow shirts. The match is well documented - Lehmann sent off, Barca goal disallowed, Arsenal 10 men, Campbell goal, Barca pressure, two late goals,wrong result - but I'm really incredibly glad I was there. The team ran their hearts out but 70 minutes against possibly the best club side (in the world...) was always going to be a big ask. Gah :(

Arseblogger puts it very well here (please forgive the language, it was an emotional night!)

And if it did achieve anything, it was to convince Thierry Henry to pledge his future to Arsenal (and not, as predicted on the oh-so-hilarious email I received 100+ times, 'f*ck off to play for the winners') for four more years. We will be back.

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Champions League again

Astonishingly, it all went to plan.

Spurs lost 2-1 to West Ham after eating some dodgy lasagne (ahem...) and the Gunners beat Wigan 4-2 to pinch fourth spot and enter the 2006/7 Champions League (admittedly in the qualifying rounds against Racing Talinn and AFC Moldova but who cares...)

A fitting result for the last game to be played at Highbury.

It may also help Thierry to decide to stay - a good article here about the various arguments for and against.

Finally, we have the small matter of the final of the Champions League 2005/6 on 17th May in Paris. Arsenal v Barcelona - the purists final!!