Yet again Arsenal crashes out of the Champions league at the second round, this is not the best way to start a blog post today judging by the way we played and the reaction to our crashing out which is very honourable to say the least but I feel that it is hugely helped by our focus on the two games at this stage rather than the whole competition.
Our romance with the champions league in recent history can be compared to a bad sexual performance where it ends before it begins or like a pack of Éclairs. Éclairs has always been my favourite candy but the sad part is that it’s never enough. The real joy of Eclairs is when the chocolate hidden inside the sweet melts into your tongue after a few seconds of sucking on it. It comes so fast and ends even faster as it melts deliciously into your mouth. Who wouldn’t love to extend that feeling? That’s how our champions league experience is, just when the competition is about to get really interesting we crash out.
As fans it’s always somewhat easier for us to deal with I believe because of the break the champions league has between the group stage and the knock out stages. Arsenal will as usual finish second in the group then we draw a really tough team and all of us as fans will on the spur of the moment rule us out of the competition and then we spend two months after the draw has settled into our minds psyching ourselves up that we can beat our opponents, then on the occasion we lose the first game and then come back strong in the return leg and then crash out, Barcelona, AC Milan and now Bayern back to back fit perfectly this analogy. Then we mentally return to our previous state in November where we initially ruled ourselves out which makes it easier for us to look at the performance over the two games, feel good about It and then resign ourselves to our more domestic endeavors of either trying to finish fourth or in this instance trying to win the league/FA Cup.
As a club what is our ambition with this competition, as a manager what does Wenger desire to achieve in it and as fans are we more comfortable with defeats here because we have already resigned ourselves to the fact that we are not good enough to win it? So lowered expectations make crashing feel less of an issue? Arsenal is a huge club in every index used to measure European clubs and we should be looking to do more than just participate in this competition.
Ivan Gazidis in Nov 2012
“Now we are in that stadium, the first part of our vision has been realised,” said Gazidis, speaking before Arsenal’s annual general meeting last month. “Now we are at the stage where some of the commercial deals that were tied into the construction of the stadium, and enabled us to take that first big step, will be renegotiated.
“When that happens, we will take the second big step forward and that will be comparable in magnitude to moving to the stadium itself. At times it’s been a challenging project, but we will have catapulted ourselves into the elite clubs on the European scale and that, for us, has been what the last 10 years has been about.
“Very clearly, it will push the club forward and put us into the top five clubs in the world in revenue terms, which will be a fantastic position to be in.”
Yesterday was a good showing and overall we didn’t do too badly against Europe’s best side but we need to move from when we celebrate matches to when we enjoy runs in Europe. Who didn’t enjoy the run to the finals in 2006 and a run in Europe also comes with huge champions league nights and memories. Henry’s drive against Real Madrid, Lehmann save against Villareal, Flamini playing like a tiger at left back, Fabregas bossing the midfield against Juve loads of memories from just one run and we really need to make more of that kind of history.
Importantly we must not finish second in the group, the group we played in was really tough but we blew a chance to come out group leaders which would have guaranteed us a somewhat weaker opponent in the 2nd round. The tendency to have our European high so early in the competition doesn’t seem to be working for us so maybe we should be looking at playing the big sides much later. Barca vs Mancity somewhat proves this analogy wrong as finishing top doesn’t always guarantee and easier opponent but we can’t deny that Olympiakos, Zenit or even Atletico Madrid wouldn’t have been an easier picking.
This is beginning to sound like moaning especially considering the fine season we are having but sincerely that is not what I mean to be so I guess I should stop here. Its back to domestic affairs again for us and that should be our priority for now but I would love to live in a world where Arsenal is much better than my pack of eclairs and I can enjoy the chocolate melting a whole lot longer.
Have a great day friends…
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