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UCL Returns amidst World Cup Woes

by SimonSEEZ

*Champions League Hymn playing in my Head….

Wonder how many of us woke up this morning humming that tune, it’s an amazing composition. I wonder if it stirs that much emotion on the basis that it really is a wonderful piece of music or it evokes emotions on the basis of the competition that it represents. The question I think is would we love the Champions League Hymn if was a tune for the Indian Premier League? I think we would, it’s that lovely.

It’s pretty much obvious the hymn also has a huge effect on players, anyone noticed how they always look like they are going to burst when the hymn is being played as they file out? I’m sure it gives them the feeling of being modern day gladiators. Lovely stuff, and it actually does sound lovely everywhere you hear except at White Hart Lane. The speakers at that ground were set to hit very low decibels.

*Turning off Tune in my head

Now that the tune is off, we can focus on the football in a competition that I really struggle with. What’s in it for us? Do we do enough transfer business to actually make us a threat in this competition? Or is our participation more out of a sheer desire to remind ourselves that this is the league we really want to compete in, the best clubs in Europe.

Our record recently in the competition doesn’t make for good reading as due to mostly self-inflicted reasons we always get the tough teams early on in the knock out phases. Even Wenger stated his delight in getting a seemingly weaker opposition this round during his interview with UEFA. To win the competition, you would have to beat the big teams at some stage but no one needs trouble in his house early on and we cannot deny that playing Monaco makes us favourites to go through.

Beat Monaco and who knows, the bald headed guy or Luis Figo might just pick out a team like Porto for the quarter finals and BOOM you just might be staring at a Semi-final berth in the Champions League where anything can happen on the night.

*Damm , 5am and power is out in this damm heat ,Third World Problems.

Like me, Arsenal also have some problems as yet again, Abou Diaby is not available for this tie. The mystery that is Abou Diaby!! More seriously though, we seem pretty much injury free for this encounter with only Jack Wilshere, Ramsey and Debuchy out which is amazing considering our record. Oxlade Chamberlain is back but I don’t expect him to feature straight on.

I think the team pretty much picks itself and the only real question is if the manager would pick Welbeck over Theo again on the right side of attack. I would prefer he goes with the latter especially as we play at home in Europe where we would need to take the game to Monaco and try to create a sizeable lead that would make the trip to France much easier. This is not to undermine Welbeck’s attributes as he offers a lot especially with regards to creating opportunities for his team mates but I feel we would need that more in the away leg rather than this tie at home.

I feel we have enough to do one over this Monaco side even though they conceded just one goal in their bid to qualify for this stage. Fact is, if they were in same group as us, they would have conceded. The power of Sanchez, the guile of Mesut, the precision of Olivier and a sprinkling of Santi’s trickery should be enough to see us through.

*It’s so much easier to write with air-conditioning

Whoever thought air-conditioning would be a big factor is determining a World Cup venue? Certainly not the guys at FIFA or the English FA who vehemently are opposed to the idea of hosting the World Cup in air-conditioned stadiums in oil rich Qatar.

Listening in on social media seems there is a lot of apathy towards this decision, I think it’s the best considering the circumstances we have found ourselves in.  While some part of this apathy stems from the irregularities in the bidding process for the games which is completely correct, some part of it comes from concerns about the location that is were I have a difference of opinion.

As much as modern society wants to take control of absolutely everything, we do not have control over where are born and the weather we are born into. What we can however determine is the weather we play football in. The idea that a football tournament should not be held in some part of the world completely due to weather is downright absurd and almost colonial in my opinion especially considering the length Qatar has gone to ensure that the stadiums are brought to a certain temperature.

Does any of this excuse the corruption that took place with the allocation to Qatar? Definitely not. Money and influence determines a lot of things and while the Qataris have the former in abundance, it’s the Europeans that have the latter and that is the stick they are wielding.  Growing up I had the feeling the World Cup was the biggest football event however; it is currently being treated as a distraction especially by the English FA, to be honest almost everything that is not the EPL is a distraction, the Africa Cup of Nations gets almost similar treatment.

I wonder if this animosity towards this tournament cuts across the world. Are people really this pissed about a winter world cup in South America, North America, Africa or Asia? To be fair to the European League this change would hugely affect the running of their leagues, TV Deals, our most cherished Boxing Day EPL fixtures but are we really going to rule a whole continent and its people from hosting a tournament because it doesn’t suit us?

With all the investments in European Teams from Gulf States, this was always going to happen. Yesterday we saw two of the best teams in Europe play (Man City vs Barcelona) who are funded neck deep with money from Gulf States. You cannot eat your cake and have it. They might not be big footballing countries but their money is in footballing countries. Watching the London Olympics one of the legacies I kept hearing was the fact that it would generate the next set of young British talents. Shouldn’t we expect the same from Football in that region? The game might have been invented in England but it is now the property of the world and we thank the West for that.

Anyways, away from World Cup and FIFA issues to hoping the Arsenal we love turns up tonight to get a comfortable win that would see us nearly through to the Quarters. Cheers Gooners.

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Chibuzor Amos February 25, 2015 - 10:32 am

Great post mingled with reality. Hopefully we skip past Monaco tonight.
As for the Worldcup i wish it holds in june irrespective of the heat cos a champion should be a champion everywhere. Does it mean football is not played in june in Qatar?

SimonSEEZ February 26, 2015 - 11:59 pm

hmmm Amos? I’m sure it is, but there is always a best case scenario and I think that is what moving the competition to a cooler period offers. Even the guys living in Qatar would prefer playing their football when the weather is cooler don’t you think?

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