Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’

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Celebratory pottery smashing? You betcha!

May 8, 2011

First and foremost, Happy St Totteringham’s Day!

Virtual and real champagne corks are popping, laughs are being shared, 4th (or better) place trophy is once again secured and it’s not like we are going to be all mature about it, if all that comes with the additional buzz of Schadenfreude at the expense of that lot from the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road, is it? Hopefully, all that mouthing off has now been curbed until at least mid summer, when we will once again hear about how we will be upstaged by that North London superpower with their new shirt sponsor. Up yours, Sp*ds!

All the tribalism stuff aside, I would like to take this occasion to wish their Welshman a speedy recovery from the injury of yet unknown extent inflicted upon him by a rash tackle committed by Blackpool’s bad boy Charlie Adam who is apparently second in the bookings league and fourth in the fouling charts this season. Taking today’s game into the consideration, these wishes could not be any more timely: when our last week’s hero, Aaron Ramsey got his leg broken by another ‘honest lad without a bad bone in his body’ the reactions from the neighbouring camp were mostly sympathetic, some were anything but, however, we are a classy outfit and we should rise above the latter to reciprocate the former. Get well soon, monkey boy!

Speaking of primates, we have a particularly nasty lot to negotiate today and I don’t think there is any need to remind anyone what happened last time we travelled to Britannia Stadium, is there? I had my say on the subject last year and I don’t think there is much of a need for me to repeat myself. It’s a real shame that Stoke are currently on 43 points and there is no way for them to get relegated, as since Allardyce was sent on the dole where he rightfully belongs, they are about the last team in this league playing clueless neanderthal football with their players being the team sports’ answer to the missing link in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution: stuck somewhere in the middle, being too ‘tough’ for the civilised football league and too wimpy to play rugby. We should consider ourselves lucky that they happen to play in the FA Cup final next weekend, as they would probably kick the living shit out of us otherwise, still, a lot will depend on how much they will be allowed by the man in black, Mr Mark Halsey, as they are sure to give their usual ‘tactics’ a try. An early booking or two should cool a few heads there!

Team photo. Say cheese, Ryan!

After the last weekend’s win over Yoonited where Ramsey scored the only goal of the game, Our Glorious Leader seems to think that striking the iron while it’s hot is the way forward and that it will do him a world of good to return to the scene of the crime at the earliest opportunity. For once, you will not find me disagreeing him and as far as I am concerned, it’s actually good to see AW not cotton-wooling a player on this occasion – here is to hoping that this trend will now continue and be applied to each and every ‘member of staff’ at the long last! Make no mistake, Rambo is in for a real baptism of fire today, as if the stuff I read on Tw*tter over the last few days is anything to go by, their fans don’t seem to have enough decency to appreciate a top player returning from career-threatening injury inflicted by one of their own and are willing to support this clogger who is due to play his 150th game for them by booing our man instead. What a classy bunch they are, you really could not make it up.

Both teams have a few players missing, I think we can be pretty happy with their striker, Ricardo Fuller being out, as he seems to have a knack for scoring against us. If you are to believe Orbinho like I do, he managed to put four goals past our goalkeepers in as many outings, therefore him being out of the picture can only be a good thing. As far as our first choice personnel goes, we have Fabregas  and Nasri definitely out with Djourou and Clichy said to be facing late fitness tests, which means that we may see Gibbs and Squillaci in the back four, as I don’t think AW will risk playing recently recovered Vermaelen in today’s game. There are some rumours and conspiracy theories doing rounds about a few of these players being out of the picture, but let us focus on two games we are about to witness today and leave that stuff for the post which will go up in the near future. I know I have promised to touch on that subject and I am a man of my word, you better be ready for theories mad enough to make Mel Gibson’s Jerry Fletcher blush and eat his tin foil hat!

I would not expect any other unusual inclusions or players being rested as the idea is to maintain our good record against them and take all three points ahead of the two teams above us in the table meeting just after we finish our business with them Potters. I would not mind a whole lot if the later game was to end up with a mass brawl, flurry of red cards and point deductions, failing that, with a draw or a Chelsea win. Pretty please, St Totteringham? I was a good boy the whole season, you know? Amen.

Come on you rip roaring Reds!

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A favour for a favour. Yoonited preview.

May 1, 2011

Howdy Gooners! Is there a game on today?

Following Chavs’ lucky win against the Totts, it has to be said that the things are getting quite interesting at the top of the table: a win today will see us just six points off the top, three points off second placed Chelsea and pretty much guarantee our top four spot, given the Sp*ds pathetic goal difference of +7 compared to our +31. Just to illustrate, if you take today’s game out of the equation, they would need to win their remaining games by at least four goal margin with us suffering three defeats of the same proportions just to get level on points and goal difference to have a chance of beating us to the top four finish.

But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? We have quite a game to play today before the above calculation can be applied and it really does not get much harder than that. The timing is also less than perfect: with us being unable to buy a win whether we play good or not and them hitting the rich vein of form as well as being well motivated to keep the daylight between them and Chavs to get closer to clinching their record-breaking 19th league title, the odds are well stacked up against us and our win would make a few betting people who choose to wager using their hearts rather than heads a good few bob richer. I am not a betting man, but just a quick look at a random comparison site tells a bit of a story: Arsenal 13/8,  ManYoo 2, draw 12/5 (apparently the best deals at the moment of writing). Given that the betting companies are plentiful and don’t show any signs of going out of business they must be doing something right, wouldn’t you agree? Still, if it was all that simple and predictable we would just check the odds on offer and not bother watching the games!

The title of today’s article is not much of a mystery for these who have read my Monday’s post. For those who have not, a brief explanation: the tone of today’s post would be a whole lot different if it was not for the Chelsea’s sudden rise, as it would be all about watching-from-behind-the-sofa panic stations as Yoonited would try to win the league at our place to be the first team to achieve that at The New Home of Football. Seriously, this does not even bear thinking about and since we are a classy outfit, it is only polite to return the favour by stuffing the Mancs, however unlikely it may sound. ABU!

Our supersub, (Red) Devil Slayer. Just in case.

Onto the game itself: given our recent form, OGL faces the gargantuan task of lifting the team in order for them to stand up to Yoonited and make it look respectable, preferably get a respectable result, maybe even an unlikely win. While doing the legwork for this post, I thought of including some rousing battle speech as the motto. Whilst I could not really find anything that was not stupidly cheesy and over the top, I have found this instead:

‘Today we are gathered here to battle. Regrettable, isn’t it, but sometimes, you know, life is like that. You have to do something you don’t want to do, just because someone is telling you to do it. I don’t want to be here myself, but my mother told me that I’d better make it a reasonable show of it all, so here we go then’

The above quote is an ‘Easter egg’  from a strategy game. Come to think of it, it’s funny because it’s true: I think it’s safe to say that both the players and the manager would rather be somewhere else, but sometimes life is like that. Win, lose or draw, they will need to go through the 90 or so minutes of play in front of their own increasingly disappointed and expectant crowd and then be judged upon their performance and result. Whilst I am prepared to risk saying that the fans may appreciate the genuine tooth and nail effort whatever the final score, or at least if it is respectable, I don’t even want to begin to think what may happen if we are served the same turd sandwich we had to chew on more than once already this season. The Roman Colosseum could accommodate fifty thousand spectators and there were no ‘home’ and ‘away’ sections, just a bunch of folk who could decide whether you lived or died, depending on how well you did. Obviously, we are more civilised than letting in the hungry lions on the pitch these days, but you get my drift, don’t you?

All I can ask for is so that the team would fight them on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets… Er, scratch that, I reckon fighting them on the pitch will do! And I am asking the people lucky enough to be inside the ground to do their bit for the full 90 minutes and give the team all the support you possibly can. If not for their sake, then just for the sake of your clear conscience, so that you could say that you gave them an honest chance. Sure, if they don’t give their all, then by any means boo them off the pitch with all your might, but not before the final whistle. Don’t make it hostile for your own, make it so for the visitors, no need to be hospitable here…

Let them feel that they are in hell and it’s us who are the devils!

Come on you Gunners!

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Saturday guff.

April 30, 2011

‘On a lazy Saturday morning when you’re lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, there is a space where fantasy and reality become one. Are you awake, or are you dreaming? You see people and things; some are familiar; some are strange. You talk, you feel, but you move without walking; you fly without wings. Your mind and your body exist, but on separate planes. Time stands still. For me, this is the feeling I have when ideas come.’

Lynn Johnston

The author of the above quote is a Canadian cartoonist behind the For Better or for Worse cartoon that ran for the impressive 30 years. It has to be said that one can only envy this kind of consequence and wish for the same. Quite frankly, I am really struggling to think about something interesting to write about, so I guess I will do a bit of a press and blog run to see what the others have come up with on the lazy bank holiday weekend Saturday.

Thinking that it may be the best idea to get the worst out of the way first, I have gone onto the website of a popular red top to see that Alchy is already thinking of his team being crowned champions in a week after they beat us and Chelsea. If you needed any more encouragement to cheer on the latter today, look no further – say what you want, but since we have no chance in hell to win the thing (despite of what LeGrove’s genius chief statistician RayGooner has managed to come up with – see here), I would absolutely love for them to trump the Jocko’s lot. Oh well, that will teach me not to touch the tabloids with a barge pole, eh?

Lazy? Moi?

Bang, there goes my press overview! Having done a quick screening of the other blogs I read, it seems like the others had the same idea, so instead of being repetitive, I will just quickly summarise what they had to say. LeGrove’s Pedro talks about the images of the new kit which is to be introduced next season to celebrate the club’s 125th birthday. Has to be said that it does not differ from this season’s one a whole lot and I am not too sure whether I like the idea of the away kit being white with the shorts presumably coming in navy, since we had the redcurrant ones this season. You know what team it resembles, don’t you? We had the white third kit last season and I can’t think of a single good game when we donned it. If you look like Sp*ds, you play like Sp*ds, let’s hope for our sake that it’s not some kind of curse. Pedro also mentions the Guardian’s interview with Djourou, which  makes  interesting reading, you can have a look here.

ACLF’s Yogi Warrior also wrote a piece on the latter subject, although he chose it to be the core subject of his today’s post. The slant is obviously a little different, but that is the beauty of the Gooner blogosphere, you can find something to suit your personal stance whether you are the of ever-the-optimistic lot (commonly referred to as AKB) or one of the realists, who the former like to think of as DooM™ raiders. YW also touches on the subject of the team captaincy, following the words from OGL about how the armband burdened our favourite Spaniard at such a young age. Dear Arsene, I hate to say that but we told you so the very moment he was given the footballing equivalent of Tolkien’s ring to bear. If this is your token time to figure out the bleeding obvious, well…

Just to continue with the chain of thought in the same manner, it’s time to mention Arseblog’s today’s post saying a bit more of the issue YW just slightly touched – funny how all this falls into place if you keep the correct order, one blogger gives you a little teaser at the end of his post  just for another to make it the main point of the article. Arseblogger is his usual boilky self, but hey, it’s Saturday peeps! His article also mentions the interview with Verminator who claims to be ready for the first team action. Thomas, we love you, but I say you may want to sit this one out and come back stronger next season, hopefully with another shiny new monster of a centreback to partner you. We hardly have anything to play for, so I don’t think there is any need to take unnecessary risks.

Last, but certainly not least: just to wrap things up, let me mention today’s tongue-in-cheek post by RockyLives you can read on the ArsenalArsenal site. The author is mocking the idea of the march due to take place before the Villa game in a few weeks, it’s pretty well written and funny in a way, but you know my take on the subject, don’t you? I don’t think it’s clever to dismiss the points behind the WHOAG’s initiative without giving them a thought. But hey, let’s hope these humorous pieces will go some way towards releasing the tension amongst those who want to oppose the peaceful demo in the less-than-peaceful manner.

Anyway, thank you for reading this belated post and let’s hope the blue scum will give the lilywhite scum a good hiding!

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The rant? Nah…

April 29, 2011

I know I promised one, but why would I do such a thing? It’s Friday, the work week was short, another long weekend has just begun, most people are happy to see the Royal Wedding and coming out today spitting feathers about things that can hardly be changed at this point in time and getting all emotional would be just, well, out of place and probably a bit rude as well. Her Maj is a Gooner, hence it’s like a family wedding and I could never forgive myself if I was to stink out the place or even contribute towards anybody’s mood being less than jolly on the big family occasion. Dear Wills and Kate, all the best!

Worry not, I will keep the fuse lit and it’s only up to the players if it ignites the fireworks of praise or a salvo of criticism at the beginning of the next week, even though all we have left to play for is to deliver the very belated St Totteringham’s Day from the evil Twitchy Grinch. It’s no laughing matter, theoretically we may still miss out on that little joy as well! Needless to say, I will be watching the game tomorrow with great interest and given that like every Arsenal fan worth his salt I only support two clubs (us and whoever plays Sp*ds), I will be a Chav for a day. I will stop short of saying something to the tune of blue being the new red tomorrow, but only just. Call me a blasphemer, but even Churchill once said that he would ally with the horned one himself to defeat that dude with a funny ‘tache, no? Enemy of my enemy, end justifying the means and all that.

Another reason why I’ve decided against letting Our Glorious Leader as well as the underperforming team have both barrels is simply that following the announcement of the protest march due to take place before the Villa game, we have seen enough aggro in the Arsenal blogosphere this week as it is. What saddened me was that there seem to be numbers of people who are prepared to act as praetorians of the ancien régime and how all this is going to end up is anybody’s guess. I mean, what exactly is wrong with a peaceful march? And I wonder how many people lining up to ‘defend the club’ against their own have actually read what the dissidents’ beef is before hitting out at the supposed ‘infidels’? Whilst I am not necessarily fully supporting ALL the points they are raising, they have a few valid ones and they are worth at least listening to without dismissing them outright as ‘silly’ PHW-stylee. Some of you may recall that I am not exactly a fan of picket and demo style protests myself, but if there are people who think that it is a valid form of ‘collective expression’, no one should berate them or stop them from doing their thing. You think it’s silly? Let them make complete tits out of themselves then! A few hundred strong march is not enough to harm the colossus of a club that is Arsenal, surely? I say let them through without causing them any grief, all they want is to be heard by the rest of the family, not too much to ask, is it?

Someone said to me ‘To you football is a matter of life or death!’ and I said ‘Listen, it’s more important than that’.

Bill Shankly

Ironically, both the ‘dissidents’ and the ‘praetorians’ are willing to do their bit simply because they all agree with the above quote. Why else would the former march on the stadium to make the ‘elders’ listen and why do you the latter are so much up in arms at the very thought of anyone daring to contest the status quo? Make no mistake, they are all doing it out of their love for the club, the only difference between them is their respective concepts of what the best way forward for the AFC is. This kind of Armageddon of views will either prove be the catalyst for change or will leave the fanbase divided into the equivalents of Republicans and Democrats, which will sadly mark the end of the fans’  influence, however minimal it may be. One can’t win if there is no harmony, there is even some Latin phrase that says something to that effect, anyone remembers what it is? Once the fanbase is irrevocably and irreparably split, we may as well introduce another known Latin slogan as the club’s motto: Divide et impera.

Just to wrap things up, watch this short video, which should remind you not to take yourself, your next man or OGL too seriously:

Q: Can you spot a fellow Gooner in this one?

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Thank God for Chelsea.

April 25, 2011

Greetings, Gooners and Goonerettes alike! On the subject of the headline, a word of explanation for these who did not read my yesterday’s post: in the match preview I made a calculation where it was possible for ManIOU to win the league at our ground. I can’t quite remember where I got it wrong, pretty sure it had something to do with the number of games Chelsea had left to play, but since all those presumptions led to writing that funny paragraph about getting  the stay of execution, I have just decided to add a little post scriptum to calm some nerves. Instead of taking it out altogether, I have opted for a  little explanation with regards to why I preferred to keep it there. Someone said that once a good hypothesis is made and the facts won’t fit in, so much the worse it is for the facts. But hey, at least I am transparent about the small error I made and to be honest, it was not that much far off. It’s the LITTLE lapses that make us human and all that…

The title of today’s article is referring to the only reason why the darkest of scenarios is certain not to unfold before the very eyes of the fans gathered inside the ES on the May Day. Yes dear readers, this season just does not stop giving: we have been handed countless chances to catch up with the dire Mancs, but since we would just choke each and every time, there could be only one winner and that is Chelsea. And ironically, their gain is also ours, as if it was not for them being just six points off the pace, we would be running a serious risk of seeing a Yoonited player lifting the first ever Premiership trophy at the Ems in a week’s time if we were to fail to deny them a win. So, once again, thank you Chelsea for sparing us blushes as even this team can’t conspire to cock this up, save for some point deduction from your tally.

Please excuse this little bit of gallows humour as I am hurting as much as you are. Quite frankly, come to think of it, had the first ever title celebration at the shiny ‘new’ stadium not been such an important chapter in the club’s history, I would not mind seeing this travesty on the May Day a whole lot. Sure, we would have to endure ‘We won the league at Emirates’ for the foreseeable future, but hey, nothing less than earned, eh? Trust me, if I hear as much as one more word about bad luck from Our Glorious Leader’s mouth, I’ll just laugh. Because it’s all this nonsense deserves.

You won't like him when he's angry. Or something.

Since I am the ‘credit and criticism where it’s due’ kind of person, it’s credit time: what you see above is slightly altered image from this website. The man behind the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the Man of Steel is once again the pride of Ireland, Photoshop wizard world’s answer to Brendan Behan’s ‘drinker with a writing problem’, the person behind that nice banner on the top of the page, our dear friend and fellow blogger Tiarnan! I have emailed him the idea and it took him less time than it takes the current Arsenal team to lose a lead in a crucial game and that is saying something. The initial idea was to post the above picture in the next game’s preview article, but all the Kryptonite in the universe could not keep the Superdude under the wraps after the yesterday’s debacle. He looks mighty pissed off, you know? And he is wearing one of these white coats I told you about some days ago. Or is it a cape?

No points for guessing what my new avatar is!

I guess this is the moment where I should say a few words about yesterday’s game, but I’d rather not. Why, some will ask. The explanation is fairly simple: I could just take a few match reports I have posted until now, copy and paste some random stuff about no one closing down the opposition, overelaborate tippy tappy 5-a-side pursuit of happiness and FIFA Street style goals, Song playing shit, Theo being unable to beat his player in one-on-one situation and other same ol’ unaddressed shortcomings so clear for everyone to see  and it would still make sense. I could go on a rant about Wenger’s antics on the touchline, but I will just stop short of that as well, given that it’s not big and not clever to kick someone when he is down, and we Gooners have more class than that, don’t we? Think of what Seth Gecko said:

‘I may be a bastard, but I’m not a fucking bastard’.

I simply can’t be asked to write the same article over again, if it is the match report you seek, I am inclined to give you the best of both worlds (one at a time, that is) – LeGrove and A Cultured Left Foot. We don’t discriminate! For the masochists, there is also the Arsenalist with video highlights.

Thank you for reading! Due to other worldsaving duties, I may now go quiet for a few days, but I promise to drop by to write at least once this week! Realistically, one rant and one interview is scheduled before another weekend kicks in properly. Interview with whom? Now, now, that would be telling…

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All I want for Easter is…

April 24, 2011

…three points from the trip to Bolton. Not getting too greedy, am I, dear Easter Bunny? Despite once again hearing about the need to believe and how winning the last five games will yield us a major trophy, I can’t help thinking that all we can count on this season is that little bit of Schadenfreude when we celebrate the St Totteringham’s Day. Our loanee, Carlos Vela did his bit yesterday by the way of providing an assist for the first goal against the scum and almost scoring one just after the start of the game, but I guess we will still need to keep that cheap fizzy plonk on ice until we are properly out of their reach and we can take our solace in the Gooner universe’s answer to Xmas.

Vela’s exploits of yesterday as well as the other few games when he was given his limited chances put the Chicharito’s match winning goals and the widespread claims about us getting the ‘wrong Mexican’ (or a Mexican’t if you were to believe Johnny Depp) into perspective, wouldn’t you agree? Carlos is a player that has it all: pace, tricks and knowledge where the goal is, which can’t be overvalued when we are struggling for goals ourselves and there are seemingly not too many ‘triers’ in our team, unless the players decide to rise to the occasion like we saw it on Wednesday. Crazy thought, but the sudden emergence of his countryman may just give him the motivation required to prove that it is him who is The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico afterall!

Moving onto the subject of today’s game, it will be interesting to see which Arsenal we will see, team selection and mentality wise for a set of reasons: we have played two big games in the space of the last week, lost points from winning position in both, Chelsea leapfrogged us in the table on goal difference and – wait for it – if we SERIOUSLY turn it up and significantly better our goal difference, the title is still almost (with the Chavs beating Yoonited 1:0) in our hands. Don’t believe me? Look at the table and do the maths.

...yes it is!

It does not take a genius to figure out that if we see the Arsenal flying out of the blocks, trying to score as many goals as possible to do just that will be a sign of that belief we hear so much about and it will also go great lengths towards making a roaring statement of intent to take the fight to Yoonited and Chavs, striking the doubt and fear in the hearts of their players and supporters alike. Seeing this would definitely make a few doubting Thomases, including the author, sit down, shut up and take notice. Now, the big question is, does a positive strategy like this even figure in the OGL’s Little Red Book? And more importantly, will the players respond to his rallying cry?

To make things even more interesting, there is another twist to this story: anything less than three points today and with Chelsea failing to get a result against Sp*ds we are running the risk of the very first ‘helicopter Sunday’ at our shiny new ground happening for all the wrong reasons. A win today does not only makes that purely mathematically impossible, but also changes the chopper’s earliest next departure time to the next week and the destination to the Old Toilet, where they can celebrate all they want after beating Chavs to clinch the title. I will not care one iota then. Or maybe I will.

Today is the day when people of certain religions celebrate the belief that their Lord and Saviour rose from the grave, while others just await for the gifts rom the Easter Bunny whether they believe in the former or not. As far as my religious beliefs (CoA) are concerned, the believers will tell you that today is the day when our season is resurrected, whereas the egg hunting infidels will say that all we are getting is a week’s stay of the execution with the horror of public hanging, drawing and quartering being replaced ex gratia (following the emotional plea of the Gooner groom’s brother on the Royal Wedding weekend) by the quiet affair with the use of that fancy French invention called guillotine. I say let’s look on the bright side of things either way, just because the worst case scenario does not bear thinking about, if for nothing else?

Come on Arsenal!

P.S. I have just realised that Yoonited can’t win the title at our place! YAY! But hey, let’s not allow the facts get in the way of good journalism, eh? Besides, the only thing that makes this theory null & void is the sudden emergence of Chelsea…

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Are you watching, first teamers?

February 16, 2010

Our Reserve League side managed to put Chelsea’s to the sword at Griffin Park last night. I did not get to watch the full highlights, let alone the full game (thanks again ATVO, their channel can show these games, care to explain why not ours?), but I have to give big thumbs up to JET and young Luke Freeman. The former danced through their defence twice, using his size and technique wisely to set up both goals, whereas the latter scored the first and calmly set up Giles Sunu to score the second goal after a huge deflection. Chelsea pulled one back immediately, but that was all they could do score wise – the game ended with Gunners win and it cemented their second position in the Reserve League South table.  According to the match report, Neil Banfield opted for playing 4-4-2 instead of 4-3-3 from the start and maybe, just  maybe, it could be a good idea for the first team against some when the other formation doesn’t work like it should – could this be the plan B we have been crying out for? There’s just one way to find out…

Champions League proper commences today with a bang – both today’s games should be quite interesting: we have the choice of AC Milan hosting ManYoo and the ‘new Galacticos’ travelling to Lyon.  I would like nothing more than both home teams winning, but I wouldn’t bet too much money on it, to be honest – AC Milan are nowhere near the force they used to be and Madrid will most probably be too much for Lyon to handle. Then again, you never know, do you? The beauty of football is that the games are never won on paper – if you need examples, look no further than numerous upsets we have witnessed in the domestic cup competitions: anything can happen as long as the team considered to be underdogs doesn’t walk out with damage limitation mentality. I will be watching the United game and cheer the Rossoneri to get one over our league rivals, as our chances of winning the damn thing will improve considerably without the other two British teams in the mix. Mind you, I am not counting our chickens as our game against Porto will not be a walk in the park either and I would consider a score draw a good result and a minimum requirement – anything less than that and it may be quite difficult for us to progress.

I will be back tomorrow with the Porto game preview as well as my thoughts on today’s clashes. Hasta la vista, muchachos y muchachas!