Reebok viral featuring Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry in conjunction with tonight’s Champions League Final. Incredibly cheesy – but I still like it.
The hype surrounding Barcelona (this season) has been a bit OTT in my opinion. Yes, they’ve blitzed La Liga with 86 points in 37 league games, 104 goals and a difference of +70. On the face of it those stats look pretty immense. So should United be fearful? In my opinion, no. Respectful, yes. Fearful, no.
La Liga has really dissapointed me this year. Barca have scored in all but 2 of their home fixtures this season – the home game against Osasuna at the weekend (when Barca rested everyone!) and Chelscum in the Champions League Semi Final. So, putting the Osasuna game aside, the only opposition that has stopped the “Harlem Globetrotters of Football” is English (well, if you can count Chelscum as English that is). The Premiership is where it’s at. If Barca had to play in the Prem next season – for some freaky reason – I predict that they would finish outside of the top 4 and they would be a long way off 104 goals. The Premiership IS the better league and this is why United WILL win comfortably. 3-1 in my opinion. For one night only I’ll be a united fan. Forza United!
So, the debate continues. Did the Chelscum players overreact? Opinion amongst the footballing world has been divided. It was clear to me – even as a bias QPR fan – that Chelscum were robbed of 2 blatant penalties, at least. The Pique handball was one of the most obvious penalties I’ve seen in a long while. The question remains, was this an example of massive human error on the referees part? Was this part of some grander UEFA conspiracy against an all-English final? Was this down to the lack of ‘big-match’ experience on the referees part? (Jamie Redknapp seemed to think so).
In my opinion the referee is totally to blame. It was a performance worthy of a ‘gross misconduct’ dismissal. I wouldn’t get away with performing like that at work – let alone in a meeting with our biggest client with millions at stake. Why do referees constantly get away with it? Time after time we see below par performances in both Europe and the domestic game and nothing seems to happen. Surely this can’t go on. Performance of the referee is in the public domain so why isn’t the punishment?
The Chelscum players reacted in a natural way. They were charged up. Drogba is a fool, so his reaction didn’t suprise me. Lampard and Terry acted with restraint but clearly showing a natural frustration. Ballack’s reaction was hilarious. The manager? Well, personally, I think that Guus Hiddink conducts himself in a great way. It pains me to say it but he’s a great manager and I can see why he is dubbed the ‘lucky one’ in his native Holland. Maybe it’s a case of what goes around comes around.
So now we have the purists final. Let’s enjoy it. Can’t help thinking it’s a case of what could have been…