So, today’s the day, tonight’s the night, the talking stops, and other such cliches (or Clichys if you’re David Pleat). Arsenal’s biggest night in Europe, ever, ever, ever. Given everything that’s been written in the papers – and by Blogger – in the last few days, it’s difficult to know what to say today that hasn’t already been said. It wasn’t until mid-yesterday that I got the serious butterflies – it’s seemed a bit unreal – but they’re in full flight now. Work is going to drag today, I can tell – and I still haven’t decided where to watch the game.
No links today since I just don’t have the time.
As expected, team news sees Campbell and Cole in for Senderos and Flamini, and Sol’s been talking himself up, saying how 3 games in a week helped him get back to fitness, both mentally and physically. Good. About time. Like Arseblogger said, we need a performance from him – a hat-trick ought to do it. It’ll be a shame that Senderos won’t get the opportunity to finish the job he’s done throughout the season, but if he’s not fit, he’s not fit. It’s hard on Flamini too – who I think has been one of our players of the season given the situation he’s found himself in – but with a couple of games under his belt, I think Cole’s experience and ability to get forward and attack their full-back is a better option.
Other than that, we should see the usual 4-5-1 we’ve got used to in Europe, with Hleb, Freddie, Cesc and one of Jose or Le Bob through the middle (I’d have thought Reyes was an easy choice, but The Sun suggests Pires might start), and Gilberto in front of the defence. For Barca’s part, it looks like Messi could at least be on the bench for them, which is nice. Frank Rijkaard says it’ll have been much easier for Arsene Wenger to prepare for the final than for him because Barcelona will be doing all the attacking. Presumably he just saw the second leg of the Villarreal game and missed us beating Real and taking Juventus apart at Highbury. Good. His headaches are probably from all the hair-perming he does, the perm-headed cunt, but the rubbisher he thinks we are, the better as far as I’m concerned. He does have some nice words for Bergkamp though, whose last game it will be for the club tonight.
In other news, one of the linesmen for the match has been replaced after he was photographed wearing a Barcelona shirt as part of a photoshoot with a Norwegian newspaper. He was supposed to be pictured wearing both Arsenal and Barcelona shirts, but apparently he found out he only owned a Barca shirt (found out?! Surely they provide these things at a photoshoot?). Anyway, seems like a bit of a shame for him but it wasn’t the brightest thing to do.
Our chums at Sp*rs have had some more bad news, with the hotel they were staying at the night before the last game of the season getting the all clear from the Health Protection Agency. Turns out it was nothing more sinister than a stomach virus. I trust Mr Levy will be retracting his insinuations that Arsenal had anything to do with it, and advising his players to wash their minging hands more carefully in future. Oh and ha ha ha.
So, here’s to our biggest night in Europe. If you’re going to the game, I’ve no doubt you’ll do us proud (I don’t hate you at all, honest). If you’re not, drink lots, smoke lots if you need to, and don’t bite your fingers off. And nights like this don’t come around very often, so if you can, try to enjoy it!