On a sunny day in May of 1989, Arsenal needed a 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield to win the league. It was considered an impossible task: fortress Anfield was impregnable, Liverpool were the reigning champs, and the emotional favorites as well having suffered through the Hillsborough disaster just a little over a month earlier. The game came down to the last minute and the second goal came on the last attack of the game as the Liverpool squad were cheering for their “double.” It is, possibly the most famous win in Arsenal’s recent history.
I don’t mention this to “rub it in” or because I’m living in the past; rather to say that a win today would have to be just as famous, at least for those of us who are recent supporters. Liverpool must be seen as the clear favorites: masters of Europe (5 cups and staring at back-to-back finals appearances), an away goal advantage, home advantage, and a mental advantage after having come out and executed their plans to perfection twice at the Emirates. And to overcome that would be, as George Graham said, at least as monumental as overcoming Liverpool at Anfield in 1989.
A win today would even be better than the 2-0 win at the San Siro, simply because Milan was a much better match up for Arsenal than Liverpool. Liverpool are more physical, have the incredible pace of Torres, and rather than a team struggling, they are on top of their game.
In addition, Arsenal are tired, they are injured (even though Diaby and van Persie return today), but they have the belief of the boss who thinks they can win both leagues, and the belief of their best player who has stated his intent to stay at Arsenal and make it into a big club:
Arsenal aim to be one of the biggest teams in Europe, like Milan, Barcelona or Madrid, teams who have always been associated with playing well and winning
To do that, Cesc, you must win tonight.
So, I am expecting a hard fought clash (both teams have crafty holding midfielders who lead the CL in fouls) but, believe it or not, I’m also expecting a lot of goals. If Arsenal get an early goal, Benitez will open the game, which will lead to a wide open match. An open match is dangerous for both teams as neither squad has a sterling defense. And so, I honestly think we could see a 3-3 draw today.
In honor of the 2-0 victory to take the league in 1989, today would be the perfect day to wear yellow.
Too bad the squad will be either wearing that hideous white strip or that Barcelona inspired claret and blue thing.
I’m wearing yellow, which just happens to be my lucky Jersey.
Finally, and briefly, the word on the street that Seattle Sounders FC are looking to buy Thierry Henry is gaining momentum and just today Barcelona have confirmed that he is for sale. I don’t see it happening (him coming to America). I think he’ll go to Chelsea or something first because he misses his daughter who’s in London. We’ll have to see, either way, he won’t be in Spain next year.
That’s it, up the Arse!