It’s remarkable how little hype we have had so far about the cup final – which is only two weeks away now – and I suppose we have Liverpool to thank for that. Yesterday’s Times had about six pages of copy on their path through to the European Cup Final, which by the way, is what it should be called. Just as Snickers are really Marathons, ‘Champions League Final’ is a bit of a misnomer these days, as half the time the finalists haven’t topped their domestic league anyway. Liverpool were fourth last year – 30 points behind us.
It just goes to show, too, that with a combination of hard work, a bit of luck and above all, excellent tactics, there’s nothing to say any English team can’t make the final, including ours. We’ve racked our brains for years as to why we keep failing in the European Cup, and I’m sure it’s something Wenger will be addressing big time in the summer. We have an extravagantly gifted and highly experienced squad – so why not? There’s something to chew on.
Anyway, back to the cup final. The lack of hype suits me fine. Fun though it is for headline writers, I’d much rather the 21st May showdown is remembered as a good game of football – in which we prevail, naturally – than an unseemly slanging match. You can say what you like about Chelski, but both games we played against them this season were played in a great spirit, with barely a yellow card or bad foul to talk about.
This morning, le Boss is insistent he wants Reyes to stay and that the young Spaniard will overcome his fear of overcast skies and morris dancers. Personally, I’d still be surprised if he does remain, given the regular and none-too-subtle hints he’s been leaking this year. Surely Wenger’s just talking the price up? I’d love him to stay too, but only if he wants to, and only if he agrees to turn up in the winter months as well as the spring and late summer.
Which is why it’s crucial cup final day is a scorcher. Apart from needing to air my pallid English winter-skin, I get the feeling that, the hotter it is, the better Reyes will play. It’s a bit like Samson being strong when he has long hair, only nothing like it at all.
And with that pearl of wisdom, I take my leave.