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Day: March 4, 2008

Milan vs Arsenal

Well, good evening, everyone. Here’s something strange. I switched on the television at 7.30, and (lo and behold) ITV1 is showing Manchester United vs Lyon – a match which is surely a nailed-on home win. Fortunately, the considerably more interesting match between Milan and Arsenal is on ITV4, so we’re not limited to watching Rooney and Tevez (or whoever) smashing in a hat-trick each against the hapless French champions, and can instead settle down and, hopefully, learn a little more about whether Arsenal are genuine contenders to be the champions of Europe or not. To be fair to them (and this may be the only time that I manage that all evening), they’ve got their work cut out against the current world and European champions. Milan may be faltering somewhat in the league at the moment (they dropped points at the weekend, allowing Fiorentina to open up a bit of a gap in fourth place, and meaning that Milan may have to win this competition in order to qualify for it next season), but they’re packed with experience and, you could argue, save themselves like this. The teams line up as follows: Milan – Kalac, Maldini, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Gattuso, Pato, Kaka, Inzaghi. Arsenal – Almunia, Clichy, Senderos, Gallas, Sagna, Diaby, Fabregas, Eboue, Hleb, Adebayor. There are also three other Champions League matches, as well as a...

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Fantasy vs Reality

At least on the pitch, this season hasn’t been a bad one for the dreamers amongst us. Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup at home by lower division opposition, a team from outside the Big Four won the League Cup (and there was genuine goodwill from most neutrals that they did so), and England’s celebrity-studded excuse for a football team got the wake up call that they deserved by failing to qualify for a sixteen nation European Championship. The suspicion remains, however, that the bad guys will win in the end. I remain constantly surprised by the amount of coverage that is granted to the Champions League in the newspapers. This morning’s Independent devotes four pages to this evening’s matches although, somewhat predictably, the Barcelona vs Celtic and Sevilla vs Fenerbahce matches scarcely warrant a mention. It is, one can only surmise, very important stuff, and it’s this mortal fear that everyone else may be right and that I may be wrong which is the reason why, in spite of myself, I will probably tune in to watch the Milan vs Arsenal match tonight. This all contrasts with this weekend’s FA Cup Quarter-Finals, in which a sizeable proportion of the population will be willing Portsmouth and Barnsley to overcome Manchester United and Chelsea. The gulf between the likes of United and Chelsea and the rest can be...

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