Day: April 6, 2010

Match Of The Midweek: Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal

How, then, do Arsenal solve a problem like Lionel Messi? If he isn’t unquestionably the best player in the world at the moment then he is in the top two or three, and if this evening’s Champions League quarter-final proves anything, it proves that one player, in irresistable form, can win a match. Lionel Messi has been in sensational form all season but this evening, with an individual performance so sublime that it feels at times as if he is the only player on the pitch, there is simply no stopping him. Arsenal supporters may wonder aloud what difference the injured Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas and Robin Van Persie might have made to their team, but it is difficult to imagine that anything barring a full, career-threatening assort upon Messi would have made any difference to what happens this evening. Arsenal’s comeback from two goals down against Barcelona last week was treated in some parts of the British press as being something akin to the rebirth of Lazarus. This, however, rather seemed to overlook the extent to thich they were utterly, hopelessly outplayed for much of the first leg. Barcelona were so far ahead of Arsenal in the first half of the first leg that watching it felt akin to watching a full first team playing a good, well organised youth team. Still, find their way back into the...

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Video Of The Week: Football Stories – Roy Keane

It seems appropriate that, in the week after rumours of his departure from the managerial position at Ipswich Town started to do the rounds, our Video Of The Week should be about one of the more complex characters of the last twenty years or so of English football, Roy Keane. Keane’s journey from Cobh Ramblers to Manchester United and the captaince of the Republic of Ireland has been well documented, but this programme tells his story as well as anywhere, including his fractious relationship with Brian Clough at his first club, Nottingham Forest, the inconsistent explanations over that tackle on Alfe-Inge Haaland and his dispute with Mick McCarthy prior to the 2002 World Cup finals, a dispute that ended his international career long before it had run its natural course. It is ultimately difficult to escape the fact that Keane ultimately lost out as a result of the Saipan rant. Roy Keane, who had the mental image of giving everything to the Irish cause, had bailed on his team-mates and walked away. For someone that placed so much importance upon commitment, his departure from the squad didn’t exact swell his legions of fans, and the Ireland team, under McCarthy, went on to reach the last sixteen of the World Cup finals. We will never know whether they might have gone further with Keane in the team and firing on...

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