Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3
Park 8, Ronaldo 11, Ronaldo 61, Van Persie penalty 76
Big long build-up, tons of hype, crazy promises – followed by a big let -down.
It was like the Ricky Hatton fight.
This Champions League semi-final second leg lasted less than eight minutes.
The details of how the goals were scored, and the decisions by referee Rosetti, are irrelevant unless you are a Manchester United fan.
I did not bet on Man Utd to qualify, as they were 1/4, so I backed Cristiano Ronaldo to score the first goal at 11/2, which seemed a generous price.
Sir Alex has often got his team wrong but Park on the right and Ronaldo in the middle were two killer calls which he will probably repeat in Rome.
Park for Tevez ! Bingo !
Before the game kicked off my pal Kelvin called to say he had bumped into Gilles Grimandi.
“Do you remember me?”
“No,” said Grimandi.
“A year ago I said, ‘When you see Mr Wenger, can you tell him to buy a centrehalf?’ And you said, ‘Mr Wenger knows his football.’ We still need a centre half!”
I lost my bet when Ji-Sung Park scored after 7.13 minutes.
Cristiano made Park’s goal, then scored two more, one from a 41-yard free-kick and the other from an astounding Rooney-Park breakaway which he finished magnificently.
For once Cristiano had a great night in a big game.
BECAUSE HE WAS PLAYING AGAINST A WEAK TEAM.
The worst team in the last four by a mile.
After 11 minutes it was 0-2 and I started looking forward to tonight’s Chelsea-Barcelona semi-final.
A Manchester United-Barcelona final would be a fabulous spectacle for the world to watch. Either team would be a worthy champions and both clubs have the ambition that Arsenal lack.
But I still reckon Chelsea will beat Barcelona, and then beat Manchester United in Rome. I sorted that out in my unconscious mind when I was asleep after the 0-0 in the Nou Camp. I woke up thinking, “Chelsea will win it!”
Guus Hiddink is a fantastic coach whose tactical realism and demanding managerial style deserve some reward.
Hiddink is everything a football manager can be and should be and hardly ever is.
I was cheated last night because I didn’t see a football match.
Sixty thousand people, 150 boxes, millions of pounds spent, hundreds and hundreds of staff working to present a sporting drama lasting an hour and a half, a hundred articles saying 90 MINUTES THAT WILL DECIDE ARSENAL’S FUTURE……and it all went PHUT! in eight minutes.
I wasn’t surprised to see a walkover. I felt no tension going into the game and no enjoyment during it.
The biggest Emirates game so far was a waste of time, a flop, a vivid confirmation of everything I already knew and most of what I’ve written this season.
During the first half I switched off the ITV commentary and put on the radio and the ghastly Alan Green was saying, “What can Wenger do now?”
I cannot recall shouting at a radio before. I’ve shouted at friends and family and strangers and I’ve shouted at the TV set many times, but never at the radio.
I shouted at Alan Green when he asked, “What can Wenger do now?”
“He can go on the pitch with a microphone at half -time and promise to buy some experienced players on June 1st!”
Wenger is the problem.
Big things are possible but not with the pig-headed Professor in charge. His team has been going backwards for four years. If you keep telling average players they are good, you build a mountain of bad karmka which will come crashing down and you will be humiliated.
This season was over long ago anyway.
If your thoughts are turning towards summer, you may want to read this.