Our European stock is falling faster than the BBC’s. Almost.
After something of a purple patch for English clubs in Europe which saw two winners, six final appearances and numerous semi-final outings for THE BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD we seem to be experiencing something of a dip in Champions League fortunes.
Our league champions are facing a group stage exit for the second successive season and Chelsea are well poised to go the same way. United have qualified as group winners from a frankly pathetic collection of teams but still conspired to lose to Galatasary on Tuesday whilst Arsenal have struggled against a superior Schalke side and are surely heading for their annual early knock out round defeat to one of the big boys.
Last season wasn’t much better for most with both sides of Manchester keen to impose themselves on the prestigious Europa League and the Gunners capitulating in their first leg against Meeeelan.
Before you start, YES I KNOW Chelsea were champions last year but would anyone really argue that they are or were one of the best sides in Europe? Yes we know you would JT, sit down. And I said our stock is falling anyway. So there.
Mancini will survive… but he doesn’t make it easy for himself
Although City’s results in Europe have been pretty rottenthey have had some pretty terrible luck with the draw and not every performance has been as terrible as all that.
Mancini could quite easily have played damage limitation and given any number of reasonable excuses yet he decided to reveal that he hadn’t really prepared the team properly as well as spouting some nonsense about the team having no European experience. Malaga and PSG, both in their first seasons in the competition for ages, have shown how it is perfectly possible to succeed without tons of experience. Besides, City’s squad has a whole lot more European pedigree than the inexperienced Ajax side that they only managed to take a solitary point from. And admitting “I didn’t prepare the players, it my fault” well that’s just stupid. Almost as stupid as wearing a David Platt mask to a press conference.
A simple “I’m disappointed that we couldn’t go further but I don’t think we should be too ashamed of taking points off two fantastic sides in Madrid or Dortmund, and Ajax” would have sufficed. As would a mask of a real toad rather than the pale imitation that is David Platt. Croak.
Chelsea aren’t dead and buried
The general feel of doom and gloom surrounding Chelsea’s apparently imminent exit from the Champions League seems a little excessive. The odds may be against the blues but it was the knee jerkiest of knee jerk reactions from Roman Abramovic to bin his 8th manager in 9 years – the one who won the bloody thing last year, remember that anyone? – and bring in the cruelly dubbed ‘fat Spanish waiter’.
Di Matteo at least deserved a chance to oversee a (hopefully) rather large victory over Norway’s finest commentator’s nightmare Nordsjælland in the next round whilst sweating like a suave, well-dressed Italian pig on the outcome in Donetsk. A Shaktar win puts Chelsea’s fate firmly in their own hands whilst even a Juventus triumph will only need Chelsea needing a four goal swing in their favour to qualify.
So here’s a tip Rafa, try playing a striker. Oh and I’ll have the bill please, there’s a good chap.
It’s reassuring to see Alan top the scoring charts
Rather predictable feel to the top scorers list again I see; Messi, Ronaldo and Alan hogging all the limelight as usual.
In all seriousness (kind of) I find it remarkably reassuring to see the 33 year old Brazilian, presumably named after Surralan Sugar, (his families first PC was an Amstrad, probably) rubbing shoulders with the big boys for a few weeks. Yes he’ll do well to be there in May but for a few weeks at least it’s nice for Alan’s all over the world to have a champion. Alan Rickman has already sent a signed copy of Love Actually to the boy from Braga and until Alan Pardew remembered he wasn’t going to bother strengthening the Magpies this season there were reports of him considering a bid.
Now all we need is Alan’s fellow Brazilians Fred and Cris to force their way back into the national team to give Bedrock’s most famous resident Chris Kamara and Sky Sports presenter Fred Flinstone someone to cheer for at the World Cup. Hurrah for normal names!
Browse my latest range of David Platt masks HERE!
Oh and I have Twitter @Jack_Johnson__