Big Match Build Up

Saturday arrives and as a treat, it’s a 3pm kick off. Indeed, as it’s Champions League week the majority of games are 3pm kick off’s this weekend with only two games tomorrow. It really is make or break month for Arsenal. Lose today and within 24 hours the fourth place spot could be 7 points away and at this stage of the season, whilst it is not an impossible gap it leaves the club reliant on a loss of form in their immediate competitors. In a certain context there is a symmetry building in the shape of Dennis Bergkamp. His first season ended with a goal in the last game of the season that ensured the last UEFA Cup place was secured in a 2 – 1 win. What odds at Ladbrokes for Bergkamp to score in the last game at Highbury against Wigan to secure a Champions League spot in his last season with club, on the playing front at least?

Even more important is the last chance of silverware in the shape of the Champions League. Based on the last two seasons with unfancied but half decent teams winning the trophy, I am somewhat surprised that we’re not clear favourites to win in Paris in May. Given the events of the last 7 days, perhaps it’s no surprise at all that we’re almost rank outsiders to pull off this feat. With the attacking force that is the Real Madrid midfield and forward line, trepidation is perhaps the feeling that all Arsenal fans ought to be feeling ahead of the game in the Bernabeu later this month. That said, their defensive frailties and indifferent home form are the straws to grasp at. Best case, an away win, worst case a one goal defeat (with an away goal being scored) and I would believe we will progress. Another performance akin to that in Munich last season (with an stronger team) and the last season at Highbury will quickly turn into one that we will not want to remember with any fondness.

Todays tune is my favourite Eddie Floyd tune, a superb driving beat augmented with blasting horns and sublime Hammond accompaniament. Quite simply a song you must have your collection.

Eddie Floyd – Big Bird