The most critiqued lines of thought in these column is how I expressed the disinterest in how the boring Manchester United are great despite how badly they played. Together with the fact that I saw bolts coming off the Arsenal wagon, for which I was ‘justifiably’ crucified since the horse had the experience, cost me the credibility as an independent blogger. Not that it mattered at all, but now that the fans are plucking the body off the wagon itself, I feel vindicated.
The Gunners belonged to a club that was disillusioned by the idea that they played like Barcelona but lost like Aston Villa. The similarity with the conceived pattern of play was however not related to a similar trend seen at the Catalans. Just before the departure of Pep Guardiola, it was here that we claimed that Barca were finished.
Now that both Arsenal and Barcelona are suffering the symptoms of our diagnosis, their non-performance is no longer of interests. Is it thinking ahead of the game? Their game may not be really over. Maybe people were right after all. There is some consderable playing shrinkage somewhere.
I cannot shake off the feeling that the 3-1 loss of Barca to Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in the Del Rey Cup is the end of the beginning of Madrid rather than the expired end of Barcelona. In fact, both Arsenal and Barca can never be thought of as teams that were once good and are now ordinary. That would be an insult to the game and the game-changers like Arsene Wenger.
However, prudence is recognizing the rise of other teams in England; namely, you guessed it, Tottenham Hotspur. Many saw Spurs as a team and Gareth Bale as a player at the San Siro three seasons ago in that dramatic comeback in the UEFA Champions League. Wisdom is realizing the growth of Real Madrid over Barca since Jose Mourinho took over the Galatico.
Of course, there has been talk of the gap between the two sides in the La Liga and worse, there is a team and possibly two between the two. That emphasizes the point being made, that the gap below Barca is diminishing. Teams are getting better in the game and dealing with problem teams or players is becoming a thing of the past.
If you are a Barcelona fan, their collapse against Real was temporary and a fluke. If you are a Gunner, Arsenal are not finished, but Wenger is done. That is die-hard support and is commendable. For football fans, this is the football revolutionary times.