For years, around this time, if someone had asked me where the final of the Champions League was being held I would not have been able to tell them, even though, Arsenal may still have been in the competition. It always seemed unnecessary information. Perhaps this was the pessimist in me as I never expected us to reach the final and so knowing where it was going to be played seemed irrelevant. In fact, even in the 2005/2006 season when I went to Madrid and witnessed the first ever English team to win at the Bernabéu I still didn’t know where the final would be played later that year. This all changed shortly after with the creation of our great song. If you were lucky enough to go to Villarreal and have your heart torn out when they were awarded a penalty in the last minute, followed by unbridled joy as Jens saved it, then you, like me, sang your heart out for the rest of the night. “Way, we’re on our way, we’re going to Paris we’re on our way”.
This song, as we all know, has become so popular that it is sung from round one onwards with only the minor alteration of last year’s host city being replaced by this year’s. It is difficult to imagine, nowadays, that there are many, like I used to be, who are unaware of where the Champion’s final is being held; but, just in case: Rome…Wednesday the 27th of May. Keep it in your diary..because “Way, we’re on our way, we’re going to Roma we’re on our way”.
Tonight may turn out to be the defining match of our season. With the walking wounded steadily returning, some at a canter and some at a sprint Wenger finds himself in the enjoyable position of having selection problems. There are, of course, the absolute certainties; for example, Almunia: whether you think he is our best choice between the sticks is a debate for a later time, but tonight he will be in goal. Sagna: Wenger obviously has so much faith in his athleticism that he had no qualms about playing him for 90 minutes against Burnley. Toure: back from injury, if you believe that you will believe anything; he was rested for tonight. Gallas: As some clever person said last night “I thought that Chiellini was supposed to be the muts nuts, give me Gallas any day of the week”. Clichy: certainty. Now, Wenger could play Walcott but I think he will opt for Eboue; Roma will come onto us and we will need to contain them early on. We can bring on Walcott later when the game opens up. Denilson: was rested especially for this game. Diaby: if the double D can reproduce what they did at the Emirates we will win tonight. Nasri: although wasted out left he still adds a little bit more defensively than Vela. RVP: It’s show time for the boy wonder again. Bendtner: I expect him to play ahead of Eduardo. If I am wrong, I will be just as happy; although, I expect the Crozilian to be brought on if we need a fox in the box later on in the game. 1-1 we scrape through.