That Jose Mourinho, eh? Even after leaving Chelsea, he is still winning them trophies.
Dumping the Blues out of the Champions League might be the greatest
service the Inter boss could have done his former club as the competition takes
its toll on their domestic rivals.
took a big step towards regaining the Premier League title this week without having
to leave the comfort of their Cobham training compound.
ED imagines Roman Abramovich lolling on a pile of money on
his yacht, laughing in the maniacal way only an oligarch can, as first Wayne
Rooney went down crocked, then Arsenal lost two captains for the price of one
with William Gallas and Cesc Fabregas possibly out for the season.
Fabregas became the first footballer to break his leg doing
nothing more than kicking a football, as he struck a late penalty with more
venom than his bones could withstand.
ED couldn't help but chuckle as he rushed to grab the ball
out of the net only to break down before he could reach his own half.
Samir Nasri was first on the scene, unsure whether to offer
his captain comfort, or rip the ball out of his hands and tell him to
the park if necessary.
Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Saturday after a week of
relaxation, rubdowns and maybe even a little aromatherapy - they will be perfectly
prepared mentally and physically.
United, meanwhile, will be suffering the after-effects of
that harrowing last-second defeat in Germany, with their best player peeking
glumly out from inside a hoodie.
And Arsenal have less than 72 hours to gather themselves for
a very different challenge, as Barcelona's trip
to North London is followed up by a visit from
Wolves. They could go from being played off the park to kicked off it in the
space of three days.
After 20 minutes last night, ED received a text suggesting
Arsenal were playing rope-a-dope, and it turned out to be precisely the case as
they somehow came back off the ropes to nab an improbable 2-2 draw.
Nonetheless, it was painful viewing for Arsene Wenger, who can
rarely have seen his side technically exposed so ruthlessly.
The game lived up to its billing as a feast of football -
the problem was that only one team were playing it.
As schoolings go, it reminded ED of the Barça-Manchester
United game when Romario, Stoichkov, Bakero and company thrashed a supposedly
legendary United side 4-0.
Manuel Almunia, much-maligned for a very good reason (he's
rubbish), caught up on three seasons worth of world-class saves in half an hour
Then, having apparently come through the worst, Arsenal gave
away two cheap goals - possibly having spent too much time listening to pundits
writing Zlatan Ibrahimovic off.
As the author of a blog post entitled 'Why Ibrahimovic is
ace', it is clear where ED's sympathies lie, and it had hoped English people
might come to the realisation that he is brilliant without him having to score
twice against a Premier League side.
That never happened, but at least his brace at the Emirates
will shut up the critics who call him a big-game bottler.
Well, it might have done were it not for that implausible
missed open goal in the first few minutes. ED says he knew he was offside and
is sticking to its story.
Even without Andres Iniesta, Barcelona launched attack after attack, slicing,
dicing and lacerating the Arsenal back line.
It could have been death by a thousand cuts, but Arsenal wrapped
themselves in Elastoplast and reverted to their equivalent of long ball
football - knocking passes down the line for Theo Walcott to chase.
Considering the punishment they withstood, two-all is not
just a good result for Arsenal, it is borderline miraculous.
It was a bit like watching a hurricane come tearing towards
your house and battening down the hatches, then emerging from your storm bunker
afterwards to discover a couple of roof tiles are loose.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Come again?" The Eurosport-Yahoo! office's
collective reaction to the news that Quincy Owusu-Abeyie will earn
£80,000-a-week with his new club, Al Sadd of Qatar.
FOREIGN VIEW: 'It could have been 6-2' - Catalan daily Sport reckons Barcelona should have won
by a tennis score at the Emirates,
COMING UP: More European football tonight with live coverage
of Fulham v Wolfsburg
and Benfica v Liverpool
both kicking off at 20.05 UK time.