Spanish media roundup by our Spain Correspondent AH

You had to flick through to page 10, yep page 10, of Marca for any mention of European Cup football this morning. First order of the day was to crack out more rumours about Madrid in preperation for next year: David Villa and Silva apparently is the new fantasy, followed by a couple of pages about Kaka. All this before a new president is even appointed, silly season is actually yet to begin. However, as an Arsenal fan, it was worth the wait. The game was billed as the battle for the Madrid managers job, i guess the loser takes all in this one or something. Still the papers were full of praise for both sides and obviously enjoyed the theatre of a tie still delicately balanced.
The Spanish assessment of Arsenal was glowing, “syrupy” football played the way they love it seems. Adebeyor and Cesc took most of the plaudits, then Denilson funnily enough; I do not lie, check the ratings for yourself online. During the game the commentators were purring over Walcott. AS ran a piece on how the dynamic will be different in London, with Cesc fit enough to play a proper CM and dictate play from deep. Next Wednesday looks to be a cracker all around and even the Madrid mad press are looking forward to some decent football, the sort not seen in white this year.
For my part i can understand why the Madristas are looking forward to next season already, the league is long shot hinging on victory against Barcelona on May 3rd. However, there seems to be a quite acknowledgment they dont deserve to be champions. I can’t see why any Arsenal fans are looking that far forward though.
The idea that we should be looking beyond our two chances of silverware just seems ludicrous to me, some sort of perverse computer game reality that sees buying, selling, and soap opera as more significant than games played, results, and maybe tropeéis won. Who gives a damn what might happen in the summer when we can still be European champions? How on Herat can anyone claim to know if we need a new goalie, defender, midfielder, or attacker until we have let our boys have the chance to play and beat the best? If Arsenal with this young squad can win the champions league, something no other Arsenal side has ever done no matter how good or currently revered, then they are good enough for anything.
I found myself muttering my Nan’s refrían for hard times and a goal down: “if only we had Thierry Henry out there tonight, he would do it for us.” Well, we didn’t, but we didn’t need him. We had Emmanuel Adebyor who scored a gorgeous goal of strength, skill, and imagination: forget the pre-concieved notions, Europe saw that and the continent nodded approvingly. Oddly it is only Arsenal fans who seem surprised or disparaging of his talent in light of a great goal. If we can call upon the same Adebyor who carried our club over last Winter – we haven’t seen him yet this season – then we can go great places. That Adebyor is near unplayable, full of endevour, and clinical in front of goal. Last night’s effort was reminiscent of his goal at Newcastel in that purple match; Ade is very much a streaky scorer, plase god let this be the start of a similar glut of goals. My point is though, what our boys do now in the big games will determine the course we need to go in the future, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Next week we play for the chance to be in Champions League final and the domestic cup final. This is momentous, the sort of thing that every football fan surely dreams of watching. I dont agree with playing semi-finals at Wembley, but it is what it is: a great day out and first visit for our fans. European games are always special and if we get through two more amazing nights await.
This season has been full of adversity, some internally created, some not. Injuries again loom large as an influence on our season. However, there remains the chance of redemption and response in every crisis. Take for example our cursed luck with injuries; there is no way we can be accused of having a small squad anymore. Our unbeaten run started with Cesc, Ade, and Walcott all going down injured. RVP and Diaby stepped up and into the void, becoming two of our most influential players and Arshavin arrived. Suddenly they go out and the three injured players return, they have been our best players the last two matches. Djourou, Bendtner, Diaby, Song have all responded when called upon; each of those players started against either manure or the chavs when we beat them this season. It is difficult to say anymore with everyone fit what our best 11 is, even with Eduardo and Rosicky still to be fully reintegrated into the squad.
I think we have dragged ourselves to a point in our season where every player deserves unconditional support and even the most ardent sceptics should be willing to acknowledge when our kids play well. For sure, on last nights evidence losing Toure and Adebyor in the summer would be a body blow to the club. Whilst the two young midfielders who struggled first half also dominated the game in the second. Our side has just pulled itself together and is now challenging for two different pots – the demand of every malcontent last summer was silverware remember – and yet people are still talking about weakness and changes needed. Maybe there are, but you cannot possibly know that until these cup runs have played themselves out.
Finally, good to see that the Denilson for player of the season bandwagon has started itself rolling. Again, too soon to tell who will be our hero, but for consistency, effort, and improvement surely only RVP comes close. For me, the red card against Stoke, ruling Robin out of crucial matches, and key misses against Fulham and Sunderland are his only black spot. (Imagine if Bendtner had fluffed those chances, at least he only misses when we win!)
Hasta banana amigos.

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