One week of great entertainment, goals, artistry, fun, intrigue and most of all shocks. I always knew there would be a shock in this round of the Champions League but never in my wildest dream did I think it would come from the San Siro. From Celtic Park to the Mestalla to the Donbass Arena to the Santiago Bernabeu to the Estadio do Dragao to the Emirates to the Turk Telekom Arena and finally to the San Siro, we witnessed 21 goals, 32 yellow cards and a red card for a certain Zlatan.
Of all the teams, there are some teams that are more than 80% sure of qualifying for the next round, they are Juventus and FC. Bayern. Juventus stylishly and masterfully defeated Celtic away from home and Bayern showed Arsenal exactly how far away they are from the top teams in Europe.
There were 3 wonderfully oiled teams – Bayern, Juventus and AC Milan – but the most complete performance was at the San Siro where the ex Portsmouth boys scored against the mighty Barcelona. Words to describe the performance are hard to come by. What did Milan do so well and what did Barcelona do so wrong.
Milan first XI included Abbiati, Zapata, Abate, Constant, Ambrosini, Muntari, Mexes, Montolivo, Boateng, Pazzini and El Shaarawy. Barcelona first XI included Valdes, Alves, Pique, Poyol, Alba, Busquets, Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi. All stats after the game except two pointed to a Barcelona win and they were the scoreline and the shots on / off target. Never in my history of watching Barcelona play, have I seen them restricted to just a shot on target. What happened to the attacking threats of Alves, Alba, Iniesta, Messi and Xavi? They were repelled by an average team who decided to prove everybody including themselves wrong.
A day where the great San Siro Wall of Zapata, Mexes, Abate, Constant, Ambrosini and man of the match Montolivo showed up, the great attacking talents of Messi, Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta, Alves, Alba were left at Nou – Camp or were not allowed into Italy by the immigration officers. Did this show that Roura doesn’t have the technical and tactical know how and was outplayed by the much maligned Allegri. Did Barcelona miss a certain Pep as their head coach. Does this prove to us that without Messi, Barcelona would be an average team.
Barcelona could still go through but if the eleven heroes and warriors show up at the Nou Camp and the officials do not interfere with play like they did in Nou Camp last year then we could be in for the SHOCK of the Champions League and we all would be singing FORZA MILAN!!!!!!
For a club to be a successful one, there are different ingredients needed and when they are properly blended together, they become unstoppable. These ingredients are the Board / Owner, Manager, the players, the fans. A successful club needs a board or an owner who is committed and passionate about the club, one who puts his heart and money into it. A board who is ready to support the manager and give him all he needs. A board or owner who is ready and willing to go the extra mile for the club. A successful club needs a manager with a vision, passion, character, charisma, a winning attitude and tactically astute. A manager who can instill his players with confidence, belief and bring the best out of them.
A successful club needs players who loved the club, who have pride in wearing the jerseys, who are ready to die on the pitch. Not all players would have the skills, brains of Xavi, Messi, Ronaldo, Zidane but there are players who have the tenacity, passion and willingness to help the team and give their club a hundred and one percent. Such players include Terry, Gattuso, Wilshere, and so. A mixture of talents, skills, brains, pasion, tenacity is what a club needs.
The fans are also a major ingredient in making a club successful. To support and be there for their team no matter what they are going. 75,ooo fans sang and stood by the Milan team yesterday. They were the 12th man on the field and they pushed their team forward against the best team in the world.
Does your team have all the ingredients to be a successful team? Unfortunately, mine is not near a successful team – the ONCE GREAT ARSENAL.
Onto the next games this evening in the Europa Liga.