Arsenal vs. Barcelona; or, At Least I Have Pants On

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006, 2:21 pm

I’m home, I’m fed, I’m ready to live-blog the Champions League Final between Arsenal and Barcelona. I think I’ll also play in some cheapy multi-table SNG so I have something to write about in case the game is especially dire. Which I don’t think it’ll be.

Just had some fun. Realtor calls last night, wants to show my house between 12:30 and 1. Fine says I. I hobble to my car after getting out of work (having foot problems), I go to the library, go to the grocery store for soy sauce and butter (different receipes) and hit my driveway at 1:30. I’m good, right? I get out of my work things, make some lunch, sit down for a pre-game episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force…and I hear the lockbox rattle and suddenly my home is invaded. They were running late. I changed into sweats, so I looked…let’s say I looked comfortable. I switched off the TV so they didn’t have to hear a giant milkshake calling a big ball of meat “Dorkface”. The prospective buyer was a woman about my age and her mother. When she left, she didn’t look impressed. Not a bad-looking woman. She didn’t look impressed with me, either.

Having strangers come into what was once your castle, your lair, your sancturary, and open your closets and frown at your cabinets and walk out looking at a list of homes…it’s depressing. Awhile back I wrote a post titled Five Things To Do Before I Die. Well, one thing I’m NOT gonna do again before I die is buy a house. Unless I start making a lot more money. And it’s brand new. And I plan on turning it into my burial pyre.

Are you ready for some SOCCER!!!!

2:38: OK, I like the promos with the heavenly choir bellowing “The ChaaaaamPIONSSSSSSSS!”. It gives weight to the event. But I’ve heard it 6 times already and the teams aren’t even on the pitch yet.

Correction. I’ve heard it seven times.

Fifty years of the Champions League. Does that make this Champions League L? I believe it does.

It’s gonna be awhile before kickoff. I think a little poker, and maybe a midday beer.

2:44: Never understood the walking-out-with-kids-from-the-other-squad deal. It’s a nice act of sportsmanship, especially in a sport where you have hooligans and riots and fans who openly embrace racism and fascism. But would you want your kid holding hands with, say, Barry Bonds? Terrell Owens? No thanks.

Ooh, kickoff! Barca in their traditional strip, Arsenal in bright gold. Steelers wear gold. They won the Super Bowl. An omen.

2:49: So CLOSE! Henry with an incredible first touch, spins in on goal but he got in too close and struck Valedez with his shot from the outside of his foot. And then Henry fired a laser that had to be parried away.

3:03: Lehmann looks stout on the line.

And just as I say that, disaster.

Eto’o is put through clean, Lehmann rushes out, clips Eto’o on the foot, and Lehmann gets the red card. So now Barca only has to play against 10 men, Almunia comes on, Pires comes off. Lehmann saved a goal, for now, but now the Gunners are playing for penalties.

In poker news, I have 99, the flop comes 10-10-6 with two hearts, a shortstack pushes and I call. He has K-6, he needs a king or a six…there’s the king! But it’s a heart, giving me outs…and I spike a nine on the river. Love the resuck.

3:21: Almunia solid so far. The action is mostly on Arsenal’s side, as you’d expect. They’re saying Lehmann is the first player ever sent off in UCF history. Can that be right? NO player ever committed a professional foul, no frustrated hard man came in with a late clattering tackle on a preening superstar striker? That’s pathetic.

Eboue nearly earned a penalty with a ghastly dive. And then.

GOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!

Campbell with a header on a cross from Henry! Went up there and got it and no one marked him.

Ashley Cole with a scything tackle, and when the Barca player expected a hand up and a pat on the back Cole gave him a “WTF?” look. Get your own ass up off the ground. Game on, boys, game on.

3:33: Eto’ o slips through, and rattles one off the woodwork! In injury time yet. Would’ve been a tough one at the end of the half. Oh, Almunia made the save on Eto’o’s shot. Increidble reflex save.

Boy, “Eto’o’s” looks awfully funny.

I got bounced in the tournament. Getting a bit short I raise with AK, one caller, flop comes Q-Q-4. I push, he has…AQ. Of course he does.

And we go to the break! 45 minutes to glory. Time to break out the oranges. Maybe I’ll have that beer now.

3:57: Dial-a-shot with Al achieved. Beer tastes good when you should be at work. Long way to go yet. Henry gets booked, though he got all ball. Refs so far…more than shaky.

4:06: A-10 beats QQ and I’m in good shape in my next little SNG. Almunia is playing fantastic. Arsenal is under siege, and that probably won’t change.

I don’t know if the ref has made one correct call so far. Incredible.

Henry, good Lord. Made two defenders looks absurd. Magic.

4:25: Shit. I guess it was inevitable, but Eto’o scored. Lovely thru ball by Larsson, Almunia got beat on the short side. Henry wasted a chance earlier.

4:29: Double shit.

They go 995 minutes without a goal, and they give up 2 in 2 minutes. Alumia let it go right thru the five-hole. Terrible goal. What a way to lose it.

To add to the misery, I finish 2nd in my SNG, twice going all in with the best of it, and twice getting outflopped. Groan.

4:43: And that’s it. I guess you’d have to say Barca was the better team, but having to play with 10 men for 80 minutes makes it hard to judge. 14 minutes away from the title, and then the wheels fell off. But eventually you’re gonna give up a goal under that kind of pressure, for that long. The officiating was flat-out horrible, but it usually is in soccer. Eboue’s dive was egregious, and it nearly got Arsenal the Cup. If there was really good officating, I mean if every call was correct, if every dive was called, every cheap shot punished as it should…the game wouldn’t be the same, would it?

Sad if that’s Henry’s last game at Arsenal. Especially with him bitching at Wenger for much of the 2nd half, and then not burying that lone chance that might’ve clinched it. Tough game for Pires, play 10 minutes and you’re off, and it’s nothing to do with you.

OK, I’m done. Some sun out there, maybe I’ll get to cut the grass. Oh joy.

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8 Responses to “Arsenal vs. Barcelona; or, At Least I Have Pants On”

  1. AlCantHang Says:

    Un-freaking-believable.

    Shoot me an email with you number. I was gonna call for a dial-a-shot after the goal but couldn’t find it.

  2. AlCantHang Says:

    Weak match from Ronaldinho so far.

  3. willythewise Says:

    Eto’o Eto’o ETO’O

    exquisite !!!!!

  4. AlCantHang Says:

    GOOOOOOOALLLLLLLL NUMBER 2

  5. AlCantHang Says:

    5 hole

  6. Div Says:

    Henrik Larsson is The King of Kings.

    That referee is the king of clowns.

    Nice to see my colonial chums taking an interest in a real sport.

  7. Drizztdj Says:

    Bad officials in a major sporting event… where have we heard this before?

    I kid I kid.

  8. rafanomejodas Says:

    ETOO OFF-SIDE GOAL IN THE FINAL
    watch it here frame by frame, thanks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZK-H8PgqBE

    You will find the real Barça’s road to the final.
    Mourinho, Koeman, Ancelotti, Wenger, Schevchenko, Henry… all of them are fed up. Discover why

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