Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Chelsea did not reach the final because of fear. The team that has got a man more, is playing at home and winning should have attacked us more. But of course, if you don’t have that [attacking] concept of football that Barcelona have, you stay back and you get knocked out. You have to go forward. Stay back: losers. Go forward: winners. I think Chelsea lacked the courage to take a step forward and attack us. They paid for it.” – Dani Alves on the 2009 Champions League semi-final.
Runner-up: “A lot of things have changed since we last played Barcelona but our desire to beat them is as strong as ever. I signed for Chelsea to play in games like this. These are the occasions that excite us all. We have many memories from our previous games against Barcelona — good ones as well as bad. This tie is 50-50 but we are ready for them. We expect to win something every year at Chelsea. That’s why I’m here. Last season was a bad one for me because I didn’t win anything so I’m hoping that this time it will be different. But it’s not about what happens in my last year here. Success for Chelsea is the most important thing.” – Didier Drogba.
Arsenal 1 – Wigan 2
Wigan’s quick double punishes Arsenal bravado(Jeremy Wilson, Daily Telegraph) “Two goals in the space of 60 seconds ultimately decided this game in Wigan’s favour, with Arsenal punished for a reckless and often kamikaze approach. Yet with the two teams sharing almost 50 shots during the 90 minutes, it was a match which could, in all truth, have ended with just about any scoreline. The final outcome has huge implications for both the top and bottom of the Premier League table. Wigan, who had been in the relegation zone from December until last week’s win over Manchester United, have opened a five point cushion over Bolton in 18th. The race for the two remaining Champions League places is also now wide open, with Tottenham and Newcastle able to move within two points of Arsenal in third should they win their game in hand.”
Jordi Gómez strike sinks Arsenal and steers Wigan away from danger (David Hytner, Guardian)
Wilshere out of Euro 2012
Ronaldo’s road from posturing prodigy to Real rival for Messi (James Lawton, Independent)
Dani Alves: ‘At Barcelona we are taking football back to its origins’ (Sid Lowe, Guardian)
Messi gets the glory but beware lethal weapon Sanchez (Martin Keown, Daily Mail)
How Pep Guardiola completed Johann Cruyff’s tactical revolution at Nou Camp (John Carlin & Michael Robinson, Daily Telegraph)
Has Ashley Young finally taken one dive too far? (Stuart James, Guardian) “Although the subject has come to prominence now, on the back of controversial penalty incidents involving Young at Old Trafford on successive weekends, the reality is that the winger has been booked for diving while playing for Villa and England. He received a yellow card for the offence while playing against Arsenal in 2009 and was booked for simulation in an England shirt, against Montenegro at Wembley, the following year. At Villa Park, the unsavoury side to Young’s game became a source of annoyance to the supporters who recognised his significant contribution to the team but grew increasingly frustrated with the way that he often exaggerated fouls by throwing himself in the air.”
Players damned if they dive and damned if they don’t claims PFA chief (John Cross, Daily Mirror)
Did that ball go in? The hows and the whys of technology on the goal-line (Sam Wallace, Independent)
I know how Atkinson feels… a sorry mistake that leaves you no hiding place (Graham Poll, Daily Mail)
From Ashley Young to Carlos Tevez to Hillsborough: how Twitter has transformed football (Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph) “Inside the stadium, it’s interactive overdrive. It’s not just enough to be there; many fans feel fully involved only when they have passed judgment. It’s X Factor on the terraces with tweets for texts. Those at home or in the pub join in too. It’s a free-for-all via Blackberry and iPhone. Many voices, many verdicts. It’s the Tower of Babel meets the Tower of London. Kenneth Wolstenholme would not believe how coverage of football has altered in the past three years, let alone 30. Everyone’s commentating now. As well as enjoying the words of Martin Tyler, John Motson, Mike Ingham, Clive Tyldesley and company, a parallel universe of name-calling (in every sense) is conducted by microbloggers.”