May is approaching, and you know what that means- it's time to ignore Arsenal and focus on the teams still chasing silverware :).
Only I could not stop thinking about Arsenal during tonight's game, thinking about how we have made Barcelona an overrated team because of our ineptitude over two legs in the last round.
Against Inter, we saw that the Spanish and European champions are human after all. People have raved, and rightly so, about the effectiveness of their pressing game, but they themselves don't like being hassled any more than the next team. Inter did what Arsenal failed to, denying Barca space and time, and were the better side throughout until ceding ground late on.
It would be valid, to a point, to say that Arsenal don't have the personnel to do what Inter did. But then again, no footballer is precluded by his natural abilities from being able to work hard off the ball. And you could also question the wisdom of sticking only to a passing philosophy when some of your players- I'm thinking of Diaby and Denilson, for instance- don't pass that well. But that's an argument for another day. Arsenal's naivety against Barca was staggering.
Mourinho, for all his faults, never fails to produce a plan. There were those who maintained his plan would consist only of containment; instead, his side created the better chances all game, and were durable enough to withstand the substantial blow of an early goal conceded.
Motta and Cambiasso ensured that the space in front of Inter's defence was never left undermanned; Messi's threat was almost completely negated; and Lucio and Samuel dealt well with Zlatan while the big man was on the pitch.
Inter- Barca was intriguing because the best clashes in sport usually comprise conflicting styles. Like Ed Norton pummelling Jared Leto in Fight Club, Mourinho enjoys destroying something beautiful. Every Roger Federer needs a Rafa Nadal; last season Chelsea almost proved the immovable object, this time around, Inter may prove too strong for the Spanish artists to push aside.
Xavi and Messi are great, no doubt, but Inter reminded everybody that you don't just have to stand back admiring greatness, inviting your own destruction. That is what Arsenal did in the Quarter Finals, seemingly lacking the humility to devise a gameplan with superior opposition in mind.
Wenger would have you believe that "super Barca" were the only team that could have taken us apart.
Inter would have battered us.
United would have battered us. Again.
Chelsea would have battered us. Yet again.
I hope Arsene Knows this.