A LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS: THE PATH TO WINNING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE by Uche
Hi again folks. As the dust of Arsenal’s Champions league exit continues to settle and with our weekend game against Newcastle fast approaching, a lot of fingers are still being pointed in blame for our cup exit, and Wenger continues to take the customary hammering from the pundits and fans, in spite of our amazing win at Monaco and our superb League form. This is all very amusing especially when you read some of the opinions on our beloved justarsenal.com.
Many think that Wenger should have won the Champions League already after all these years, regardless of the fact that he has been running Arsenal on a transfer budget as hefty as that of Stoke City, until recently. Some have branded him a perpetual failure, a sentiment that does not even warrant a response.
Here is a simple explanation and I am not an AKB. To whom much is given, much is expected. True talk – and I did not come up with this saying. To whom nothing is given, nothing is expected as well. Wenger never had big money to spend until the year he bought Ozil. That happened to also be the year we won the FA cup after nine barren years. Coincidence? Of course not.
Yesterday I studied the teams that qualified for the last eight in the Champions league and I was humbled. Have you guys noticed anything that most of these teams have in common? They are Champions of their various leagues and have invested obscene amounts in their squads. This is not a coincidence. Their pedigree is above the rest. Take a look at this roll call:
PSG went through to the last eight, beating Chelsea with 10 men. They are Ligue 1 champions of France and spent 50 million pounds last summer on a defender they don’t even need.
Juventus thrashed Dortmund to qualify. They are three time consecutive Italian Champions of the Serie A.
Bayern Munich brushed aside a stubborn Shaktar side to qualify. Their bench boasts of names like Robert Lewandowski, Thiago Alacantara and Javier Martinez. They are reigning Bundelsiga champions for the past two seasons and recently off-loaded Mario Manzukic just because they got bored.
Athletico Madrid are through. They are the current La Liga Champions of Spain and have the best coach in club football.
Porto qualified as well. Two seasons ago, they won their Taca De Portugal and remain the most successful Portuguese team of all time with a total of 74 club titles.
Real Madrid are the current Champions league holders and need no introduction. Soon after they won the champions league, they bought James Rodiguez for 60mil pounds and sold their best playmaker to Manchester United just to feel the transfer buzz once again. By the way, they bought Gareth Bale two summers ago for over 80 million pounds.
Barcelona as well have a pedigree like no other. In the past twelve years, they have dominated club football the world over and won more titles than any other team. And yes they spent 65million pounds on Louis Suarez so he can keep Messi and Neymar (57mil Pounds) company.
Monaco, the only outsiders in this group were second place in Ligue 1 last season. They have spent an obscene amount of money as well and boast the tightest defense of the lot. They won’t win the Cup but overall, they have earned their place in the last eight.
So there is a clear pattern here. If you want to really compete for the Champions league, get yourself a blank cheque and begin by winning your own League first. That is an essential dress rehearsal. You need to pay your dues.
You have to run before you can fly. Arsenal finished fourth in the EPL last season. Having that on your CV does not entitle you to a Champions league trophy. There is nothing about our league position that entitles us to a place in the last eight so grumbling is unnecessary. We have been punching above our weight for years and when you put that in perspective, you will not be complaining. Have a nice one guys.
Lagos – Nigeria