30 August 2007

Champions’ League - Aug 29th

According to the song sung by the supporters of our local rivals we are “having a laugh” if we think we can win the Champions League. At least you have to be in it to win it and when they, Tottenham Hotspur, haven’t won the league in England since 1961 not finished in the top four in the Premiership ever, then you can’t help laughing back.

After a second year of finishing 4th in the Premiership we had to again qualify for the CL. As we are a big team from one of the main countries, we are lucky and only have to play in the last round of qualifiers.

The draw could have been tricky as we got Czech Champions Sparta Prague. A fortnight ago we won the first leg 2-0 in Prague, and last night was the home leg at the Emirates.

As I am on the bike this week in preference to the train, I had the luxury of not getting up there too early. In the end I left work at just before six o’clock and by ten past I was parking up in the bike parking space at the foot of Aubert Place and in sight of the stadium. Last time I did this, I was lucky to squeeze on the end, but this time, it was almost empty and I chose my spot – on the end!

Dinner, in the splendid Park Café across the road, of sausage, chips and beans, two slices and a coffee all for £4. Very nice! Not exactly slimming but it filled the spot at the right time.

My brother, Neill, who had eaten some suspect burger from one of the stands that fill the streets, joined me and then we walked across to the ground.

There was no alcohol for sale at the bars as this was a UEFA rule. I wonder if they had the same ban in Prague for the Slavia/Ajax game to name but one.

The game went quite predictably. The Arsenal being two goals up from the first leg seemed to be at 75% energy and probing. Sparta outclassed but trying as hard as they could. Tomas Rosicky, a former Sparta player was given a bit of a kicking but scored the opener.

Then the game was quite boring until the last ten minutes or so when we upped the pace and scored twice more through Fabregas and Eduardo.

The trip home was relatively painless. I have been wearing my Joe Rocket vented jacket all week and my new toy. An EDZ under shirt that is claimed to be windproof. It is, buy one. It wouldn’t be enough on its own over a polo shirt so I had a sweatshirt over it, and wasn’t cold on the way home. Eventually pulling onto the drive at 2330, a full hour and ten minutes before I would have had I been on the train!

The next game for me isn’t until the 22nd unless we play the first CL match at home the week before.

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