The first leg of Manchester City against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal was an incredibly fun match to watch. Both teams believed that they could win and could do so by outscoring their opponent, so they went for it. It was 90 minutes of open, attacking football that felt like either team could score anytime they brought the ball forward. There wasn’t any parking the bus, sitting on a lead, or trying to take the air out of the game.
I could use yesterday’s match to decry the state of so many games in domestic leagues where teams play more conservatively because they don’t have the horses to win matches 4-3. I won’t do that because as Herm Edwards once said, “you play to win the game.” At the end of the day, it’s all about results in competitive leagues and if playing anti-football gives your side the best chance at a result, that’s what you’ve got to do. But I yearn to see more open, attacking football on the weekends.
You often hear commentators describe a fun, exciting, crazy, and / or wild match as “a great one for the neutrals,” but why just the neutrals? I understand that it can be stressful to watch your own team and that losing puts a damper on how “great” a match seems. But watching a fantastic game is watching a fantastic game, even when your team loses.
As for Arsenal, this entire season has been fun. The roster is young, they’re playing (mostly) well, and the results have been there. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the results help, but not as much as you’d think. I’m enjoying the ride. It’s made the season infinitely more fun and made the down moments not nearly as much of a bummer. I’m looking forward to a thrilling, 5-match sprint to the finish line. I’d really like Arsenal to finish in a Champions League place. Regardless of whether they manage it, I’m going to suck every ounce of excitement out of the next few weeks.