Most Americans don't realize the sheer depth of soccer the world has to offer. So let me catch you up on a situation that I can't imagine ever happening again. (note: as an Arsenal fan this pains me to blog about)
First, the English Premier league. The standings read Man Utd and Chelsea tied at 81 points with 2 games to go. Last week they faced off with Chelsea pulling off a great victory scoring a PK in the waning minutes to even the standings. Both have lower table opponents remaining. It should be noted there is no playoff, this is a winner take all regular season. Prediction: both teams should win out, so Man Utd will be crowned champions on goal differential for the 9th time in 13 seasons.
Now to the big one: The UEFA Champions League. This is what drew me to European soccer. They take the top 2-4 teams from all the European leagues and play a tournament. You take all these styles of football and clash them together and greatness happens. In the 50+ year history there has never been an all English final...until May 21st when Man Utd and Chelsea face off. Man Utd is in their third final having last won the cup in '99. Chelsea is in their first final but has been on the doorstep the last few years. I encourage you to watch it at 1:30pm on Wed May 21st on ESPN, you will see a sporting event like no other.
Players to watch:
Man Utd: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)He is creative, he is explosive, and he knows how to finish and set up the assist. He makes other players better. He could be world footballer of the year. I hate his guts.
Chelsea: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)He will do anything to get the ball in the net. He is strong, always in position and can finish when even given a half a chance. And if he doesn't score, well you can bet he is on the ground getting the PK call. He always rises to the occasion. I hate his guts.
Prediction: Pain. Seriously, as an Arsenal fan I just wish the stadium would blow up on gameday (game is being played in Moscow) This would be like the Yankees and Cubs playing in the world series for a Cards fan. It makes me sick. I think it will come down to 1 moment of brilliance where a superstar makes his pressence known. So I will choose Chelsea and will predict 2-1 victory with goals from Essien and the game winner from Drogba.
And because I can't stand Arsenal being out of it, here is a Nike ad that makes me proud to be a Gunner. One of these years Arsenal will mature together and we will win trophies for years to come.