Last night The Arsenal took on Barcelona, while in Germany, Munich took on Juve.
In so many ways, both on and off the pitch, football mirrors society, and what resonated so loudly last night, was how the world’s top players are all crammed into four or five sides. Rather like the wealth gap in society widening by the minute, so the footballing giants are setting themselves so far apart from the also rans.
When I say also rans, I’m still talking about massive clubs, but nevertheless, the gulf in footballing class was so evident last night in Spain.
Barcelona simply didn’t need possession, space or time. They had the absolute world classiness of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, who they can be devastating either in space, or tightly packed penalty areas. Makes no difference, the smallest of opportunities and they devour them.
Make no mistake, I’m delighted we were playing at this highest of tables, and I’m equally delighted we fielded our strongest side. You have to measure yourself against the best to determine exactly where you fall short.
The Arsenal played hard, and certainly created goalscoring opportunities, but it would have taken a freak outcome (or a “Leicester” as I shall call it) for all the cards to fall into our laps in order to beat a Barcelona.
Freak results or outcomes prove nothing. The only common denominator amongst those with successful outcomes, is work rate and desire.
Last night proved only that class counts. A Barca front line with a market value of around £200M will always require a Black Swan scale event to be beaten by a front line valued in the region of £70M.
If the same Arsenal side took to the field against Everton, while putting in the same effort, I’d expect them to win.