THE BAKU BLUES
Before Wednesday’s Big Vase final there were widespread suggestions that Arsenal should boycott the event in protest at a key club member being unable to enter the country for political reasons. But, in the end, the Gunners decided not to show solidarity with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has not been allowed to watch his team’s home games for about a year now, unlike Arsenal’s owner, who can come to London any time he wants but can’t really be bothered.
So Abramovich has had to watch most of Chelsea’s matches this season from afar, possibly, indeed, on the same spaceship from which Azerbaijani cameramen filmed Big Vase final. On the basis of what The Fiver could see of that match, the red and white ants made a proper show of themselves against the ants in blue. Oh, Arsenal! You should have stayed at home and claimed a moral victory! Instead you went to Baku and displayed your delusions to the world.
“Good evening,” said the unfailingly polite Unai Emery in his pre-game interview, but that was as good as it got for Arsenal. In fairness, Emery’s team managed to avoid conceding a goal in a first half marred by Chelsea’s confusion over the stadium designers’ bold decision to locate the stands in a different city to the pitch. But once Chelsea got their game heads on, they cut through Arsenal’s defence and midfield like any competent team cuts through Arsenal’s defence and midfield. As Olivier Giroud opened the scoring, Arsenal fans found themselves wondering yet again where exactly their club is going, and is Mesut Özil really there?
Eden Hazard turned up in the second half and helped himself to a brace before hinting that those may have been his final goals for Chelsea because it is high time he left London, what with Tottenham potentially about to win Big Cup. Yes, Arsenal’s week really could get worse.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If anything it’s been magnified more by the success. Maybe 10 years ago fans would stop in the street, thank us for the goal in the game and that would be it. Now, the club are dominating football and with the football that they are playing it makes it more iconic. I dread to think what might have happened if we hadn’t have won” – before there was Agüeroooooooooooooo, 20 years to the day, there was D1ckovvvvvvvvv.