Thank you guys, as you can see in the League Table screenshot, the standards were very high this season but Kopite is right, I want that first Champions' League in Arsenal's history. Only Arsenal's 2nd EVER final in 127 years.
Jeff Stelling – “Welcome to the UEFA Champions’ League Final live on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2 HD. You can also catch us on Sky Go if you are out and about. We are here at Wembley for the final in between Arsenal and Barcelona and we are joined by Ray Wilkins, Graeme Souness and Glenn Hoddle.”
Jeff Stelling – “Arsenal won’t have too many fond memories of a Champions’ League final. The last time they reached the final two, they met today’s foe…”
Jeff Stelling – “Can Arsenal overcome the memories 2006 final Glenn?”
Glenn Hoddle – “I’m honestly not convinced at all by Arsenal here today versus Barcelona. I think Arsenal as Jose Mourinho said a few weeks ago are too predictable and Barcelona can easily dominate if they are not careful. They don’t have happy memories of a Champions’ League final and there is certainly something to be said about Arsenal’s mental strength or lack of it.”
Jeff Stelling – “So do you believe Barcelona will take the trophy?”
Glenn Hoddle – “Absolutely! I know Arsenal fans around the world will be screaming at their telly right now but I have to be realistic here. They come up against the world’s best side here in Barcelona. In the past few months Arsenal’s defence has been suspicious and they have had to come back to win in many games, the clash in the semi-final against Celtic being proof of that. They won’t be able to do that against Barcelona. I don’t know what their attack will be but they tend to play with Neymar, Cavani & Messi. They have no room for mistake.”
Ray Wilkins – “I actually think very differently Glenn. Barcelona’s attack is formidable but I really do believe that defensively they are not steady enough. They too will face a menacing attack in Arsenal who can score from everywhere and grabbed over 100 goals in the league alone.”
Jeff Stelling – “Can Arsenal win it Ray?”
Ray Wilkins – “Listen, none of us expected at the start of the season that Arsenal would have won the league and made it to the Champions’ League final. They are proving everyone wrong and as we saw with Chelsea last year versus Barcelona and Bayern, the underdog can win.”
Jeff Stelling – “Graeme?”
Graeme Souness – “I certainly think it will be a tight affair typical of a final. Both sides play good and similar football. They excel in keeping possession so it will be very tactical. It’s too close to call for me because both teams have their pro’s and con’s. Where it can be won I feel in midfield. Xavi and Andres Iniesta will lock horns with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla but the key will be Arsenal’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets. They are the ones that will put the crucial tackles in and tip the possession which is so crucial to both.”
Jeff Stelling – “It promises to be a huge clash and an even bigger test for Arsenal. They do however hold the aces from the last time both of these met in London.”
Jeff Stelling – “We have the teams in. Let’s have a look at them.”
Jeff Stelling – “Both quite predictable line-up’s. Theo Walcott also makes a surprise return to the bench following his injury.”
Glenn Hoddle – “Yes and we can see that Barcelona have acknowledged Arsenal’s firepower by swapping Javier Mascherano around with Busquets. When in control of the ball, Mascherano, Gerard Pique and Busquets will remain futher behind with full backs Alba and Dani Alves attacking as they like to do. When Arsenal aim to attack, Mascherano will be there ready to apply severe pressure and regain possession. That can cause a lot of bother to Arsenal.”
Ray Wilkins – “I’m unsure about that very selection. Arsenal can mix up there play very well and if they unleash the likes of Raheem Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain out wide, Barcelona will be in trouble. Wilfried Bony will relish confronting both Pique and Busquets and Santi Cazorla can also cause severe problems to the defence. It could go either way.”
Jeff Stelling – “We cannot wait for this to begin so we will send it over to our commentators for today, Martin Tyler and Alan Smith live from Wembley Stadium for the 2013 Champions League Final!”
Martin Tyler –“Thank you Jeff & the Arsenal fans are out here in numbers in hope of seeing a historic night…”
Martin Tyler – “Needless to say, the Barcelona fans are also out here in full force. A full house here at Wembley.”
Martin Tyler – “How do you rate Arsenal’s chances here today Alan?”
Alan Smith – “Well, I agree with Graeme in the studio. It depends very much on the Arsenal side that turns up today. We all know how great Barcelona is but we also know they aren’t perfect. Arsenal can hurt them but it should be very close indeed.
Martin Tyler – “Well it’s time for the talking to stop. The players are out there ready for kick-off. The official for today Firat Aydinus from Turkey gets us up and running here for the Champions League Final.”
17 – “Dani Alves picks up the loose ball out wide. He drives forward as he so loves to do. Arsenal can’t get the ball off him. Still Dani Alves and he goes down!!! PENALTY FOR BARCELONA!!! Jack Wilshere leaves a trailing leg, Dani Alves falls and the ref has no option but point to the spot.”
18 – “Well this is interesting. Messi had picked up the ball but Cavani has insisted in taking the penalty. Cavani in front of anxious Arsenal fans…….. SCORES!!! 1 – 0 Barcelona. Edinson Cavani puts them ahead!
Alan Smith – “A very good penalty. Low and powerful giving no chance for the goalie.”
32 – “Barcelona has the game where they want it here. Xavi is spraying the passes comfortably as he finds Messi who knock it on for Iniesta. Iniesta plays it simple to Cavani who TURNS!!!! IT’S IN!!!! BARCELONA HAS GOT A SECOND VIA A POWERFUL CAVANI STRIKE FROM OUTSIDE THE BOX!!! 2 – 0!!!”
Alan Smith – “What a goal that was. Fantastic passing capped off with a terrific strike by Barcelona’s star striker.”
40 – “Things go from bad to worse for the Gunners. Wilfried Bony is down injured and cannot continue any longer. He makes way for Olivier Giroud.”
Alan Smith – “Yeah it’s not looking good for Arsenal. They’ll be desperate for the half time whistle.”
HT – “Half time here at Wembley. Two goals from Cavani stick the Catalonians 2-0 up.”
45 – “Arsenal is the first team out here for the second half. Barcelona arrives a little late but we restart!
65 – “Arsenal are about to make a double change here. Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta enter the field for Raheem Sterling and Morgan Schneiderlin.
Alan Smith – “Yeah it’s all or nothing now for Thierry Henry’s men.”
79 – “Xavi takes a corner here and MESSI AT THE FRONT POST!!! ALMOST a goal. His header clips the bar.”
88 – “Oxlade-Chamberlain tackles Dani Alves here in a good position. Arsenal on top. Chamberlain crosses to SAGNA!!! HE MISS KICKS IT!!! STILL DANGER!!! AND JACK WILSHERE HAS PULLED ONE BACK!!!"
Alan Smith – “A SUPERB VOLLEY!!! Not long left, just one final push Arsenal!!!
90+2 – “Monreal with an excellent tackle passes it urgently to Chamberlain WHO SPOTS OLIVIER GIROUD!!! GIROUD PUTS IT WIDE!!! ARSENAL FANS CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!"
Alan Smith – “Giroud should score from there! Arsenal fans are distraught!!! That could be it I’m afraid.”
FT – “IT’S ALL OVER HERE AT WEMBLEY!!! BARCELONA ARE CHAMPIONS’ LEAGUE WINNERS YET AGAIN!!!”
Alan Smith – “A Valiant effort by Arsenal and they can be nothing short of proud with what they achieved this season! Barcelona was too good on the day and they fully deserve it.”
Jeff Stelling – “A fantastic achievement by Barcelona who will celebrate long into the night. Graeme, where was it won?”
Graeme Souness – “Well as I said the midfield battle was going to be the key and Barcelona made that theirs throughout most of the game. But Arsenal responded well and got into their faces. Perhaps in the end should have been preparing for Extra Time right now.”
Jeff Stelling – “Should Giroud have scored?”
Ray Wilkins – “Oh absolutely Jeff! He’s one on one with the keeper and he’s tucked them in throughout the season from more difficult angles but I hope the lad doesn’t dwell on it. He came on and done well for Arsenal and the Gunners fans should go home proud of their side.”
Jeff Stelling – “We have an exclusive down pitchside with Geoff Shreeves.”
Geoff Shreeves – “Thank you Jeff, I’m here with the Arsenal skipper Vermaelen. Thomas, how hard is this to take?”
Thomas Vermaelen – “Very tough. We come up against the world’s best and fell to their feet in the first half. But we battled hard in the second and were very unlucky not to get back into it.”
Geoff Shreeves – “How do you move on from this?”
Thomas Vermaelen – “We have positives to take from this season. A defeat versus the world’s best does not undo all our hard work and I’m confident we will be back next year.”
Geoff Shreeves – “Thank you Thomas. Former Arsenal player Alex Song joins us here. Alex, is this why you left Arsenal?”
Alex Song – “Yeah, I think so. I come to Barcelona because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to win things here and I have. This is my first Champions’ League trophy so I am very happy with my decision to leave.”
Geoff Shreeves – “Can Arsenal recover from this defeat?”
Alex Song – “It’s difficult for them of course but they are a different team from when I was there. Henry is a special guy and I would trust him.”
Geoff Shreeves – “And finally we have the Arsenal boss Thierry Henry. You’ve been on both ends of a Champions’ League final. One win with Barcelona and now two defeats with Arsenal. How does this one feel?”
Thierry Henry – “It’s different. It still hurts but that’s obvious. This time around I feel more responsible because I am manager but I’m proud of my team and gracious in defeat.”
Geoff Shreeves – “Just how good is this Barcelona team?”
Thierry Henry – “They are fantastic. Simply the best. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar… you know I could go on but for me I’m proud we put up a fight against them.”
Geoff Shreeves – “What’s next for Arsenal?”
Thierry Henry – “We have a big season ahead of us now. We have improved and learned a lot and I’m adamant to be the one celebrating here next time.”
Jeff Stelling – The Arsenal boss Thierry Henry there. Visibly upset but ever the optimist and a true fighter. That’s it from us. Arsenal came all the way but for Barcelona brilliance. FC Barcelona are the winners of the UEFA Champions’ League 2012-13. Good night!
2013-06-10 16:23#110877Okikos :
Typical bloody Giroud. Missing an absolute sitter Unlucky, but looking at the teams on paper- this was always going to be a mammoth of a task!
Indeed it was. Stars all over the field for them and they had the likes of Andre Schurlle, Fabregas and Jovetic sitting on the bench. I through every trick in the book but it wasn't to be I'm afraid. I actually began to celebrate in Giroud's chance, thought it was in
Absolutely superb this month and he really has been good all season. A charismatic keeper with a huge future ahead of him. Glad he has a winners’ medal around his neck.
Thierry’s Verdict: “May is always an important month for everyone and for us it was no different. We had a huge final versus Barcelona in the Champions’ League in which we unfortunately lost but performed admirably. The league title is ours though and we have plenty to celebrate ahead of next season.”