The “Impossible” Dream Lives
Naturally, I’m watching the game “live”. It’s 7.30 p.m. Vancouver time and the game is long over but by avoiding the internet, the TV, radio and all the other miracles of modern technology for a few hours, I don’t know the score and it’s “live” to me. After two quality semi-finals last Sunday, no surprises for guessing I’m “at” the Arsenal v Man Utd replay at Villa Park. There is a fascination about this gargantuan struggle. They are 1 and 2 in the Premier, the “double” is a distinct possibility for both teams if you temporarily ignore Chelsea, a double “double” is at hand for the Arsenal, but of paramount importance is the continuing watch over the unprecedented “treble” that Man Utd could achieve.
I have said all along that I consider the treble of European Cup, Premier League and FA Cup to be “virtually” impossible. But we live in a “virtual” world and impossible dreams come true. Remember that I am watching the game “live” as far as I am concerned. And Breakaway Boris scored four goals last Sunday to confirm that nothing is impossible.
Alex Ferguson drops a few bombshells of the non-NATO variety before the game with some line up changes that were hardly predictable in the circumstances. Out goes the dynamic duo of Yorke and Cole, out goes Giggs, and in come the guys I can’t spell, Bloomquist, Solksjaar and the well-known English delight Sherry Ham. Ferguson is rapidly (make that slowly) becoming my hero with changes like that for this match. (two outa three ain’t bad). These changes were “virtually” impossible and I am suddenly reminded that the objective he is trying to achieve is something “virtually” impossible. I am hooked like never before and watching with a whole new regard.
So they cancelled each other out last Sunday in a 0-0 game that could have been 6-6 except for the fact that 6-6 is “virtually” impossible. To no ones amazement but myself, I am struck in wonderment and admiration as proceedings unfold. (I’m too old to be star-struck). David Beckham proves once more that he can bend a ball pretty good and that David Seaman is probably not the best goalkeeper in England who is English. The new look United are 1 up and the deadlock has been broken. Petit is back for Arsenal and it makes a difference but United have by far the better of things and this continues for the first hour or so.
A couple of incidents were to ensure a second hour would be needed to separate the teams. The arrival of Overmars brought some sadly lacking cohesion to Arsenal’s attack and the second bookable mistimed tackle by Roy Keane on guess who (Overmars) ensured that he got to watch the rest of the game from the players lounge. Keane has seen red before (in a FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park I mean) and has the qualities required to do it again, although of course this would be “virtually” impossible.
This is perhaps stretching it a little bit but a “virtually” impossible combination of two Dutchmen led to the tying goal. Unless they are both playing for Holland, Bergkamp and Stam are not likely to combine for an attempt on the same goal but this is what happened when the deflection swerved around Smeichel and the “game” was on.
Arsenal controlled now, and the dream hung by a thread. I know that you won’t be surprised when I tell you the “virtually” impossible happened in injury time. A penalty given to Arsenal would “surely” end the drama. But the treble scriptwriters knew better. Smeichel saved a decent enough Bergkamp spotkick and the dream lived. Extra time would produce nothing – Right? Of course not. Arsenal looked more likely to win as Utd were reduced to nine and a half players with a strapped up Smeichel. More penalties had probably entered most players and viewers thoughts when Ryan Giggs decided to go for a jaunt. Carrying the ball fifty yards, beating four defenders and smashing the ball over Seaman who covered both angles but couldn’t cover the space between his head and the crossbar, Giggs recorded a memory that will last and it was to be bye bye Gunners.
A book could have (might well be) written on this game but I am staying under 800 words. United have ended Chelsea’s “impossible” treble dream. They have ended Arsenal’s “impossible” double “double” dream. Can they do the “virtually” impossible?
I’ve booked my flight early for Juventus next week Oh! and Tracey, get some sleep.