Anorak News | The Invincibles

The Invincibles

by | 10th, May 2004

‘ALAN Shearer missed an 80th minute penalty yesterday to leave Newcastle’s hopes of nicking the last Champions’ League place in tatters.

Shearer must be delighted he never went to Manchester United

But it at least gave the Express the chance to dust off a startlingly unoriginal headline for the occasion – “Shear Agony”.

The Magpies must now win their last two games, the last one at Anfield, to overtake Liverpool in fourth place – a probably 30 points behind champions Arsenal.

And Sir Bobby Robson is feeling the pressure. The team was booed off after the 1-1 draw with relegated Wolves and the Mirror says the crowd didn’t even stay for the lap of honour.

But for Arsenal yesterday’s unconvincing 1-0 win at Fulham means the Gunners are now only 90 minutes from immortality.

A home win against relegated Leicester would mean that Arsene Wenger’s team had completed the 38-match season unbeaten – a truly incredible feat.

But, writing in the Telegraph, Paul Hayward says that so far Arsenal are a great Premiership side as opposed to a great European side, invincibles, not immortals.

“This is not the time to be shouting the virtues of the English game, which is a thrill-packed but error-ridden sub-culture, detached from the continental model,” he says.

“After the culling of Chelsea and Newcastle in Europe last week, the Premiership’s standing beyond these islands is in inverse proportion to its relentless hype.”

True enough, although where are the Spanish teams in the final of the European Cup? And where were the Italian teams or German teams in the semi-final of either European competition?

On this year’s performance, we would have to rate the French league as the best in Europe – which it clearly isn’t.

If Arsenal have dominated the Premiership this year, it is nothing compared with what Ferrari are doing to Formula 1.

Michael Schumacher won his fifth race of a season that is only five races old and raised the spectre of going through a whole season unbeaten.

Already, the drivers’ championship and constructors’ championship is effectively over – and it remains to be seen what this dominance will do to Formula 1’s popularity as a sport.

The Guardian, however, reminds us that Schumacher has a way to go still to beat the record of most Grand Prix wins in a row – Alberto Ascari won nine races in a row in the 1950s.

But, if his car holds up, it’d take a brave man to bet against the German going close…’

Posted: 10th, May 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink