Friday, March 19, 2010

The Best Cinema

The two best films of 2010 might be not be seen at Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, New York or Mumbai. Instead, they might be discovered in 90 minute segments shown only for a single night in both Barcelona & North London. It is hard to imagine how scripted cinema can possibly compete with the technical genius, skill and talent that will be on display when Barcelona play Arsenal over two mouth watering Champions League ties. It would have been pleasure enough to watch the two best football playing sides on the planet go against each other but what makes things fascinating are the other stories that will be found just besides the football.

  • Arsenal legend Thierry Henry will return back to North London in front of his adoring fans. Plus, Henry will go against players who emerged from his shadow.

  • Arsenal captain Cesc Fàbregas will return to his home city to the club he joined at the tender age of 10. Arsenal signed Cesc when he turned 16 but there have always been rumours as to when Cesc would resign for Barcelona.

  • Cesc vs Messi -- both were childhood friends who trained together at Barca's youth team. Now, the two are not only the biggest stars of their respective teams but also the best players in the world.

  • Wenger vs Guardiola -- Wenger's genius & achievements are well documented along with his flaws & failures, but the young Guardiola has managed to outdo Wenger in winning all club trophies possible in his short managerial career. And it wouldn't be far fetched to imagine that one day Guardiola could replace Wenger at Arsenal because both managers believe in playing good football, involving slick passing and imaginative space creation.

  • There are plenty of other intriguing match-ups, especially those involving Barca's genius duo of Xavi (provided he recovers from his injury) & Iniesta, who are responsible for pulling all the strings, vs Nasri & Song.

    While Arsenal's beautiful football was only formed when Wenger took over the club in 1996, Barcelona's legacy for good football goes all the way back to 1973 when the Dutch Master and co-creator of total football Johan Cruyff stepped foot in the Nou Camp. Both sets of fans have been spoiled for good football over the decades and so one can be sure the two legged affair will not resort to the boring dull 'tactical' football that is played in some other parts of Europe. That being said, the games might not feature a lot of goals, but atleast the technical level of the game will be top notch.

    Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno used 17 cameras to capture every moment of Zidane in their film but even 170 cameras will not be enough for these two games as there are plenty of worthy players whose every move deserves to be recorded.

    Those other games..

    It is easy to forget that there are 3 other quarter-final ties and two of them should be quite interesting.

    Lyon vs Bordeaux -- The all French affair is eye catching for many reasons. After Barcelona and Arsenal, it is Lyon who have produced some of the best football in the Champions League over the years but unfortunately for Lyon, their good football normally ends prior to the Quarter Final stages. Domestically, Lyon won 7 straight league titles until Bordeaux ended that run last season and currently, Bordeaux are narrowly sitting atop Ligue 1. So if Lyon are to progress and reach their first ever Champions League Semi-Final then it makes sense they overcome their current domestic rivals. Meanwhile Bordeaux can challenge Lyon's European credentials if they reach the semi's of the CL before Lyon. Plus, the current Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc is highly sought after so this tie gives him a chance to further enhance his reputation as one of Europe's brightest new managers.

    Bayern Munich vs Man Utd -- It all goes back to 1999 on an incredible night in the Nou Camp when Man Utd stole the European Cup away from Bayern Munich with two goals in the final minutes. The two have met a few times since then, but that 1999 game should be plenty of incentive for the Germans. And for Manchester, well something about an English vs German rivalry that is hard to miss.

    Inter Milan vs CSKA Moscow -- Inter & Jose have been all over the news after their well deserved & phenomenal win over Chelsea. CSKA will not be an easy opponent but it is hard to see how the Russians can stop Inter, especially if Inter are brave enough to continue with three forwards and let Wesley Sneijder do his magic.

    No comments: