Thursday, February 17, 2011

Irish Woes

The economy can be so unpredictable. Take Ireland as an example. The country was doing extremely well, so much so that it became known as the Celtic Tiger – but today, with the country mired in burdensome debt, the economic exhilaration has been replaced by astringent austerity. An emergency bailout has been provided by the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF), but it is so colossal that it will take decades to pay off.

So somebody’s to shoulder the blame for this unhappy predicament. And not unexpectedly, fingers will point to Fianna Fail, the party of power for many decades. With the general election around the corner (i.e. February 25), it is a foregone conclusion that the party will be severely punished. The party is expected to become not only irrelevant but some say it may possibly be also on the way out. Fianna Fail has degenerated into an absolutely toxic brand and even if it manages to survive, it is unlikely to ever be the same again. I don’t know about that since politics is equally unpredictable. But the fact remains that few voters believe that any new government can bring about impressive improvement. Most acknowledge that things will get a lot worse before they get better.

Arsene Wenger's side had to win this game this time around – at least to prove a point after losing 6-3 to Barcelona over two legs at the quarter-final stage last season. And when the Gunners played their trademark passing game, they did reap a rich dividend in a frantic finale by whipping Barcelona 2-1.

Lionel Messi was the creator with a pass that cut Arsenal open, leaving Barcelona's David Villa to stride forward and score with typical expertise (26). Robin van Persie equalised with a shot that somehow eluded Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes at his near post (78) before substitute Andrey Arshavin sent Arsenal's fans into ecstasy when he arrived on the end of Samir Nasri's right-flank cross to steer a precise finish past Valdes (83). What a game! Wow! Gunners are victorious over Barca! Double wow!

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