Arsenal will be feeling less than confident facing Barcelona again in the Champions League as recent history suggests the Spaniards have the hoodoo over them. Here's 10 other rivalries that always seem to go the same way...
When Arsenal came second in their 2010 Champions League group Arsene Wenger came out and said ‘we want Barcelona’ in the last 16. Someone should have told him ‘be careful what you wish for’ because they’ve only gone and bloody well got them. The draw for the knockout stages brought up a rematch of last seasons incredibly entertaining ‘Arcelona’ tie and history is not on the north London clubs side. The Gunners have never beaten Barcelona in European competition with the Catalonians losing out twice in the group stages in 1999, the final itself in 2006 and the Lionel Messi show earlier this year.
But what’s in a winning streak?
Logic tells us past results from certain fixtures shouldn’t matter. Different players and different managers over different periods surely can’t have the same hold over the same team. People who believe in bogey teams might as well believe in bogeymen the superstitious, rabbit-foot hoarding fuckwits. Yeah? Trying telling that to these lot…
Chelsea – Spurs (1987 – 2006)
P: 19 W: 12 D: 7 L:0
No doubt that on 22nd August 1987 an excited Spurs fan – buoyed by a home victory over Chelsea – rushed home and gleefully shagged the missus and forgot to pull out as he relived the elation. The dad to be would have had to wait 19 league games and for his offspring to be an adult until he’d get to savour that feeling again at the ground Chelsea fans lovingly called 3 Point Lane.
Why is a mystery, the blues weren’t always the formidable outfit they are now. But, despite the fixture having featured hundreds of players and tens of managers, nothing changed.
Bogey Rating: Bogey’s Nightclub, Isle of Wight
Chelsea routinely fucked up the weekend for Spurs for many years.
Coventry – Liverpool (1992 – 1999)
P: 15 W: 7 D: 3 L: 5
For seven seasons straight the strugglers from Highfield Road took at least three points off the aristocrats of Anfield including some truly remarkable results. Most will point to a 5-1 thumping in 1992. But Liverpool fans will tell you about the season defining 1-0 win in 1996 and 2-1 win at Anfield that knocked the Reds out of the title race back when they used to join in. But Liverpool had the last laugh beating Coventry 2–0 in the final weeks of the 2000/2001 season effectively sending them down. They haven’t played in the same league since.
Bogey Rating: Bogey Film Awards
Stitching up the glitterati of the Spice boys, and on more than one occasion Coventry denied Liverpool a chance at picking up the top prize.
Big Sam had developed the blueprint to beating Wenger’s side, until Birmingham and Stoke upped the ante and started breaking people’s legs.
Bolton – Arsenal (2003 – 2006)
P: 8 W: 3 D: 4 L: 1
In the mind of football purists the clashes between Sam Allardyce’s Bolton and Arsenal between were akin to the Nobel Committee versus the Chinese Communist Party. No matter who had the moral high ground brute force came out on top. In eight league games spanning this period Arsenal only beat Bolton once and that was during their Invincibles season. Every other time the Gunners came unstuck and so it came to pass that Big Sam had developed the blueprint to beating Wenger’s side, until Birmingham and Stoke upped the ante and started breaking people’s legs.
Bogey Rating: Humphrey Bogart
At a time when Arsenal only bothered losing to Man U this was a star turn. Sadly it’s no longer with us.
QPR – Barnsley (1950 – Present)
P : 22 W: 20 D: 2 L: 0
George Orwell once said, “Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.” Barnsley fans travelling to Loftus Road must have thought he was talking about them; the Tykes haven’t beaten QPR in London since the day Orwell died 60 years ago. So there are three generations of Barnsley fans who have to ask their granddads about the 5-0 hammering they handed Rangers the last time they got one over on the west Londoners on their own patch. And the way Super Hoops are going this run of results isn’t going to change any time soon.
Bogey Rating: Bogey Man
The fact this has been going on for 50 years is scarcely believable and frankly ridiculous. For Barnsley fans the stuff of nightmares.
Tenerife – Real Madrid (1992-93)
P: 2 W: 2 D: 0 L: 0
Such is the dominance of the big two in Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona don’t have domestic bogey teams in the traditional sense. So the heartbreak that Tenerife caused Real in consecutive seasons in the early ‘90s is felt as keenly by Madridistas as a 10 year losing streak for a Cowdenbeath fan. Twice Real Mardid went to the holiday island on the last day of the season needing a win to secure the title. The 1992 clash saw Madrid inexplicably turn a two-goal lead into a 3-2 loss. The following year the scars were still visible as Real meekly succumbed 2-0 to the islanders handing Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona back to back La Liga titles.
Bogey Rating: Golf Bogey
It’s more a statistical quirk than a voodoo curse. Real Madrid couldn’t expect to win the league every year no more than a blot on your scorecard.
Dundee United – Barcelona (1966 – Present)
P: 4 W: 4 D: 0L: 0
When the latest crop of Catalan artistes beat Rubin Kazan 2-0 in the last round of Champions League group games, they preserved Dundee United’s peculiar record of being the only team to remain unbeaten against Barcelona in all four of their European match ups. But even if the Russians managed to sneak a draw Dundee United would still have one up on them; the Tangerines have beaten Barca every time they’ve met in European competition. Not content with knocking the holders out of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the UEFA Cup since 1971 – en route to the semis in 1966 they beat Barcelona home and away in the quarter finals UEFA Cup in 1987 becoming the only British side to do so.
Bogey Rating: A mischievous spirit
This makes little sense and defies all known laws of science. Dundee United had a bit of a golden period in the late 80’s but this is Barcelona for fucks sake.
Stoke – West Brom (1989 – Present)
P: 27 W: 20 D: 7 L: 0
For some reason when Stoke play West Brom the form book goes out the window and the points belong to Stoke. The Potters have had the Indian sign over the Albion for more than a double decade with the Baggies recording just one win against Stoke City in the last 27 meetings spanning four divisions and the FA Cup. There’s no obvious reason for Stoke’s superiority in this fixture they’ve only finished above West Brom twice since the run began.
Bogey Rating: The River Bogey
Only three weeks ago Stoke played West Brom with the Baggies above them in the table and stuffed them 3-0. You get the feeling this one will never dry up.
As Gary Lineker once put it “football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”
England – Sweden (1949 to Present)
P: 17 W: 8 D: 8 L: 1
When you think of England’s bogey team thoughts automatically wander to the Germans. As Gary Lineker once put it “football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.” But the sauna loving meatball munchers of Sweden have a bigger hex on the ‘The Three Lions’ than the Germans ever managed. To put it in some perspective England haven’t beaten the Swedes since they were World Champions. The FA even tried the ‘if we can’t beat them join them’ tactic and hired Sven Goran Eriksson. Look how that turned out.
Bogey Rating: An unidentified aircraft
Despite always doing rubbish against Sweden it has never really cost England unlike the Three Lions meetings with he Germans. An oddity, but on closer inspection not as bad as you first thought.
Wimbledon – Everton (1987-1991)
P: 10 W: 5 D: 4 L: 1
In the pre Premier League days when Everton won titles and the ‘Dons were from Wimbledon the Crazy Gang constantly bullied the Toffee Men. Wimbledon’s hold over Everton started with a 3-1 beating in a televised FA Cup tie in 1987 and continued until the season before Sky invented football. There wasn’t a great deal of love lost between the sides with the odd bout of fisticuffs thrown in for good measure, not that Wimbledon gave a shit. The only time Evertonians had anything but contempt for the Wombles was when they mugged Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final.
Bogey Rating: Nasal Mucus
Wimbledon dug about in their nose picked a hairy green monster and smeared it all over Everton’s lunch.
West Ham – Manchester United (1992-2007)
When you’ve dominated English football for as long as Manchester United the chances are you’ve beaten all comers. So the idea of Man U having a bogey team is a bit ridiculous. But if anyone can lay claim to the title West Ham have a decent shout. The Hammers have had some notable success at Red devils expense including denying them the title twice (1992 and 1995), knocking them out of the FA Cup in 2001 and securing their Premier League status with a last day win at Old Trafford in 2007.
Bogey Rating: The Colonel Bogey March (AKA ‘Hitler, has only got one ball’)
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