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Arsenal, Barcelona & a changing of the guard

Arsenal and Barcelona had very differing fortunes on Saturday.

Both teams were playing for their last chance at a trophy this season.

For Barcelona, it was a chance to get something out of a miserable season, one in which they have seen a former manager die of cancer, a former president resign over allegations of financial tampering, and a changing of the guard. The Barcelona of next season will be very different to the one we have seen for the better part of five years.

For Arsenal, it was a chance to finally get a trophy, an actual piece of silverware, after a wait of nine years.

When Arsenal kicked off against Hull City on Saturday, they didn’t expect to be 2-0 down inside eight minutes. But that was exactly what happened, the wait for silverware pushed down by the weight of expectations. Another chance of winning a trophy was escaping Arsenal, the same way it had escaped them for 3,823 days.

When Barcelona kicked off against Atletico Madrid, they didn’t expect their opponents to lose their two best players inside 30 minutes, much less be 1-0 up at half-time. But that was exactly how it played out, and the Barcelona of 2014 looked like the Barcelona of old.

As Atletico stormed back after half-time to equalise and get that much-needed draw to become champions of Spain, Arsenal lifted themselves up to a draw to force extra-time. And then Aaron Ramsey, playing the role of a hero all season long, dragged them to the win. The wait was over. Arsenal had a trophy at last.

Meanwhile, Barcelona capped off the season defeated, without a major trophy for the first time in five years.

As Bob Dylan once said, the times, they are a changin’.

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