Good football is desirable but even bad football can make compelling drama. The slipshod defending that saw Manchester United twice hold a two‑goal lead but only draw to Everton last Sunday has set up a rare Mancunian melting pot of anticipation for Monday's confrontation with Manchester City, which will go a long way towards deciding whether the Premier League title stays at Old Trafford or crosses town to the Etihad.
Wednesday's Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich provided an enjoyable spectacle of open, attacking play but for sheer Hitchcockian suspense came a poor second to the trench warfare in which Chelsea and Barcelona were involved the previous evening. For the war of Jenkins's ear read the battle of Terry's knee.
Had John Terry not been sent off for planting a patella into Alexis Sánchez from behind shortly after Barcelona had wiped out Chelsea's one-goal lead from the first leg, the evening might have offered little more than a gallant defeat for Roberto Di Matteo's side against superior forces. As it was, being reduced to 10 men and losing both centre-backs, Gary Cahill having already departed with a hamstring injury, concentrated Chelsea's minds so effectively that they ended up creating more clear chances than Barcelona and accepting two of them to reach the final.
Of course it was not pretty. Trench warfare never is. But with the Camp Nou expecting, and Chelsea fearing, a moment of brilliance from Lionel Messi every time Barcelona moved forward the tension became unbearable.
Looking back the mundane reality is that Chelsea will be meeting Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena on 19 May not only because they defended so doggedly but also because Barcelona, by their own superlative standards, played poorly. There is as much of an art to attacking against 10 men as there is to defending when a man down and in this match Barcelona did not seem aware of it. As Wellington might have put it, Barça came on in the same old way and Chelsea met them in the same old way.
Anyone who had seen Barcelona lose at home to Real Madrid on Saturday evening would surely have given Chelsea a chance of getting the right result, though not necessarily after going 2-0 down while losing the captain to a red card. In both games Pep Guardiola's players looked weary and Messi's batteries have run low.
On paper Chelsea's chances of beating Bayern on their own ground and without the suspended Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles look slim. Then again English teams have a history of winning European finals against Bayern Munich in unpromising circumstances.
In 1999 Manchester United faced them in the Camp Nou having had their midfield shot away by losing Roy Keane and Paul Scholes to second yellow cards received in the semi‑finals. Sloppy defending allowed Mario Basler to find the net with a free-kick after six minutes and Bayern clung to their lead until stoppage time when Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won the Champions League for United. Alex Ferguson summed it up beautifully: "Football. Bloody hell!"
The 1982 final between Bayern Munich and Aston Villa was nothing to write home about as far as the football went, but what drama. After only nine minutes Villa lost their goalkeeper, Jimmy Rimmer, who was still suffering from a neck injury he had received in training. His replacement, Nigel Spink, had made only one first‑team appearance for Villa and that was two and a half seasons earlier. Even so Spink made a series of outstanding saves and eventually Peter Withe's toe poke kept the European Cup in England for the sixth consecutive year. And Tony Barton, the Villa manager, had like Di Matteo been in charge for just a few weeks.
The only other time an English team have met Bayern Munich in a European Cup final was in Paris in 1975, when Leeds United got nothing from the referee, lost 2-0 and their fans rioted. France Soir declared that "in the league of violence the English are champions". And Heysel was still 10 years away.
In spite of Chelsea's success on Tuesday Terry remained the villain of the piece and even he did not appear convinced by his excuse that the foul was accidental. Maybe Roman Abramovich can dig up a medic in Minsk to explain to Uefa that Terry is suffering from a rare form of Tourette syndrome, which causes involuntary jerks of the knee at moments of stress.
After all, what are oligarchs for?