Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arsenal vs Barcelona Special

Will Arsenal's UEFA Champions League hopes come crashing to earth again after their clash with Barcelona?
This must certainly be the fixture that football neutrals have been waiting for, with the two teams both alike in playing style, as well as in the quality of their players.
What will whet the appetites of both Barcelona and Arsenal fans alike is the fact that the two teams have both been having a fantastic domestic season, with Barcelona proudly atop La Liga and Arsenal hot on the trail of Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.
The Gunners have also been in red-hot form so far, having
won seven and drawn only once in their last eight fixtures, though what will be a sobering thought for Arsene Wenger's men will be the fact that the last time they played the Catalans in the Champions League last season, his players were knocked out 6-3 on aggregate over the home and away legs.
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will certainly not be pleased to have to do without Carles Puyol, who has fallen victim to a knee injury.
The wily tactician could opt to bring in Eric Abidal over to the centre from his usual left-back position in order to fill the bplank, and hope that Maxwell can hold off the rampaging Theo Walcott, who has been in sparkling form for the Gunners.
What will bolster Arsenal spirits is the fact that Samir Nasri looks close to a return to the pitch after his hamstring injury, with Wenger ready to throw him into the fray against the La Liga giants.
But the real star of the show will certainly be FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.
The Argentine's four goals made the difference the last time Barcelona thumped Arsenal out of the competition last season, and he could very well do the same again this year.
In this respect, the key player for the Gunners will certainly be Alexander Song, who will have to find a way to track Messi all over the pitch when he roams, and stop the midfielder from wrecking damage to the Arsenal backline. If he fails, the Gunners' Champions League hopes could be over sooner than you can say "Adios Amigos"!

No comments:

Post a Comment