Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Batten Down The Hatches

Arsenal have a very tough task ahead of them tomorrow night as Spanish giants Barcelona travel to the Emirates for the first leg of this epic Champions League tie. Just one year after facing the Catalans in this competition, Arsenal are up against it again as they try to beat what the majority of football fans and critics agree are the best football team of the present day. Naturally, being the best team on the planet means Barcelona have the world's best player, the unstoppable Lionel Messi. The litte Argentinian magician already has 37 goals in all competitions this season. 37!!! The odds are obviously stacked in Barca's favour, but we all know football games aren't won on paper, and as Arsenal proved in the first leg last year, the Gunners have it in them to cause an upset.

Not that I'm actually expecting us to win this tie. Its going to be incredibly difficult to knock the Catalan side out, especially as they have relatively few injury concerns and are on fire in their domestic campaign, as they look set to clinch another league title (only Mourinho's Madrid are anywhere near Barca, trailing by 5 points, which is massive in that title chase). However, it is not all doom and gloom for the Gunners, despite the idea of Eboue playing at right-back tomorrow in Sagna's absence (suspension). Arsenal fans everywhere will be breathing a massive sigh of relief today with the news that Samir Nasri has returned from his hamstring injury and could play a part against Barca. Arsene Wenger hasn't revealed the starting eleven for the game just yet, but we will find out tomorrow whether or not Nasri will start. I'm praying to the football gods that Nasri is 100% and his hamstring is all healed up; we will need the Frenchman at full strength if we are to stand any chance of beating Barcelona. No doubt Nasri will be looking to show Barca his best stuff on Europe's biggest stage, and to add to his impressive 14 goals this season.

I will be at the pub for the game, shaking in panic every time Barca touch the ball. I will probably weep into my pint when Messi starts guiding past our players... Oh the humanity! Here's hoping that the Gunners put up a good fight and van Persie hits a hat trick in an Arsenal rout, sending Pep Guardiola and his men back to Spain with their tails between their legs. I can dream can't I?

Thanks for reading.

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