Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Carlota Will Be Supporting Arsenal vs Barca, but Birmingham Comes First

Being a blogger is like working as a web designer or a fashion designer. You really only work when you feel like it and if you don't work then nobody is really going to notice or care. Every once in a while you'll have a really great article and get a few comments, and other times you'll be lucky enough to piss off a whole group of people who will leave you angry comments, (just look at this post) but most of the time you're pretty much writing for yourself and a few other people who stumble upon your page and have nothing better to do. So for those of you who have accidentally rolled onto this page, here are a couple thoughts about Birmingham, Barcelona, and whatever else I think of.

Barcelona is the match everyone is talking about, but I'd argue that Birmingham is the more important one. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to the Barcelona match as much as anyone, but it's dangerous to overlook Birmingham just because Barcelona is a more attractive club. This weekend we'll be without Thomas Vermaelen, because of his suspension for a red card that should have never been, and without William Gallas, still out with injury. That leaves us with Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre. Not exactly a top class center back pairing for a big club. While Sol has done well, Silvestre should never be in the starting lineup for a team trying to win the league. The boss has indicated that he may rest Campbell for this match, which leaves us with Song and Silvestre in the back, which not only gives us a weak center back pairing but weakens our strength in midfield too, against a team that haven't lost at home since September. It's a scary possibility, and for a team that needs to win every match for the rest of the season, it's really making me nervous. The focus of the team needs to be 100% on Birmingham, and we can leave Barcelona until next Wednesday. Anything less than 100% will see us lose at St. Andrews and be out of the title race.

I have to give some thoughts on Eboue while I'm writing since I haven't given him his proper due since I've been out so long. I was one of the ones criticizing him last year for his poor (and sometimes completely dire) performances. Well this year he has completely changed his attitude, his performances, and my opinion of him. He's been nothing short of brilliant for us this year, whether he's in the front three or playing right back. His runs, his movement, and his work rate have made him one of my favorite players to see in the team. I'll go far enough as to say that without him, we wouldn't be where we are in the league right now this season. So fair play to Emmanuel Eboue, maybe my player of the season to this point.

The West Ham match last Saturday really gave me hope for the title challenge. We could have crumbled after Vemaelen's red card. It was a BS call, and we could have gone down to a team that is fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, but we didn't. Almunia pulled out a moment of brilliance to save Diamanti's penalty, and the team stayed strong with Song and Campbell in defense. Then Cesc completed the victory by nailing that penalty after his strong run (aided by Eboue, who again was excellent.)

Speaking of Cesc, you'll remember that about seven months ago I had a post about marrying Cesc's sister, Carlota. Well as it turns out, she finally found that I had written that and I ended up talking to her a bit on twitter. She's a very nice young lady and said that Florida is a beautiful place. I'd have to agree with her. So cheers to you Carlota and if you're ever back in Florida dinner is on me.

Speaking of Carlota, and Cesc, and Arsenal...we play Barcelona in the Champions League! It's got to be one of the most exciting matchups in the history of, well, history. The best club in the world at the moment versus the team we all love and the team that plays by far the best football in England, if not the world. I like our chances, I have to say. Xavi and Iniesta versus Cesc and Nasri/Diaby/Denilson, Clichy versus Messi...the prospects are mouthwatering. I'll get into breaking it down more next Monday or Tuesday, but I will say that I think it will be one for the ages. Get your DVR's and your TiVo's ready to record, because these two matches should be ones you'll want to show to your grandkids one day. For the record, Carlota will be supporting Arsenal.


CarlotaFabregas @ArseNole I'll go to the two match and I'll support Arsenal, so don't hesitate it

That's about all I've got for today. Let's focus on that Birmingham match and the Barcelona match can wait until next week. Come on Arsenal, let's get it done!

21 comments:

Joaquin said...

Look who decided to show their face. I am looking forward to the weeks to come, time to prove that the team has the bottle to get it done.

suresh said...

November 2006. A cold Craven Cottage sees Cesc Fabregas rested and a rare Premier League start handed to Alex Song. The Cameroonian was poor. The team traipsed off at half time 2-1 down, passing the large away following before entering the tunnel. The young midfielder was singled out for blame, the recipient of some terrible stick. Wenger followed shortly behind, urged ferociously to replace the cousin of Rigobert with Cesc. Wenger duly obliged for the start of the second half, but the Spaniard could not reverse the fortunes of a stuttering Arsenal.

The game was lost and Alex Song was written off as an Arsenal player by the majority of fans, who would've happily packed him off to wherever it is Alberto Mendez and Stefan Malz sit and reminisce over just how lucky they were to have played for The Arsenal.

Thankfully, Arsene really does know better than most. A loan spell at Charlton rebuilt Song's shattered confidence and a successful African Nations the following year only added to his self belief.

March 2010. Song just keeps getting better. Immense against West Ham both in central midfield and when called upon, at centre half, he has become vital to our chances of collecting silverware. His performances go from strength to strength. In a team full of small, nimble, attacking players, he offers us a physical presence. His outstanding ability to read the game, win the ball and give it to our more creative players has become a crucial cog in our team’s mechanism.

Another target of the boo boys has also been reborn, with Emmanuel Eboue reminding us of his fantastic form that same year Song was targeted. Again, many would have showed him the door after his diabolical showing at Wigan, but I'm sure the same people are delighted he stayed. The encouraging support for Bendtner after his Burnley shocker suggests attitudes are changing, for the better.

We are coming close to the end of a period in our history where we have been financially restricted. Arsene took the route of blooding players young, hoping to reap the benefits when they peak. Such a strategy was always going to lead to youngsters having the odd shocker, but the importance of Song some three years on from the barracking at Fulham suggests he was right all along.

Anonymous said...

With Bendtner a possible doubt for Sat, and with problems in the centre of our defence we will have a real uphill task to pick up 3 points against Brum. After Spurs this is our hardest game and we need all 3 points badly to have any chance. Once again the paucity of our playing resources are there for all to see. Some of you having a go at Arshavin should sit back and consider that maybe he is right. Whatever happens this season, and we will finish potless, it could have been so much better. Still the vanity project is intact, and we do make pretty patterns on the pitch and after all that's all that matters according to some on here.

Anonymous said...

This AA media talk is an old piece and picked up the French media as wenger is a good export gossip. AA¿s piece highlighted 2 issues firstly he disliked being played out of position no surprise there secondly the need to have more armoury in the team, as quoted the team can¿t deal or handle pressure from the bigger teams, perhaps he may have want something else who knows, probably more cash, better contract or just wants to leave. Its not a secret that wenger needs more fire power to win something if any and end this streak.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Song who just keeps getting better. Immense against West Ham both in central midfield and when called upon, at centre half, he has become vital to our chances of collecting silverware. His performances go from strength to strength. In a team full of small, nimble, attacking players, he offers us a physical presence. His outstanding ability to read the game, win the ball and give it to our more creative players has become a crucial cog in our team¿s mechanism. Another target of the boo boys has also been reborn, with Eboue reminding us of his fantastic form that same year Song was targeted. Again, many would have showed him the door after his diabolical showing at Wigan, but I'm sure the same people are delighted he stayed. The encouraging support for Bendtner after his Burnley shocker suggests attitudes are changing, for the better - i have also heard he is going to be in the squad for the game on saturday.

Anonymous said...

i expect it will be Song and Silvestre starting together at the back with Denilson playing the holding role in midfield. The change will give Campbell time to rest for Barcelona where he can play alongside Vermaelen and allow Song to move back to his favoured midfield position.

Personally I don’t think our ability to get three points at Birmingham will come down to our defensive stability, more about getting our attacking game working. If players like Andrey Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri fire then I don’t think Vermaelen and Sol’s absence at the back will be felt at all.

The attraction of Barcelona in the Champions has distracted many Arsenal fans from the very real possibility of us topping the league table by the end of next weekend.

We face Birmingham away, followed by Barcelona at home and finish the week with a relatively comfortable home game against Wolves. Meanwhile Manchester United face Bolton away, Bayern Munich in Germany and an epic clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford.

There is nothing more difficult in high-end football than backing up after an away leg in Europe and I fully expect Chelsea to grab at least a point against United, leaving the path clear for us to take top spot, granted we win our two games of course. Watch this space.

Anonymous said...

Give yourself a 10 if you strongly agree, a zero if you strongly disagree or any integer in between.

1. I would not replace RvP with Torres, Drogba or Rooney

2. I would not replace Cesc with Gerrard or Lampard

3. I would not replace Song with Essien

4. I would not replace Almunia with Cech, Reina or van der Sar

5. I would not replace Clichy with Cole or Evra



6. I would not replace Gallas or Vermaelen with Terry, Alex, Ferdinand or Vidic

7. I think that both Eboue and Sagna are better than any other RB in the EPL

8. I would not invite two of Fletcher, Anderson, Deco, Ballack, or Lucas to replace two of our group of Diaby, Denilson and Ramsey (and Nasri & Rosicky)

9. I would not invite two of Rodriguez, Kuyt, Benayoun, Nani, Valencia, Cole, Malouda to replace two of our group of Walcott, Arshavin, Nasri and Rosicky (and Eboue & Bendtner)

.

Some of the questions are not so easy. I think that Essien is better than Song, but not enough better to go through the disruption of the exchange. And can Essien fit in (twice) to the one touch football that opened up WH Porno and almost put Cesc in on goal.

I score 90, but anything over 60 would indicate that you are very pleased with our team.

Anonymous said...

song billogong

Anonymous said...

we need to lay that ghost to rest please, St Andrews still haunts. It’s one of those games which sees you question the thin margin between success and nothing. What if? Should have, could have. You try not to think about it because it hits you every time. That things might have been very different that season, were it not for the events of February 23rd, 2008.

It was not the sole reason that season ended without glory. Arseblog quite rightly pointed out that injuries to Sagna and Flamini have been largely forgotten about. Wenger has also commented that some players, Hleb and Flamini probably, were not focussed due to contract issues. Arsene has said we didn’t lose the title that day, but I would suggest we started to and the cruel events of that afternoon cannot be underplayed. The team was damaged, unable to recover from such a promising position.

What if Martin Taylor really wasn’t the “type of player” who snaps another’s leg in two with a tackle so ferocious it sickens the rest of our team into a state of subdue?

Adebayor should have made the lead larger. Greedy bastard. Clichy should have cleared the ball. The referee should not have given a late penalty. Gallas shouldn’t have sulked.

From almost being eight points clear at the top of the table, we were deflated, going on to win only five of our last eleven games.

Nothing went our way that day, but going back on Saturday, at such a pivotal moment, is a fantastic incentive for Fabregas and the boys. The importance is clear enough when looking at the congestion at the top of the table. Ourselves, Chelsea and Man Utd all played musical league positions this week, before sitting back down more or less where we started. This alone breeds focus and desire. It’s a massive game, but add to that the opportunity to stick a marker down for our Premiership credentials by winning where our last genuine bid was derailed in such ugly fashion, and how much more determination will be induced?

The scandalous assault and repeat injury to Ramsey gave us the unwanted opportunity to prove we have moved on since the collapse at Birmingham. Vital points gathered in testing circumstances, through new found character, and carried through to another late win at Hull. Both games suggest we have a chance of finally giving the new stadium its first piece of silverware come May. It’s imperative we add a third away win to the collection on Saturday.

The players will be up for it with more than one goal in mind, as will the travelling fans, and it might just be the time and place for Eduardo da Silva, Arsenal’s No.9, to remind us all of the player he was before his last trip to St Andrews.

Anonymous said...

Last week it was eight. Now we’re down to seven.

Birmingham and a trip to St Andrew’s are next in line as our boys continue their pursuit of a most unlikely league title.

The last time we played here was over two years ago. Eduardo had his leg broken, Theo Walcott scored two goals and James McFadden scored a late equaliser to spark the beginning of the end of our title hopes. In short, it wasn’t the best day for the Arsenal.

Two things stand in our way of achieving a seventh straight league win: the suspension to Thomas Vermaelen and Birmingham’s terrific home record.

Birmingham have proven extremely difficult to beat at St Andrew’s, losing just two of their fifteen home games. They have conceded just 10 goals in those games and have not been beaten by any of Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City, the four other teams that make up the current top five in the Premiership.

I don’t feel there is a risk of us losing to Birmingham tomorrow, particularly with our excellent recent form, but problems will emerge if we don’t move the ball around quickly enough. They like to sit deep and remain as organised and structured as possible so it will be up to everyone in our team to keep the ball moving, ensure our movement off the ball is good to punish whatever space we can find.

As I mentioned earlier, Vermaelen’s absence through suspension leaves Arsene Wenger with a decision to make at the back and in the middle of the pitch. The word from the manager is that Sol Campbell will play, even with the Barcelona tie just four days later, which means he will partner either Mikael Silvestre or Alex Song at the back.

Song is probably the better option, however shifting him to the centre of defence would force some structural changes to the side which will be most unwelcome with Barcelona up so soon. Would Wenger want the team shuffling about or will he prefer leaving Song where he is? We’ll soon see.

The rest of the defence picks itself: Manuel Almunia in goals and Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy on the wings, while Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby should support either Denilson or Song in the middle of the park. Nicklas Bendtner will start up front after resting a twisted ankle all week and should receive support from Andrey Arshavin and one of Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott or Emmanuel Eboue on the right.

Once again, all that matters tomorrow is the three points. Get them and we can take on Barcelona in high spirits. Fail and winning the league title becomes a very difficult thing indeed.

ArseNole said...

Comments are great and all guys, but can we limit them to like, one paragraph? It's too long to read these good god

Jamea said...

Wow, awesome

Anonymous said...

can I ask you in which place we stand in the table ? Third from bottom ?
Can I ask you where the pundits predicted us to be at the start of the season ?
Can I ask you where you think we would have been at the start of the season as we clearly seem to have an incompetent manager ?

About the press conference I haven’t seen this one yet but all the press conferences I have seen is that reporters ask questions and the managers answers. And as Wenger is a well educated man he mostly answers the questions. You could argue and maybe I would say to those reporters more frequently : “get lost you imbeciles with your stupid questions” but Wenger is to much a gentleman to say this and so he gives his opinion.

If we are where we are now, and no one you included – apart from some losers like me, would have thought that we would be in this position than this is the work of that man that you think has lost it.

By the way : have you read that both Arshavin and Nasri had little problems with injury’s ? So please inform yourself before you ask questions that have being answered on saturday if you would have paid attention.

Anonymous said...

can I ask you in which place we stand in the table ? Third from bottom ?
Can I ask you where the pundits predicted us to be at the start of the season ?
Can I ask you where you think we would have been at the start of the season as we clearly seem to have an incompetent manager ?

About the press conference I haven’t seen this one yet but all the press conferences I have seen is that reporters ask questions and the managers answers. And as Wenger is a well educated man he mostly answers the questions. You could argue and maybe I would say to those reporters more frequently : “get lost you imbeciles with your stupid questions” but Wenger is to much a gentleman to say this and so he gives his opinion.

If we are where we are now, and no one you included – apart from some losers like me, would have thought that we would be in this position than this is the work of that man that you think has lost it.

By the way : have you read that both Arshavin and Nasri had little problems with injury’s ? So please inform yourself before you ask questions that have being answered on saturday if you would have paid attention.

Anonymous said...

This may read more horrid than a Derek McGovern column but we have to concede that one day there will be life at Arsenal without Arsene Wenger at the helm.

Whoever steps into his shoes will have an absolutely massive job on their hands, most probably the second biggest job in football. The first, begrudgingly, I have to admit is whoever takes over at Manchester United after Ol' Red Nose.

It's going to take someone who can cope with the pressure of succeeding Wenger. Someone with nuts bigger than an unfortunate Elephantiasis sufferer, but also someone who shares the same philosophy as Arsene.

As Arsenal supporters we have become accustomed to watching the best style of football in the world. In truth the only other side to rival our brand of football is Wednesdays visitors to the Emirates, Barcelona.

I like watching Barcelona. Like us, they play football the right way and are very entertaining. Our Champions League tie will be spectacular and a great advert for the game of football.

This will be down to two managers with the same principles and ideas. Arsene Wenger and Josep Guardiola.

I honestly feel that Guardiola could be the man to lead Arsenal in our next era. In fact, I'm convinced he is the right man to do the job. And I think he would relish the opportunity to do so to.

In the past it has been said that the Barca manager would love to manage in England and especially in London. I think he is far too classy for that lot down at Slagford Bridge and definitely too good for the other mob at Shite Fart Lane. That only leaves us doesn't it?

We will see Guardiola patrolling the away technical-area, well I hope that he will be the next man after Wenger to patrol the home one.

Despite writing all this I still believe that Arsene Wenger is the man for Arsenal. I hope you, my fellow Gooners, don't think that I am trying to write him-off! Far from it in fact.

I love the man to bits but its just an opinion of mine that I'd like Guardiola to eventually take over his mantle. He'd be the right man.

Whoever gets the job in the future will be a very privileged man but also one who has to walk into Wenger's shadow. Josep is strong enough and more than good enough to do so.

Guardiola has great qualities and has been very successful in recent times but I wouldn't put him in Wenger's league yet. He will be, eventually, and I hope that he is Arsenal gaffer when he gets there!

Anonymous said...

I’d just like to echo something said on the Arsenal website, about the atmosphere at the game tomorrow night.

If you are lucky enough to have a ticket, please get there as early as possible to show your support (gates open at 6.30!) Wear red and white, even if it’s just a scarf or a hat. Make as much noise as you can to make the atmosphere one to remember. The players can hear the noise of the crowd, even when they’re in the dressing rooms, so lets all sing those Arsenal songs before they even step onto the pitch. There shouldn’t be an empty seat in the ground for the duration of the 90 minutes.

The atmosphere in the Nou Camp will be brilliant, but also intimidating. There’ll be nearly 40,000 more people in there but I know we can match them.

The crowd at Anfield has so often got a mediocre Liverpool side into the next round, a good crowd at the Emirates can do the same with a brilliant Arsenal side.

So lets get behind the team and be the twelfth man tomorrow night!

COME ON ARSENAL!!

Anonymous said...

Arsenal versus Barcelona is almost upon us and the word ‘excitement’ just doesn’t do justice to how I am feeling.

Like Arsene Wenger I feel this tie has the ability to produce something special. So special, in fact, that we might indeed still be talking about it in 10 years time.

Barcelona will go in as deservedly clear favourites on account of their terrific success last season and the fact that they possess the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, in their ranks. But that’s not to say we don’t have a very good shot at upsetting the Spanish team.


Barcelona are not the Champions of Europe and the World for no reason and they will field an exceptionally strong team against us on Wednesday.

Both Messi and Arsenal old-boy Thierry Henry were rested for Barca’s weekend win over Mallorca and I expect both to start against us.

Eric Abidal and Gerard Pique have both recovered from injury to take their place in the squad, although I expect Pep Guardiola to plump for constancy and play Gabriel Milito alongside Carlos Puyol in the centre and Maxwell on the left of defence instead. Dani Alves will of course start at right-back.

The injury to Andres Iniesta means that Xavi should slot back into the side along the more physical Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita. Sergio Busquets is an option but Guardiola has a history of playing both Toure and Keita away from home in the Champions League to give the defence more support.

Up front Messi will start on the right side of a three-pronged attack that will also include Zlatan Imbrahimovic and that man Henry. Messi will of course float into the central areas, leaving Alves space to get down the right and much of our ability to stop Barcelona will come down to our ability to prevent Messi from having too much influence on the game.

The man who has the most important roll in preventing Messi’s influence will be Alex Song, who will surely return to his favoured position at defensive midfield. He will sit in front of a goalkeeper and four-man defence that will feature Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, Thomas Vermaelen, Sol Campbell and either Bacary Sagna or Emmanuel Eboue on the right.

Eboue has been in excellent form of late and the manager’s decision to leave him out of Saturday’s team completely suggests to me that he will start on Wednesday. Whether it is at right-back to counter Henry or on the wing to allow us a counter-attacking outlet and the ability to punish Barcelona’s weak spots (more on that later) I’m not sure, but I do feel he will start.

The official line from the manager is that Cesc is still a risk to miss out of this game but I can’t help feel this is nothing but mind games from Wenger. It would take something monumental to force Cesc to miss this game and I don’t think a bruised knee will be it. I expect him to play alongside Song and Abou Diaby in the middle.

Up front Nicklas Bendtner’s physical presence makes him a certainty while Andrey Arshavin will provide him support on one of the wings. Arshavin has a delightful habit of stepping up in the big games and he and Bendtner will need to have both excellent games and their shooting boots on if we are to come away with a win.

The final place should be taken by one of Eboue, as I mentioned earlier, or Samir Nasri who has scored excellent goals in the last three matches.

Anonymous said...

Evening folks and welcome to preview number one of the game this midweek – it’s Arsenal vs Barcelona, and it will be a great tie. A true footballing tie of two pure footballing teams. For the neutral, you couldn’t ask for a more scintillating tie. Barcelona have looked on at Arsenal during the years when we’ve hit the dizzy heights, a la Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg. Many years later, we now look at the Barcelona team and wait to see a certain Lionel Messi come out of the tunnel – most people call him the best player in the world, and I can’t really disagree.

Playing in Spain is something that offers a slower game and yes, Messi has played well, very well this season, but he certainly would not have been afforded that much space in the Premiership. Never. And that’s what our game plan has to be – simply to deny Messi space – play as normal. Ensure we’re defensively solid and then attack, attack, attack. Yes, Barcelona have Messi, yes they have our old man Thierry and players like Xavi (who is officially fit after earlier injury worries), Ibrahimovic and of course little Iniesta (who is injured)… But we have little Andrei Arshavin, the man in form – Samir Nasri, captain fantastic, Cesc Fabregas and a supporting cast of Walcott, Rosicky and Diaby.

Really, trying to be objective and neutral, it’s made me think that these two teams are actually quite evenly matched – I think it’s time to look at the two probable teams…

Almunia
Valdes

Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy
Alves – Puyol – Pique – Maxwell

Song – Diaby
Keita – Toure

Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin
Messi - Xavi – Henry

Bendtner
Ibrahimovic

Anonymous said...

Almunia vs Valdes

Whether it’s down to the defence or the goalkeeping, 34 goals conceded versus 18 goal conceded is a big difference. Almunia’s reputation was at an all time low this season until his understudy Fabianski showed how bad you can get… Without having seen much of Valdes but having heard a fair amount, it’s safe to say he wins the battle of the goalkeepers.

Valdes wins

Campbell / Vermaelen vs Puyol / Pique

The ex-Manchester United defender has been quite impressive since his move to Barcelona and in the last couple of games, has looked decent. His weakness is that he can get turned quickly, something that Arshavin, Nasri and Bendtner can exploit, whereas Puyol doesn’t have the positional sense that his colleague does, you’ll see him – a la Kolo Toure – sometimes too forward or sometimes too much to the right. With our two, we’ve got two extremes – Campbell has extreme physical presence, but lacks in pace. He can deal with the extra-ordinary height and aerial ability of Ibrahimovic. Vermaelen, on the other hand has pace to deal with the likes of Messi.

It’s a draw

Clichy / Sagna vs Alves / Maxwell

With the absence of Abidal. Maxwell has seen an extended run in the first team and whilst he is good going forward, he is definitely suspect in the art of defending – the same goes for Alves, who has one of the best crosses for a right back, but is small and isn’t great in the tackle. Whereas Clichy and Sagna have proved that they are very effective going forward and defensive. Clichy had a massive dip in form at the turn of the year, but he has come back in a strong vein of form. Back to the old Clichy we all know and love.

Clichy and Sagna win

Song / Diaby vs Keita / Toure

Song and Diaby – for me are miles ahead of any two players in the “shield” position. Song has single handedly proved every single Arsenal fan wrong and gone from zero to hero. He is the first name on the team sheet and combined with Diaby, another player who has gone from being a mistake to an enigma. He, like Song, has proved to be an excellent acquisition – his attacking instinct is what makes him so effective. Whereas looking at Keita and Toure, both players normally vie for the same position with Iniesta and Xavi playing with them, but more recently they have had time together. However, both Toure and Keita have had a lot of time out of the team – to the point where they’ve both been first choice and both been left out of squad. Don’t get me wrong, they are both effective as defensive midfielders, Keita with a shot on him. In reality, though, I’d say that our two edge it over them…

Song and Diaby win

Anonymous said...

Nasri vs Messi

Nasri has been one of our most influential players in the last couple of weeks – his goal against Porto an exhibition of his footballing ability, but right now, he has one player in the world who is simply sensational right now in Lionel Messi. It pains me to say this because I think Nasri is a match winner for us, but surely Messi has to win?

Messi wins

Cesc vs Xavi

Cesc has based his game on Xavi – the master and the student – but where we are right now, there is hardly a difference between the two. Xavi has been recently injured, so let’s hope that he can’t perform at the highest level – but Cesc has been in the wars too, so it’s going to be even stevens in this department.

It’s a draw

Arshavin vs Henry

Ouch, difficult one? On one hand we have our little crazy Russian and on the other hand we have one of our greatest legends. I’m not going to probe any further into the comparisons between the two, but Arshavin is surely the player on form and the one who can make a difference.

Arshavin wins

Bendtner vs Ibrahimovic

If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have laughed at you – that is how lowly rated Niklas Bendtner was – but now his stock has raised, whilst Ibrahimovic’s stock has declined rapidly since his £76million part exchange move. Ibra, unlike our Nikki B, does have the ability to score a goal out of nothing, and aerial ability in abundance. He also has years of experience at clubs like Ajax and Inter Milan. Ask me again in a year…

Ibrahimovic wins

There we have it, an overview of the two teams. Writing this does instill me with confidence, the benches look good in our favour too, with the likes of Walcott and Eboue ready to inject some pace into the team… til tomorrow…

Anonymous said...

i love being the underdog, which is has been hard to come by as a gooner in my years. what have we got to lose? get beat by barcelona? as soon as the draw was out it was nailed on yanited/barca final anyway so who cares if messi gets a hattrick? we've got very little hope of seeing progress in this years competition but what hope did we have against parma? we were favourites (where we not?) against galatasaray in 2000 and look what happened. underdogs against madrid, juventus and villarreal and look what happened, as soon as we got some hope after beating them we went up against barcelona and thought 'yeah maybe this is our year, ronaldinho is an ugly overrated twat, we've got the best player on the planet...'

hope is dangerous but dreams are just that: dreams. it would be a dream come true to upset the odds and sneak an away goal win over the 2 legs, no one has any real expectation of this club winning the european cup, we've got no hope... thats a good thing!