Mar 312010

I’m gutted.

I have work meetings from 1-4 and 4-6 Wednesday afternoon. Why is that a problem? Simple – I’ve been flown out to the States for work, and 1-6 meetings is actually 7pm-midnight UK time. Which means I’ll be unable to catch even a second of the Barcelona tie because I’ll be stuck in a conference room.

Not good news. However, there is better news around – Gallas has been named in the squad, while Nasri, Arshavin and Diaby all trained, suggesting that all four might be available tomorrow night. The one I still have a doubt over is Gallas, especially after Wenger sung Campbell’s praises so highly.

The bad news is that Cesc did not train this morning, and despite his father’s claims to the contrary, he appears to be a serious doubt. Some would argue that even a half fit Fabregas would boost the side, but with the speed of Barca’s play I don’t think we can afford to be fielding somehow who is struggling to run, no matter how talented they are or how much they want to prove a point to their former employers. Save it for the second leg.

I’ve seen it suggested that Wenger will play a cautious and niggly game, trying to stop Barcelona’s play with underhand tactics. Frankly, I think this is a load of garbage – Wenger will relish the chance to play a ‘proper’ footballing team, and will try to prove that we do it better than they do.

He could be right, he could be wrong, but with both sides looking to attack, I imagine there will be lots of goals. For that reason, my bet of the day is for there to be over 3.5 goals, at a healthy 11/5 with Sportingbet. Those odds seem generous given the free flowing spirit of both sides – we need to take a lead to the Nou Camp, and Barcelona will be desperate for an away goal.

One thing is for sure – we need big games from our big players. Whoever partners Vermaelen at the back must be strong. Arshavin needs to track back against the most lethal right flank in the game. And when we get a chance, it must be buried.

It promises to be enormously exciting. Enjoy it, wherever you are.

  8 Responses to “Almost back to full strength for Barcelona”

  1. haha I dont envy you at all. Though Im in Oz, and the game is at 7am. So unless I call in late for work, there is no way I can watch any of the Champions League games.

    But, I will call in late for work :)

  2. im livin in america rite now and did all i could to get this day off. and i succeded. been lookin forward to it since i heard it and im goin to the only arsenal bar in boston.gonna be a great game with cesc or not..i believe there could be an upset. hopefully.get song on his game to cancel out xavi and it could work

  3. I’m worried that our dear fab is having an injury becouse this a math we need him most.damian which continent is oz located and pls the full name?

  4. Sory u cant catch d game pete n said,there is little doubt ds wil make a gr8 encounter.i undastand d inclusn of willy g as i dnt tink sol can contain d leo.i only pray dat we fire on al cylinder 2 edge barca.Manuel,ya ra e n brain la le yi.(Manuel,get a grip on urself n quit d fumblin).victoria concordia crescit.

  5. Oz, informally, refers to Australia in the continent of Oceania. Am from Malaysia and the match time here is 3am. Will stay up for it and suffer from lack of sleep the next day, which is still better than not getting to watch the match at all ;)

  6. Yeah that is my big worry – then words Arshavin and ‘track back’ – hmmm.

    The percentage possession stats tonight should be fascinating – both sides are so used to dominating possession…


  7. am in MOGADISHU somalia…….i think am prepared enough to watch this game…lol…….we gonna dump barca…… iniesta.only xavi in the mid…so nasri and if cesc plays we gonna dominate the position

  8. Actually we’re not a favourite in dis match,but i’m sure we gonna gun them down…up gunners

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