The day has finally arrived – the day that is probably the biggest game the Emirates has held to date. Yes, we’ve entertained the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, but we’re now playing a team on form, a team which is currently held as the best team in Europe. The current Champions League holders. It’s exciting.
Last year, when we played Manchester United in the Champions League, we created at atmosphere in the Emirates that I haven’t heard in the stadium ever (well, except Sp*rs games), albeit it didn’t last for that long, but it was amazing nonetheless and this is something that I hope we can recreate tomorrow.
Not only do we have one of the best teams in the land, we also have the return of our very own prodigy, Thierry Henry, back to the Emirates. One legend, David Seaman spoke of his former colleague:
“I think he’ll get a fantastic reception and he deserves that. He did a lot for Arsenal. He was the captain as well for a few years and he’s a great guy. I saw him grow up at Arsenal and he learnt the hard way. When you’ve got the back four kicking lumps out of you, you’ve got to learn hard and he did – he became a fantastic player.”
He was to us as Lionel Messi is to Barcelona. When Henry played at Highbury and for a short period at the Emirates – he was the player who could create something out of nothing, he was the player that everyone was scared of. And that’s what people say of Messi now. Yes, Barcelona have Messi, but they’ve got a whole host of other players that we’ve got to be aware of and Arsene has tried to get that across to the players and fans.
“The good thing at Barcelona is there are many players to stop, so we do not have to focus on one. I believe what you want from your team is not to worry too much about the strengths of Barcelona but more focus on our strengths, our qualities, be brave, go for it and then we have every chance. We want to turn up and have a great performance. My team is on a fantastic run, even if we had a disappointment in the last minute on Saturday. Overall if you consider what this team has done in the last two months it is absolutely exceptional and I want that game tomorrow to be at the level of what we have produced recently.”
And the gaffer does have a massive point – with the exception of the points dropped last week – the run we’ve been on has been good. We’ve come from behind to win games. We’ve scored in injury times several times to win games too, and it would be wrong to think we can’t show ourselves in our true dynamic and efficient manner.
We’ve had good news in the press today and that is that both Gallas and Cesc look ready to start against Barcelona later tonight. Gallas has been out for a while, but he was included in the squad on Monday and the news is that he has not suffered any reactions and is ready to start. Cesc also has bruising, but despite mixed messages from the club, our captain’s very own father spoke out yesterday and said he thought Cesc would play.
So based on everything we know, the team line up could well be:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Song – Diaby
Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin
If that team lined up, it could be a massive bonus – apparently there will be further tests before the game on both Cesc and Gallas, but the news is that both should be in a position to start. In other news surrounding the game, Tommy V has suggested that he can “handle” Lionel Messi – he also goes on to speak about this being his best season. If we do go on to win, we have to have Vermaelen at his best.
So, sit back, relax, and get behind the team – this is by far the biggest game of the season.