Barcelona vs Arsenal… The day has arrived…

Indeed the day has arrived and news that Rosicky is the long line of injuries that have hit us very hard at this time of the season… With Rosicky possibly out of action today and definitely out of form recently, it has me wondering what we will do… yes, we have players who can come in and do a job. For example, if Rosicky doesn’t make the game, we can play Eboue on the right, Eduardo on the left etc… but it got me thinking about a few things… and I got even more excited when I heard Arsene say this:

“We created chances on Tuesday, even in the first half when we were dominated,” he said.

“So we have not only to defend against them but use the ball better than we did in the first half. There are some ideas we have to exploit.

“They anticipate a lot in their pressing and they did it exceptionally well. That’s why after an hour it got a bit easier against them.

“We don’t choose to be patient but they said that’s the best half they played for a long, long time. They are not necessarily going to do it every single game.”

Now – for me – the area to exploit is our pace… their defenders couldn’t deal with the pace of Walcott when he was on, and Eboue did a good job attacking them – with pace… so that makes me think, let’s get on as much pace as we can…! With Sol (potentially) and Song (definitely) not available, the only option we have is to put Silvestre in… but then of course, we all remembered that Bacary Sagna used to play at centre back for Auxerre and it got us thinking… could Arsene spring a surprise and play Sagna next to Vermaelen – would that even happen considering the gaffer has not even tried him there?

So, back to line ups and the fact that Rosicky is still only 50:50

Almunia

Sagna – Vermaelen – Silvestre – Clichy

Denilson – Diaby

Eboue – Nasri – Traore

Bendtner

This could easily be more attacking with the likes of Theo and Eduardo replacing Eboue and Traore in the team above…

Almunia

Sagna – Vermaelen – Silvestre – Clichy

Denilson – Diaby

Walcott – Nasri – Eduardo

Bendtner

And for those of you who want to see the line-up in action… with Sagna in the middle (which I really don’t think will happen)… here it is:

Almunia

Eboue – Sagna – Vermaelen –  Clichy

Denilson – Diaby

Walcott – Nasri – Traore

Bendtner

And that’s it for now…

I’ll be tweeting all day, so follow me for the rest of the discussion…

https://twitter.com/worldofarsenal

  • Kuka

    I have been listening to Barca’s view on the game and am really humbled to find that they do not have the favorite tag that the rest of the world has given them. In any case, if you listen carefuly, you find that they really FEAR the Arsenal. There is real FEAR in their voices and Walcott made it worse by saying he will take the game to them. Off course scared them some more by saying he can do 100m in 10sec…..that can be scary.

    In my assessment, I do think the come-back at Emirates rattled Barcelona, because they did not expect it. Either that or they are way too MODEST

  • kodjo

    @ Dev

    I’m leaning more towards this line up

    Almunia

    Eboue – Sagna – Vermaelen – Clichy

    Denilson – Diaby

    Walcott – Nasri – Traore

    Bendtner

    However Wenger’s inteview on sky indicates that he might play sylvestre….reason being that if we do not have possession then whoever plays in defense will suffer…playing 2 left footed players c’d be a problem…as well as sylvestre’s lack of pace…that c’d probabbly be compensated by playing another holding midfielder in Eastmond….but it c’d be too big a game for him.

    The drawback is that we have to sacrifice speed to make room for the extra holding midfielder.

    I think this selection should suffice as we have a good mix of speed and guile. Then again it depends on our ability to win the ball back and hold onto possession.

  • devday

    @ Kuka:
    You’re right – that’s one thing that I’ve noticed too – they seem to think they aren’t favourites and seem like they fear us too.. mind games?

    On the Sagna for CB decision, Arsene said this:

    “Ideally I wanted Song available, but he is not, so the decision is between Sol Campbell and Silvestre”

  • devday

    @ kodjo: Definitely no Sagna at CB… unless AW on double bluff mode

  • Kuka

    If we go in for pace, then Silves is faster than Sol (LOL)…..but I would rather Sol than another Lefty at left back…..I wonder how Verm feels about all this…..poor guy…He is the only constant in that team. I guess him, Almunia and Nasri are the only ones assured of a place

  • devday

    Marquez and Milito set to start tonight at the back… Iniesta on bench

  • devday

    @ Kuka: In reality, at least we have options…!!

  • devday

    Almunia just posted this picture:

    http://twitpic.com/1dmd7z

  • Kuka

    Am quite nervous!!! One can think am playing the game….I have found it difficult to concentrate all day. Sincere apologies to my employer….I know my boss knows nothing about football. Though she is Dutch, she sort of hates Van Persie….I wonder why….

  • Sam

    I have a feeling Merida will play an important role tonight, as our super sub for tonight.

  • Nick

    As long as we don’t get rocked in the first half like we did last week we will be fine. We have to keep possession and not let them keep us on our heels. We have more than enough quality that take the game. Just have to finish strong. Also, we must defend Messi as if our lives depend on it. He will be the biggest factor in this game, mark my words. With Zlatan out, Messi will absolutely step his game up. Nasri & Theo can keep up with him and run him down.

    Also saw that Rooney is a scratch for the match tomorrow. SAF said he won’t risk him.

  • Will Scott

    Got a great feeling about tonight, I think if we’re still level after an hour, it’s ours for the taking, Barca looked knackered after 60-70 minutes at the Emirates and we can take advantage of that. They’re also playing Madrid at the weekend so hopefully they’ll have an eye on that!!

  • hello

    .
    Dont forget BGB!! (big game bendtner)

  • tom G

    Am I the only one thinking Sol will play, or have I missed something? Le Boss said he’d trust him to tell him if he was fit and I just can’t imagine Sol not stepping up to the plate.

  • Kuka

    @ Tom G. Personally I would do with Sol on the team. His leadership and motivation might just do something special.

  • devday

    @ tom G:

    Initially Sol was ruled out by Arsene on Sunday saying he couldn’t play 2 games in 4 days… but then the Song injury news broke and Arsene has obviously changed his mind.

    Sol didn’t train yesterday, but the consensus is that he will start today. If he does, I bet you Messi/Bojan stick to him like glue.

  • Sam

    Anyone know the team? Update if you can. Can’t wait.

    55 minutes to go… Go Gunners, Go!

    P.S. The winner of Barca/Arsenal will be playing Inter in semi (2-0 aggregate after 60 minutes, CSKA 10 men).

  • Will Scott

    ALMUNIA
    SAGNA – SILVESTRE – VERMAELEN – CLICHY
    DIABY – NASRI – DENILSON
    WALCOTT – BENDTNER – ROSICKY

  • Will Scott

    VALDES
    ALVES – MARQUEZ – MILITO – ABIDAL
    BUSQUETS – KEITA – XAVI
    PEDRO – BOJAN – MESSI

  • Sam

    I was just about to paste the line up, but thanks Will.
    Looks like we’re in for a shaky defence tonight. Shall we bank on the 3-3?
    C’Mon Gunners!

  • Tom G

    @dev
    thanks dev, helpful as always.. looks like i was wrong though. and Silvestre did well against Wolves. praying he doesn’t give any pens away.. in fact, praying for a lot of things.
    C’MON BOYS

  • Will Scott

    Interesting to see Abidal starting ahead of Maxwell. Abidal a much more defensive player.

    COME ON ARSENAL!!!