Arsenal vs Barcelona – The Preview – Nasri Returns…

The big day has arrived…

It’s Arsenal vs Barcelona, at the Emirates… our biggest game of the season and we’re on top of our game, so Arsene says and raring to go for this one. I’ve spoken to a lot of fellow Gooners and there is a genuine excitement and buzz around the place… a different buzz, a confident buzz, a “we’re going to beat Barcelona” buzz… the question is, is the team ready for their biggest test of the season… actually, the biggest test of any Arsene Wenger team perhaps?

Straight onto the team news… straight to Arsene’s recent announcement of the squad:

“Samir Nasri is in the squad. But the starting line-up will be decided tomorrow. He’s recovered quicker than expected. I said it will be 21 days but it will be only 17 days. Everybody’s absolutely adamant that he’s completely medically available. It’s down to me to make the decision. I will take no medical risk but it’s good to have him in the squad. Rosicky is available. He’s in the squad. But there’s no Diaby. He has a calf problem. He did it with the French national squad against Brazil.”

So, what do I think about the Samir Nasri situation? Yes, he is back in the squad, but it’s been quite a while since he’s played. If he is 100% fit, he should play – if he is not 100% fit and there is any chance that he will get injured again, then he shouldn’t. The conundrum is that if Arshavin plays, but is not on top of his game, then he is a weak link – but if Nasri plays and gets injured, then we’re shooting ourselves in the foot…

Would I play him from the start? No, I wouldn’t. He shouldn’t – if a player is injured, and returning, he needs to be eased into the team by small outings and 20 minutes at the end of the game – I can’t see any good in risking the player, considering it’s mid season and we have another leg.

My predicted team is therefore…

Szcznesy

Eboue – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Walcott – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of Almunia, Gibbs, Squillaci, Denilson, Nasri, Chamakh and Bendtner

This year, I honestly believe that we can do it – I don’t know why!

Maybe because Arsene keeps on saying things like this….

“The only thing I can say is we are in an ideal condition to face them. We cannot complain. We have the belief, the confidence and the players available. We are 90 per cent in February and that was not the case last year. I feel we are in an ideal position to face them. We just want to show how good we are. We want to show the belief we have in our game, in our quality, more than looking at the past. We have practiced. We are determined, focused and we want to win this competition. We know we face the super-favourites of this competition but the only way to do it is to knock them out.

Arsene – he is the eternal optimist!

Let’s see what we’re made of… for those of you fgoing to the game… come down to the Tollington pre-game… I promise I will be there…!

  • Fo

    Very excited for the game tomorrow.

    Reading the statement from Wenger on Nasri – if the player has been passed as fit then he should start – he is better than Arshavin and will protect Clichy much better.

  • devday

    Yes, if he is fit, then he should play. How many times have you seen a player not been fit – then play and then get injured? Too many times…. Cesc, RvP, Gallas last season were rushed back for “big games” and we lost them all for longer periods of time…

    If fit, yes, but if any doubt, then no!

  • Aussie Gooner Dave

    Devday is spot with the starting line up.
    Barring any unforseen injuries, I’d expect Nasri to replace Andrei after 60-65 mins. It’s a great side, full of confidence but we need to keep our heads and not to get carried away with the occasion. It’s also going to be a great test of young guys, if they can stand up to the pressure and get a result, it’s going to give them even more confidence.

    Living in Oz, I’ll be setting the alarm for 5.30am, get the coffee machine on and watch the mighty young Gooners come of age. Arsenal 4 Ever.

  • ZimGooner

    I think if N8 is fit he’s better off than Arshavin the meercat. He’s bound to be more creative and his genius matches no other. We’re sending Barca to Coventry! Lol

  • devday

    @Aussie Gooner Dave

    Come on you Reds!!
    Totally agree – Nasri can come on and finish them off!
    Get an eary night, you’ll need the energy!

  • devday

    @ZimGooner

    IF fit then yes, but if not 100%, it’s a complete no no – we’ve rushed players back too soon before and it’s ended in disaster. Nasri is such an important player that we need him for the rest of the season not Just one game! But for all I know, he could be in better condition than we all think!

  • nkdon

    I’m reminded of a few lines from Rocky 6 with this juggernaut of a match upon us:

    Duke: You know all there is to know about fighting, so there’s no sense us going down that same old road again. To beat this guy, you need speed – you don’t have it. And your knees can’t take the pounding, so hard running is out. And you got arthritis in your neck, and you’ve got calcium deposits on most of your joints, so sparring is out.
    Paulie: I had that problem.
    Duke: So, what we’ll be calling on is good ol’ fashion blunt force trauma. Horsepower. Heavy-duty, cast-iron, piledriving punches that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle his ancestors. Every time you hit him with a shot, it’s gotta feel like he tried kissing the express train. Yeah! Let’s start building some hurtin’ bombs!

  • mahulik

    thse are the games that should excite every arsenal fan out there.i’this is what it should be about the mighty arsenal v barca,well i’m buzzing inside.no one outside the arsenal gives us a chance but our history say’s other wise.like i said the other day it’s a bonus game for me & if arsenal could beat barca over these two games then the world is our oyster.give it everything guy’s & don’t have any regrets unlike last season when we showed them too much respect.can’t wait.let every arsenal fan on here be an arsenal supporter tonight cause this gooner is going to give everything in support of the arsenal tonight.i may not have a voice in the morning but who cares.c’mon the arsenal you can do it,our great history say’s that we can.

  • Berth

    Dev check this out.

    The tall blonde man in his late 60s picked up his phone to see who had sent a message. He was surprised to see an old enemies message in this crucial time that requires maximum concentration. picking the i-phone he scrolled to the message

    Mour: hello Monsieur Wenger I wish you good luck today

    Monsieur could not comprehend; he had not received message from this man; not since he was called voyeur by the same man. however; being a gentle and calm guy he responded;

    Monsieur: thanks but who is this?

    Mour: Am the special one; I know we haven’t spoken in a long time but am texting to help and possibly offer a tactical advice

    Monseieur: LOL; who would listen to the advice of someone who lost 5 – 0… oh! I forgot you spanked them 3 -1 at your home; perhaps I could use your advice.

    Mour: thanks for hearing me out.You have a massive chance; but the key is to attack Barca’s flanks; that Alves is weak and Maxwell can be outpaced.

    Monseuir: is that it?

    Mour: common; they have pedro in your weak spot; you don’t have a Sagna; but you know what; I learnt my lessons. Do not get pulled too much on the wide areas and do what you know how to do best; attack with pace.
    Monseur: ok

    Mour:Again when they press get someone in your team who can hold the ball against three pressing player; let me think Diaby; oh I read his injured. Another option is to increase the pace of your passing and movement; it might help.

    Monsieur: thanks for the advice. Am sure you did not text for this; because you don’t offer things for free. What exactly do you want

    Mour: well; over the course of the tie if you go through; I need to buy Fab.

    Monsieur: what? you know what f***k off and please do not call or text again. you voyeur.

    The blonde tall man switched off his phone nodding his head casually; at least I took of that voyeur off my chest.

    Now I have a free mind. Over to you Messi and Guad; hope you guys are ready to rumble.

  • vj

    Samirrr is starting amazing come on you gooooooooooooonnnnnnnneeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrsssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Tm17

    Cooooome ooooonnnnnn arsenal !!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t care about the away game as long as we
    Play well today !!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeffo

    GET FUCKING IN THERE YOU BEAUTIES, HAVE SOME OF THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Berth

    greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat stuff!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    That game was awesome. Jack Wilshire played a blinder, let’s do it again in the second leg.

  • Vazy

    AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! such a nerve wracking last 7 mins

    GREAT RESULT! What a fabulous strike from Van-THE MAN-Persi

    and loving our little meerkat popping up with a beaut!

    BRILLIANT GAME! such a result! A VERY VERY PROUD DAY TO BE A GOONER!

  • Vazy

    oh and what a performance by Koscielny, Szcznesy and Superjack! awe inspiring!

  • devday

    Come on you Reds!!! What a win!

  • Sam

    Great job! Proud to be a gooner. All the boys played their hearts out! We salute you.