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It was never going to be an easy place to visit in the first place, but after Arsenal had to change the names on half of the tickets that were initially planned flight to Spain, the task becomes much more harder. It is hard to envisage an Arsenal team without Gallas, Fabregas, Arshavin and Van Persie that could challenge in the Premier League itself, let alone in the Champions League against what is currently the best team in the world.
However, that is the task faced by Wenger and Arsenal. There’s no two way about it. The backups or the replacements or reserves will need to step to the plate. They may not have the same guile or quality that the aforementioned four has but sometimes in football, those characteristics can only bring you so far. The others that can drive you to the finish line is the desire, willpower and also belief.
The odds are firmly stacked against us. With the two away goals advantage, the only way for us to advance to the next phase is to win the game. It is as simple as that. Forget about the 2-2 draw which will take us to extra time and/or penalties. Forget the 3-3 draw which means the away goal advantage to us instead. Believe me when I say that the latter 2 is much harder to achieve than the first one.
Even Barcelona is not at full strength. Puyol and Pique are suspended while Ibrahimovic is out injured. There are also concern on Iniesta, whether he would’ve recover sufficiently to play any vital part in tonight’s game. I do not think that the situation will be the same as it was a week ago. By that I mean that the ball possession and the incredible first 20 minutes will not happen again. That was Barcelona in perfect form and as always it is hard to be 100% at all times.
At to that, the fact that Wenger probably have learned from last week’s game. That we cannot allow Barcelona players time and space on the ball to play their game. This is a good a chance as any to use our supposedly superior fitness to play an aggressive pressing game. That is the key tonight. Not the brilliance of individual players like Messi or Alves, but the time afforded on the ball. We saw last week how when not in possession, Barca players practically hunted each and everyone of our players who has the ball. That is what we need to do as well today.
It’s not like it is hard to guess what our line-up is going to be tonight. There are only so few players to select from. In spite of his effective cameo in the first leg, I do think that Theo Walcott will start from the bench and come on early in the second half. I think this will be the line-up
It’s as big a game as any. A spot in the semifinal is on the cards. Of the two remaining competitions that we’re involve in, this is the one which we can decide our own fate. Yes, we might not be the same calibre as Barcelona but in football, the word certainty do not exist. Let this be a dress rehearsal for our next victory in Spain at the Bernabeu.
Come on you Gunners!!!!!!