Arselona: The Arsenal & Barcelona Composite XI

Ollie Irish

31st, March 2010


By Ollie Irish

Put together a composite XI made up of the best players from Arsenal and Barcelona and what do you get? Something like this (note: based on current ability rather than career overall, and assuming all players are fit):


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Victor Valdes, Barcelona

Some tough calls in there. Yes, I’d take a fully fit, motivated William Gallas ahead of Carles Puyol and Thomas Vermaelen. Just. And I’d also take a fully fit Van Persie ahead of either Zlatan (so much talent but has a rampant ego and does f-all in big games) or Thierry Henry (a couple of years past his peak). Otherwise, it’s fairly straightforward, with the possible exception of Clichy/Abidal, and Clichy’s form this season has been patchy, so the Barcelona left-back gets the nod.

Agree/disgaree with the team?

Posted in Arsenal, Barcelona, Champions League, Featured, Top 10s & lists

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  1. Andrew Dickens says:

    Vermaelen for Pique, but the rest are okay. And THANKS for pointing out how good all our injured players are.

  2. Ollie says:

    Dickens, you are on crack if you’d take Thomas V over Pique. As good as Vermaelen is, he’s still raw, whilst in my book Pique is one of the best centre-backs in the world, already. Immense every time I see him.

  3. Erichero says:

    I guess we must all be on crack then.

  4. Chris says:

    Pique is colossal – in a good way

  5. tp says:

    I’d probably take Song over Toure.

  6. Hugo says:

    Vermaelen over Pique is a no brainer, although I’d probably take Pique over Gallas…

    Also, you’ve selected four central midfielders which is odd, espescially when both teams play 433. I’d take out Xavi and put in Arshavin.

  7. Ollie says:

    Song over Toure? In a season or two, maybe. Right now, Yaya is a monster.

    @ Hugo – yeah, I’d play Iniesta further forward in a 4-3-3.

  8. Karl Lusbec says:

    Team is spot on, but I agree with Hugo on the fact that you picked 4 central midfielders.
    What about the subs? I’d say:
    – Arshavin
    – Song
    – Henry
    – Puyol
    – Campbell

  9. TheTruth. says:

    Absolute retards. Stop reading the sun for ten minutes.

    Song over Toure. Idiot.

    Take out Xavi. Idiot.

    Gallas!! IDIOT!

    It’s close between Puyol and Vermalen. Pique is a shoe in.

    Alves. Vermalen, Pique, Abidal.
    Toure, Xavi and Cesc
    Messi, RVP and Iniesta

  10. Krave says:

    Best of the best line-up

    Valdes, lb Abidal, cb Pique, cb Vermalen, rb Eboue, cm Toure, cm Diabi, lw Iniesta/Arshavin, am Xavi/Fabregas, rw/fwd Messi, stk Ibrahimovic/V Persie

  11. pakke says:

    Valdes; Eboue-Pique-Vermaelen-Clichy; Song-Xavi-Cesc; Messi-RvP-Arshavin

  12. Knows everything about football says:

    Bendtner over Messi

  13. Hugo says:

    Hahaha ‘TheTruth’?? You cerainly seem to think very highly of yourself, how about we look at some figures for this season:

    Andres Iniesta- appearances 38, goals 1, assists 6
    Xavi- appearances 39, goals 5, assists 9

    Cesc Fabregas- appearances 34, goals: 18, assists 16
    Andrei Arshavin- appearances 34, goals: 11, assists 6

    Of course stats are far from everything, but they do add something to the reasonable discussion (something you appear to know little about) of this argument. And most importantly, they show that it certainly is not either ‘retarded’ or ‘idiotic’ to suggest Arshavin and Fabregas would make a side with one of Iniesta or Xavi on the bench.

    But thanks for coming, you’re an absolute treat.

  14. gamblino says:

    Still have to agree with ‘TheTruth’s team. Space for Fabregas and Vermaelen ahead of Gallas. Xavi is essential.

  15. Hootie says:

    I’m trying to stay out the Xavi-Arshavin argument because the absurdity of it may cause my brain to melt. Statistics don’t even begin to do justice to Xavi’s genius. He’s the best midfielder in the world and the only one with a reasonable argument against that is Iniesta.

    I’m curious, though, why it seems that no one in England rates Puyol. He rarely makes mistakes, plays his best when the stage is the biggest, and isn’t as physically limited as he’s made out to be. Sure, he looks like the missing link, but the man can play.

  16. Ollie says:

    @ Hootie. What you said about Xavi. Exactly. Arshavin is very good but not fit to clean Xavi’s boots. Puyol is strong for his size but I think Gallas has more ability overall. Pique is astonishingly good for his age.

  17. TheTruth says:

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    Graham Taylor was a big fan of football by stats if I remember!

    There’s nothing idiotic about having cesc in the team but some of the calls are absurd. Cesc is fantastic and walks in to the team. Eboue, Gallas, Song, Diaby…nowhere near the standard required.

    Not having Xavi in the team is a sure sign of mental retardation. And iniesta is seriously under-rated…in england.

    Arshavin is good but not over Iniesta.

    Calling for xavi to not be in the side is not reasoned debate…it’s madness. First name on the teamsheet.

  18. Chris says:

    @Hootie: I think a significant factor in England’s low rating of Puyol, generally speaking, is the constant degradation he seems to receive from our commentators (Green/Tyldesley/Drury/Beglin et al) who seem to endlessly refer to his supposed physical and technical limitations in the few games we get to see him play in.

    There are a lot of people out there who need other people to do their thinking for them.

  19. Jelly Bean says:

    Gosh what a lot of Barcelona shirts – really makes me feel confident about tonight… :(.

    Have to disagree with Gallas over Vermaelen, a fully motivated Gallas v. a fully motivated Tommy V? Easy.

    And I’d swap Xabi for the Meerkat, but I may be slightly biased…

  20. Hugo says:

    That’s a bit better TheTruth!

    I don’t think Iniesta is underrated in England, if anyone is it’s Xavi (perhaps the root of my part in this particular argument…). For a couple of years I’ve rated Iniesta as the best central midfielder out there and, from the bits I saw, looked even more influential than Messi in Barca winning the Champs League last year. But this year he’s not quite found the same level.

    And while, as we both stated, statistics can be misleading they can’t be completely denied- Cesc is the ‘first name on the teamsheet’ (excluding Messi obviously) as his very impressive stats only paint about a quarter of the pictur of his contribution.

    Maybe you’re right that Xavi should be included, in which case you’d have to push Iniesta forward, and if that happens I’d have to take Arshavin over the 2010 vintage Iniesta. Arshavin might not have been at his best this season either but as a forward he’s more dangerous.

    Basically what I’m saying is Cesc is a no brainer, and I’d play Arshavin as a forward over either Xavi or Iniesta soyou can take your pick between those two for the other midfield spot.

    And Hootie, Chris et al. I’ve always rated Puyol and I know quite a few others who do too. The rumours that Barca wanted to move him on a couple of years ago always seemed very odd to me- probably why they weren’t true I suppose!

    I’m enjoying this debate so I’ll open another can of worms: Iniesta’s injury makes the midfield interesting tonight because I’d have Diaby over Sergio Busquets….

  21. alex says:

    van persie? hahahahah hell no

  22. Gareth says:

    Van Persie over Ibrahimovic? Are you off your rocker? RVP can’t stay fit, and Ibra has proven himself in big games (see: today’s game, the winner against Real.)

  23. Andrew says:

    RvP over Ibra any day.. Ibrahimovic has attitude issues.. if he doesn’t have/get the ball, he won’t do fuck all.. RvP is a unique player.. I don’t think there’s anyone with a better left foot than him (maybe Messi, but when it comes to power RvP is on top).. Ibrahimovic is selfish, RvP is a team player, Ibra maybe better in the air, but RvP’s foot work is insane!!

  24. Hugo says:

    Wow, do I have my tail between my legs this morning…

  25. Brent says:

    Why has no one mentioned that Yaya Toure has made the “Composite XI” when he doesn’t even make the Barcelona XI these days. Busquets has been ahead of him for ages.

    Other than that, I’d say it was a fair line-up.

  26. Bikram says:

    Why is everyone talking about their being 4 central mids. Iniesta has played as left forward for Barca on many occasions. Him on the left, Messi on the right & van Persie up front.

  27. […] Vermaelen – Many of you threw your toys out when I failed to include Vermaelen in a Barcelona-Arsenal composite XI (I had Pique and Gallas as the centre-back pairing) but I think his two displays against Barcelona […]

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