Six Things That Will Decide Barcelona Vs Arsenal

Ollie Irish

6th, April 2010


By Ollie Irish

1. Theo Walcott’s pace
“It may be really good for him to run 100m in a little over 10 seconds, but the aim is to get to the goal. We’ll wait there for him and we’ll see what he can do with the ball – let’s see if he can get past four defenders.” Barca left-back Eric Abidal on Arsenal speed demon Theo Walcott.

I have to side with Abidal here. Walcott made a massive impact in the first leg, but mostly because a) he had nothing to lose (so no nerves) and b) he was facing tired opponents. This time he’ll play from the start – or so most people assume – and Barca won’t get fooled again. I predict Walcott will have little say on the tie.

2. Sol Campbell’s turning circle
As Alex Song has groin and knee injuries, Big Sol (or Silvestre?) may be wheeled out to face an attacking trio of Bojan Krkic, Pedro and Lionel Messi. As impressive as Campbell has been in his second stint, why do I have the mental image of a Wildebeest being attacked by three young leopards?

3. Lionel Messi’s genius
After a dynamite start, the boy wonder was pretty quiet at the Grove, so can he step up in the second leg? Leo hasn’t exactly dazzled in the past against English opponents, and with Zlatan out injured, he needs a big game. I think he’ll provide it.

4. Pique and Puyol’s deputies
Arsenal’s one chink of light is at the heart of Barca’s defence, where there will be Pique- and Puyol-shaped holes. Rafael Marquez (pictured) and Gabriel Milito are set to deputise at the back, and whilst they’re not as good as P&P, neither are they nervous rookies. Walcott on the veteran Marquez is a one-on-one that Arsenal must look for as much as possible.

5. Nicklas Bendtner’s shooting boots
No Van Persie, no Fabregas, no Gallas, no Arshavin. As it was against Wolves at the weekend, so Arsenal might have to rely on Bendtner’s newfound match-winning skills. The Dane has been wildly unpredictable in front of goal this season but he is developing an ability to score when it really matters. And you know he won’t be overawed.

Praying won’t help Arsenal

6. Barca’s two away goals
The head screams: Barca will sweep aside a woefully under-strength Arsenal, surely. But then the Catalans should have won 8-2 in the first leg, so nothing is guaranteed. However, we shouldn’t forget that Barca need only draw 0-0 or 1-1 to progress, and given the outstanding ability in their team, and Arsenal’s injury crisis, I just can’t see another miracle comeback. So this time my head and heart are aligned – I think the Catalans will win very easily.

Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (5-3 agg)

How do you see it?

Pies will be hosting a live chat during Man Utd vs Bayern Munich on Wendesday evening. Join in the debate – the best comment wins a footy shirt

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

Share this article: Email


  1. Chris says:

    I reckon Barca will roll them over 4-0. I’m going to predict another Walcott no-show on the cards as well.

    So it’s pretty much guaranteed to be an Arsenal whitewash with a Walcott hat-trick or two thrown in!

  2. Luka666 says:

    At the first point you are missing one key thing. Saying there will be four defenders waiting in front of goal suggests that Barca will be playing deep. In the first match they pushed up which allowed us less space and thats why there were more turnovers. If they do that their full backs will not go forward so much and it will also allow our midfielders more space. Nasri to score, anyone? :)

  3. bade the gooner says:

    Come on mates the odds really dont favoure us (even without the injuries, surely with those mounting from dat to another) but still we have the spirit, the tactics & we have that feeling of “Barca will go through a weakened Arsenal side” to our favoure as i think that is getting to the minds og their players also, so they might come with a lighter attitude to the game (not to say contempt or disrespect)… so they have Messi, my only big concern, but still a good tactics & keeping the managers instructions could see us embarras them at their home ground …. offfffff we still have few hours to kill till the game i’m getting mad already !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. syndex says:

    I have a weird feeling this is going to be one of the dullest nights in european football for 89 minutes long an painful defensive play until inexplicably arsenal score from a scappy corner. Its one of teh things they do occasionally.

  5. hafid says:

    arsenal no deffence and no farwards how can we win miracles only for other players to be stars in this match as the arsenal stars are injured so this game has room for new ones to explore and show what they are made of .


  6. Dennis says:

    “And you know he won’t be overawed”

    Hahaha. Come on Nicklas you legend!!!

  7. arseman says:

    One might think his keyboard didn’t have punctuation signs or caps lock.

  8. Paul says:

    It’s 1989 and all that…

  9. silent stan says:

    the 6 things that will decide are
    2) NO SONG
    3) NO GALLAS

  10. kritter says:

    Nasri is key today. If he can somehow hold the ball in the midfield against the claustrophobic midfield defense of Barca, we might be able to go forward. But if we repeat the performance of Cesc (injured) and Denilson (rubbish) and don’t touch the ball for the first 30 minutes, we’re uh… well, you know.

  11. Dennis says:

    3-1 ARSENAL!!!!!! DEFFO!!!!

  12. Jelly Bean says:

    Chris – I hope you’ve ‘jinxed’ it to be an Arsenal whitewash!
    Can’t help but agree with the general sentiment here though – Arsenal would have a very slim chance with a fully fit squad. As it is, they’re all injured. Barca 3-0, I reckon.

Leave a Reply to Jelly Bean