Arsenal versus Barcelona will be the best game of the year. It was last season and it will be again this time round. Take a look at the stats and you’ll see that in five games against Barca, Arsenal haven’t won a single one. This time will be different and I predict that the Gunners will win the game.
I’ve got a bit of history predicting result. My followers on Twitter will confirm that I once predicted three results in a row and even correctly named Manchester United’s Obertan as a goal scorer in one of them. I’m not saying I’ve got a crystal ball but I’ll have another go: Arsenal will win 2-1 with goals from Van Persie and Arshavin. Villa will score Barcelona’s.
So why do I think they can beat Messi’s lot. Well, first of all there’s Van Persie. He’s on fire. If he can maintain this form and stay fit he could become one of the world’s best players. He can take opposition players out with a single touch, he’s so gifted. Last time Arsenal played Barca they had Bendtner up front who, let’s face it, plays as if he’s made of cardboard. Having a cutting edge instead of a blunt one will make a huge difference to the Gunners.
Another player who wasn’t in the Arsenal team last time around and whose inclusion will benefit the side is Jack Wilshire. He’s so good he could play for Barcelona. He also seems calm on the ball and never phased. The midfield three with him, Song and Fabregas will need to dominate Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets if Arsenal are going to get a result.
Dominating Barca’s midfield is a big ask you might say but Arsenal are on good form and more importantly they have a point to prove. Last year they got annihilated, taught a lesson, it’s like they were back at college and Barca were a university. This time around, especially playing at home, they won’t want to get shown up.
I’m going to be watching out particularly for players’ movement off the ball, particularly the midfield three. Both sides play a similar formation and like to keep possession so the trio who move off the ball the most and make new angles will determine which side dictates the play.
Last time Arsenal played Barca they had Bendtner up front who, let’s face it, plays as if he’s made of cardboard.
For the fan it’s going to be a beautiful game by two sides who pride themselves on playing football how it is intended. Neither side will park the bus like Inter or try to close the game down like Chelsea – I still believe when Iniesta scored the winner against Chelsea two seasons ago he did it for all mankind!
Of course there’s always the Messi factor. The Arsenal players will all go out there believing they’re as good man-for-man as the Barca team, except for Messi. He’s the only player who can really phase Arsenal. I mean, he’s inhuman! But Barca too will be worried about Walcott. He may only have the control of Championship player but his speed can kill them. It’s going to be really tight but, overall, I think Arsenal’s hunger for revenge and their home advantage will tip the match in their favour.
I can’t wait.
Click here for more Diary of a Pro Footballer
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook
Click here to follow Rohan Ricketts on Twitter