By Andy Jones
Tonight we see two giants of the beautiful game clash and by bea-u-ti-ful I mean the two teams who play the most easy on the eye football, they set the standard for which other teams should aspire to play like so it’s no surprise that fans and neutrals alike are looking forward to this match in apprehension. Arsenal has asked it’s fan to wear all the red and white they can and to create a thunderous atmosphere at the Emirates, while the return of club legend Henry is certainly going to cause some noise, we just have to hope the football is going to live up to its billing.
All eyes tonight will be on Messi, he has the world at his feet. Quite Literally. He has to be considered one of the greatest ever and yet he is still improving. Expect some mazy runs and wonderful skills from him, he has the explosive pace to leave the Arsenal defence looking like it’s standing still, the only player who may keep up with him is Clichy who will definitely have his hands full and probably won’t be bombing down the wing to support the attack as much as he is use to. But with all the focus on how the Arsenal defence will handle Messi, Ibra & co, no one has really looked at a rather slow Barça back line, Dani Alves has pace, but is just like Clichy, prone to charging forward on the attack and players like Arshavin will love the hole he leaves.
Midfield will also come under close scrutiny, with Iniesta already ruled out and Cesc facing late fitness tests. This is where the game will be won and lost in my opinion, if either team gets into their passing rhythm, then the other will find it alot harder to get in the game. Expect Song and Keita in both teams to be working damn hard to break up play, they will be alot more important than people think. However, Arsenal will need Cesc for this game. No matter how well Nasri played against Porto, Cesc is what really makes Arsenal tick and without him it changes the whole dynamics of the game.
Finally, my guess on the final score, this is of course influenced by the fact I’m an Arsenal fan. I won’t deny it (plus I feel my fellow AFR writer Dominic was rather tough on my team) I think Arsenal could win this! We are at home, Barcelona are not as attacking away from the Nou Camp. Either way I think it will be a close game as long as the Arsenal defence keep their concentration or Messi will make them pay. I would like to say if Arsenal win, it will be 2-1, but I can see a 2-2 draw, I think it will be a lot harder for Barcelona to win here in London. Either way I am looking forward to this game like a kid looks forward to Christmas, let’s hope we see a truly amazing game.