Barcelona beware, Arsenal's armoury can outgun Catalans

Anyone thinking that Barcelona will just turn up in the red half of north London and waltz off with a win is sorely mistaken. Indeed, to do so is hugely disrespectful to an excellent Arsenal side.

For a start, in Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners have a player who is eager to prove a point.

Not yet back to the form of last season, this will be the game that sparks the Chilean whirling dervish back into life. If there's one thing that unhinges Barca's back line it's a forward who plays with high intensity and energy. Someone who is direct and will get at them from the first whistle. A description that sums up Sanchez to a tee.

He and fellow front man Olivier Giroud will require decent service of course, and in speed merchants Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin, they'll receive it.

It is not too often that Jordi Alba is taken to the cleaners for pace, but his marauding runs up the left wing need to be infrequent and considered. Why? Because both Walcott and Bellerin will run him ragged along that side of the pitch.

He simply doesn't have the pace to get back if either of those two are given a head start and it could be the golden ticket for Arsenal Wenger. Expect to see a number of attacks eminating from that area of the field.

The delightful magician Mesut Ozil should get enough time and space to pull a few rabbits out of the hat too. Sergio Busquets was sorely missed against Las Palmas and unless he closes down the German quickly, there will be opportunities aplenty thanks to Ozil's eye-of-the-needle distribution.

If Messi, Neymar and Suarez are on song, it could be a long night for Arsenal, but all three looked leggy in the last game and a brutal fixture list is beginning to take its toll.

This fixture will be Barca's 16th since the turn of the year. No team in Europe has played more and yet astonishingly, Enrique has managed to see the team unbeaten during that time.

It's worth pointing out that the Catalans have never won at the Emirates. A Zlatan Ibrahimovic double in 2010 wasn't enough as Arsenal came back to draw 2-2. David Villa's opener in 2011 was cancelled out by Walcott with Andrei Arsharvin provide the gloss.

This is by no means a routine game for the visitors even though the hosts will allow them to dictate the pace and pattern of the game for long periods. It's a tough one to call and it could go either way.

Don't be surprised if Messi has to get the Blaugrana out of a pickle again in the Camp Nou return on March 16th.

Be the first one to post the comment

Post a comment

Social Share

Posts by Month