Arsenal face Barcelona in first knockout round
Arsenal face probably the toughest opponents in the European Champions League tonight, when they host Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium. Barcelona of course feature the cream of the Spain‘s World Cup winning side, plus superstar Lionel Messi and they still want Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal have most of their injured players back, except of course long term injury Thomas Vermaelen. Without him they will field Djourou and Koscielny in central defence, the best options that they have available, but that may not be enough against the might of the Catalans. Wenger fielded an almost full strength side in their 2-0 win against Wolves at the weekend and Samir Nasri has been added to the squad for tonight’s game. Wenger is being cagey about whether he will actually play, but I believe if he possibly can, he will.
Barcelona‘s strength all over the field is legendary with a midfield featuring Xavi and Iniesta. Puyol and Danny Alves at the back and David Villa and Lionel Messi leading the attack. All world class players. Barcelona sit top of the Spanish Liga 5 points clear of Real Madrid and 10 points clear of 3rd placed Valencia. But they only managed a 1-1 draw at the weekend against lowly Sporting Gijon.
Arsenal totally dominated Wolves at the weekend, but were only able to score 2 goals. They will need to be on top form tonight and possibly have Barca below their best to get the goals they need.
Spurs once again upset the form book last night, beating Serie A leaders AC Milan 1-0. Peter Crouch hit the winner on 80 minutes, from a cross from Aaron Lennon. AC Milan then had a late equaliser from Zlatan Ibrahimovic disallowed, due to a foul on Michael Dawson. There was an even bigger sensation after the whistle, when AC Milan Captain Gennaro Gattuso headbutted Tottenham assistant manager Joe Jordan. A yellow card will keep him out of the return leg, but I am sure that there will be further investigation and he will face a longer ban.
Meanwhile Manchester City only managed a 0-0 draw away at Aris Salonika in the Europa League round of 32. So they are not looking great in any competition at the moment.
By Max Power