Arsenal V Barca: Position for Position

I didn’t think I’ll get over the Birmingham sadness so soon. Yet, after a good night’s sleep, I’m quite positive about the first leg of the quarter-final at the Emirates. Fabregas’ injury worry does dampen the spirit but I’m sure he’ll play if he can walk.

Part of my happiness is down to the position for position analysis that I did for this game. Arsenal are not as far behind their more illustrious opponents and the gulf in class is nowhere near as much as the media would have us believe.

Goalkeeper: Almunia = Valdes

In spite of the flak that our Spaniard receives, I’m quite convinced that Valdes isn’t any better. It’s interesting to note that neither of them play for the national side, a point that Almunia haters often make. To me Victor Valdes is proof that a team can win trophies with a dodgy keeper!

Right Back: Eboue = Alves

Dani Alves is widely regarded as one of the best attacking full backs in the world. The amount of money Barca paid for him certainly implies so. Eboue has had his issues in the past but on present form I cannot see how the Brazilian is any better than the Ivorian. If anything Eboue is a slightly better defender and probably a better athlete.

Center Backs: Vermaelen = Pique ; Puyol > Campbell

Vermaelen and Pique are excellent ball playing centre backs. I find it difficult to choose between them. Puyol is slightly better than Campbell due to the fact that he has been playing at the top level on a consistent basis for a long time while big Sol is only coming back to this level. Technically there isn’t much of a difference.

Left Back: Clichy > Abidal/Maxwell

Clichy is another one who has come in for some criticism. On his day he is far superior to either of the Catalan left backs. And we need him to be on top of his game for this fixture.


Song >> Toure

I would pick Song over Ya Ya Toure all season long. The Barca man has been in the media spot light and many fans believe he will be a good addition to Arsenal. I doubt if he can take Song’s place in this Arsenal eleven.

Diaby > Kieta

They seem to be quite similar in build and playing style. Kieta has added some goals to his game this season but I feel Diaby makes a much better overall contribution.

Cesc > Xavi

I rate Fabregas as the best midfielder in the world. Xavi is a fantastic player but he isn’t in the same league as Fabregas. They do perform a slightly different role so this comparison isn’t completely valid.

Iniesta >> Denilson

Thankfully, the diminutive Spaniard will be missing this game so this comparison is redundant.

Front Three:

Henry = Nasri/Rosicky

Three years ago Henry would have been on a different planet and not comparable to anyone. Right now he isn’t. The former Arsenal great is still a more potent attacking threat but Nasri and Rosicky have a better balanced game.

Ibrahimovic > Bendtner

In due course the young Dane will become a better player than the Swede. On present form and abilities Ibra is a much bigger threat than Nick.

Messi >> Arshavin

Messi is on a different level altogether. While I love the talents of our Russian magician, there is no one in the world who can be considered on par with the Argentine phenomenon, not even Ronaldo.


Our defence and midfield are stronger than that of the opponents, especially with Iniesta out injured. Their attack is far more dangerous than ours. We do score a lot of goals but a great deal of that comes from our midfield. We have to ensure that we keep their attack quiet and capitalize on their weaknesses.

Arshavin will be our key man. I did say he is not in the same league as Messi but he is a big weapon nonetheless.

Tactics will be important in this game and I’ll discuss those in the preview post tomorrow.

81 Responses to Arsenal V Barca: Position for Position

  1. FCBarca says:

    Pretty amusing rundown, clearly a Gooner delirious with Gunner love.


    Cesc>Xavi?…This is the same Cesc that plays behind Xavi for Furia Roja?

    Not even a legitimate comparison here

    • desigunner says:

      Cesc plays behind Xavi because they have different roles. It doesn’t prove anything. If someone went and asked Del Bosque if he can choose only one, then we might get a clear idea.

      For the rest I can call you delirious and you can call me delirious, what difference does it make.

      • Aniruddh says:

        ‘For the rest I can call you delirious and you can call me delirious, what difference does it make’ you should get a copyright done for that one, lol

  2. Ahmad says:

    Great article man! =)
    [cumin 4m a pakistani ;)]
    i wud lyk to knw though…WHO wil b ur replacement for injured iniesta?

    • Jibzi says:

      Most likely to be Pedro

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks Ahmad. Delighted to have Pakistani Gooners here.

      I’m not sure whether Guardiola was planning to use Iniesta in front three of in the middle. In midfield two out of Toure, Kieta and Busquets should start with Xavi.

      In front three if he is very aggressive he can start with Henry, Ibra and Messi otherwise he might go for someone who can contribute defensively.

  3. WC says:

    Hmm I’m going to disagree with some of the comparisons.

    Firstly Ibrahimovic might be a whiny, lazy Swede but he’s still better than Bendy. Bendy works a hell of alot harder but Ibra has better vision and skill. If you want to see what he’s capable of on any given day watch the goal he setup for Messi against Mallorca this weekend gone. It looks like a fluke at first glimpse but on replays and close-ups he meant to do it.

    I think Arshavin could be closer to Messi if he wasn’t so lazy and uninterested half the time. Messi always wants the ball and works to get it. Arshavin only does that some times and he has to be in the mood otherwise he’s lounging around like it’s a vacation.

    I think anyone on Barca is better than Denilson, even Busquets and I think Busquets is overrated. Keita will probably start alongside Xavi and Busquets inn Iniesta’s absence and I think Denilson is going to get hell if he doesn’t step up his game.

    I think Abidal and Maxwell are less prone to inconsistency compared to Clichy. Gael’s been getting better but anyone with pace or skill turns him inside out and he’s blown hot and cold the past few weeks.

    Lastly, Valdes is better than Almunia. Valdes is still a clown when you think he plays for the European champions but he’s gotten better since I’ve first saw him and he’s consistently average which is arguably better than Almunia’s sporadic performances. With Valdes I think Barca knows what they get on any given day but with Almunia you get a kind of Jekyll/Hyde roulette and you don’t know which is going to show up. He was brilliant in saving a penalty against Hull and then let in a rather soft goal against Birmingham.

    Pound for pound we can match Barca on paper but what separates the 2 teams is psychological. Barca are champions and they have alot of players who have the winning mentality on the team. Arsenal have little to no winners since aside from Sol, no one has won a championship. I think that’s what has really been Arsenal’s problem for years – the mentality that they deserve to win. Man Utd are an average team at best but Fergie makes them believe that they’re supposed to win whenever they pull on that red shirt – and they believe it.

    I don’t think we’re as doomed as pundits put us out to be against Barca because we play so similar they’re weaknesses are very similar to ours. They let in 2 easy long ball goals against Zaragoza a couple weeks ago and if Bendy is on form he can use that to his advantage.

    • desigunner says:

      Well, I did say Ibra was better than Bendtner, at least as of now.

      I’ve seen Abidal being run around and making mistakes just like Clichy. Maxwell probably hasn’t played enough. It will be down to the performance on the day.

      No denying the psychological battle, something that we have lost against the big teams.

      • dan says:

        Hey desi, I think it’s fair to say you rate Arsenal over Barca, nothing wrong with that, but let’s keep our feet on the ground mate. If we don’t score two at home with a clean sheet we’re going to have problems, as if we don’t have enough already, barca is a team. Frankly, to pull something like this off is going to require no small luck.

      • desigunner says:

        Agree with you dan, this is probably the toughest game of the season so far.

        I love Barca for their football and have huge respect for their achievements. I just think we have a stronger midfield and defence and they have a much stronger attack, which can kill us.

  4. Jibzi says:

    I dont think just because the head-to-head favours Barca, that we should be over-worried. We really need to eliminate thoughts of the horror ending at Brum and focus properly. They need to be told that bad luck can happen anytime and that its just a matter of overcoming the psychological barrier, and keep fighting on. I’ve already said before that Barca’s record in the UK is not great.

    I remember the 4-2 defeat at Wembley (one of Barca’s wins) where the first goal came from a penalty as a result of a blatant dive by Cocu, then as we lick our wounds, they score again quickly, we pull one back by DB10, then Adams slips up for their 3rd, then Dixon makes a great tackle, but the ball bounces kindly for Figo for No4, then Overmars gets a goal.

    I dont think Xavi is fully fit even though they said he finished his last game unscathed (sadly same could be said of Cesc) but I think if we stop Messi, our chances increase tenfold, and can Henry really play at 100%… who knows. Arshavin will have to track back to support Clichy, otherwise Messi and Alves will take Clichy to the cleaners (Messi can do that alone).

    But surely, I dont know about you, but if Bayern win tomorrow, I’ll be so delighted (cant stand ManUre).

    • desigunner says:

      If we stop Messi our chances increase tenfold – perfect. But that’s a very big if and something hardly anyone has achieved 🙂

  5. Amol says:

    Very good comparison!! But I tend to disagree on some of them!!
    firstly Eboue = Alves –> I think is a bit exaggerated! Sure Eboue has shown us what he can do with his skills and drive for d game! But Alves has gt a betr presence , a better crossing technique and stamina thats unmatched !! He can produce a delightful cross@ 120th min to kill d game!! Sorry but cant think Eboue doing that!

    Henry= Nasri / Rosicky
    I dont think even both of them could match what Henry is!! yes hes past his peak , but rosicky is too inconsistent and Nasri is a diffrnt kinda player!

    I think the match will be a big turnoff for all of us!! And both will cancel each other out! The odd goal will be scored by d team which catches d others deference sleepin! And given our habit of keeping it till late , I think we will let a goal in!

  6. Blaugrana says:

    WOW you gooners are biased. Its interesting that you are claiming Arsenal´s soft underbelly and midfield can match Barca. Soon you will see the truth. Puyol, Pique and Alves are second to none and also Abidal and Valdes are much better than most think. Arsenal aint very good vs top teams and especially United have showed over and over again how you keep Wenger´s babies scoreless. Like Lineker said; whatever Arsenal do, Barca do better. Arsenal may grab a draw at Emirates but at Camp Nou they will be humiliated. Hopefully Cesc plays in both games, I dont want that londoners can have any excuses for a loss

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t know much about you but I’m not sure what football you watch. Barca are hopeless in defence and only the supreme talents of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta are taking them forward.

      If you take Messi out of this tie, I’d say Arsenal are firm favorites.

      United and Chelsea played Arsenal on the counter and succeeded due to the inexperience of this team and a lack of a Messi type player in Arsenal. It doesn’t really prove anything. United can keep Barca scoreless if Messi isn’t playing.

      It’s the little things that make a difference, and results don’t always tell the story. That’s the reason Arsenal are still in the title race.

      • puyol says:

        conceding only 18 goals in la liga, best in the league… and you say our defense is hopeless. don’t tell me that “if barca play in premier league they will concede 40” excuse, 18 goals here is proven, is a fact, a reality.

  7. Az says:

    Valdes is consistently linked with a Spanish call up. Almunia barely gets linked with an England call up!! conclusion Valdes is better.

    Alves is in a different class to Eboue! more pace, more stamina, better end product. more importantly, more influence!

    Cesc in 5 years will probably equal Xavi but right now, you only need to see Spains set up to see what works. The only way Cesc got into the starting line up over the Euro’s was by playing out of position. Xavi’s the heart of the Spain squad and Cesc only seems to perform when he plays in Xavi’s position. Though he performs, he does so with less impact. Very similar players but right now, Xavi gets the nod.

    Bendtner will never have the talent Zlatan posseses. Its a natural gift. Unfortunately the Swede is poor when he’s low on confidence. When he’s on top, Bendtner cant even be compared.

    Toure is a much more complete player than Song. Greater strength, better ball protection, better ability at driving forward, better distribution. Diaby would be a closer comparison. Even then id give the edge to Toure.

    I would say that you give Henry more credit than he deserves. Hasn’t performed at all this season and wopuld say he’s worse than Nasri/Rosicky. However, bring pedro into the mix and i would say his contribution this season has been at least equal to the pair of Arsenal players.

    As for Keita, he’s a hard working player who rarely loses possession and always makes himself available and gets into some great positions unmarked. Very good in the air. I feel you have greatly undervalued him.

    I agree with Pique = Vermallen, Puyol > Campbell, Clichy > Maxwell (abidal wont be fit), Iniesta (wont be fit) > Arsenal midfield & Messi > any other player in the world

    I watch both La Liga and Premiership football every weekend and hold no bias so i think i have a more knowledgeable/fair opinion.

    • desigunner says:

      If you read this blog regularly you’ll realize I try to be as rational as I can. Still if you don’t support either team you might have a fairer opinion, but it’s just another opinion. As far as knowledgeable goes, we can never know for sure.

      Xavi has 7 assists and 2 goals in 26 games in La Liga while playing for the best attacking team in the world. I’m not sure how he is comparable to Cesc. He’s come into prominence in the last few years. At Fabregas’ age he was a nobody and right now his experience is the main thing keeping him in the team for Spain. Fabregas has moved to the next level this season and we will see how the future Spain teams line up.

      I can refute a lot of what you said but whats the point of going opinion v opinion. Simply put, you make it sound like Barca will win both games by 10 goals.

    • WC says:

      I disagree completely when people call Cesc the next Xavi because they are far different players. Xavi does not get up the pitch as far as Cesc does. Rarely do you ever find Xavi in the box at the end of a passing play but Cesc is always hungry for a goal in the box. I think just because they’re small and Spanish that people compare them without ever truly understanding football or play style. If anything, Xavi is much more like Vabi Alonso – deep lying midfielder who is pulling strings with passes but rarely ever finishes a move. Cesc can start and finish a play, he’s not like Xavi at all – maybe more Iniesta at best, but even that is a stretch in some respects.

      I think Cesc has come a long way this season and aside from experience, he can match Xavi in terms of ability. That may be the only thing that give Xavi a starting nod – his experience. He has a good 6 years on Cesc and Cesc is already comparable to him – imagine Fabregas at 28. Del Bosque is a very good manager and his system clearly works but if I were him, I’d experiment with a setup that puts Xavi beside Cesc, with Busquets playing behind them and a front 3 of Villa, Torres and Iniesta – now that would be a game to watch.

  8. Beaver says:

    I am an avid Arsenal supporter and Puyol laughs at Sol. The way we will win this game depends on a few KEY points. IF we get Gallas back we will have a very good side. Almunia
    Eboue Gallas Vermaelen Clichy
    Song Diaby
    Nasri Fabregas Arshavin

    The number one thing that will decide the game is possession. If Barca have much more of it I can’t see us winning.
    The last point is our Subs. I believe we have a better bench. Walcott could cause ALOT of damage if he is used in the right way. Imagine this after 70 minutes. (Yes its a 4-2-4 just like Barca has used lately)
    Gallas Vermaelen
    Eboue Song Clichy
    Fabregas Walcott
    Arshavin Bendtner

    Imagine trying to defend Walcotts pace while Bendtner is dragging the line on one side, while trying to defend Fabregas and Arshavin from the other side.

  9. lennie g says:

    Hang on fellas how do we know that Denilson is in fact going to be in the starting line up, surely Eboue deserves a start on the right of midfield, which would allow Sagna to play at full back straight away making our defence more solid. Come on you Gunners.

  10. Jonny says:

    Desi – I like this blog and frequent regularly but Barcelona have the best defence in La Liga! They could not be further from ‘hopeless’.

    • desigunner says:

      That’s not the right word to use, I’ll grant you that. I just get irritated when people come up with meaningless statements where almost all Barca players are far superior to Arsenal players.

      Their defence isn’t special and if they played in England the story would have been different. But now we are moving into speculative waters. Better to refrain.

  11. Wells says:

    Well, that’s a rather optimistic viewpoint. You haven’t seen Barcelona in action since that night in Paris, I suppose?

    – Being optimistic and/or slightly biased is one thing but let’s not be delusional. It is absolutely mind-boggling how you can refer to a team that has the best defensive record of any major European side and kept a clean sheet in no less than 26 games this season as “hopeless in defence.”

    – It is true that Valdes has committed some high-profile blunders in the past but he’s been excellent for Barcelona this term and very consistent. Almunia is neither and in all likelihood never will be.

    – There are right-backs in the Premier League right now that are better than Eboue while Alves is only matched by a single player in all of Europe – Maicon.

    – Fabregas is one of the best in the world in his position but he’s nowhere near Xavi when it comes to controlling a game and dictating the pace. Xavi can elevate his entire team single-handedly (look at Barcelona’s win against Inter in the group stages where they were without Messi and Ibrahimovic and still made Inter look like a second-tier side). Xavi is a real genius and easily Barcelona’s (and Spain’s) most important player, even ahead of Messi. Fabregas can equal him in the future but he still has a long way to go.

    But at the end of the day, Arsenal shouldn’t look at individual match-ups anyway. What they need is a spirited team performance, two in fact, and hope that they’re the better unit out on the pitch.

    • WC says:

      Fab can’t control a game? Go watch his 25 minute cameo against Aston Villa earlier this season. The good thing about this game is simply that Vermaelen will be available and Song can go back to being in the center of midfield. With Denilson playing there on the weekend, Cesc looked out of sorts – I don’t think he believes in Denilson’s abilities but he looks very comfortable when Song is there to sweep up anything in the middle of the pitch.

      Sol is slow but Vermaelen is very quick and determined and I think Sol marking Ibra is a good match with Ibra’s laziness, while Vermaelen can chase Messi and stifle him. If I were Vermaelen I’d watch last season’s CL Barca/Chelsea when Hiddink absolutely muffled Messi and Barca on a whole. If not for the 90+ minute shot in the dark by Iniesta, then these praises for Barca might not have happened. I think Barca has the edge in some areas, maybe even more than Arsenal but in cup games it’s who shows up on the day as Chelsea and Madrid have already seen. You can completely bomb in your league and win the CL, that’s the magic of cup competitions.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree hopeless is not the right word. It was more of an impulsive reaction.

      If you read the article I’ve not criticized their defence too much but I’m sure Arsenal are relatively better in defence.

      Last season I wouldn’t have mentioned Alves and Eboue in the same breath but a lot has changed this season.

      Have replied to the Cesc/Xavi point above. Will write a post on it after the game.

      Completely agree that it will be about the team performance. That’s Wenger’s mantra anyway.

  12. arsenalmaniac says:

    sagna campbell verma clichy


    fabregas diaby

    nasri arshavin

    arsenal to win 3-2 on wednesday, and 2-2 next week at camp nou, arshavin to score in both games!!! mark my words gooners….

  13. rabshaqa says:

    Even as an Arsenal fan I can never deny that Xavi is better than Cesc. Just facts man. Just facts.
    You need to watch Barca.
    But that dosen’t mean they will knock us out.

  14. Hong_gunner says:

    Nice read. But i’d have loved it more for a zone vs zone comparison(eg. Clichy vs messi). Though i doubt messi will be deployed completely on the wide right space. Pedro will be Guardiola’s trump card on the right, i guess, trying to cause clichy to pin back in his own half with his dynamic play and remain too tight, and hence trying to open up space in the middle for messi and co to exploit, aided by Ibra roaming around and dropping deep to try pull our defence. Messi will probably play off Ibra. Solution? I’d like us to start with the following line-up:
    sagna campbell vermaelen clichy
    nasri arsha
    I dont like to name formations, but this will be sth like a 4-1-1-1-2-1 system on paper. Diaby to play as a left sided midfielder slightly ahead of song to try help congest the left channels and aid clichy in defence. Arsha to drift along the front-line and keep Alves busy. Nasri to play as a half-winger(right) which will help in our link-up. The key though, is using the spaces. in our link-up play.

  15. Ilyas says:

    Desigunner, good post and even better reply especially those who compare fabregas and xavi. Most of them dont even watch barca regularly and just make comments based on one or two games. Xavi is a great player but i dont think is better than fabregas.

  16. manas says:

    If Walcott plays, we will lose the match. As simple as that. Otherwise we will win comfortably. 2-0 or 3-1. My prediction.

  17. manas says:

    If Walcott and Denilson play, we will lose the match. As simple as that. Otherwise we will win comfortably. 2-0 or 3-1. My prediction. Team should be like below :

    Almunia (bull sheet but no choice)
    Eboue Sol Vermealan Clichy (horrible)

    Nasri Fabrega Song Diaby Arshavin

    Walcott and Denilson should sit in the gallery.

  18. critic says:

    aricle is over the top.

    certainly position to position doesn’t matter b’coz it’s not puyol which campbell has to face, not vermalaen vs pique.

    barcelona defeated teams last year which rapes arsenal over and over again, doesn’t matter where they play, in their own backyard in arsenal’s backyard, everywhere…

    my verdict on ur article : -0/10

    • critic says:

      crap, i thot u wl delete my comments.

      very bold of u to take the criticism in ur chin and move on….

      frankly ur every article until today was 9/10.

  19. oleguer says:

    My God, this is the most delusional and biased comparisson I’ve ever read. Firstly, Valdes is a better goalkeeper than Almunia period. Even a Madridista will say so. How a Gooner can forget the saves he pulled in the first few minutes and the second half of the Champions League final of 2006 and compare him to the oaf known as Almunia is laughable. It’s not only that match though. He performs in all the big games. Last season he kept out Drogba FOUR times (you do know Drogba’s record against you don’t you?) during the Chelsea ties as well as making game-saving saves against Madrid in the Clasicos at the Camp Nou for the past two seasons. And the basis of your argument is Spanish national caps? Why don’t you apply the same criteria when you compare Xavi to Cesc?

    Secondly, Eboue = Alves? Perhaps at diving but nothing football related. Only Maicon is a better full back than Alves in the World today. Alves has better technique and vision and his link up play with Messi is better than the understanding Eboue has with your RMF. Whilst not all his crosses come off, when they do it usually results in a goal. Iniesta at the Bridge? Ibra versus Madrid? Both goals came from Alves’s crosses and whilst The the Iniesta goal wasn’t a direct assist, the quality of the cross lead to Terry and Essien failing to clear the ball.

    Song >> Toure? That’s probably the most hackneyed one of the lot. If Song is such a reassuring presence why the hell do teams continually get at your defence? United and Chelsea both tore you apart and you’ve conceded many goals which a solid DMF would have prevented. Yes you’re an attacking side and you throw men forward but so do Barcelona and they concede less goals than you or anyone else for that mater.

    Cesc > Xavi? Xavi controls the game from deep which Cesc hasn’t learnt to do yet. That’s why Xavi, Xabi, Iniesta and Silva are ahead of him for Spain. Whilst Xavi can play further forward (his goals last year are a testament to that) he really has no need to. I’d even say that Fabregas isn’t the best Spanish CMF in the EPL as Arteta is a more rounded player who can also play on either wings and is bullied off the ball less.

    There are only two positions that any Arsenal player could replace one of the Barcelona XI. Arshavin and possibly the left back but bar those two positions Barcelona man for man are superior to Arsenal in every single position.

    • The Dane says:

      The Dane likes this.

    • desigunner says:

      Valdes/Almunia – We can have our opinions, but there is no rational way to say which opinion is correct. The basis for my argument is not national caps, it’s something I never consider. In fact many Arsenal fans deride Almunia for a lack of caps and I just reminded them that Valdes doesn’t have many either.

      Alves is brilliant going forward but his defensive skills are not that good. If you read carefully I’ve said they are both equal and I’ve also said Eboue is a better defender, which automatically means Alves is a better attacker. Since this is an Arsenal blog, I didn’t spell it out.

      Wenger thinks Song is better than Toure. That’s enough for me. From whatever I’ve seen Toure is extremely overrated.

      Cesc controlled the game from deep three years ago when Henry was here. Since then he has moved on towards making himself a complete midfielder. Xavi is not even half the player Cesc is. If Xavi was so good, why wasn’t he working wonders for Spain when he was 22/23? At 30 midfielders can look good if they play with Messi and Ibra or Torres and Villa in their team.

      Arsenal will probably struggle due to inexperience and a psychological question mark, man for man only Barca attack is better.

    • critic says:

      song doesn’t have the sole responsibility to save every goals….and i agree with desi song>>>>toure.

      As desi has pointed out again and again, problem lies in fundamentals of defense not with particular player(exception denilson).

    • yaya toure says:

      you can totally corrcet. this position comparison is way off and biased.

  20. JohnW says:

    I actually think Arsenal has a stronger midfield whether Iniesta is playing or not. Our strength is in hardwork and variety. Diaby and Nasri ensures this. I think the team that gets a first round advantage will go on to win the tie. If its a 2:2 draw tomorrow, then Barca will go through, if its 0:0 then Arsenal will go on to qualify. remember Arsenal play better away from home, it has been like that for a very long time, and it wont be any different this time.

    • desigunner says:

      My worry is, we don’t know our fitness situation one week down the line. We need a good win at the Emirates to have any hope of going through

  21. Gtr gooner says:

    Tactically speaking i think we can use walcott pace and high work rate to stop messi but then walcott will have to play on left side. To stop barca i think whenever we lose possession we need to assemble at great pace and work harder. desi gunner m waiting for ur tactical approach towards this tie

    • desigunner says:

      I think there are two problems with Walcott – One, he doesn’t have enough experience of such games especially on the left and hasn’t had a run of games leading to this one. Two, he gives the ball away quite often.

      We cannot afford to give the ball away to Barca, we have to make them take it. Otherwise we are digging our own grave.

  22. The Dane says:

    Hello there Arsenal.
    I’m a Barcelona fan. These comparisons are useless because they are made of an Arsenal fan who obviously is blinded by his love to his club.

    So i’m going to make this simple and clear. If Arsenal have in mind to play thier play as was it Fulham they played, they will be punished. That will give Barcelona much more space than they are used to when they play in the spanish league. Space you don’t give Barcelona. You saw it last round where Stuttgart was forced to play offensive to score to get through. Or last year where Lyon and Real Madrid got smashed 5-2 and 6-2. It’s the same principle.

    But if Arsenal, as Chelsea last year, play defensive both games they have a chance.

    Is very ironc that Arsenal is better man to man, according to you, but Barcelona play the best football, even with there resevers.

    • The Dane says:

      It’s *

    • desigunner says:

      Well, by that logic your reply is useless because it’s made by a Barca fan who is blinded by his love to his club.

      Nobody at Arsenal underestimates Barca, we all know how big this test is.

      • The Dane says:

        The (big)difference is though, that my theory is fact as my examples are corret. Barcelona haven’t lost to a big club since they lost 4-1 aginst Real Madrid in 2008.
        Who can disagree on that?
        While your theory and observations are clearly seen from a Arsenal-favourable-perspective.

  23. 8 inch knob says:

    With regards to players available,

    Arsenal have:


    Barcelona have:

    (d) = doubtful


    GK: Valdes = Mannone > Almunia
    RCD: Campbell = Puyol > Marquez
    LCD: Vermaelen = Pique > Milito
    RB: Eboue & Sagna = Alves
    LB: Abidal = Traore > Clichy > Maxwell
    CDM: Song = Toure > Busquests > Diaby > Keita > Denilson
    CM: Diaby > Xavi > Keita = Toure >> Denilson
    AM: Fabregas > Iniesta = Nasri, Rosicky & Diaby > Xavi
    LWF: Arshavin > Pedro > Henry = Vela, Diaby & Nasri
    RWF: Messi >> anyone we have playing there
    ST: Ibrahimovic > Bendtner

    • oleguer says:

      Bloody hell, this is more ridiculous than the original post. How did you calculate Valdes = Mannone? Are you basing this on Carling Cup appearances? Valdes is a very underated keeper who may have struggled with crosses in the past but has improved on that aspect of his game immensely. At shot stopping he is one of the best in the World. If you’ve been watching Barcelona recently you would have seen his one-on-one saves in the Stuttgart first leg as well the Valencia and Mallorca matches. And it must also be remembered that it’ll be Bendtner shooting at Valdes!

      Campbell being on the same level as Puyol? Seriously? If Ricardo Fuller can manhandle Campbell then I’m sure Ibra will embarass him. Marquez may be on the same level as Campbell now but Puyol is quicker and more decisive and is a better defender. Also, you’re underestimating Milito who is basically a left footed Puyol.

      Eboue and Sagna > Alves? I’ve already covered this above but you obviously don’t watch Barcelona much. Sagna might be as fast as Alves but he can’t cross, loses posession too often and relies too much on his pace to defend. Both Clichy and Sagna are fast full backs but neither can tackle which is why Pedro and Messi will have a field day.

      Diaby > Xavi??? Really? Xavi often completes matches with a 90% pass completion rate. Let Cesc reach that level before comparing Diaby to Xavi.

      Fabregas > Iniesta = Nasri? No.

      • 8 inch knob says:

        Yeah Denilson also finished matches with 90% plus pass rates for us. Doesn’t mean we hail him as world class you deluded fool.

        What has Iniesta done for you this season? As a direct comparison to Cesc he is lagging far behind to Cesc’s 18 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. Iniesta has 1 goal in 39 games. Xavi has 6 goals in 41 games.

        There is a reason why Fabregas is currently No.1 player (according to Actim) in England, you idiot.

        If Yaya Toure is such a great defensive midfielder then why do you rarely play him there, instead favouring Busquets.

        Truth is you don’t even know the qualities of your own team let alone ours.

  24. Javier Rubio Pareja says:

    fisrtly, what do Indians know about football? stick 2 cricket!
    how can u class Valdes and Almunia the same? Valdes has won games on his own. v chelsea last season, otherwise they would have won 4-0! and also in the final v Man utd! first 10mins!
    Alves is far superior. How can u even compare Puyol to Campbell? Clichy is quick, but thats all! Pique is solid. Xavi is class, so is Cesc (barca youth of course)! Yaya will dominate Song. my friend. i think u r still in dream land, WAKE UP. i will be at emirates also Camp Nou. so we will c!!
    Arsenal 2-3 Barca
    Barca 3-1 Arsenal.

    Adeu todos, visca Barca, visca Catalunya!

    • desigunner says:

      Firstly, what does javier rubio pareja know about Indians?

      I don’t say you can’t have an opinion, but please don’t confuse yourself and misrepresent opinions as facts.

    • critic says:

      what do u know about barcelona??ur in more debt than arsenal. u play in softish league, if u have been playing in epl, u wud have always hav half ur team injured,forget the development of messi.

      who are u to judge indians on footbal

  25. Jinky Mosely says:

    really wish all these barcelona fans would piss off back to their own blogs. Many of them probably aren’t even spanish, just glory hunters who wouldn’t have even known who barcelona were 15 years ago.

    • oleguer says:

      15 years ago huh? I remember how Arsenal used to play 15 years ago. 11 men behind the ball, “one nil to the Arsenal” and all that.

    • The Dane says:

      And so what if we aren’t spanish or catalans? We know much more about football than you colored Arsenal fans do. But just live with the thought that Arsenal, on paper, can match Barcelona. It is not for fun that the medias undoublty claim us as favorites.

  26. Javier Rubio Pareja says:

    hehe, i would but we dont have a blog!
    and u r right, im not spanish, im Catalan!! have been a Barca fan for 28years and attend most home games and big away games. but thanks 4 looking out 4 us Jinky Mosely! I will b at the Emirates, will u?

    ciao! Javier!

  27. lewis says:

    i think a few of these are slightly wrong. i am an arsenal fan so dont say i am biased. i have to admit barca are a better team than us. i see it like this:
    alves>eboue (only slightly)
    messi>nasri/rosicky/walcott (we should play nasri and have walcott as an impact sub)
    if barca had iniesta they would be better, if we had v. persie we would be better
    however i cant help but think messi will be the difference between the teams just like with drogba and chelsea
    i think we can give them a run for their money at home, but will simply have to play counter attack in spain as they are just so trong defensively and going forward
    i predict 2-1 to us at home then 3-1 to them away as they will have iniesta back and the catalan crowd will be INSANE

  28. Marc says:

    Funniest stuff I’ve ever read. “In due course the young Dane will become a better player than the Swede.”

    LOL, what are you high on? Bendtner is an average player and will never be anything else.

  29. Erenvp says:

    i swear xavis injured

  30. critic says:

    barcelona are crap……CRAP, CRAP and MORE CRAP…..ask arsenal fans what it means supporting a club that going thru such a bad spell….half of ur so called catalans wud have left if u guys hadn’t won any thing for 5 years….two years without trophy u changed ur manager….if it had been 5 years u might have changed clubs…..

    and we don’t have to be at emirates to support our club….do u go to heavens to pray to gods??

    tell u what, if u dn’t have barca blog then create it.

  31. […] Barcelona: A Football Lover’s Dream I’m not sure what many people understood from yesterday’s article. So many felt that I was trying to claim Arsenal are far superior to Barcelona. Some tried to […]

  32. mike in africa says:

    please watch some barca games… it’s embarassing what you’re saying about valdes 😀 simply laughable.

  33. devin says:

    It’s cool that you love your team and all…but your analysis is a little bit embarrassing.

    You obviously haven’t watched too many Barcelona games – but you’ll see one tomorrow! Perhaps you can readjust your analysis afterward 🙂

  34. shane says:

    this is so biased it is not even funny. the only position Arsenal could be better is nasry>henry. you must have been smoking that shit while writing this.

  35. tMe says:

    I think we should all clam ourselves and instead focus on the two awesome games we have ahead of us. Yes I’m a barca fan, but first and foremost a fan of the beautiful game, which both of these teams play better than anyone else.

  36. […] Arsenal V Barca: Position for Position I didn’t think I’ll get over the Birmingham sadness so soon. Yet, after a good night’s sleep, […] […]

  37. barca96 says:

    oleguer, dane, WC, AZ, wells, & javier please join us at for some good un biased read.
    what up mike in africa…

  38. marian says:

    are all the Arsenal supporters THAT FUCKING RETARDED?

  39. Javier Rubio Pareja says:

    im not critising any1… im just saying that this desi gunner dude doesnt know what he is talking about.
    anyway, arsenal could whoop us, we could whoop them! i personally think it will be a 3-3 draw, but in Camp Nou, they dont have a chance! so desi gunner, sorry if i offended u, but u really should follow a team in ur own country and actually go 2 watch ur team play. watching on tv and watching live is 2 different things. TV doesnt show players working off the ball, in the stadium u can c everything.

    • desigunner says:

      You didn’t offend me, don’t worry about that.

      The interesting bit is no Barca supporter has given any real fact based opinion. It’s easy to come and call anyone deluded but if you don’t back your words with rational analysis it just makes you sound dumb.

      Even more interesting is that some Arsenal fans talked about your defence based on facts and I’ve immediately acknowledged that!

  40. Ozymandias says:

    Dude, I totally agree with you. Making analysis on crack is way more fun.

  41. […] Arsenal V Barca: Position for Position « Desi Gunner […]

  42. machete says:

    Oookay now what do you have to say about “Xavi<Cesc" or the rest of midfield after the first match?

    Or about the defenses comparison after the second leg?

    Arsenal played 45 minutes of football altogether over two legs. Congratulations

    • desigunner says:

      I’m completely sure about what I wrote and there is no change to that.

      That article never claims Arsenal are a better team. Messi and to some extent Ibrahimovic make Barcelona a better team. Without them all the possession wouldn’t take you anywhere.

      The Barca defence was opened up by Walcott, wonder how it would stop someone like Messi. Just be grateful the young genius is in your team and enjoy his performances.

      • machete says:

        The Barca defence was opened up by Walcott, you say, but you refuse to remind the circumstances: Maxwell – a wing back, not a good defender, tired after a high-tempo match, faced a fresh-legged Walcott who is a better runner than player. Also, Barca played like crap as a whole after the second goal.

        Also, I thought the possession is also one of Arsenal’s virtues, so watch how you use that argument. Especially since Barca beat Inter 2-0 without Messi or Ibra, but with possession, and Almunia saved around 10 shots at the start of first leg. Messi wasn’t man of the match then, Xavi was (although some may say Ibra).

        You seem to either not think your arguments through or just change them accordingly to what you have to counter.

  43. devin says:

    dude – you are a HOMER! your analysis was so dead wrong. At least have the balls to admit it.

    by your analysis arsenal is better in most areas – if that were true then what the hell happened? Oh wait, barcelona was better before this game, and they’re obviously better after.

    It’s a team game – and even though we have the best player in the universe – it takes more than one player, and as barca has yet again proven, they have the best TEAM in the world.

  44. […] Cesc and Xavi When I did the position for position analysis before the Quater-Final first leg some people jumped on me simply because they had a different […]

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