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Arsenal vs Barcelona – Champions League Match Preview

March 29 2010 By Isaac Asante
Giants Arsenal will host European title holders FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League at the Emirates Stadium, on March 31.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas celebrates as they beat FC Porto 5-0 in the Champions LeagueThe Londoners experienced a huge boost of confidence in the competition through their last game in Europe which ended in the 5-0 demolition of FC Porto; while Barcelona also have positive memories from their 4-0 home win over Stuttgart in the Round of 16.

Arsenal vs Barcelona – The Memories

This hot encounter is arguably the most exciting one of this stage of the Champions League.

Not only does it present high football personalities such as Cesc Fabregas, Arsene Wenger, Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola and Xavi Hernandez, but also does it inflict remembrances in the minds of players from both sides.

 

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry and Arsene WengerThe veteran striker did not fail in stamping his name in the history of the English football, and the playmaker’s impact was surely the reason behind a huge part of Arsenal’s success in the early 2000s.

The ex-Arsenal captain had a great relationship with coach Arsene Wenger and rising star Cesc Fabregas; until the former manager of Barca Frank Rikjaard proposed a deal to the French talisman.

Thierry Henry was also the man behind Campbell’s goal in the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona, as he was the one who took the indirect free-kick in the first period, only for the England defender to head it in past Victor Valdes.

Now, Henry is back at the Emirates Stadium, and he can expect nothing but a deserved reception from his one-time coach and partners at Arsenal.

From the point of view of a Barcelona fan, one can only hope that Henry’s performance – should he play – will not be tarnished by his old memories; unlike like AC Milan’s David Beckham who totally submitted himself to his ex-manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Lionel Messi and Cesc FabregasCesc Fabregas vs Lionel Messi

The young Spaniard Fabregas has now become the main star of the Arsenal football club, being given the captain armband by Wenger recently.

Many years ago, Fabregas played in the youth side of FC Barcelona, where he met Lionel Messi. Both were connected together by friendship; but unfortunately, they were separated by fate, as Fabregas was signed by Arsenal.

Lionel Messi however stayed at FC Barcelona, and as a result of his hard work and talent, the Argentine now appears as one of football’s greatest players ever.

Winning trophies has now become an easy thing for the reigning FIFA Player of the Year; whereas on the other side, Fabregas has been struggling to clinch silverwares.

In the last few months, Messi has been calling on his old Spanish friend to return to the Catalan club; but nevertheless, Fabregas hasn’t stopped pledging his loyalty to the London side.

Despite everything, both players are presently categorized among the best footballers at the moment; and just when both of them seem to be getting the most attention from the public, they are placed against each other in the Champions League.

Emotionally, logically, as well as analytically, such a meeting requires courage, determination; and the consequences of their performances might be the evidences of both players’ maturity.

Arsenal vs Barcelona – Based on weekend results

Birmingham vs ArsenalBoth Arsenal and FC Barcelona were in action at the weekend in their respective leagues, but not everything ended too positively for both sides.

Due to their perfect run in all of their recent games, Arsenal entered their Premier League game against Birmingham at the St. Andrews Stadium on Saturday with hope and self-belief.

Indeed, French starlet Samir Nasri got a late goal to give the Londoners a deserved lead, but just like two seasons ago, Birmingham scored a late equalizer – this time – to level the score line to 1-1 a few moments before the referee’s final whistle.

In Spain, Barcelona played against Real Mallorca away from home, and although the home side struck the post a few times, Barca went on to win the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

With this in mind, Barcelona could appear as the favorites in Wednesday’s Champions League clash, but the fact that they’ll be travelling for the second time in less than 7 days could be a huge challenge for them.

Arsenal vs Barcelona – The Consequences

This game will mean a lot for both teams from a financial point of view, as well as in terms of consequences.

Anything that happens will undeniably have an effect on them, and none of the coaches would want to take any responsibility for a disappointing result.

Arsene Wenger of Arsenal FCArsenal and Arsene Wenger

For some time now, Arsenal fans have been complaining to their coach Arsene Wenger for not being able to bring glory to the club.

Arsenal have not won any titles since the times when Henry was one of them, and their run in Europe has not been too convincing either.

Last season, Arsenal impressively reached the semi-finals of the Champions League only to be humiliated by finalists Manchester United 4-1 on aggregate.

Arsene Wenger’s stay at the club has long been a great subject of debate, and since the French manager has been unable to live up to expectations lately; one next major mistake could be deadly.

As at now, the Gunners can dream of winning at most a double consisting of the Premier League title and the Champions League trophy; yet, even one cup could be somewhat satisfying to Arsenal fans.

For sure, if the Londoners want to dream of reaching the final of the Champions League this season as a sign of improvement to their supporters, then they’ll need to prove theirselves in the first leg of their meeting with FC Barcelona at home; for an unconvincing result in that first leg could serve as a punishment in the second-leg encounter at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona and their record

Barcelona after winning the UEFA Champions LeagueBarcelona somehow grabbed an unprecedented treble of La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey in 2009.

Afterward, the Catalans won three more titles that same year as they stole the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

The world’s most successful team was hoping to repeat such an historic success this season, but their dream has already turned into an impossibility following their loss to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey back in January this year.

Nevertheless, Barcelona are still regarded as a powerful club, and their coach Guardiola is aware that his side’s desire of winning their two last titles could be destroyed; if ever they failed to consider the immeasurable importance behind their task at the Emirates Stadium.

The Blaugrana might have lost their midfielder Andres Iniesta  at the weekend due to an injury; yet on the evening of March 31, Barcelona have the opportunity to make big efforts and attempt to keep their hopes of clinching a double alive by fighting Arsenal in London.

The whole of Spain, including non-Barcelona fans, are conscious over the fact that a letdown on the part of Barca at the Emirates will probably cause the end of the Catalan reign.




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