Arsenal Must Avoid Barcelona in the Last Eight of Champions League
The draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League will take place on Friday, and if luck permits, Arsenal will have an easy road to the finals at Santiago Bernabeu.
Arsenal's performance in the Champions League this season has been nothing but amazing. They topped Group H with ease and destroyed FC Porto in the First Knockout Round.
Chelsea and Real Madrid have already shown that cash doesn't always fetch you trophies. Minnows like CSKA Moscow and Bordeaux have also made it to the quarterfinals, and Arsenal will be more than happy to play either of those two weaker teams.
Arsenal are one among the four teams capable of winning the trophy. Apart from Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Manchester United, none of the other teams can trouble Arsenal, especially with all their injured players coming back and the team looking pretty strong domestically.
Let's have a look at all the other seven qualified teams for the quarterfinals:
• Barcelona demolished Stuttgart in Round-16, and they're in great shape to advance through to the semifinals. The last thing Arsene Wenger needs is to draw the Catalan giants.
Barcelona had an indifferent Champions League campaign so far and succumbed to Ruben Kazan at home, much to the shock of many.
However, you can't discard them even if they're out-of-form. I would really like to avoid them at any cost. They're the biggest threat to Arsenal and the clear favorites to win the trophy.
• Manchester United are the team to beat, especially after the 7-2 mauling of AC Milan. Rooney and Co. are destroying defenses at will and Arsenal have already lost to the Red Devils twice this season in the domestic League.
Wenger may be confident enough to defeat them, but I am no Wenger and the Red Devils are one of the toughest teams remaining in this competition. Arsenal must avoid Manchester United.
• Internazionale Milan surprised Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and are a dangerous team under tactician Jose Mourinho. Wenger and Mourinho are no pals, and Mourinho has fared well against Arsenal.
They don't have any superstars, but players like Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito, and Wesley Sneijder are good enough to spoil the sleep.
Arsenal's record against the Italian teams would send out positive signs for the Gunners, but honestly, Inter would be a tough opponent in the quarterfinals.
• Bayern Munich qualified at the expense of Fiorentina. Some poor refereeing and individual brilliance by winger Arjen Robben helped them get past the Florence hurdle.
Fiorentian deserved a spot in the final eight, but Rafa Benitez cursed them at the wrong time. Bayern are unusually strong in this competition and they're quite capable of going all the way through to the finals, but inconsistency is the major cause of concern for them.
Arsenal won't have any problem facing this comparatively weaker opponent whose defense is fragile, even worse than that of Arsenal.
• Lyon , like Arsenal, went through the qualifying rounds to get to the group stages. But, their shocking victory over Real Madrid shouldn't be taken lightly. They're the most successful French side, and Arsenal must be wary of their team play.
They don't have a world beater like Cristiano Ronaldo, but they are quite good as a team and own one of the best young goalkeepers in the world, Hugo Lloris. However, Arsenal would consider themselves lucky if they get Lyon in the quarterfinals.
• Bordeaux ended Lyon's dominance in Ligue 1 and are doing unbelievably well in the Champions League. They've overachieved so far, but may not give up so easily.
Their success is directly proportional to starlet Yoann Gourcuff's brilliance on the field. Another man to watch out for is Maroune Chamakh, who's rumored to join Arsenal in the summer.
Bordeaux is one of those easy draws and Wenger would be more than happy to play them.
• CSKA Moscow surprised Sevilla and VFL Wolfsburg, but they don't have the firepower to advance beyond the quarterfinals and this is the easiest fixture you could get as an Arsenal supporter.
I have a feeling that Arsenal are going to face a French side this time around. What do you all feel?
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