All the teams left in the last eight of the Champions League have stated that FC Barcelona is the team to avoid. And, we, Arsenal, were lucky enough to pull the "short straw." Now the question remains, is Barcelona the "short straw," and if so, do we have any chance?
Despite everyone around the world, besides Arsenal fans, saying that we have no chance, I believe that we, out of the remaining clubs, have the best chance to beat the reigning champions.
With Messi in the form we all know he is in, this is by no means an easy draw, but we can and will handle it.
All the hype says that Barcelona are unbeatable, but I'd like to clear that all up. Barcelona are beatable, and we have the fire power to do it. We have seen this year that even the "small" club, Rubin Kazan, have won against them.
Often when teams set out against last year's best team on earth, they play Barcelona's game. They don't try to stop them playing it, and force them to play theirs, they just try to nullify the situation. This is why we have a good chance of succeeding where other teams have failed.
Arsenal is rated at the top with Barcelona, with the most "beautiful" style of play. They have often been compared to each other in this sense. This involves the best passing game, this is were the tie will be decided. With our styles of play so similar, it will be down to who plays better.
Both teams have world class players. Barca have the best player in the world—Messi—Xavi, Ibrahimovic, Iniesta, Henry...the list goes on. Arsenal, on the other hand, are less experienced, but you cannot underestimate the skill of our players; our midfield general-Fabregas, our rock at the back Song, Nasri, Rosicky, Vermaelen, Diaby, Arshavin and by then we may even have Robin van Persie back; although he would be a doubt to play, let alone start.
During this game, though, the result will come down to just a few of these amazing footballers.
I believe the game will decided by the possession and which team makes the most of the situations they are given. The team that makes the most errors will lose.
Messi, the player of the moment will have to be kept quite, not and easy job. This task will be given to Clichy, ever since the start of the season, he has been plagued with injury and is only just starting to get back into form. He will, I hope, give Messi a run for his money.
Clichy's speed and size (he is not a big player making him quite agile, but is still big enough to out muscle Messi) will provide Messi with a bit of competition, and I think when defending Song will have to sit back and provide Gael with any assistance he might need. This i hope will be enough to silence Messi.
The rest of the game will decide upon us, and our efficiency. Fabregas and the other player in central midfield with him be it, Nasri or Diaby, will all have to step up and show the qualities we all know they have. Hopefully Fab, can stay focused and try his hardest, to show what Barcelona lost out on when they let him go.
This is where we can win it. Both great passing teams, Arsenal though, i think, have the edge. We distribute the ball a lot quicker, and hopefully our front men can step it up an finish the chances they are given. Arshavin, may be subdued by Alves so we will have to rely upon our right forward and Bendtner to step up and make a difference.
Arsenal are the best attacking team in England and Europe, (with 18 goals in the Champions League,) in this aspect we may prove a handful for Barcelona, rather than them for Arsenal.
If we play well, which we have proved we can,(e.g 5-0 against Porto), with no sloppy play and silly errors, we can give Barcelona a run for their money and even come off victorious.
Now, all I hope is that Arsenal can do what is easy to talk about, but could prove to be hard to put in practice.