Arsenal & Barcelona: Arguably less cohesive than last year, with Ibrahimovic now as a primary spearhead, but the irresistable form of Lionel Messi means that Barcelona ooze confidence and are capable of scoring goals of all shapes and forms. Toure, Xavi and Iniesta form a formidable centre, while the only weakness, should one need to be made, is the pace of the centre backs.
The Gunners asthetic approach may well be their downfall given that many argue they are similar to their opponents, but with less bite. Much will depend on the performance of Vermaelen and Gallas should they be available. If Diaby and Song are able to out muscle Barca's three centres, then Fabregas could roam forward and provide the sort of service that Arshavin and Van Persie can utilise. The Dutchman's presence in at least the second leg is essential for victory, otherwise their remaining strikers carry little fear, even at the Emirates.
More of the above space has been dedicated to Arsenal but crucially discusses what they will be missing. Without a fully Fledged Van Persie and uncertainty in the centre of defence, Barcelona must be favourites. Arsenal must take a lead to the Nou Camp.
Bayern Munich & Manchester United: Like the holders, England's champions are also spearheaded by a forward, and one that has translated into a world class hitman this year. The improvement in the performance of Berbatov lately shows that United do have added artillery upfront in addition to Rooney. The consistancy and culture of Valencia and Giggs respectively coupled by the energy and flamboyance of Park and Nani mean that United as always have variety and pace, while Fletcher and Carrick become ever more established names. The back five is also looking more settled, though the lack of partnerships at the heart of defence could be a problem. Although very strong in the wide departments, United may be short of a creative spark in the middle.
Like the other leg, Bayern too have a lot of similarities to United, albeit with their pace and imagination less spread. However, in Ribery and Robben they have two devastators, both equally adept wide and cutting inside. Should these two fire over at least one of two legs, the tie will be a close affair, and United should not discount the growing reputation of young German attacker Thomas Muller. Klose, Gomez and Olic are prolific provided chances are fashioned, the question is whether they will be or not..
Expect a closer contest should Bayerns attackers fire, but even then, United have become more miserly over the season, and look capable of scoring at any ground in Europe.
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