Champions League 2011: Can Arsenal Beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou?

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2011

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 21:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks on during the round of last 16 Copa del Rey match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou stadium on December 21, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Barcelona and Arsenal will face in the Champions League for the second straight campaign, and it will feature some of the greatest players in the world, and the peak of their careers.

Barcelona's trio of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi were the nominees for the Ballon D'Or, the award given for player of the year.

Messi won the award, and will try to duplicate his second leg of the round of sixteen vs. Arsenal last season, when he scored four goals vs. the Gunners at the Nou Camp.

Messi historically was poor vs. English clubs, but after a goal in the 2009 champions league final vs. Manchester United, and four against Arsenal last season, Messi seems have to figured out the best way to play vs. the Premier League's best.

Barcelona has looked unbeatable this season, and have world class players sitting on their bench, such as Argentina captain Javier Mascherano.

Barcelona came into The Emirates last season playing very well too, and Arsenal managed to gain a 2-2 draw, scoring two late goals.

The last goal came at a price however. After equalising with a late penalty kick, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas limped, which was later diagnosed as a broken leg.

Fabregas was born in Barcelona, and attended their youth academy where he became friends with many current Barcelona stars such as central defender Gerard Pique.

Barcelona tried to buy Fabregas from Arsenal this summer, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did not allow his young captain and best player to leave.

Fabregas has become frustrated at Arsenal's inability to win trophies for a number of seasons. They have many good players, but have yet to develop enough, and show they can win big premier league games, let alone pressure champions league games.

The battle this season will be Arsenal's offense vs. the Barcelona defense. Barcelona will score, their attacking trio of Messi, David VIlla and Pedro is too good to stop over a two leg fixture.

Arsenal must score, and Fabregas will need help from Samir Nasri, Maruane Chamakh, and Robin Van Persie.

The Barcelona defense is quite strong in the middle, with center backs Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol among the best in the world at defense, but their outside defenders are weak.

Brazilian Dani Alves is a good passer, and is fast, but his one on one defending is weak, and against stronger opponents, he can be exposed. 

Arsenal must score often, because if Barcelona gets an early lead, they will make the tie a keep ball session, and Arsenal will chase to no end.