For this section, we each gave each other five questions to answer. Let us know what you think. Here are Manuel's questions, and my answers.
-Does Pep's Barcelona deserve to be considered as one of the greatest teams ever (as many pundits do)?
It all depends on what they are able to do, they don’t deserve it yet – but maybe in a year or two you would have to say that they do. I feel like this team are being judged on their predicted success, and a lot of it is because of the success of the Spanish national team, which has players from different clubs as well. If Barcelona are able to win six trophies, and then more than four next season, or consecutive Champions League and La Liga trophies, you might have to say they are. But right now Internazionale are (on paper) the best team in Europe, as the last team to win the Champions League.
-As an Arsenal fan, just how great would it be to eliminate Barcelona?
Apart from the Cesc situation, I have nothing personal against Barcelona and I don’t really care who we eliminate when we’re trying to succeed. Perhaps the Arsenal community feels differently, and have a burning hatred against our Catalonian adversaries, but I doubt it.
Sure they’ve caused us some heartbreak on a few occasions, but this is football, it’s a cutthroat game. If they hadn’t beaten us, then they would have been the ones feeling the pain. It would just be great to get through to the next round, sure it’s better beating Barcelona than it is Copenhagen, but it’s not the be all and end all. It doesn't mean anything unless you go on to win the whole thing.
-Do you believe Wenger's policy will bring great success to Arsenal in the near future?
It depends what you define by great success. I think people need to recognize that this policy by Wenger is not one he was lying in bed one day and thought of. If you look at Arsenal’s accounts, it makes a lot more sense to be frugal and invest in a young team. We simply don’t have the same levels of transfer funds that the other teams in the league do.
So really, I think he’s already successful. Will he bring success in the shape of a trophy? I was hoping he would on Sunday. I missed the game (due to a stupidly planned train journey) so I can’t comment on the game itself but it sounded as though when the opportunity came for them to actually win, the players were like animals in the headlights.
It’s something they can learn from, and hopefully apply the lessons they learnt next time they’re in a similar position.
-How scared are you that Messi might decide the tie like last season?
Not at all. Something has to decide the game, it could be Messi again, or it could Villa, or hopefully Bendtner and Arshavin. You have to respect and admire talent like Messi’s, the guy is a ‘phenom’, but being scared of him is the wrong reaction.
-In all honesty, is Cesc really better than Xavi and Iniesta?
It’s very difficult to say. In my honest opinion, I would say that he is, but I watch him play every week and he’s the captain of my team so it’s almost impossible to be impartial – this is the fan’s perspective after all. But it seems Xaviesta (can I get that copyrighted) are given the nod over Cesc, not only in the Spanish team but also in the Ballon d’Or voting – so from that perspective perhaps Cesc is a step or two behind them.
That being said, Cesc has adapted his game to play in the Premiership, and if he ever does go back to the La Liga it should be no problem for him to adjust to the way the game is played. Xaviesta don’t have the same experience outside of the comfort zone of Barcelona, and it would be interesting to see how they would do, leading the midfield for Arsenal or another Premier League club.