So the Barcelona tie is only a matter of hours away now and I can’t wait.
I’ll be watching the game with a Sp*rs fan so if we don’t win a torrent of abuse will be coming my way and we all know that’s never good. We still don’t know if Cesc will make the game, all other injury news apart from that is positive – even William Gallas has made the squad so hopefully the injury gods are giving us lots of healing vibes…
I would be lying if there were no nerves ahead of the tie because every top side we have come across this season have pounded us and the last thing we need is another battering, especially at the hand of the club that would sell their own testes to get hold of our captain and take him back to Catalonia to play understudy to Xavi and Iniesta – even though he is probably as good a – if not better – player.
Barca have slowed their tempo this season, they are a bit more leisurely than they were last season and that could play into our favour; but if we went at them total football v total football it could turn into a five-a-side match in goalscoring terms, that’s why we should maybe let them come at us and try to hit them on the break because a 0-0 is a better result for them than it is for us in my book. Yes, the second game is in Barcelona but if they have no away goal it puts us at an advantage.
It will be a massive night for Gael Clichy and Bakary Sagna as they have one of the best ever players to contend with in Lionel Messi. He moves all over the place, starting on the right, drifting over to the left and also cutting inside to shoot – something which he has had big success doing recently. We all know about the back to back hat-trick’s he scored the other week, sandwiched inbetween a double in the Champions League. Hes an amazing player but he can be kept quiet. We need no brainstorm moments from Gael Clichy and quick decisive defending; the boss could go for the high risk strategy of pushing him back with the pace of Gael Clichy but it wouldn’t surprise me if Andrey Arshavin started on the right so to give Clichy more protection. Its not Messi v Arsenal but he is the main threat.
The midfield will be key, we need to get on the ball and drive forward with pace and power, pushing Barca back and pressurising them, not many teams dare do that but we need to do something special to beat them. What could well decide the game is the way the teams react when they don’t have possession, Barca are famed for their hard work off the ball and defending from the very front, we need to imitate that, Diaby should start in the middle and if Cesc is fit we know he will run his legs off, Song should fill the other midfield slot and he is going to need the game of his life, he is working towards being world class and this game could really be the icing on the cake of a terrific year for him improvement wise.
Up front Niklas Bendtner will have to hold up play really well as well as drift around pulling the defenders out of position for Diaby, Cesc and Arshavin to exploit. They will need to do their share of the defending too, I don’t care how big a reputation some players have they must do their share of the graft *cough* Arshavin *cough*.
If you have tickets get to the game early and wave those red and white scarves, I always think English atmospheres are poxy compared to the Spanish atmospheres, when we score there is a cheer, when a goal goes in in Spain there is a gigantic roar, it could be something simple like the placing of the microphones but we need an intimidating atmosphere tomorrow.
And that is that… theres only one thing left to do; win the game.
Can’t be that hard…can it?
Til tomorrow! COME ON YOU REDSSSSSSSSSSS