Posted on December 18, 2015 by ADMIN

Could fixture list and refs scupper Arsenal’s chances against Barcelona again?

Do Arsenal Have A Chance vs Barcelona?

After overcoming the odds to reach the second round in this season’s Champions League, Arsenal were handed the tournament’s favourites in February as Barcelona awaits Arsene Wenger’s side.

The Gunners beat Bayern Munich once in the group stage – their only points from the first four rounds of matches before winning their last two matches, including a 3-0 win at Olympiacos to book their place past the first group stage for the 16th consecutive season.

Barcelona were one of three Spanish La Liga sides that Wenger’s men could have drawn, whilst they would have been considered favourites if they had drawn either Zenit St. Petersburg or VfL Wolfsburg.

It is what it is and with many of the current injury list set to be back by February, perhaps Gunners’ fans will have some confidence in their side upstaging the defending holders.

Barcelona breezed through their group stage and looked set to do the same in La Liga following a 4-0 thumping of Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in late November. However, Luis Enrique’s side have dropped four points in their last two matches by conceding late goals – first versus Valencia and then blowing a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at home to Deportivo last weekend.

These two sides do have some recent history in the Champions League. First there was the 2006 final in which Barcelona had to come from behind to win 2-1, despite Jens Lehmann’s very early dismissal.

Barcelona ran out comfortable 6-3 winners in their quarter-final meeting in 2010. The Spanish side actually blew a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at the Emirates in the first leg and then fell behind to a Nicklas Bendtner goal at Camp Nou. Lionel Messi then went on to score four goals…

The Spaniards prevailed in some controversy the following year. After Arsenal had won the first leg 2-1 at home. At 1-1 in the return leg, Robin van Persie was then controversially shown a second yellow card in the 56th minute before Barcelona scored two goals against 10 men to win on aggregate. This during a period of a couple of years when Barcelona were receiving incredibly friendly decisions from referees in big matches (other notable matches in the Champions League were versus Real Madrid and Internazionale).

Barcelona have always been the favourites to win the three previous ties but have been handed the advantage in two of them by playing versus 10 men. If Arsenal can keep 11 men on the field over 180 minutes – do they stand a chance? Some people, like, think you’ve got a better chance of winning at Roulette than you have of seeing Arsenal progress from this tie.

With Arsenal expected to still be in with a good shout of winning the 2015-16 Premier League come February, if not top of the league, Arsene Wenger will have little opportunity to relax and rotate heavily.

The Gunners face current league leaders Leicester City before the first leg at the Emirates, and Manchester United away afterwards. Before their trip to the Camp Nou, Arsenal host West Brom, and then travel to Everton afterwards. The fixtures haven’t fell too kind for the North London side and the Premier League certainly won’t help out with scheduling – the Premier League don’t do Friday night games for example.

Meanwhile, Barcelona go to Las Palmas (currently 19th/20) before the first leg and host Sevilla (7th) when they get back from London. Prior to hosting the Premier League side, Barcelona are at home to Getafe (14th) before facing Villarreal (5th) afterwards.

Of course, if Barcelona have opened up a gap at the top before then they can afford to rest a few players. Without being too disrespectful, Luis Enrique can probably rest players versus Las Palmas and Getafe and still come away with an easy six points.

The Barcelona front three will surely be too much for this Arsenal defence to handle – Per Mertesacker up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez on the night is surely going to put fear into their fans’ faces.

Hector Bellerin looks like a star in the making but recently he’s being beat by forwards – he hasn’t faced anyone of the calibre of Neymar so far this season. On top of that, Francis Coquelin is their only solid holding midfielder, unless Wenger is able to invest in a player who’s not cup tied, come January.

Barcelona are vulnerable at the back though which should make for a very exciting tie. Alexis Sanchez versus his former team, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla pulling the strings in the middle and Olivier Giroud’s height should give Arsenal a good advantage in the final third.

How much possession Arsenal will have remains to be seen, but having beat Bayern Munich in one of their two matches this season must give the Gunners a little bit of confidence they can pull off the upset in the second round.

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7 thoughts on “Could fixture list and refs scupper Arsenal’s chances against Barcelona again?

  1. WOS

    I beleive this team in form will get the best out of barca and even beat them
    Barcelona plays with high line with high pressure with cazorla,ozil and sanchez ability to get the ball from tight spaces we can pass the first defence line and go counter attacking with theo and sanchez with some magical passes from our wizard we can put the fear in there team and could get a win atleast at the emirates
    but since cazorla and coquelin are not sure to be playing i feel it will be very hard to get a positive result but let’s give it a go we have nothing to lose

    The main target this year is to get the league back to north london

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  2. Davros

    Even though we lost big to Bayern, the fact that we beat Bayen 3-0 gives me hope

    Last season we got a great draw against Monaco that we should have won but had a nightmare home match. Maybe we could do to Barca what Monaco did to us

    Also, Barcelona have not been consistently dominant this season. They have had some loses and draws. So not impossible to beat them

    Another positive is that we will get Wilshere, Rosicky, Arteta, Welbeck hopefully

    The negatives:
    1. No Coquelin- We could use a top DM for these matches
    2. No Cazorla- He is in a class by himself WC player- Ramsey should do a good job though
    3. Barca have WC all over the field lol
    4. Messi, Neymar and Suarez: one of the best if not the best attack in football

    But in football, NOTHING is impossible

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  3. InternationalArsenal

    No way we’re getting passed Barcelona with this team. You can’t put out an average team, refuse to spend and hope somehow you’ll beat the teams who invest in good players. Don’t get your hopes up.

    Let’s just focus on the league .

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 15

  4. Mick The Gooner

    Barcelona’s front 3 are killer. No team in the world can match them up front and we’ll have a real struggle defending against them. Cech will be a very important player for us in this tie, and hopefully Coquelin will be back in time.

    Barcelona’s midfield however, looks a lot weaker than it did 3 or 4 years ago. Iniesta is world class of course. Rakitic is quality, but does he make up for the loss of Xavi? I don’t think so. Busquets is a very good DM too, and they’ll be adding Arda Turan in January. But in terms of overall quality, I think this midfield is weaker than the Barcelona midfield we’ve all grown accustomed to over the years. Answer me this: is there a gulf in quality between a midfield 3 of Iniesta, Rakitic and Busquets compared to a midfield of Özil, Cazorla and Coquelin? I don’t think there’s a big difference in quality between the two.

    Personally I’ve never felt Barcelona have a fantastic defence, and if you asked me to compare it to Bayern Munich’s defence for example, I’d say Bayern’s was stronger, and in two games we managed to score 3 goals against Bayern, so I feel we can score against Barcelona, though that’s just opinion. But we do have quality players up front that can score against any team. The trouble in this game will just be trying to get the ball off Barca long enough to get it to our attackers.

    It’ll be an interesting game. Can’t see how we’d beat Barca over two legs. If I’m completely honest I can’t see us beating them at all. It’s possible but I don’t see it happening right now. Just hope I feel more confident in February.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  5. Mick The Gooner

    Off Topic. Mourinho’s departure today got me thinking, and I’m curious… Who is the best manager in the Premier League?

    Pellegrini is underachieving with the team and resources he has. Van Gaal is struggling for results and is coming under pressure. Klopp hasn’t really had an immediate impact at Liverpool. Pochettino seems a good manager, but Tottenham don’t seem to be going places. Ranieri seems to be flying with Leicester, but will it last? Then there’s Wenger.. And right now I’m unsure as to how good a job he’s done. He’s been extremely consistent over the years and the lack of trophies is understandable given the financial constraints… But now we have money and we should start seeing results. Are we improving? We seem to be, but there’s still lingering issues.. I guess we’ll find out in May.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  6. Koss the Boss

    Im quietly confident that we can get by Barca and heres why;
    ● They are seriously underestimating us
    ● No team has defended the UCL
    ● They have hammered us once 4-1, rest were tight
    ● We beat Bayern this year, we can beat them
    ● If we had took the 1st 2games seriously instead of underestimating them thinking we would walk it (like barca do now) we wouldve topped our group with Bayern, wouldnt be as far anyway off 1st
    ● Lastly, Injuries! If we have them back we have every chance at having a go at barca as i beleieve bayern are the better all round than barca!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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