There are very few pundits, or even Arsenal fans to be frank, who believe that Arsenal really can get the better of Barcelona in the Champions League and progress to the next round. But there is a huge reason that we can, and when I say huge I am not being flippant, because the reason is Petr Cech, who stands nearly two metres high in his stocking feet!
Arsenal beat Barcelona at the Emirates five years ago in this competition, and according to Pat Rice, the only reason we managed that was because of our keeper, no matter what our opinion of the young Pole is right now. Ricey said on Arsenal.com: “I remember that Wojciech Szczesny was absolutely outstanding in the opening 20 minutes,”
“He was absolutely brilliant and he kept us in the game. If he wasn’t in that kind of form then it could have been a cricket score by 20 minutes.
“What I remember most, though, is that the actual fightback by the boys was just incredible. When you take into consideration how we actually played and how well Barcelona played in the opening 20 minutes, it was remarkable that we won that match.
“Time will tell whether we can do that again this season, but hopefully history will repeat itself when we meet them again.”
I believe history can repeat itself, because now we have the world-class Petr Cech in goal, and he has been outstanding for us this season, but even more important is his unbelievable record against Lionel Messi. Cech has faced the brilliant Messi 8 times in his career with Chelsea, but he is yet to concede a goal against the player that has won the European Player of the Year on numerous occasions.
The closest Messi has come to scoring was with a penalty, but even then he only managed to smash it against the crossbar. At that time he had gone seven clear games and as Petr said himself. “I didn’t realise myself for a long time, but, last time we played them, somebody found out and then he missed a penalty and we managed to go to the final and we went on to win the Champions League.
“It’s great, not many people can say they’ve played eight games or how many minutes against Messi and he hasn’t found a way to get past me.
“But, if he scores and we progress to the next round, it’s not important.
“What’s important is for us to make sure that we give ourselves a chance to progress to the next round.
“As long as we keep progressing, if he scores a hat-trick and we go through, then I won’t mind.”
And I won’t mind at all either! One thing I do know, is that if we can beat them with Szczesny in goal, then I feel a lot more confident with Petr Cech in goal….
When we last beat Barcelona, RVP was leading the line…..not Firoud..sorry, Giroud. But miracles do happen
With Cech….four goals lead to Camp Nou will be suffice to takes us through to the next round. Wenger and his magic hat can do this!
take 4 goals to the nou camp?
u gonna buy these goals on plenty of fish?
monopoly money a currency now?
lets just give it our best…..and hope people finally see what ive been saying all along.
giroud is better than neymar
theo is technically more proficient that lionel messi
We are Talking of beating em over two legs and still going on to face our worst nightmare (Bayern)
Now I don’t want to gloat about our rivals players getting injured but Rooney has been ruled out for 2 months, so definitely missing against Arsenal.
This is good news as he always tends to score against us..
hes petr cech not hades god of the underworld .
park anything that remotely resembles a bus…an get a goal from a set play . ozil will provide the lubricant …one of many can provide the deep pleasurable finish.
How did former untouchable Joel Campbell lose his spot to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott?
Wenger favouritism strikes again
comon, f. off. you must be stupid ass hell even to consider that we could beat them
oh yes nothing like a ks team talk to instill confidence.
good job buddy…
Is Cech going to score our goals for us as well??? If Barca gets 5 Chances they will score. and there was me thinking Messi, Nymar and Suárez were all going to miss this game through injury. lo bloody lol!
Do I think we will beat Barcelona over 2 legs. Very unlikely in my opinion – 10-15% chance at best. Do I think pundits in particular and fans in general eulogise and go weak at the knees just a tad too much every time Barcelona is mentioned? Most definitely. I get tired of the sucking up and a%& licking every year. They are a football team with 11 players who need to turn up and play well to win. When they click they are awesome. When they get cocky or frustrated they can be less than awesome. They have lost or drawn 5 of their 24 games this season in La Liga (ie: over 20%). A further 6 of their 19 wins have been by a single goal in a close match. So nearly half their games in La Liga have been either a loss, draw or narrow victory. Of course they have wrapped up some incredible score lines in a few matches but overall very impressive rather than pant s&*****ing stuff.
Also, incredible as it may seem to some but AFC compare very favourably on nearly every metric available for league games this season. Barcelona are famed for slick, precision tika-tac football (although not so much since Pep left) – but our pass completion is within 1% of theirs, we have more key passes per game and more chances created. They have one more shot per game. Shot accuracy almost identical. We do more defending than they are required to so perhaps not surprising that we outperform on most of the defensive stats whilst conceding at about the same rate and with equal clean sheets.
But, and a mighty “but” they score on average one more goal a game than we do (2.7 v 1.6). The MSN effect if you like. I am gloomy by nature but I’m glass half full on this one – good performances and a narrow aggregate loss will not dent confidence and will cut the fixture list down for the all important PL run-in. Win over 2 legs and confidence will sky-rocket and fuel belief for the PL run-in.
Only thing I fear is the humiliating loss and having watched Arsenal for 40 years I know anything is possible on that front.