That is NOT a weakness.
Wenger knows that Barca will be missing Ibrahimovic and Puyol AND Pique. Now, I’m not saying that that isn’t a weakness. It is. There’s nothing you can say to convince anyone–including me–that missing 3 critical guys isn’t a problem. Here’s the problem.
Arsenal = minus Cesc
Barca = plus Messi
Enough said. Arsenal can do all kinds of things and I’m sure there are situations that Arsene can watch on film and say “Geez, they were kicking our butts, but we were so close” and make some adjustments.
How is he going to make those adjustments without Cesc Fabregas on the field? He was the leader of this team. He’ll be sitting on the bench and that just isn’t enough. Plus, this is aggregate scoring–so Arsenal is tied with Barca, but now they enter the second match with much less to work with.
It would be one thing if they had another match to work things out, but they only get one more try. Breaking that tie is going to be awful hard without Cesc.
Some people might make the argument that Ibrahimovic scored both of Barca’s goals and now they won’t be able to score.
Aren’t we forgetting Leo Messi? You see, this is what happens when a team is fully well-built. The superstar can stand back and watch while his teammates make things work in one match–then come back with a hat-trick in the next. Leo Messi knows this and that’s why he probably isn’t too concerned.
Also, since he got a form of a break in the last match we can only assume that he’ll be rested and ready this time around.
I guess I have to call it:
Barca – 2 Arsenal – 0