Barcelona welcome Arsenal to the Nou Camp tomorrow night for the return leg fixture of their quarter final tie that ended in an unexpected 2-2 draw at the Emirates stadium last Wednesday. Fresh from a convincing 4-1 win over Athletic Bilbao over the weekend, the Catalans are definitely the favourites heading into tomorrow’s game.
As i watched the first leg tie at the Emirates last week , i was thoroughly amazed at Barca’s fluidity. In fact it almost slipped my mind that Barca were the away side. Arsenal were reduced to mere spectators in front of their own fans. Now, if last week’s game is anything to go by, then Arsenal should expect an even tougher match tomorrow.
Arsenal definitely have their work cut out for them. Getting those 2 goals and ensuring they do not concede any will be a task easier said than done. Add that to the numerous injuries that Arsene Wenger has to contend with and the balance tips over to Guardiola’s team.
Arsenal will be without Fabregas, Arshavin, Van Persie, and Gallas for the match while Barca will be without the hero of their first leg tie Zlatan Ibrahimovic who sustained an injury during his sides warm up preparations ahead of their La Liga fixture with Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.Puyol, Pique, and Yaya Toure are also out although midfield maestro Andreas Iniesta will be available.
Going by the injuries that both teams have, this tie looks like a very open affair. News of these injuries is likely to motivate Arsene Wenger and his squad greatly. We can not rule out anything however, Barcelona still have the 2 away goals advantage. Arsenal will also be encouraged to know that three of Barcelona’s regular defenders will be out of this fixture.
Barca’s defense will be a pale shadow of its self and the gunners should exploit that weakness. Walcott showed that his pace is more than what Barca can handle and Guardiola will want to contain him at all costs. It will be a tough one to call but i predict a 2-1 score in favour of Barcelona.
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