Feb 14

A VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Barca blogger on Arsenal clash & more

Arsenal play Catalan giants Barcelona on Wednesday night in what can only be described as one of the biggest games of the season. Barca, who could only manage a 1-1 draw against Sporting Gijon at the weekend, will be confident after dominating the two legs during last year’s Champions League clashes.

However, Arsene Wenger’s side were missing key players in those games with the likes of Robin van Persie, Andrey Arshavin and Alex Song playing minimal if no part in either game. Injuries forced Wenger to play Mikael Silvestre in defence at the Nou Camp where he faced the unstoppable Lionel Messi, but admittedly things could have been different.

Nicklas Bendtner and Jack Wilshere have both said that Arsenal have what it takes to beat Pep Guardiola’s men, while the world’s football pundits make Barcelona favourites to win over both legs.

Gooner Talk caught up with ‘Shekhu’ from one of the biggest Barca-related websites on the Internet, totalBarca, to discuss Wednesday’s match and much, much more. Check it out below.

How do you think your season has gone so far?

It has been a dream run for the club this season. It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that this team is defining a new era in football. A team with home-grown players, hitting five goals past other teams at will [*cough* Real Madrid *cough*]. The intensity at which the team plays – both attacking and defending – on and off the ball – is unbelievable. Everything is just perfect. Having said that, it should be noted that a lot of hard work, risk and commitment has gone down in making this team.

Skipper Carlos Puyol will be missing Wednesday’s game, do you feel that he’ll be a big miss in the centre of defence?

Well that is obvious, El Capitan will be missed in the game. He is a true champion, never gives up an inch. Apart from his defending he will be missed as a leader! I hope he comes back for the second leg. However, I expect Abidal to take up CB spot. To be honest, he has been our best defender of the season so far.

Where do you think the game can be won/lost for Barcelona?

The ball, simple. Both teams like to keep possession and always show eagerness to have the ball and attack. Chances will come for both sides, it will be a game of attack not the kind of game which other English teams have played against Barca. The team which can keep the ball more, will create more chances.

Who – other than stating the obvious – do you think Barcelona’s danger men will be?

It’s a tough choice but as you have asked someone other than stating the obvious ie. ‘Xaviniesta’ or Messi. I would like to point out Sergio Busquets. He has developed into an excellent defensive midfielder. His positioning and anticipation is second to none. It’s like he always seems to know where the ball is going next. His role will be very important in keeping possession.

Who have you got your eye on in Arsenal’s team?

The board has got an eye on Cesc [Just kidding!]. As in the previous question I did not state any obvious choice player. In this question too, I would point out van Persie. He’s got pace, lethal finish and could be very difficult to contain on the break.

You’re not going to get away without talking about Cesc Fabregas! What do you make of Xavi’s latest comments saying that “he has to end up” at Barcelona, and do you think you’ll make another bid to sign him in the summer?

Ah, I expected this question. Yes, the board will bid for him but for how much, I don’t know. And honestly I don’t see value in this transfer; both financially and sporting-wise. Barca already has a top-notch midfield and any addition to it will have to sit on the bench. Of course, there can be rotation but in important matches like this one, or Clasico’s, one of these three Xavi, Iniesta or Cesc will have to sit on the bench. It will be a travesty to spend that much money as it is being talked about on someone who may not be automatically be on the starting line-up! If at all Barca wants to buy Cesc I would rather wait for 2013 or 2014.

And finally, what’s your prediction for the match?

I’d expect a 1-2 away win for Barcelona but will be happy with a draw with one or two goals.

If you’re lucky enough to be attending Wednesday’s Champions League clash, make sure you check out Le Grove’s campaign to get ‘Hands off Cesc Fabregas’ sung at Emirates Stadium before, during and after the game.

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17 Responses to “A VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Barca blogger on Arsenal clash & more”

  1. Stew says:

    ” He’s only in his teens….

    He’s better than Xavi….

    Jack Wilshere, whoa-oh,

    Jack Wilshere, Whoa-oh-oh-oh “

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  2. Arsenal Man says:

    Completely agree with stew
    Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh

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  3. oluakindele says:

    me 2 stew i agree

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  4. Jack Straw says:

    Good work, Chris. It’s interesting to hear a Barca fan’s perspective on the Cesc transfer – sounds pretty similar to the Arsenal fan’s perspective. In other words, it’s just the Barca hierchy trying to make a public relations signing instead of one that will help their team. Unlike most, I see Cesc moving several years down the road, probably 2013-2015, and for a smaller fee than most expect (think T. Henry).

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  5. Murphy says:

    I bel in the team in fact cesc is dere. Willshere, song, vp and others

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  6. nicky says:

    I’m beginning to take a positive dislike to the mouthy Xavi and his “Cesc must finish at Barca”. He has listened too much to the equally mouthy Puyol. It may be that Cesc will eventually sign but only if Barcelona can afford the market value. At the moment, they are in all sorts of financial bother and there will probably be some two-way traffic in future transfers. In the meantime,Barca are not the unplayable machine they once were and opposing teams are beginning to suss them out. Arsenal have improved greatly from a year ago and are virtually injury-free. On Wednesday, Xavi’s acceptance of a 2-1 defeat may prove to be a wild pipe-dream.

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  7. marcus says:

    “Barca are not the unplayable machine they once were and opposing teams are beginning to suss them out”

    LOL! Where the hell do you get THAT piece of nonsense from???? Absolutely no one has “sussed” them out this season – please give evidence that anyone has. There is absolutely NO evidence this season that you can use to back that hilariously uninformed comment! You obviously haven’t watched them play this season.

    Just because they drew a game after a 16-game run of straight wins??? Oh my, well they must be crap then! That’s what you base your ridiculous comment on? Barca traditionally struggle after international games (and Spain had to really struggle against Colombia in a tight 1-0 game). Barca have not won any game this season when they’ve had both Busquets & Puyol absent (that’s 3 games) – both players were absent against Gijon.

    Barca are even better this season than they were last season. The one good thing for us is that Puyol won’t be playing. Too many idiots dismiss his importance to the team. Busquets will play, however.

    All that said, I do think we have a very good chance of beating Barca at the Grove. We have most of our first XI fit, tho the prospect of Eboue v. Messi is scary. Our players have to be at the very top of their game, however. And we have to take heart from the fact that Barca haven’t impressed in their away CL games lately.

    Our game at the Nou Camp, however, is another matter.

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  8. french gooner says:

    sorry guys for changing the subject lol but am i the only one whos fed up with the press always talking up anything that manure do.i remember the amazing goals nasri scored this year and nothing amazing was written about it….shrek shins the ball gets lucky and suddenly its the best goal ever.(if you watch it in slow motion its obvious he shins it) there i fell better now lol…. as for wednesday i feel very optimistic and cant wait to cheer the gunners into a win and maybe a clean sheet(one nil will make me very happy)if anyone can beat barca its arsenal.lets make ourselves heard on wednesday!!! like we did against chelsea.

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  9. nicky says:

    marcus
    Wait until Arsenal have completed both legs before losing faith. Barcelona have had a few lucky wins already this season and the signs are already there that they are not the force they once were. They are a good side but not as awesome as some of you make out.

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  10. PTangYangKipperBang says:

    Blimey Barca people are so arrogant. They really rate themselves to the point of believing they have their own DNA. They have a great team and academy but have only been so successful due to massive signings like Zlatan for the equivalent of £60 mill. So hope they get spanked.

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  11. humbla says:

    come on arsenal, massive game, massive chance to beat the biggest side in world football.

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  12. Northbanksy says:

    Barca are a joy to watch but on their day so are Arsenal. Last season (without RVP or Wilshere)we were worth the 2-2 draw at the Emirates. On the return leg at the Camp Nou people only remember the score & how Barca “humbled” us. What people chose to ignore is that in that game we played without RVP, Cesc, Arshavin, Song or Wilshere, & just for good luck had Silvestre as a centre back.

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  13. jhnhgs75 says:

    Good, informative article, thanks mate. I just hope the Wed’s game will live up to expectations

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  14. Shekhu says:

    Hello all,

    It was pleasure to be part of this debate. I somehow don’t agree with the word “enemies”. We’re opponents yes; rivals yes; but not enemies.

    Glad to hear there are no huge remarks against my views on Cesc transfer. We have polarized views in our fan community regarding his transfer. Most of us are so irritated by this rumor that they want the transfer to go through just to stop these tabloids to end this saga.

    I believe there has been too much misunderstanding on Xavi’s and Puyol’s comments on Cesc last transfer season. In fact remains that they never gave any interview like that. I wanted to write an article on it but the news died and I didn’t intend to provoke the issue again.
    However, I am sure these fake interviews will come up again in the next transfer season and we’ll be ready to prove them wrong.

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  15. robert pires says:

    Barca humiliated real at nou camp and bernaboue Barca totally outplayed MAN U at rome But Arsenal fought well aginst Barca we scored three against them come on gunners we can beat them best wishes

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  16. Dani says:

    Puyol and Xavi has gotten way to much garbage thrown at them because of people knowing too little and assuming everything they read on the news. Last year, most of the Cesc-comments (possibly every single one after the world cup) that appeared in English media were either faked or taken out of context. Both Xavi and Puyol have stated that they never talked to English press about him. Still English tabloid “journalists” amazingly managed to get hold of them during their vacations abroad. Do you honestly think they’d talk to someone whilst at, say, the beach?

    About the game:
    I’m expecting a tense 90 minutes, you (and Van Persie in particular) seem to have hit a rich vein of form, whilst Barcelona haven’t impressed that much during the last 3 games. Puyols absence hurts the team more than you can imagine.

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