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Will Arsenal’s Defence Have What it takes at the Nou Camp?

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For a neutral, Arsenal’s recent match against Barcelona was a match to be remembered. The game had everything: terrific misses; heroes and villains; changes in momentum for either side and a last gasp comeback by the home team. Arsenal defeated Barcelona 2-1 but the return leg against the Catalans will be a different test for the Gunners as the Spanish side will be the fans’ favourite at the Nou Camp. But will Arsenal’s defence be able to cope with the La Liga leaders?

During Arsenal’s performance at the Emirates their defence was left helpless to the likes of Messi and Villa due to the naturally attacking nature of the north Londoners. In attack the Gunners have quality, with the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Arsharvin and Van Persie, which could arguably match the attacking quality of their Spanish rivals. Villa’s goal came from the player beating the offside trap to race in and slot past the outcoming keeper.

However, if Arsenal is going to succeed in Spain, they are going to need to stop the ‘death by 1000 passes’ philosophy that Barca and Spain seem to live by – otherwise the result on March 8th when the two teams meet will be as one sided as Arsenal’s last visit to Spain when Lionel Messi ripped them apart using his skill, finesse and speed.

Arsenal’s defence is not the same as the quality of their attack, and so if Arsenal is to succeed they are going to need cover and protection from the likes of Jack Wilshere and Alex Song, otherwise Arsenal may be run ragged again by the 2009 champions. Moreover, Arsenal have been subjected to recent lapses in concentration by allowing Newcastle to return from 0-4 down at half time to draw 4-4. But notably, Barcelona have also had similar problems by recently drawing to Spanish minnows Sporting Gijon, and so it would seem that either team could be walking away with an easy victory in the Nou Camp in March.

When Arsenal meet Barcelona on the 8th March Arsenal will of course be tested by the likes of Messi, Villa, Iniesta and Xavi but if they keep their concentration and have protection from their midfield, they may have a decent chance against the Spanish giants.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. goonerblood

    February 17, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    As mentioned, Arsenal have the quality in attack. I am optimistic, as I fancy Arsenal to again put two behind Valdes. To do so would put them through should Barca fail to score 4.

    Another aspect talked about here has a crucial omission, that of defence, Bacary Sagna. Overall Eboue played well, but he isn’t Sagna, he will make a difference at Camp Nou undoubtedly.

  2. Phil23

    February 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Arsenals defence is much better than you suggest. Did you not just watch the game? We will have Sagna back who is a vital part of our defence. Szczesny had a thriller and he will rise to the occasion as he is so confident at the moment. Have confidence in our defence. We can draw at Barcelona. It is amazing how we played the Arsenal style of old with lightning fast counter attacking all thanks to 19 year old Jack Wilshere, Koscielny, Djourou and the previously mentioned Szczesny passing with flying colours in the best game I have ever seen. Who says that we don’t have another gear? Cesc was good but not his best, while Van Persie on another day could have scored a hat-trick with those chances. They may have had clear cut chances but we had more shots than them total with the same amount on target. I’m gunning for a 3-3 draw at Barcelona with us doing the Arsenal way what Mourinho couldn’t do the ugly way; draw or win in the most difficult club game in world football today.

  3. jeremy

    February 18, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    I think you are jumping the gun here as it is, Barcelona too have defensive issues now with Pique out and Puyol probably wont be back, at the Emirates despite Barcelona having the advantage in terms of possesion, Arsenal bettered them for attempts at goal and matched them for shots on target, so in Barcelona, it will go down to the team that will take their chances best, neither of this teams defends, and genuinely if arsenal goes for it like they did in the second half.. who knows…

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