By 1970’s Gooner
Every one has been writing us off against Barcelona. Ever since the draw has been made no one, apart from the fanatical core of Arsenal supporters, has been giving us a chance of going through.
Yet if you compare the two teams since their last meeting you can only see the greater improvement in Arsenal. Starting from the back:
• Manuel Almunia: I think that Szczesny is a better goalkeeper than Almunia. Granted Almunia was not really at fault for their goals in the second leg but the young boy is capable of turning in a performance if required.
• Bacary Sagna: no change here when compared to last year.
• Thomas Vermaelen: A fit Vermaelen would have been a great plus for Arsenal. We are a bit minus here when compared to Koscienly.
• Mikael Silvestre: Need I say no more? Djourou, our player of the season for me so far. A definite plus here.
• Gael Clichy: He is an improved player this season after an indifferent last season.
• Denilson: He proved inadequate last year. Jack is of course a far more effective midfielder
• Abou Diaby: He is out of this tie but Song who did not play in the return leg is a box to box dynamo who can look after Messi and Co much better than Diaby or Denilson did last time.
• Samir Nasri: If he is fit and plays then we will have a very potent forward line but otherwise Arshavin, who didn’t start in the second leg, is finding his form again.
• Tomas Rosicky: Was inept last season and I am glad he will not start this time. Cesc who didn’t feature last time will run the midfield. A big plus here…
• Theo Walcott: Theo has improved no end this season where he has managed to add nous to his unbelievable pace.
• Nicklas Bendtner: He was our front man last time out and scored but with Robin van Persie in the team we look a different proposition….
The big changes this time are Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Djourou and van Persie. They replace Denilson, Diaby, Silvestre, Bendtner and Rosicky. Don't tell me that these are not massive changes.
So overall we are a team which is more experienced, balanced and brimming with quality.
If Arsenal go through, then the big psychological impact on the players could propel them to Premier League success. The impact will be phenomenal.
But if we fail to qualify we still gain really because expectations have not been that high anyway and we will be able to concentrate on the league.
Unlike Man Utd who will, if they go through, have to play those midweek matches which take a toll on the players.
I keep telling you, Arsenal are in a win win situation….