Leave Something On the Field: Barça – Arsenal

CL Preview: Barcelona – Arsenal, Tuesday 2:45pm Fox Soccer Channel

It’s odd. What does the squad leave on the field this time around? Deixeming their pell didn’t actually work against Inter last year and unless they regrew it all by now (doubtful, given their strenuous schedule since) they’ll have to come up with something else anyway. Hair? Toenails? GQ photo shoots? And the Barcelona T-shirt printers are going to have to get crankin’ on these pretty soon if the whole stadium is going to understand what is at stake. We can only communicate in T-shirt form, you understand, so heaven help us if we’ve got to deixem those. Our inspirational leaders in the back–Puyol and Piqué–are out with an injury and yellow card suspension, respectively, so we’re going to have less hair and fewer photo shoots to leave on the field (sadly, Iniesta only contributes to the latter).

ens hi deixem gooooool

And Arsenal got both Fabregas and Robin van Persie back (pending late fitness tests), which makes the goal deficit all the harder to overcome. Sure, a 1-0 win gets us through, but who is going to bet against them scoring? They’re capable, especially on a good night, of scoring more than just the 1 away goal we put in on them. I think we’ll see a shootout of epic proportions based mainly on the fact that I want to see a shootout of epic proportions. It won’t be another Leo 4 – 1 Arsenal like last time, I can pretty much guarantee that. They’re about twice as good this year as they were last year and given their advantage from the first leg (slim as it may be) they’ll be all the harder to beat. I was overly optimistic in the first leg, apparently, going with a 1-3 prediction (and it was nearly 3-1!), but at the time it didn’t seem like such a ridiculous thought. On the back of two 1-0 wins (yes, they were wins, but they were wins that failed to completely convince), we’re as vulnerable as we’ve been in a long time and the absurd pressure to perform in the CL or see the season chalked up as a completely failure, could very bitter fruits come tomorrow evening.

Unless we suddenly turn on the style. Which we’re certainly capable of doing, but which we’ve labored to even attempt over the last month or so. The Barça that wows the world is currently taking a short breather, it would appear, but then again, they’re still winning matches and playing nothing but attacking football and my love for them is still very much like a truck, berserker (NSFW).

The accolades being tossed at Jack Wilshere are generally warranted: he was rather incredible in the first leg, but he’ll have to play equally well in the second leg and over the next 3 years before I put him in the same sentence as Xavi or even Fabregas (who has a ways to go himself before he’s up with Chameleon Eyes Bogart). Right now the aforementioned accolades are more like hand grenades that might or might not blow up in his face—he’s the next Maradona has never hurt anyone, right? [Note: I wrote that paragraph while disconnected from the internet and right as Guardiola’s comments became something of a point of contention; in light of that I could understand how someone might read the above paragraph as sarcastic, but it isn’t, it’s quite serious.]

It’s not as if this is the Alamo and they’re Santa Anna bearing down with a massively larger army. They’ve got 11, we’ve got 11 and they’ve got 1 extra goal. Whether or not that proves to be pivotal is obviously yet to be seen, but the fact that it’s 1 and not 2 like the Inter match is massively important to the approach. Barça can’t—and won’t—be scared to attack for fear of letting in an away goal. We did it last year and rebounded to crush them. Again, another Messi quadruple bagger is unlikely to the point of being dismissible, but the team is capable, on its night, of leaving most everyone in the dust.

And that’s what makes this second leg so exciting: it could go either way. Arsenal is unlikely to approach the match in any other way than how they went out at the Emirates simply because anything other than pressing high and trying to nab one on the break is suicide with their back line. A midfield with such talents as they have would be foolish to let Barça run at occasionally shaky defenders. Don’t get me wrong, Kolscielny was rather phenomenal in the first leg, but if you’re Wenger, do you look at him and go “he’ll stop Messi 1v1 every time” or do you give him an extra layer of protection against the little magicians who will be scampering hither and thither? I mean, I suppose you could opt for the former…

The key to the match, though, will be Pedro’s contributions as a front 3 destabilizer. If he’s on his game, he’ll be menacing every outlet pass and forcing Wilshere to drop deeper to collect the ball. Messi has an unreal workrate up front, but he hasn’t proven to be the jitterbug dervish, the Tazmanian devil if you will, that Pedro! can be when he’s earning his punctuation. Is it fatigue on his part that has decreased his harrying or is he trying to create too much before he gets the ball back a la Bojan? Overthinking is exactly what P! doesn’t do and regular old Pedro does; if he’s on fire tomorrow in front of the baying millions (okay, the bocadilla-munching thousands—get those deixem las bocadillas T-shirts printed!) you’ll see him appearing at random moments with the ball in a threatening position. Alves’ return could galvanize him as he’s capable of playing off that particular Brazilian a lot better than he is off of Adriano, but with Alves perhaps occupied a bit more by Arsenal’s forwards than he is by most teams, that particular wrinkle could be a moot point.

We’ve got Victor Valdes back, which is great, but the lack of Captain Catalan is going to be a much bigger deal. Pinto did admirably as a stand-in while Busi and Abidal in the middle of the field is a far cry from Pique and Puyol. I doubt we’ll ever say Busenbauer, for instance. As always, I much prefer Abidal on the wing than in the middle, but given Milito’s recent inclusion (and he did well enough) I’d say we will see Busi-Abidal. Or Jeffren-Thiago. I dunno. Guardiola so crazy.

Quickly, the possibilities:

  • Any home win by 2 goals or more (2-0, 4-2, 34-1): Barça go through.
  • 1-0 home win (2-2 aggregate): Barça go through on away goals.
  • Any draw: Arsenal go through.
  • Any home win by 1 goal that is not 1-0 (3-2, 4-3, 79-78 etc):

Official Prediction: 2-0. I don’t know, that’s just sort of a random scoreline. It depends on the moment on how I feel. Without Pique or Puyol, I’m simply not sure. And now that I know that Wilshire is the greatest player on earth (slash can’t get into our Juvenil B squad–Guardiola said that), maybe we’ll lose by 20. What I know is that I’d love to see a great game and I think that Arsenal, if they don’t park the bus (and why would they?) can give us just that. I want a good, clean game, all right gentlemen? No shanking people, Dani. At least not until after the match. Good. Go back to your corners, wait for the bell, and come out swinging. Or hugging. Whichever you prefer.

We choose hugs. Yay!

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. Considering the stake and the result of the first leg, it would be wise to start the game assuming as little risk as possible. That means 4 at the back.


    1. Most familiar and comfortable with the position
    2. Current form
    3. Characteristics and qualities (speed, height, passing ability and vision)

    This means Busquets at CB. No doubt The Team loses certain things when he is not availabe at DM. However, that still is no worse then shuffling at the back and elsewhere.

    The team should procede like this during the Phase 1 (20-25 minutes) and then reassess the situation. If it proves that Arsenal is a limited threat going forward (no Walcott and questions about Van Persie’s fitness) the adjustment(s) can be made.

    Having Adriano on the field would give us more flexibility in that regard. A Busquets – Mascherano ‘switch’ is likely since it would probably be too early to make a substitution.

    Obviously, as little as a 1-0 victory will do. Considering how prolific The Team was/is at the Camp Nou and the quality of Arsenal’s defenders, playing away from home this time around, said goal should be relatively easy to achieve.

    The only other starting lineup coming close in the cost-benefit analysis is having Xavi drop to DM. This would in return require:

    a. Affelay, a young player not very familiar with the system just yet, at RM. The roles of Alves and Messi would have to be properly adjusted.

    b. Iniesta pushed to RM so Keita can slide in at LM. In case the selection at LB is Maxwell, this would significantly cripple already futile left side of the attack.

    As for the context, most of the signs are positive and are tipping odds in ‘our’ favor:

    – ‘We’ are picking up in form and are winning.
    – Meanwhile,
    1. Arsenal suffered a psychiological shock by losing at Wembley continuing the 5+ years of drought
    2. Has not been playing as fluent
    3. Some of its vital players are unavailable. Van Persie and Walcott (fully fit and available) in particular are crucial for establishing an offensive threat against a team like Barcelona

    – Messi has been missing sitters for few games now. Arsenal’s goalkeeper had some tremendous saves in the first leg. Just like a year ago. The things evened themselves out in the second leg by Messi alone scoring 4

    – Home field advantage. The atmosphere and, hopefully, more 50-50 calls going our way.

    One team is better than the other. By a margin, it is obvious. The time is for the players to give the maximum effort and execute the gameplan with focus on each and every detail from the first to the last whistle.

    On a side note, I find the reaction to what has been written in Guardian as an excesive one. If there were bad intentions it speaks more about Guardian’s credibility than anything else. After a summer filled with fake quotes, just so it happens at the same time the English National team was getting embarrassed on the biggest of stages once again, we should all be imune to it and know better by now.

    1. While I found your analysis of Barca’s options interesting, I can’t say the same about your synopsis of our disposition.

      ‘One team is better than the other. By a margin, it is obvious.’

      Hmmm, personally I believe FCB are probably the best club side in the world. That said, I would have thought that if the margin were that obvious you would have turned us over at the Grove no?

  2. wow, Isaiah…
    I was guessing you will go for 2-0,
    just like the way you predicted for El Clasico…

    I’m right! 🙂

  3. While you acknowledge Barca drop in form over the last two games in terms of unconvincing wins, lets not forget Arsenal have been playing ever poorer. They had to win their game against Sunderland..and they settled for a draw.
    Whether the Birmingham loss serves as a catalyst or marks the point where they manage to drop out of all major competitions is yet to be seen, but I’m optimistic with the events that have transpired post first leg for both teams as I think Arsenal have pulled the shorter end of the proverbial stick.

    My humble prediction, a 1-0 but with what poor Facebook wall has endured over the results of the first leg, my inner Catalan would grudgingly settle for an 8-0…by half time.

    1. ‘They had to win their game against Sunderland..and they settled for a draw.’

      I’d be more inclined to say we were robbed (by a referee born and raised in Wythenshawe, Manchester)… but then I would 😉

  4. “so we’re going to have less hair and fewer photo shoots to leave on the field (sadly, Iniesta only contributes to the latter).”

    those lines cracked me up! thanks…

    I hate this life or death situations… just get it over, please…

  5. One of the reasons I love this sport, and especially European competition, is because of the cathedrals surrounding the pitch and their wide variety across the land.

    There’s something auspicious about playing in the Camp Nou. The aura, the faith and will of a thousand to your back. It’s that almost inexplicable difference that I think will bring Barca the success it needs tomorrow.

    When Arsenal squared off against Barcelona at the Emirates, they went down 1-0. Blah blah blah we already knew that. I know. But here’s the thing, had Arsenal been playing away from home, do you REALLY think their momentum, their will and their determination would have remained as intact as it did two weeks ago.

    The Emirates faithful are great fans, and their cheerful support visibly willed the players into competition. RVP’s strike was quality, and yes Valdes should’ve done better, but once that goal was scored, I think every cule felt a pebble drop into the pond that is their gut as they knew things were about to get bad.

    It’s that reason, the lack of support for Arsenal at the Camp, that I think they won’t advance.

    Even if they do score a goal, with Barcelona’s possession and likely first strike, I’d almost guarantee that they’ll score first, Arsenal won’t have the will to keep going, keep chasing shadows, keep pushing the last bit of energy they have.

    When you have 50,000 cheering for you, it’s a lot easier to make a comeback and score when you haven’t scored first, but in the Camp, the gooners won’t get such love.

    I think Barcelona score first, and the possession game ultimately sinks Arsenal because they won’t have the sound machine or psycological support to keep their motors running at full speed in the 70th, 80th and 90th minute when they’re down a goal.

    I think Barca scores, and then between then 75th and 90th, we’ll bag two more. Maybe Arsenal grab a consolation, but my prediction is 3-1.

    May be nonsense, but that’s the beauty of the internet. Say what you want.

    1. agree with you… they have amazing supporters at Emirates…
      in fact, Wilshere (or Cesc?) said it’s the best atmosphere they ever had at Emirates…

      I’m hoping an atmosphere like the last El Clasico tomorrow…
      it was so hostile and intimidating,
      you could see the horror in EE’s players eyes…

      yes, cules don’t hate Arsenal as much as they hate EE,
      but our soldiers need the support more than ever from the crowd…

      and I believe Cesc is so excited atm…
      his Camp Nou debut! yeaaaay for him!!

      who’s Francesc Fabregas Sr support exactly,
      he said Barça is superior than Arsenal… LOL… isn’t he supposed to support his son?

    2. Hmmmm… your handle is ‘JMo’?

      J Mou?

      Are you playing mind games with us to destabilize this blog?

      (Just kidding)

    3. I enjoyed this comment, kudos 🙂

      Our away form in Europe has been poor this season, so playing in the Nou Camp may well be a tough ask for the team. I think it should be noted however, that both our away losses in the group stage came against teams that we had completely destroyed at the Grove, with weakened teams (to rest players) and against whom we were massive favourites.

      In that sense, this game is very different from both of those ties.

      My selfish hope is that we get the first goal. 1-3 on aggregate and with Barca needing 3 goals to progress… what a game we’d have on our hands then 🙂

  6. What a class blog. As an Arsenal I love to look out at the horizon. The sun is rising it is a wonder but one of us will be in tears latter. I tip my hat to you all Barca you are a class act. So very soon we will both cry one at lossing one for winning but both overcome with emotion. If we must go down I will except that, and Barca is the onlt team that could do it and I would not go mental. Well the morning needs me what a day, good luck to you all, I pray for a wonderful injury free match for both clubs. Good Luck to ya.
    Hope Cesc puts 2 by ya, Nasri 2, and RVP 1.
    We will be lucky to get out alive, then again so will you.

    1. thanks, Chandler! good luck for the game…

      but not so much… you know what I mean… 😛

  7. this review was perfect! the gravity of this game still hasn’t quite set in yet. jesus. i need a t-shirt reminding me what to think, damn it!

    with the exclusion of song & walcott i’m completely confident of going through. who’s gonna start in arsenal’s midfield tomorrow? double d denilson diaby didn’t work against sunderland- they wound up with a scoreless draw. denilson wilshere would be overrun, especially with masche in midfield. barca’d score easily. i can the gunners scoring a freak goal on the counter catching the makeshift barca backline off guard, but they just really don’t seem that threatening. especially with the camp nou behind the barca boys.

    dexeim us fabregas?

    1. What? You still haven’t felt anything yet?
      I haven’t been able to get a good night sleep and eat well for the past 2 days.

      What’s that pic?
      It’s blocked.

    2. ‘i can the gunners scoring a freak goal on the counter.’

      Personally I can see us scoring brilliant goal through an incisive break 🙂

      I’d take one going in off the face of a slightly dazed NB52 though lol.

  8. it still their skins that has to be lft on the pitch cos I need a treble so bad.
    Its funny the position where we have personnel problem is the one that should have been well stacked. Imagine us having only two ttustwoThy. CB by profession (to exclude abidal). We have got to let milito go over the summer and buy. Cb and probably another lb as Maxwell is sliding. Save for that All we need is another striker so IMO fabrepass should just sit at arsenal a year more

  9. ESPN shows the STIHL World Timbersports Championships nowadays instead of Champions League games. HAHAHAHAHA.

    I’m dead serious. Activities like chopping a trunk, sawing through wood, and so on. A world championship of timbersports.

    1. Hey. I had the same weird shows on ESPN when I was in Australia.
      Thank God they dont broadcast those shows in S.East Asia ESPN.

    2. This IS SE Asia ESPN. They showed the same shows in Maldives too which would be South Asia ESPN, at the time of CL games (some other network shows the CL games, ESPN showed this), but I’m in Malaysia right now and they were also showing the STIHL World Timbersports Championships a couple hours ago.

    3. you guys must not be from UH-MERIKA. we like poker, ultimate fighting and timbersports.

  10. Guardiola has never won a UEFA tie after going down in the first leg. Kind of unfair, as there was only one instance of it and that was against Inter. Arsenal could trouble us but everyone forgets Arsenal away record in Europe this season. They lost at Shaktar and Braga in the group stages. Taking that into consideration I thought tyhe preview was rather negative.

    1. “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – But we’re gonna get him back!“

      “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – We’ve got Biscuits and Masch’!“

      “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – Next season you’ll end up with Lass’!“

      “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – Alex Song just cannot pass!“

      “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – We’ve got Qatari cash!“

      from totalbarça… LOL…

    2. sorry AllAboutFCBarcelona, it’s not a reply for you, it’s a new post… dunno why it end up above your post… 😛

    3. How about this ? Also from TotalBarca

      “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – Van Persie is made of glass” 🙂

    4. My fav. was the non-rhyming:
      “You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – We’ve got Messi!“
      nuff said 🙂

  11. Oh my daaayyys. I am so nervous. I have teaching all day, and I don’t know HOW anyone thinks I am supposed to intake any information with the jitterbugs in my belly.

    1. awww. 🙁

      shhhh. don’t tell anyone, but i’m nervous, too. 😉

      i gotta pick up my bro from the airport at 6am & i can’t fall asleep.

  12. I’m not nervous, i belive in our team, its well within our capabilities to go through.
    Also i’m a genuine Arsenal hater, for many reasons i already mentioned in previous posts.
    IMO milito should start at CB, and i dont care who is playng or missing for/from Arsenal.
    Lets put a Manita UP THE ARSENAL and get this done


    1. I just dont think Masch will cut it at CB, and busi at CB will make our midfield a lot less intimidating.

    2. One thing that keeps me positive is that Barca have the better makings to be competition winners than Arsenal, that if Arsenal ever get through have lesser chances than us reaching the finals, and I’m not only basing this on statistics… I trust our team greatly 🙂

    3. Wow, a genuine Arsenal hater 🙂

      What’s that expression I’m looking for… Haters gonna hate

  13. Guys I have a question… What if the score is 2-1 to barca, then agg is 3-3 (1 away plus 2 home goals each), who goes through?

    1. Extra time, and penalty shoot-out. If in extra time, Barcelona and Arsenal score each one more goal, Arsenal goes through on away goals.

    2. Oh dear… I see, I’m sorry for being such a newbie… 30 minutes, right? With five- (ten?) minute interval?

    3. You almost got it right, 2 x 15 minutes, without an interval inbetween (just some seconds to change the side of the pitch).

  14. Blue Curaçao: Check!
    Sierra Tequilla Silver: Check!
    Grenadeapple Juice: Check!
    Grenadine: Check!
    Nervousness mounting to inifinity: Check!

    I’ll mix some Barca cocktails for me and my friends (which might take some time because I’ve no experience at all in making cocktails), rock my Barça jersey and scarf and will not be able to make anything useful until the match is over (or even longer, if we fail…).

  15. Long time follower of the blog on daily basis, from sweden
    Hope everyone enjoys a good game, and i’ll join in on the
    nervous crew cause there is always a risk that can accur on things
    Barca cant controll, like a penalty, missed offside or a redcard etc

    That said, I cant se Masch at CB, simply cause he was not played there one min all season, let alot with our regular CB gone to partner him. The only time we might see Masch at CB is a change during the game cause of a player being sent off etc.

  16. “Pressure pushing down on me
    Pressing down on you no man ask for
    Under pressure – that burns a building down
    Splits a family in two
    Puts people on streets”

    That song has been invading my mind since like last week. It started with a suggestion and has blossomed into an obsession. Much as I like Bowie and Queen (that was music!—oops I’m dating myself) I’d rather be humming “We are the Champions”(“We are in the Quarters” isn’t a song) for the rest of next week.
    A football game should not be so important to me. I need therapy or another hobby. Maybe I’ll crochet something (like a red and perhaps blue scarf).

    1. Queen are my favourite band, they are the FC barcelona of ROCK & ROLL

    2. Doo Doo Doo!

      (S’about alls I cans artichulate ooday.)

      {throws ungraded papers everywhere, completely freaks out}

  17. I was talking about football with a girl who is a United fan. She mentioned how she once dated an Arsenal supporter and about football arguments and the like. She told me about once getting him a jersey. I thought- God, imagine if I were to date an Arsenal fan:

    Me: Hey baby, I got you a jersey!

  18. My wish list:
    Dani, Busenbauer 🙂 , The King, Adriano
    sMache, Xaviniesta

    3-0 M, V, P!!(yes he will earn it back)

    If the real team shows up and plays for the full 90 we got this! If Messi has his “Hi, I’m Messi and I’m ’bout ready to open up a can of it upon you aw geez this football is some fun” gameface on (have y’all noticed that Messi plays best when he seems to be having a blast?) we got this. A tag team CB/DM Busi/sMasche effort will control the center of the pitch. Dani and Adriano are fast enough to get back and defend the flanks (no casual strolling guys), the king mops up any problems. Xaviniesta goes footygod-like mode like you know they can and we got this! Please Lord, let us go through!




  20. There goes ESPNsoccernet’s journalistic integrity. They actually CHANGED THEIR HEADLINE to “Pep: Wilshere would only make Barca reserves”. The world is against us haha… BRING IT! So. Ready. I hate EPL. DIE!!!!!

    1. LOL clearly the previous article wasnt controversial enough for them to get hits so why not join the party !


  21. Do you think that all the pressure and expectation on Messi from the media can lead to a selfish, wasteful Messi in front of goal again? One that wants to score the goal of the season instead of a simple pass to a free teammate?
    Expectations are so ridiculously high, that not only the Spanish newspaper talk about another Messi quadruple …

    1. Well maybe he’d be acting like that again but I doubt the media would have to do with it. I remember a commentator once say, after him winning the Balon d’Or, that he never really cared about the people who doubt AND pressure him. Minutes later he scored a hattrick :p So much is always expected of him anyway and he never underperformed in normal circumstances (good health etc) 😀

    1. In which time-zone do you live? Just woke up?

      Right now I wish I was living in the US, not in Europe, because I have to wait the whole day for the match, Isaiah & Co. only half a day 🙂

    2. High five outerspacedout.

      Helge, better in Europe than in Asia, because I have to wake up at 3 am for Barca games. That is, if I ever get some sleep. Right now I’m as hopeless as outer here.

    3. Ok, I have to agree that’s not necessarily a better situation that you are in 🙂

    4. Whoot no kidding! Same here buddy, guess it’s the same matchday where we gotta wake up at 3am. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep anyway haha

    1. No, but I have sent a msg to a friend of mine who studies linguistic, maybe he will tell me one. I’ll let you know!

  22. Nav: It’s before the match and I think I’ve already successfully managed to permanently turn off the girl with my retarded capital-letter status-spam as I mentioned in my reply in the last thread for ‘aftermath of match’. LOL.

  23. I solemnly pledge here and now that if we win by more than three goals I will grow a David Villa soul patch.



  25. BFB Barca Girls Activity!!!!!

    So you’re ’bout ready to crawl outta your skin with nervousness. You are obsessive-compulsively replaying the 10 minutes of the first leg of the tie in your mind where we ceased to play football and played…um…badminton?(well it wasn’t football). You NEED something to take your mind off of this game for a few minutes. Well, I have the activity for you (courtesy of totalBarca)! A chance to go all fangirl (and none of the boys here will be able to make fun of you). TotalBarca is having a Barca’s hottest player poll.


    Vote early, vote often!

    @ Linda- Pep is an option, in fact he’s currently in second place behind…moc moc, you guessed it, Pique

    @ Blitzen, if you go over there and…um…accidently vote for Xavi 150X, and I do the same, he’s a shoe in 😉

    1. BTW, the pic there just became my laptop background. Wonder what hubby would say if it became the background on the desktop?

    2. I’m gonna vote for Iniesta. His picture on the lower-right corner of that montage pic is PRICELESS. HAHAHAHA.

      And who could resist Iniesta’s ‘smooth, almost seductive Spanish accent’ anyway?

    3. AND I QUOTE YOU-“Nav: It’s before the match and I think I’ve already successfully managed to permanently turn off the girl with my retarded capital-letter status-spam as I mentioned in my reply in the last thread for ‘aftermath of match’. LOL.”

      UR going fanboy over Iniesta and you’re worried about capital-letter status spams costing you this girl. Here’s how I picture the conversation- “Sweetie, I know we have a good thing, but there’s this hot, tiny vampire, and I’ve decided I’m “Team Edward” 🙂

    4. OK, I voted! Although that is not a very good picture of Xavi, IMO. And that Valdes pic is the one I have for my desktop background right now. Yum. 😀

  26. Apparently our Helbruary’s are not a coincidence, but something well planned: “Barcelona is coping with a physical and mental low at the moment because it deliberately plans a time-release fitness program which allows it to peak in explosive power, energy and mental focus during two key periods — mid-winter and mid-spring.” – Graham Hunter

    1. We always peak around November to December and April. Around time for the two Clasicos, awesomely enough.



    1. That’s just sick.
      Dude, watch HBO now if you wanna calm your nerves down.
      That is what Im doing.
      Austin Powers is on.

  28. Messi says he didnt talk for 24 hours after the defeat.I guess we know whats coming today.Poor arsenal 😀

    1. YES! Mad Messi is awesome. arrrghh 6 hours left. i just wanna kick something. like Wenger’s head.

  29. I will only lose faith in this team when” THE HEN STARTS ROARING,and THE DOG starts CROWING!! Visca barça

  30. I was supposed to sleep early today around 9-10pm cos I gotta wake up at at 3.30am but I guess I will only get 3 hours sleep and then watch the match and off to work.
    Hopefully it will be worth the pain..

    No matter what happens, I’ll still be a happy Cule!!
    I love Barca forever…(kiss my Barca badge)

  31. I find I am strangely calm today, unlike the first leg, where I was a nervous wreck. That may change in a few hours, but right now I just have this strong conviction that our team will bring their A-game today.

    Visca Barca!

    1. Thanks again for providing us with the Barça cocktail, today it will hopefully help me to calm down and celebrate a win!

  32. ANd after the loss 3 weeks ago, I wore the jersey the following day and I will do the same tomorrow after work. No matter what happens.
    WIN- 2010/11 home
    lose- 2006/07 home

  33. OT just watched the ‘geri shouting oooooh’ vid during the presscon via barcastuff, man that made my day. cesc’s and the journalists’ reactions were lolololol i feel lighter now, aaaahhhh…

    1. it’s recommended for nervous fans who need to sleep. goodnight and see y’all again tomorrow/later/what difference would five hrs do anyway ahaha

    2. LMAO I just saw it Pique is such a retard hahahaha hilarious

      Poor Fabregas looked so embarrassed

  34. Iniesta and Pedro are the key players tonight.
    Our lack of form(supposedly) coincides with their loss of form.

  35. Here’s the thing, everyone:

    I’ve been a cule for what seems like a loooong time. Fan years are calculated like dog years, only more. Loving a team for a year is like 27.3 real-life years, which makes my love, and suffering with this club …. well …. old.

    There has been much talk about what people will do if we win/lose. I will congratulate Arsenal, and move on. Yes, I will be disappointed, but as an athlete in real life, I can tell you that every time you show up to compete, even when you’re supposed to win, you don’t always win. Sometimes, the underdog has his day, sometimes you’re overconfident, other times you keep hitting the post.

    This is one of my favorite races of all time:


    The big guy in front, Chris Hoy, is at present the world’s fastest track cycling sprinter. The guy in back is just some guy. An 18-year-old “just some guy.” Hoy used about a 50% jump to gap the guy. But Hoy got overconfident, and the other guy just kept on working. Voila. HUGE upset.

    Not to say that Arsenal winning would be a huge upset, but it would be an upset, particularly in our house. But it could happen. And if it does, it will be another loss. We’ve had them before, and we will have them again. Just last year, we had two of ’em, right, in Copa and Champions League.

    No matter how great a team is, it never wins every thing. I am always optimistic, and this will be a gut-wrenching match, because a team this good needs to win as much as they can, because teams that are this good shouldn’t be “greatest team to never win everything.”

    But if we lose, it will be Wednesday tomorrow. I swear.

    1. One thing that annoys me much , is that due to the current status to the team it will be a disappointment if we lose to arsenal , and just another Wednesday if we go through.
      It didn’t used to be like that.
      Nowadays there’s more of a demand to play beautifully and win comfortably than just hoping , craving for it and have a sweet emotion after its done .
      Its something you lose after being successful I guess.

  36. Oh, and I LOVE the new WordPress toolbar. Not sure if everyone is getting it, or just FireFox folks, but it’s slicker than snake snot.

    1. Well, you can logout now without scrolling to the bottom of the page. And your profilse is more easily accessible.

  37. I smell like Chlorine.

    I hope we win for JNice’s sake, I feel like he’ll go into a coma if we don’t. I’m rather nervous, the more I read the worse it gets.

    But seriously, no knock on Arsenal but we can’t lose. Their keeper won’t play out of this world like Almunia last year first leg, their CBs are susceptible away, they’ve been in terrible form. I sure hope Koscieleny gifts us a goal like he did for Martins.

    We have less to worry about our lineup than Arsenal do. They don’t know who will hold in the middle, while we have 2-3 options. Yes our CB problem is huge, but its not that likely that Arsenal will play there much if we can dominate possession.

  38. “No matter how great a team is, it never wins every thing. I am always optimistic, and this will be a gut-wrenching match, because a team this good needs to win as much as they can, because teams that are this good shouldn’t be “greatest team to never win everything.”

    -i’m from Holland, we are used to greatest teams never winning anything

  39. This blog has been a pretty interesting read (from a gunners perspective) this afternoon, for some reason I couldn’t seem to get much work done so at least it gave me something to do :).

    Honestly though, the biggest thing I’ve taken from my browsing is that lots of Barca fans don’t like Arsenal because lots of Arsenal fans don’t like the way lots of Barca players keep talking about our captain (try saying that 3 times fast). Even so much as to declare themselves Arsenal haters no less lol.

    Quite a sad state of affairs all round you’d have to say, especially between two teams who I personally believe should share a great deal of mutual respect. At least when it comes to their actions/ability ON the field.

    Personally I think it will be a tight game (at least I hope it is tighter than last year…) and the first goal will be extremely important. If you score we will be in trouble and if you score early I wouldn’t be at all confident that we could keep you from scoring again. However we don’t concede early this season, I may be wrong but I don’t remember any team putting one past us in the first 15mins of a game all year. Maybe a forlorn hope but you take what you can get when going up against ‘the best team of all time’ (those are our captain’s words in case you were wondering).

    On the other hand if we score first (like we did last year with a much weaker squad) then we will have a brilliant game on our hands, quite possibly the game of the season.

    Here’s fervently hoping that the officials are strong and fair, there are no dubious offsides, no wrongly disallowed goals and no obvious penalties denied. No diving, poor tackles or goalkeeping blunders, merely a top class game of football between two of the very best in the world and of course that the best team (on the day) wins.

    Here’s wishing you all the best of luck from London.

    On a slightly more partisan note –

    C’MON YOU GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONERS! Now is your time! Wembley is calling. Revenge for Paris 06 has waited far too long, win this and you’ll have the chance to avenge the all to recent memory of the beer cup final too! Go out there and play like we know you can and prove that even the best team in the world can be shot down when facing the Guns of North London!

    1. Welcome Addi.

      How your fellow gooners about Barça wanting Cesc back (eventually) does not really influence how I view your club.

      I personally don’t like Arsenal (or any of the other big 4 EPL teams) because of the damage that they do to European football by systematically scouting youth leagues throughout Europe and recruiting the top 16 / 17 yr olds.

      Really don’t like Wenger in particular because of his extreme hypocrisy and whining all the time.

      Do like your style of play. Also like Walcott, Wilshere, Nasri, Fab and RvP. Theo Walcott especially apart from being a good player is a classy individual, too.

      Think you would have a lot stronger team if you invested some of that Emirates money in a decent back 4 plus goalkeeper, but I would venture a guess and say most Gunners probably feel that way?

    2. Thanks,

      Interesting, I’m guessing you’re not a fan of Ajax either? Seeing as how they pretty-much invented the concept of an international youth scouting network and all.

      I dunno about the damage being done to European football… Is signing 16 yr olds to professional contracts really any worse than scouring the world for kids as young as 8yrs to fill your academy?

      The thing is we are both operating under different legislation. In England, we are not allowed to recruit children from more than 90 miles away from our academy. In Spain, you are allowed to bring in the most promising kids from around the world (did you know for example that we found Messi first? we just couldn’t do anything about it, D’oh!).

      Then there is the flip side, In England we are allowed to offer professional contracts to kids from the age of 16 yrs, whereas in Spain you are only allowed to offer professional contracts after 17yrs… so we each seek to gain a competitive advantage within the rulesets in which we operate.

      I think it’s pretty harsh to describe the actions of either club as damaging to anyone else.

      Gotta say I don’t agree that AW is a hypocrite, or that he is a whiner. If anything I think that he is a little too truthful when it comes to the media. If an interviewer asks him a question he almost always answers that question completely honestly, perhaps his media reputation would be enhanced if he was a bit more of politician in front of the cameras, but that is not who he is and never will be.

      Squad investment is certainly a sticky issue for the AFC fanbase ATM… Problem is there really isn’t much Emirates Money to be spent (there have even been grumblings recently that the cost of my season ticket may well increase again next year). This is down to a number of things (and believe me the debate still rages across north London), but essentially I believe that AW has consigned himself to operating within certain means and will not change his policy unless something momentous occurs.

      As to the back four I think Squilacci has been poor (and I believe has disappointed AW) but Sagna, Clichy, Kos and JD have all been very good this season (kos took a while to adjust and has had a wobble recently but I think he has the quality). TV5 has been out all season with a mystery ailment, and he is arguably our ‘puyol’ the leader of the back four and the first defender picked when fit. And in Chezny I really think that we may just have a potential world-beater between the sticks, he’s young and raw and his distribution needs work but he has that indefinable ‘something’ about him that only top class goalies possess.

      That said, I would dearly have loved a player like Vertoghen to have been signed in January. An experienced ball playing centre-back who is also comfortable playing the more reserved of our two deep mid-field roles (dare I say it… a busquets type player).

      I don’t suppose he’s for sale is he? 😉

    3. The vaaast majority of Barça’s academy players are Spanish / Catalan and yes, I am against recruiting anybody from out of Spain before the age of 18.

      Being from Holland I do know of Ajax’ scouting network. I am against them bringing in teenagers from Africa and South America – they don’t scout in Europe apart from Holland – but by doing so at least they don’t take away talent from other leagues.

      It is not harsh to claim it is damaging to other clubs, because the truth is it is very damaging to the smaller leagues in Europe. The fact that those leagues are then supposed to “compete” with the EPL for European Cups makes it even worse.

      In la Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga even the top teams recruit mainly local (or at least national) talent.

      And yes, Arsène “I did not see it” Wenger is hypocritical and whines! 😛

      that being said, good luck tonight (but not too much).

      And yes, I do agree that Chezny has a lot of potential!

    4. Isn’t the problem smaller European sides have when competing with the EPL similar to the problems the smaller Spanish sides have when competing against Barca?

      It’s not just the nationality, it’s the distance restrictions which we operate under too, of course you produce a lot of Catalan talent, but of your squad players who came through the academy I don’t think Puyol, Pedro, Iniesta or Messi [obviously :)] would have been eligible to join under the rules in England. Add to that Maxwell and Adriano (I know these two are Brazilian but I’m not actually sure if they were youth products or not?) and the 1st team is no longer dominated by academy products any more no?

      I’d have to disagree about the damage caused, either you allow the signing of players from other countries or you don’t. The age of the players involved, as long as it remains legal in both jurisdictions should have no import.

      🙂 I always found the complaints about his ‘I didn’t see it’ comments funny. What’s he supposed to say? Either he lies and says the ref got it right (in which case he’s a liar), or tells the truth and says the refs got it very wrong (in which case he opens himself up to FA disciplinary action for criticising the officials!). Remember, in England only Fergie is allowed to disagree with a referee and escape severe sanctions (AW once kicked a bottle vaguely near the 4th official with 2mins of injury time left in a game at OT for which he was sent to the stands where he had to listen to 70000 mancs calling him a paedo for the rest of the match…).

      Besides, have you noticed recently how every EPL manager takes the ‘I’ve yet to fully review the incident’ stance when asked those questions? yet they are rarely lambasted for being hypocrites…

    5. but this 90 mile radius rule is a very recent change, so you can’t really put it up as an excuse

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