Well, well, well…
At the Emirates we were made to look like a lower league team in the first twenty minutes or so. Big Al made saves that no one expected he could. Our defense was made to defend for their lives at one point even Tony Adams would have been proud of some interceptions and blocks made. So what went wrong?
As said the best form of defense is attack and our attack never seemed to click. AA was not fit while Nasri had his hands full with Alves. Our midfield was not closing them down enough which resulted from Fab4 and Diaby not being fully fit. Diaby has become a real powerhouse in midfield and his poor game was one of the main reasons we struggled to get a foothold in the game. At the back Gallas was not fully fit either. I felt that, despite Sol lacking pace, his defensive organization skills was sorely missed.
The 4-3-3 is a good formation when it clicks but when it contains passengers it is a catastrophe in the making. So what will Arsene do about it?
In his post match review AW said we have to get a plan to win the ball off them. Firstly AW should start with fully fit players. We should also chase them down all over the park like we did to opposition at the beginning of the season. Diaby and Nasri were rested at the weekend because they will be the ones to close down the spaces in midfield.
Denilson has been poor this season but credit to him he has worked hard to at least merit a place in the team. In our team no one comes close to intercepting passes than Denilson maybe Clichy is closest. He stabilized our midfield when he came on and always made the simple pass which made our game to start flowing. However, his failure to track back has cost us some games this season and it would be suicidal if he fails to do at the Camp nou. With Song now out, Denilson is sure to start.
Let’s talk tactics
I explained Barca’s tactics last week but expect some changes. Ibra is injured so expect to see Bojan/Henry playing in the CF role. Henry is out of favor right now but whoever plays expect them to play a much more fluid and fast paced game. Abidal has returned from injury so expect him to start at left back. In defense the most likely combination will be Milito/Marquez. Iniesta may feature. In terms of our line up I expect to see Bendy up front with Rosicky and Eboue flanking him. In midfield Nasri and Diaby are sure starters, Sagna, Clichy and Almunia will complete the line up. Expect Theo to feature.
Barca will want to assert their authority early hence I see them starting at a ferocious tempo. We may need to do some more heroics in defense early on. However AW may decide to shock them by taking the game to them early on to rattle their cages as they did to us in the first leg. Eboue’s direct running will be required since Abidal will be likely to tire since he has only come back from injury. We will also need to run at their central defense since they are slow and can’t cope with athletes. Rosicky for me also has a key role to play. He is our most experienced midfielder left and he will need to step up big time in Barcelona.
Rosicky links up play so well. He also tracks back and battles hard when he is on the pitch. He will have to help Nasri and Diaby in winning the midfield battle. Barca is likely to continue with their high pressing game and is likely to prevent our passes hence Nasri and diaby’s close control will be much-needed. They will most likely share the free role in between them. Diaby will have to get in the box as often as he can when we are in crossing situations and in counter attacks. Nasri’s craft and guile will also be needed. Nasri who rarely performs away from home will really have to step it up big time. Whoever plays in defensive midfield role will have to cut out passes and minimize the spaces for their forwards to run into. We have to stay compact since we saw what awarding them space can lead to. Clichy and Sagna will have to do better in preventing acres of space to Alves and Maxwell as we saw in the first leg with assistance from the wing forwards. Almunia and the central defenders will have to concentrate for the full 90+ minutes.
Most teams that visit the Camp nou normally go there and hide resulting in a huge spanking. If we hide we will be destroyed. Some of their players are also displaying a sense of arrogance in the media. The media has placed us as an underdog which suits us just fine. The Camp nou is one of the finest arenas in Europe and in the situation we are in we have nothing to lose, GO FOR IT! I’d rather we lost trying than losing while not giving it a real go.
Barca tire towards the end of games as witnessed in the first leg; no team can match our stamina over ninety minutes. Eboue will need to tire their defense before Theo comes on to finish the job. Theo will scare them stiff and it is a psychological advantage for us. As much as we enjoy playing in big pitches they love it too. Messi may have had a quiet game at the Emirates but we should be wary of him since he may decide the tie. We should shoot on sight and NOT PLAY WITH FEAR! Get as many crosses in to Bendtner he may score from one of them, he will need to hold up the ball and occupy their defense to allow us to play.
To all the Gooners who travel over there, sing your hearts out as you have done all season. The boys have done us well so far and no matter what happens we win and lose as a team.
C’MON YOU RIP ROARING REDS!
Written by KTR-7