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Can you pick the Arsenal side for the Barca game?

Taking a narrow lead into the CL game against Barca offers a tantalising chance of progress. It probably isn't enough and their away goal they have could yet prove crucial. But it's a one off game and history proves that anything can happen in a one off game. Batter the opposition in the 2001 FA cup final and end up on the losing side. Get battered in the 2005 final and take the trophy. "Events dear boy", as Harold MacMillan once said, are what really shapes our destiny as the Carling Cup has shown.

There are some choices to make for this game. We've got a chance no matter how small many will tell us it is so what team would give us the best chance? We can assume with everyone fit as we anticipate that the back 5 should pick itself. But should we make changes for this game? If so who, where and why? Cesc may be back in midfield and Wilshere should probably be alongside him based on his first leg performance or should we do something different for an away game that we need to keep tight? Who would make up the midfield? A defensive player Diaby or Denilson? Move Nasri back perhaps? The better possession we can keep the less Barca will have the ball to damage us with. Rosicky offers better ball retention than many others in the side. Do we find room for him?

RvP is out so who plays up front? Chamakh or Bendtner? What does one offer over the other? Arshavin didn't start in the first leg. Why not? Was this a nod towards the need to keep as much control of the ball as we could? Is his direct style more important later in the game as has been suggested in previous encounters when Barca might tire?

Can you pick the team for the game? Who would you pick to give us the best chance of going through and why?

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 7 2011

Time: 3:09PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
RVP IS IN THE SQUAD!!! Arsene's been sneaky!
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07/03/2011 15:40:00

Dangling us all like puppets.
Wyn Mills
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07/03/2011 15:43:00

Arsene, you sly old bugger...
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07/03/2011 15:47:00

If Arsene would have kept that quiet till tomorrow, every single person in this thread would have been wrong.

Is Wenger risking it, or did he know all along and is playing mind games?
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07/03/2011 15:54:00

Wow is all I can say, does this also mean Theo is not far from being returned? Surprised Ramsay was not allowed to travel would have been great experience. That game against Manure is looking more and more interesting.
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07/03/2011 15:55:00

Hey??? Rvp?? What's that all about??
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07/03/2011 15:58:00

Szczesny, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Sagna,Diaby, Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere, Eboue, Chamakh.. Subs: Almunia, Squillaci, Arshavin, Rosicky, Bendtner, RVP.. I for one would hv lined up a 3 man central defense to negate the threat of pedro, messi and david villa.. if we need to chase the game we can always bring on van persie and arshavin later on
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07/03/2011 16:11:00

If RvP is fit and does play I'm going Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Denilson, Cesc, Wilshere, Nasri, RvP, Rosicky with a bench of Almunia, Eboue, Gibbs, Squillaci, Diaby, Arshavin, Bendtner. Has the best chance of competing for possession with Barca and should give us a chance.
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07/03/2011 16:14:00

I can't argue with that Amos. Would love to have Arshavin in there as he's really been getting back into form recently, but we really can't afford his defensive incapabilities from the outset. As LD rightly said, it's imperitive that we don't concede in the first 30 minutes, and we need all hands to the pump to make sure that doesn't happen. As much as I love AA, he just doesn't offer Clichy that cover. Rosicky may be regressing as far as his aproach play is concerned, but the dude is good in the tackle. Arshavin will get some pitch time should we need a goal though!
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07/03/2011 16:17:00

Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Denilson, Cesc, Wilshere, Nasri, RvP, Gibbs Bench; Almunia, Eboue, Rosicky, Squillaci, Diaby, Arshavin, Bendtner
Wyn Mills
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07/03/2011 16:30:00

I could be wrong but I'd pick Diaby for this one, just for his habit of wanting to subdue his markers and retain possession. Only trouble is, with the way Barcelona put pressure when not in possession, he must not lose the ball in dangerous areas. So, that leaves Cesc and Jack in core midfield. Arshavin is a must start, without Theo's pace; he and Nasri are alternative routes for quick counter attacks. For this game, Chamakh will get my nod over Bendtner, simply because he is better at unsettling defenders, never letting them relax, when the opposition is in possession and looking to kick out. Hey! But then, RvP is in the squad, so that is it all picked. Any 3 of Rosicky, Gibbs, Squilacci, Eboue and Deni may be needed in the course of the game. On something different, how about a 5 man defence with Squillaci and JD in the centre and LK man-marking Messi? Squillaci should know the Barca team, having played in Spain and all that. Well, it is just a thought.
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07/03/2011 16:35:00

I'd go with Amos's team if RvP is fit except that I'd play Bendtner in place of Rosicky. Bendtner has proved to be a big game player in the past and is in good form currently. if RvP is fit only to come on as a sub, I'd include Rosicky on the left, Bendtner in the middle and Nasri on the right.
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07/03/2011 16:36:00

rvp should start on the bench, 2nd half sub
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07/03/2011 16:37:00

We've got a few options which is good. I'm not getting too excited about RvP - he's been named in a nineteen man squad which is to be cut to eighteen tomorrow. That could easily be him that gets the chop. I like Amos' team and agree on Arshavin; he'll be of greater benefit coming on after 70 and may even be a hinderance if he started, with his blind refusal to put a proper shift in. But Le Boss has talked about playing fresh legs. Does that mean RvP and Cesc returning? Possibly. But I've got a feeling he'll spring a couple of surprises - perhaps Eboue in that attacking role as somebody has mentioned. Diaby is another intriguing figure. He played pretty well there last year, being heavily involved in the goal. But Denilson (not the player of late, preferably) is the better choice if we're looking to stay solid defensively and increase our chances of keeping the ball. Chamakh may have to miss out altogether if RvP is going to be included. Interesting stuff; I just hope Wenger doesn't make too many drastic changes.
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07/03/2011 16:42:00

Diaby over Denilson every day of the week for me.
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07/03/2011 16:53:00

Arshavin has actually improved his back tracking and works a lot harder these days. Tactically, Chamakh is better suited for this one, if van Persie has to be on the bench (I doubt that, though). I assume part of the game plan will be to retain the ball and prevent quick breaks.
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07/03/2011 17:24:00

Szczesny, Sagna Djourou Squillaci Clichy Koscielny Jack Bendtner Cesc Nasri Chamakh RVP and Arshavin come in at 70 Did you guys notice Koscielny tracked Messi into Barca's own half at the emirates?
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07/03/2011 17:24:00

Kos plays DM for me RVP and Arshavin come from bench at 70
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07/03/2011 17:26:00

Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn.
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07/03/2011 17:56:00

Bricks, Sand, Cement, Water.
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07/03/2011 18:00:00

Bendtner and Van Persie up front.
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07/03/2011 18:01:00

Couple things to remember: Denilson has actually proved more capable in the CL than the PL. Chamakh has an excellent European record with Bordeaux--and us too. Song is unavailable but frankly I'm not sure if he'd be a good choice for this game given his limitations shown in the first leg. I had very strong negative feelings ahead of the CC final and Sunderland. I had good positive feelings ahead of the 1st leg Barca game. I have those same feelings today. Whatever the result, I do think Arsenal will make us proud tomorrow.
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07/03/2011 19:26:00

Well, credit to Wenger. He is listening to his players:
Wyn Mills
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07/03/2011 19:57:00

For me it can only be one setup for tomorrow: In goal Brick wall. Defense Attilla The Hun, Genghis Khan, wife and mother in-law. Middle Cesc, JW, Den. Upfront Chamak, Nasri and AA.
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07/03/2011 20:57:00

May your faith save you jaelle :-)
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08/03/2011 01:08:00

The magnitude of the task in front of us cant be overstated. Before a massive partisan home crowd who will create a special atmosphere keeping in mind their team is behind, we will face wave after wave of attacks by players who are peerless in the way the use a football and have telepathic links to each other. The positives - the absence of Puyol and Pique, the negatives - we dont have Theo to get behind the makeshift CB's and probably wont have RvP starting. Hoping for the best as always but I cant see a way past this juggernaut.
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08/03/2011 04:54:00

Chamakh at centre forward, his ability to retain possession will be important. Nasri on the left and Bendtner on the right, with Arshavin an impact sub off the bench. In the middle Cesc, Wilshere and Diaby. Back five picks itself.
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08/03/2011 06:02:00

Had a dream we drew 2-2!
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08/03/2011 07:58:00

Jack Wilshere is second-rate??? Didn't realize Guardiola was a prat. Stick that one up on the dressing room wall for tonight, Arsene...
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08/03/2011 08:04:00

Julie, I thought Pep was only being complimentary while asserting that Barca also have such great future European talents coming through their 2nd team. Hey! But if it helps to stoke the fire, why not?
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08/03/2011 09:38:00

If we stand off Barcelona we'll get hammered. The key for me is actually matching them physically in midfield for the first 25 minutes. Fight for every ball...hunt in packs...destabilize their passing game. Sow the seeds of doubt in their minds. People often make the mistake of thinking Barca are not a physical team. They very much are. They press and intimidate other teams off the ball. If we can handle that I'd fancy us to make a real game of it in the 2nd half. Its not our normal game, but then we're not facing a normal team.
Wyn Mills
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08/03/2011 10:59:00

The art behind Barcelona winning possession back from the opposition is physical only in terms of the immense work rate of the Barca players who chase the player who has possession. When they reach the player who has the ball, the way they relieve him of possession of the ball does not involve much physical contact which can give away a foul. The quickness of their feet and a team mate always at hand to receive the subsequent pass is the way they win the ball back.
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08/03/2011 11:44:00

Have since heard Guardiola's remarks in context- last time I take a media "quote" at face value, they are only wind-up merchants. As for tonight, if we can survive the "onslaught" of the first half hour, I'd be optimistic. Need to work their plums off tonight...RVP and AA off the bench for me. And don't let Denilson on...
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08/03/2011 11:45:00

Szczesny, Sagna-Djourou-Kos-Clichey, Diaby-Jack-Cesc, Nasri-Bendtner-Andrey. If we're still in it with 15 minutes to go.... we've got a real chance. They normally tire at the end. Unfortunately (especially at home) they're normally out of site by then.
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08/03/2011 12:50:00

i only hope for a fair referee.. UEFA have a special script for Barca and in that cauldron, we need a good ref. that's my greatest fear. Refs sometimes blow the whistle on reputation alone. Without a good ref, we will lose. Even with a fair ref, Barca are already too hard to beat. Lets see who gets the 50/50 decisions.
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08/03/2011 12:51:00

Szczesny, Sagna-Djourou-Kos-Clichy, Diaby-Wilshere-Cesc, Nasri-Chamakh-Arshavin. I think we have to think about scoring ourselves as well as stopping Barca from scoring. Chamakh is better at holding the ball and linking play than Bendtner. Arshavin has to play as he looks really lively in recent games. I'd go with Diaby over Denilson because he is stronger and offers more creativity. We have to really attack Barca, can't afford to sit back and soak up pressure all night.
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08/03/2011 13:21:00

Hope you guys beat 'em and i'm certain you will have most of England rooting for you as well. Knock the arrogance out of them and make 'em turn the sprinklers on ;)
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08/03/2011 13:39:00

Hey- what happened to my post about reports of RVP passing fitness test and starting from the Bench?
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08/03/2011 13:49:00

I see your game tonight being a cracker but i hope barca win SORRY LADS !!!
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08/03/2011 14:24:00

Barcelona 1 Arsenal 1, Man Utd 0 Arsenal 1, WBA 0 Arsenal 3
Sir Henry
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08/03/2011 14:29:00

Well if THEY win, I hope YOU get them next! Fair enough?
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08/03/2011 15:00:00

I hope Rosicky starts over Arshavin. We'll have to defend for long periods tonight, and Rosicky is better suited to help Clichy.
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08/03/2011 15:42:00

This is hard to say but, good luck tonight. Should be a great game.
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08/03/2011 16:14:00

Thanks TFNo7 and Harry-Kari.
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08/03/2011 16:37:00

Anyone got any team news?
Wyn Mills
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08/03/2011 17:12:00

Little early for team news. I'll post it as soon as I get it.
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08/03/2011 17:28:00

Hope you win, i don't see the Barca halo, the biggest ever robbery in football was a few years ago, i hope u don't suffer the same cheating refereeing.
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08/03/2011 17:45:00

Wyn, rumours are that van Persie will start tonight.
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08/03/2011 18:05:00

Hope its true because our biggest chance tonight is to play our counter-attacking game with precision. I might have brought him on 2nd half though. If RvP starts it's a massive decision for Wenger. Really hope it doesn't backfire for us.
Wyn Mills
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08/03/2011 18:32:00


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