Arsenal

Champions League Draw – The Verdict

Not so happy.

Arsenal and Manchester United were handed their Champions League missions this morning, one much rosier than the other’s.

Manchester United will be pretty pleased with the task of taking on German giants Bayern Munich for a place in the semi final of the Champions League. Arsenal not so pleased at the uphill task they face against favourites Barcelona. It’s now crunch time.

Manchester United will feel fairly comfortable against a Bayern side that are not the powerhouse they used to be. Whilst still holding some great players in the form of wingers Arjen Robben and the much coveted Franck Ribery. They have scrapped their way through the whole competition by only just qualifying from the group stage, then conceding four against Fiorentina in the knock out stage. Bayern are definitely there to be taken, especially at Old Trafford. This fixture probably all boils down to how Manchester United performs in Munich. If they score an away goal I think they will gain passage to the semi final stage comfortably. A much different prospect lays ahead for Arsenal.

The purists tie it may be, Arsenal did not want to have to take on Barcelona yet. What will be in supply is beautiful fast free flowing football to make even Sam Allardyce drool. When I look at the sides though I just can’t see where Arsenal win. With it being confirmed this afternoon that William Gallas will not be fit for the tie, the prospect of Sol Campbell dealing with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co worries me greatly. Lionel Messi is on fire with five goals in his last two games and if he is not kept quiet could blow Arsenal away. The problem Arsenal will have is that with their open and expansive game, Barcelona will be able to score at the Emirates with ease. The only team we have seen over recent years really contain Barcelona has been Chelsea; Arsenal could not play more different than the big strong London side if they tried.

Elsewhere it’s an all French affair with Lyon taking on Bordeaux and Inter Milan against Russian surprise packaged CSKA Moscow. More interestingly is the fact the Manchester United upon surpassing Bayern would play either of the French sides. Arsenal or Barcelona on the other hand would probably have to take on Inter Milan should they dispose of the Russian pretenders. This is all setting up for a rematch of Rome. Manchester United vs. Barcelona final is most certainly on the cards again.

You can follow all Matthew Balmforth’s blogs on twitter:http://twitter.com/Soccer_Opinion

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