What Arsenal have to do to beat Barca tonight

By Avenell Dave

So the moment has come.

After the humiliation of the first 30 minutes last week and gutsy comeback against the odds, Arsenal have a simple task tonight.

Win at the Nou Camp.

Can we do it? Of course we can, and the fact that Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique are both out has a number of advantages.

Gabriel Milito, who will come in, was out for nearly two years and you have to wonder how fit he will be as the game goes on and Rafa Marquez is equally struggling for fitness.

But, as we saw with the first goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored, Pique's passing is also an integral part of his armoury.

I was interested to read that he has one of the highest passing ratios in the Champions League and his absence means one less outlet for the home side to mount their attacks.

But while the loss of Andrey Arshavin and Cesc Fabregas is a huge blow, it is vital that we use it to our advantage.

That means the midfield have to press Barca more diligently than last week, to suffocate them and prevent them from taking the time and space to rip us apart.

That's why I'd start the two defensive midfielders, Denilson and Eboue, in midfield, to hustle the home side and force them into mistakes, alongside Abou Diaby, who surely can't have as bad a game as he did last week.

That will allow Nasri to play behind the strikers as Cesc has been doing, and hopefully use his wit and wisdom to pull the home defence apart.

I got a few texts from people slating Nick Bendtner last week but actually, he won a lot of headers and it was his passes that led to both Theo Walcott's goal and the Puyol foul that led to the penalty.

Talking of Theo, let's hope he has as good a game as he did on Wednesday and stretches the home defence in a manner we know they cannot cope with. Like so many players, he can be so hot and cold and he needs to rise to the occasion and show us he is a player.

But none of this will matter if we don't defend better than we did last week.

Thomas Vermaelen, for all his brilliance, was twice to blame for letting Ibrahimovic loose on his own and he has to ensure he stays tighter to his forward, even if it isn't Ibrahimovic after his injury at the weekend.

My collegaue Graham McNorthBank worries about playing Big Sol, but I don't, as long as he is fit. Having to reorganise the side if a player is only half-fit and goes off injured after 20 minutes is a lesson hopefully Wenger has leanred from last week.

Likewise, the fullbacks have to stop Barca's crosses and hope the midfield do their job when Xavi and co are forced inside.

It is either going to be one of the greatest nights in our history or another disappointment as Arsene Wenger tries to win the Holy Grail.

I love it when Arsenal are underdogs though - hope springs eternal and Barca have already lost at home in the CL this season.

Let's hope lightning strikes twice.

Addict XI


Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

         Eboue Denilson Diaby


            Walcott Bendtner

What do you think? Who should face Barca in Spain tonight?