Every single Arsenal fans would lovely avoid any big teams in UCL draw last week. But the results has been out and it was nostalgic draw again.
Barcelona right now have new approachment with new three attack dimensional – Messi, Neymar and Suarez. There is one of reasons why we must avoid these team than any other big teams such as Atletico or Real Madrid. Messi, Neymar and Suarez has been contributed more than 125 goals out of 160 goals for Barcelona this year. Which is very deadly stats and we can’t forget Rakitic, Iniesta, Rafinha and Arda Turan creativity in midfield. Luis Enrique tactics didn’t have any difference with Pep and Barcelona still enjoying play tiki-taka.
But there is another counter reasons that makes Arsenal will become another contender for UCL Champion and going through Quarter Final. Here is 3 reasons why Arsenal will going through to UCL quarter finals :
1. New balanced Arsenal squad.
The last meeting between Arsenal and Barcelona are in 2011 with Arsenal winning at Emirates 2-1 with Arshavin and RVP goals, and lost at Camp Nou 3-1 with 10 man (RVP red card). At that time Arsenal first team still with Cesc, Nasri and Wilshere in creativity role.
We can see with that Pep Guardiola team, Xavi still in his 30s, David Villa in prime condition, Pique and Iniesta in his mid 20s and with Messi, Villa and Pedro as striker. When Arsenal fighting with Djorou and Kos (in development) in middle. Eboue still playing, Wilshere just come from youth team, Nasri , Cesc and RvP are the only big player we have at that time. And what we have in bench are Denilson, Squillaci and Bendtner who still taking his free wages in Arsenal.
But put aside , Arsenal manages to win by 2 goals and Barcelona with 1 ( 1 goals has been disallowed). But if you watch it that time, Arsenal almost get conceded 3-4 goals and defensively poor. and after that 1 red card in Camp Nou we get 3-1.
But look this season, Arsenal has bought 1 player (yes 1, if you asked again) world class player again in the summer. After bringing Ozil and Sanchez in the past two seasons, Wenger want to put experience with building youth in Arsenal new team. We can see Hector has become Arsenal new young gun and playing almost every single game and Cech has became undisputed goal keeper in Arsenal after Ospina big error in UCL.
Monreal is in his peak condition, Gibbs coming right behind. all defensive player are in best condition, Per, Kos, Gabriel, Chambers and Debuchy are ready for fighting their place. And if you see in midfield, Flamini playing well with Ozil and Ramsey. Campbell rising, Ox came back and Walcott-Giroud new rivalry for upfront position. With good news that Wilshere and Welbeck will be coming in January after injured (Even Cazorla and Coquelin still injured).
Wenger has told the media that this squad is if not the most balanced squad with the best harmony in the squad (VCC) he ever managed in Arsenal. So if you asking our chance, I would say it would be better this year.
2. Barcelona is in different approach
You could say Barcelona still in his prime after winning UCL last year, but if you see that squad right now, Barcelona are not picking old tactic tiki-taka once more, even they are still put their direct and short passing. This year Iniesta isn’t in his best condition and a lot of players will be in his last year like Mascherano and Alves.
Luis Enrique who came from Argentina have another different approach in Barcelona and it still makes time for them. And plus with a lot of youngster has coming in through La Mansia academy like Sergi Samper, there is time for them to settle playing with first team. And Enrique will giving a lot youngster chance to play against Arsenal which is good for Arsenal that they have a chance for exploit that side like they put against Manchester United last month.
Plus you can see that Neymar could be out for 1 months, and a lot of players are exhausted and probably seeing Barcelona didn’t get any injuries this late, soon or later they would get. Fact that Messi never win against Petr Cech could be your best reason why Wenger bought him (Like he knew everything).
Although we have to aware in January transfer window next month that Barcelona would bought, but Arsenal have a chance to filling the void that Arteta, Cazorla and Coquelin left this month. So new addition in midfield would giving us better chance too against Barcelona.
3. Arsenal are in their peak form and peak years.
Calculate Arsenal the last time they are winning EPL or getting through UCL 16 qualifiers and you can see the result are staggering. Arsenal has miss 11 years for not winning EPL because the financial reason and bulding the new stadium for them and put them almost a decade in top four. And Arsenal has kicked out from UCL qualifiers from big draw like Barcelona, Milan, AS Monaco and Bayern Munich without any achievement.
But after Ozil transfer window, Arsenal has put another life sign with winning FA Cup back to back in the past 2 season against Aston Villa and Hull City respectively. Winning against big teams in Community Shield with Chelsea and Manchester City given every single season start so special for them. Arsenal too giving good stats and experience against big teams in UCL and EPL even they are knocked out in last 5 years.
This season, Arsenal giving another new life form with Hector, Campbell, Coq rising through academy and reserves squad and giving Arsenal good balance in youth and experienced squad. A lot of players such as Monreal, Ozil and Ramsey are in their best age for performing their best perform. Giroud and Walcott as you see in past match has giving Wenger another option for tactics approach against any team this season. Plus Petr Cech experience in between the pole giving Arsenal confidence and comfort iin defense stature.
Well there is no reason for mad because UCL draw against Barcelona right now, if Arsenal can manage EPL against Manchester City this week and maintain their position in EPL. This would be a good test and lifting their mood for Barcelona next year and put them through to quarter final.
Writer is freelance journalist in Sports and expert in Arsenal news for the last 10 years.
Anzala Ryanto. @anzalariveris