Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Champions League Match

Arsenal host Barcelona in the first-leg of their quarter-final confrontation in the Champions League. They are probably the two most positive and stylish footballing clubs in the world. But Arsenal may be without their best player, Cesc Fabregas (who ironically was a junior player at Barca before moving to the London club at age 15). Barca will be without influential midfielder Andres Iniesta. They will, however, have super-superstar Lionel Messi, who lately has been playing (and scoring) like no soccer player on the planet ever has.

I cannot expect my beloved Gunners to prevail in the home-and-home series (although I would jump for joy if they did). In any case, the quality of football on display should be stunning. Every soccer fan in the world should be tuned into these matches.

UPDATE: After going down 2-0 just after halftime, Arsenal fought hard to recover a 2-2 tie. In a sense, it was a moral victory, but a very costly one: Arshavin limped off before halftime and is out for 3 weeks with a calf problem; Gallas was stretchered off before halftime and is out for the season; and the inspirational Cesc Fabregas, who tied the game on a late penalty, spent the final few minutes hobbling on what might be a broken leg. Thanks to their two away goals, Barcelona must be heavily favored to go through to the next round. Meanwhile, Arsenal will be left extremely short-handed as they try desperately to compete with Chelsea and ManU for the Premier League championship.

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