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Arsenal Barca Betting – Gunners Can’t Break Barca Jinx

Posted by Todd Shale on 1/13/2011 9:37:38 AM
arsenal barca betting

Online betting players will be treated to, if nothing else, an exhibition of the beautiful game in the knockout stages of the Champions League as England’s Arsenal will square off with Spain’s Barcelona. These two don’t play a long-ball game, but they pass it around with move without the ball, and it’s a great thing to see. The problem for Arsenal is, Barcelona does it better than they do, and better than anyone else in the world.

  • What: Soccer Betting
  • When: Feb. 16th, 2:45 PM ET (at Arsenal); March 8th, 2:45 PM ET (at Barcelona)
  • Where: The Emirates Stadium (Arsenal); The Nou Camp (Barcelona)
  • Pick: Barcelona

What’s On The Line

Two of the most stylish teams in European football clash once again in the Champions League, where Barca definitely holds the edge with three wins, including one over Arsenal in 2006. Barca last won two years ago, and they eliminated the Gunners last season thanks to a comprehensive 4-1 thrashing at the Nou Camp in which Lionel Messi was a one-man show. Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will be in the middle of everything once again as the former Barca academy product has been tipped to go to Spain for the past couple of seasons, and many thought he would move there after winning the World Cup with Spain, which is essentially the entire Barca side.

Offensive Matchups: Arsenal Barca Betting

Arsenal is second in England’s Premier League in goals scored, and they’re well known for playing a slick passing game (some call them the Barca of England). Fabregas is the key to all of it, pulling strings from his advanced midfield position, but he’s gotten some help in the middle of the park from Sami Nasri, who has broken out this year, and Jack Wilshere. Marouane Chamakh is second to Nasri on the team with 11 goals, and Theo Walcott is coming around as well. Arsenal has long had problems actually finishing their sweeping moves with goals, and they’re still not great at it, but they’re getting better. And while Nasri has been on fire this year, everything still runs through Fabregas. Having Robin van Persie on form would also be nice.

Messi won the FIFA Player of the Year for the second year in a row, but who came in after him? Barca midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who scored the World Cup-winning goal against the Netherlands. Messi is once again destroying La Liga, but for our money, Xavi is the motor that drives Barca, probably the best midfielder in the world, and the main reason Fabregas isn’t starting for Spain. Xavi’s range of passing is unrivaled, and it doesn’t even matter that he’s not that great defensively, they have Sergio Basquets for that. David Villa and Pedro are wingmen with Messi up front, but like Arsenal and Fabregas, Xavi is the man to watch for Barca.

Betting Edge: Barca

Defensive Matchups: Arsenal Barca Betting

The Gunners just try to keep the ball away from the other team as their form of defense, as they’ve had some injuries at the back. Thomas Vermaelen has been out for a while and it’s uncertain if he’ll be back for the first of this two-legged tie. Gael Clichy has taken a step backwards at left back, but on the other side, Bacary Sagna has been great in England and in Europe. Arsenal just lacks that midfield destroyer who breaks up passes, and they haven’t had one since Patrick Vieira. In goal, Lukaz Fabianski has improved a lot since taking over for the injured Manuel Almunia, but manager Arsene Wenger is still in the market for a goalkeeper.

Basquets does the destroying for Barca in the middle of the park, which allows Xavi and Iniesta to push forward and do their thing. What’s more is that they have Javier Mascherano on the bench, and he’s good enough to be the captain of Argentina’s national side. At the back, Barca is as strong as anyone in Europe, powered by the central duo of club captain Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique, along with fullback Dani Alves and Eric Abidal. They’re marshaled by keeper Victor Valdes, and these five have all been together for a while, which definitely gives them an edge when it comes to communication.

Betting Edge: Barca

Notable Injuries: Arsenal Barca Betting

Vermaelen (Achilles) may be ready for this, but we wouldn’t hold our breath. Almunia (ankle) is likely gone for the season, but midfielder Abou Diaby (calf) should be ready for the Gunners, giving them a holding midfielder.

Barca doesn’t seem to have any major injury worries, and even if they do, they’re one of the deepest sides in Europe.

Betting Edge: Barca

Outlook and Pick: Arsenal Barca Betting

Barca will be heavily favored to boot the Gunners once again, and the key to this tie for Arsenal will be their ability to get a decent lead at home, where they drew 2-2 with Barca last season. Arsenal got pummeled 4-1 at the Nou Camp in the return fixture, although they were missing Fabregas, who broke his leg in the first match. Barca has been monstrous at home, as they were upset by minnows Hercules in their first home game, haven’t lost since, and that includes a 5-0 demolition of Real Madrid. Even with Fabregas, we just don’t think Arsenal stands a chance in the Nou Camp, and they’re going to need, at least, a two-goal lead going into the second leg. Barca is just too deep and too strong, and it would be a major sports betting upset if Arsenal took them out.

Todd’s Pick: Barcelona



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