If I were Tony Pulis (and I’m not, currently possessing 20/20 vision, a full head of hair, and being fully clothed), I’d put it this way: “Barcelona are not that kind of team.” Unparalleled in attacking ability: yes; chalk-full of world-class talent: most certainly; able to frustrate us like Man U and Chelsea: no. Unless Pep Guardiola puts Yaya Toure and the rest of the Barcelona midfield on crack before next Wednesday’s first leg, I doubt we’ll see the Catalonians close us down the way Chelski and Manure have. Make no mistake, we will experience frustrations against them, namely in the area of goals conceded, but Barcelona have shown throughout the season that they, much like us, strive for footballing perfection rather than physical graft to win their games. Let’s not forget the lack of physical presence we experienced from the likes of fellow Spaniards Real Madrid four years back as we enjoyed a rather, let’s face it, tame two legs against a side that was supposed to overwhelm us with quality. The main problem for us against Barcelona is of course that their offense often does achieve footballing perfection, while conversely our defense often does not…

…certainly not with Roswell survivor Silvestre at the helm, pulling those 5 second delayed offside traps at whim. Sol’s going to have to get paid a little extra in advance for a long night of babysitting if we’re to keep the center of defense tight and the likes of Ibrahimovic and Messi at bay. Henry on the other hand should be no problem for Silvestre. Judging by the amount of nausea and childbirth pain TH14 has expressed to the media, he’ll be recoiled in Clockwork Orange-style horror at the very sound of the Emirates PA system most of the time, which leads me to believe (in addition to his recent lack of form) that he probably won’t start. At any rate it will be good, a little weird but yes, good, to have him back. I do, for the record, greatly appreciate his outspoken love and respect for the club…maybe he can take that to the next level and make an “unfortunate” blunder in front of Barcelona’s goal. One can only hope…

Meanwhile back in the Premiership, the FA have rather quickly “dismissed” Arsenal’s appeal for the withdrawal of the Vermaelenator’s red card. Apparently the FA have taken into consideration the well-known fact that players at elite clubs like Hull and West Ham possess an other-worldly knack for turning situations where the football is bouncing a good three feet above and behind their heads into clear, goalscoring opportunities. Clear….goalscoring…opportunities…

So our shape-shifting central defense faces Birmingham this Saturday, who will be frustrated after losing 3-1 to mighty Sunderland on the weekend, and will no doubt be even more frustrated after getting kicked in the shins/ankles/faces for 90 minutes against the sophisticated footballing outfit that is Blackburn tomorrow night. It will certainly be another trying encounter for Arsenal in the title run-in, but if Song puts in a performance anywhere near the one he gave on Saturday we should be in capable enough hands defensively. It looks like the match will be on the pirate-television station known as Fox Soccer Plus, so beat a hasty retreat to your local supporter’s pub and cheer the boys on to ANOTHER victory. Catch the Arsenal Review USA Podcast as we take part in some pre-Champions League conjecturing and strategizing with the Portland Gooners, and remember this weekend the pod will be coming to you on Sunday instead of Saturday. Sorry, so so sorry…we’ll make it up to you…

Come on Arsenal!


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