Well the Champions League draw has been announced, and the fixtures for the Quarter Finals are as follows:
Olympique Lyonnais v Bordeaux
Bayern Munich v Manchester United
Arsenal v Barcelona
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow
And the Semi Final Draw is:
Inter Milan/CSKA Moscow v Arsenal/Barcelona
Bayern Munich/Manchester United v Olympique Lyonnais/Bordeaux
And Arsenal have confirmed that the first leg at The Emirates will be played on Wednesday 31st March, and the second leg will be on Tuesday 6th April, at the Camp Nou.
Ever since Arsenal made the last eight people have asked me who I wanted in the next round, and do you know who I said every time?
They thought I was joking, but I wasn’t.
Call me stupid, call me insane, but I think we can beat Barcelona
To win the competition, you have to beat the best anyway. Of course, people talked about facing Lyon, Bordeaux and then CSKA Moscow as a possible way to win it but the odds on that ever happening were always going to be remote.
The fact is, Arsenal at their best can beat anyone. It’s been a topsy turvy season but don’t let that fool you into thinking that Barcelona will completely batter us. When you think back to the season where we made the final in 2006, Arsenal’s run to Paris was magical – things dreams were made of.
We beat the Galacticos of Real Madrid, got past a Juventus side with Patrick Vieira, had a dramatic semi-final against Villarreal and narrowly lost against Barcelona in a cruel final.
Along with the FA Cup semi-final replay defeat to Manchester United in 1999, that Barcelona final was one of the most devastating moments in my Arsenal supportership (if that’s even a word). I was inconsolable for weeks, and I’ve supported Arsenal for almost 20 years.
Do I want revenge? Oh hell yeah.
At The Emirates we can beat anyone. No team has retained the Champions League in its current format so why can’t we be the team to knock out Barcelona?
Yes, Barcelona won absolutely everything there was to win last season (La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Supercup, The Champions League, The European Supercup and the World Club Championship) but I watched their first leg match against Stuttgart they were fortunate not to lose by 2 or 3 goals.
And of course, Barcelona haven’t beaten us 11 against 11.
Barcelona should be afraid of us, and underestimate us at our peril.
And of course we will welcome Thierry Henry with open arms, and it will be an honour to see him back at The Emirates. And we all know what happened when a former captain came back to Arsenal…