Barca And Those Orange Bits That Look Like Carrot

Vomit-inducing. A term used to describe the way I feel about this week's upcoming meeting with Lionel Meh-er...Barcelona. In fact, I would have used the same term for all previous fixtures against the Catalan giants. Don't get me wrong, facing United or AC Milan at their respective homes definitely sets the stomach to its sea-sickness setting, but Barca are the only team I can think of where I truly need to stop myself from hurling my guts up all over the pub/living room floor.

Even so, I should learn to relax. After all, we are considerably stronger than we were going into the same tie last season, with the return of an in-form RvP and (forgetting the final 22 minutes at St James' Park) a pretty sturdy CB pairing in the shape of Djourou and Koscielny. In fact I think we're almost at our very best. With the exception of our keeper and Gael Clichy (as per usual), every one of our regular starters has got a goal or two this season. More importantly, our not-so-young-anymore boys have managed to do what they couldn't last season too, they've comfortably beaten Chelsea at home and Man Shitty away but more importantly they've grinded out results against the physical teams and succeeded where the only option was to win - Partizan, Leeds away, Ipswich at home etc. That shows maturity - We've come a LONG way since April '10 and despite our 4 home losses this season (I include City in there even though nobody had a sniff at goal), we are perfectly capable of scoring a salvo of goals against any team, at any time and by any player.....again with the exception of Gael Clichy, who can't score, defend, pass or cross.

Barcelona of course are having another one of those (almost) faultless La Liga seasons which will of course raise the puke-o-meter to deadly levels. To give you an idea, and apologies for digging into the stats box here, in 26 games each in the EPL this season, Arsenal and Manure have scored 56 and 57 goals respectively. Barca on the other hand have found the net 71 times in La Liga, whilst playing 3 fewer games. And they've let in 12 goals compared to our 27. I'm gonna hurl!!!

So, in order to give my stomach a rest I've written a letter to our faithful leader asking if he'd be happy to take a few tips from yours truly:

Dear Mr. Wenger,

You may or may not be aware that your boys have an important business meeting this Wednesday evening with Barcelona aka Spain aka Lionel Messi. In order to cement a decent win, here are a few things that I think we need to avoid:

- Shooting for goal ONLY when there has been a minimum of 26 consecutive passes beforehand, by every single player including the goalkeeper and the ref if he's playing for us.

- Alex Song turning your formation into a 4-2-4 rather than a 4-3-3. Tell him to stay the fuck where he is. May I suggest you instill some discipline by threatening to give his hair coloring kit back to Manuel Almunia (who I hear is losing all of his)

- Walcott shitting himself every time there is an OBVIOUS goalscoring opportunity.

- Ditto JW19. Although even if he doesn't score he's still a joy to watch. Well done with that one Mr. Wenger.

- Passing the ball to Gael Clichy. Don't worry I'm sure he won't mind. I hear he doesn't like football anyway.

- Letting Denilson anywhere near the stadium. He's pants. In fact, I'd rather have Cygan at Centre Back than Denilson in Midfield. When we're 4-0 up against Barca you can stick him up front in lieu of Robin.

- Insulting Lionel Messi's mother in the tunnel before the game. Please feel free to insult Pep Guardiola. You can even spit on him or stand on his head if you like. Just don't get caught.

And here are a few ways to increase our chances of winning:

- Start Nasri in favor of either Arshavin or Walcott (preferably the latter in my opinion, Ruskie's had plenty of assists).

- Better yet, see if you can sneak Nasri onto the pitch without having to replace ANYBODY. Most of the officials in the modern game are completely blind and haven't read the official rule book anyway (because they're blind, and it hasn't been translated to braille yet, because it's far too complicated). I'm sure they wouldn't notice until well after the game has finished anyway, in which case it will be too late.

- Take a leaf out of your mate Fergie's book. Bribe the ref. Nicklas Bendtner's ex-girlfriend (a Dutch Baroness no less) is free apparently. Why don't you offer her? And she's worth half a billion I hear. I'm sure you could find a way to make it work.

- Spike the Barcelona players' matchday-morning porridge with Dulcolax, as you did to Spurs back in 2006 to prevent them from getting into Europe. That was a great idea by the way Mr Wenger, hats off to you. I bet Alex or Jose would never have thought of that!

- You should address the home crowd before the match starts and ask everybody to "sing like fucking crazy". Those EXACT words. It works you know.

If you stick to those clear and concise points, I don't think you'll just be emulating Barcelona's playing style as pundits have rightly said you do, I think you'll be emulating their success as well. Or it could all go completely tits up and you'll get sent to the stands. But I think you should give it a go.

Best Regards

Peter "Andersinho" Anderson
Former 5-aside captain and Championship Manager 2002 legend.

Anyway, back to reality.

I've been surprised on countless occasions this season where I thought we would falter, and also where I thought we would prevail. For example, as already mentioned we have beaten Man City in their stomping ground (albeit against 10 men), we've comfortably seen a full-strength Chelsea side off at home, we have been resilient (Wenger's favorite adjective) at times when it mattered most, and we've actually got a bloody good keeper in the form of Wojciech Whatshisface, who represented his country last week. He's only bloody 20! At the same time, I though we would beat WBA, Newcastle, Tottenscum, Leeds, Ipswich but we didn't (ahem, we lost). I also thought that, being their 2nd match in La Liga for FIFTEEN years, Hércules CF would have been obliterated when they visited the Nou Camp fortress back in September. But of course they only went and bloody won it didn't they? By two goals. And they had a clean sheet. AND Messi was playing...

I'm sure there are more than a few surprises left this season. Barcelona could eat it. Hell Clichy might even score a goal, or deliver a decent cross! The improbable could in fact become the probable! There is one thing that is quite inevitable though. There's going to be stomach lining and bile all over my living room floor on Wednesday afternoon. Lets hope it's worth it!


P.S as a side note, remember we beat AC Milan at their stomping ground first. AND we scored two goals, which were both awesome. Just thought I'd say that.