Thursday, April 16, 2009

CL: United vs Arsenal - will it be heaven or hell?

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time will know that I have been tipping Arsenal to finish in the Premier League top four pretty much all season long, my only surprise is how long it took Wenger's team to hit form. According to Arsene Wenger, his club still has an outside chance of winning the title, realistically that is not going to happen, but they will undoubtedly have a big say on who will be crowned champions, the Gunners have to play United and Liverpool away while Chelsea have to visit the Emirates Stadium.

Following last night's Champions League results, United will meet Arsenal in the semi-final in what could turn out to be heaven or hell depending on the outcome from a red perspective. In the other semi-final, Chelsea have the unenviable task of facing tournament favourites Barcelona - given the alternative both United and Arsenal will no doubt be happy about the prospect of facing an English rival because Barca are playing some scintillating football in the Nou Camp.

Will it be another all English Champions League final then? I for one believe there's every chance because while Barca have been superb thus far, they were knocked out by United last season, that was largely because the champions had the better defence. For the very same reason, it is quite probable Chelsea will see off the challenge of the Catalan club this time around.

Naturally, I want United to win the other semi-final, but whether or not that happens will once again depend on how well the defence performs over the two legs. If United's back-four does its job, then we have the forwards to score the goals. For their part, Arsenal will be thinking exactly the same, in that they have the firepower to overcome the champions defence which has been uncharacteristically leaking goals of late.

The purists will want to see Barcelona in the final because they only know one way to play and that is to go forward. United and the club's supporters will not be keen on giving Chelsea the opportunity to avenge the outcome of last season's Moscow final - so United vs. Barca in the final it will hopefully be.

You also do wonder what former Arsenal star Thierry Henry is thinking with the prospect of possibly shooting-down his old team-mates in the final?

All in all, it is set up for what will be an intruiging season end.

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