over the past few days, the buildup towards this match has been immense. every day, there are a number of articles listing the ways arsenal can beat barcelona. a couple of days ago, i came across one that said “hope puyol doesn’t play”. that certainly is the case now… but the one good thing that’s come from his absence is that his importance on that pitch has been affirmed. it’s always a joy to read articles extolling his virtues as a player and a captain.
here are links to 2 of the best ones 🙂
graham hunter: “Maybe it is a coincidence that on all three occasions that Barca have lost this season — away to Sevilla in the SuperCup, to Betis in the King’s Cup and at home to Hercules — Puyol has been absent for one reason or another. Because of a knee injury, the Barca captain won’t make the trip to London. And although Eric Abidal is in the form of his life, it’s obvious that Gerard Pique, Valdes and particularly Alves benefit from Puyol’s presence. During his early years at Barca, he thrived on chaos, loving to put out fires left, right and center. It’s tribute to his adaptability that he equally loves patrolling the now serene Barcelona back four and jumping on trouble when it occurs.”
pete jenson: “The Messi and Guardiola statistics are circumstantial – it is Puyol’s absence that most advances the case that making the most of tonight’s home game represents Arsenal’s best chance of progressing. Barcelona have failed to win only nine games this season and in seven of those Puyol has been missing….Puyol, nicknamed “Captain Caveman”, is the rock on which Guardiola has built two and a half years of unprecedented success. With all major honours now won, the 32-year-old has lost some of his powers of physical recuperation but none of his influence on the team”
full text here; brilliant last line 🙂 : http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/arsenal-must-capitalise-on-puyols-absence-and-piques-habit-of-straying-2215963.html
it’s going to be scary tonight; i hope i don’t bite my nails to death! let’s win this!