Barcelona and Arsenal staring at the Champions League exit door
Barcelona warmed up for their 2nd leg ’round of 16′ tie against Paris Saint-Germain with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Sporting Gijon on Wednesday and followed it up with a 5-0 win against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Saturday. Barcelona’s fabled trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar scored 7 of the 11 goals but the hosts will need to repeat one of those two score-lines, or at worst lead by 4 goals to nil after 90 minutes, if they are to overcome the 1st leg deficit inflicted on them by the French champions, when the sides renew hostilities in Spain on Wednesday.
Paris were magnificent in the 1st leg, with Edinson Cavani leading the line superbly to prove that there is life after Zlatan Ibrahimović. The Uruguayan striker has scored 7 Champions League goals already on top of his 27 in Ligue 1 but it his ability to drop deep and make life difficult for his opponents that really marks him out.
Sergio Busquets was the latest recipient, finding little to time to impact on proceedings and it was reminiscent of the sterling job that Cavani did on Steven Gerrard for Uruguay against England in Brazil.
The latest goal projections would indicate that the Catalans face a mammoth task.
In Wednesday’s other tie, Borussia Dortmund will be looking to overturn a 1 goal deficit, when they welcome Benfica to the Westfalenstadion. All eyes will be on the prolific Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is being coveted by a whole host of top European clubs.
Arsenal’s season is starting to fall apart, with crushing defeats at Chelsea and Liverpool almost certainly ending their title hopes for another season. After losing 5-1 in Munich, the Gunners will be looking to add a semblance of respectability to the scoreline, when the Bavarian giants visit the Emirates on Tuesday, to complete the formalities of Arsenal’s ’round of 16′ exit.
Napoli are another side facing a huge task after losing 3-1 in Madrid against the reigning champions. The visitors are expected to welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale back to the starting XI, after the duo sat out the routine win at Eibar over the weekend.
Comebacks can be special but Napoli, Arsenal and Barcelona really have it all to do. However, with perhaps the most revered forward line in the history of the competition, Barca fans will be praying that the MSN can help them to pull off the impossible!