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Barcelona vs. Arsenal: Who will win?

The UEFA Champions League final is generally the most highly-anticipated match of the year (at least in non-World Cup years), but a close second this year could be today's Barcelona-Arsenal UEFA Champions League clash.

Barcelona is widely-regarded as the best team in the world, but a 2-1 loss in the first leg in London has Arsenal on the verge of a major Round of 16 upset, though there is hard work to be done. For Barcelona, the task is simple. Win 1-0 or by multiple goals and the Spanish champions can continue searching for a second European title in three seasons. If Arsenal wins, draws or loses by a goal while scoring multiple goals, then the Gunners will be one step closer to their first Champions League trophy.

Seems like an easy call? Don't bet on it. Barcelona will enter today's match without first-choice centerbacks Gerard Pique (suspended) and Carles Puyol (injured), which is great news for an Arsenal side that looks set to play stars Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, who both had been believed to be injured and out of today's match.

Here's our question for you: Who do you see winning today? Think Arsenal's counterattack will burn Barcelona's patchwork defense, or do you see Lionel Messi and Co. stepping up to deliver a clutch victory?

Cast your vote for who you see winning the Barcelona-Arsenal series after the jump:

 

Who did you pick, and why? Calling in sick to watch the game? Who do you see being the star of the show?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. No clue why Rosicky is starting. It defies all logic, as he’s been mediocre at best this season. My only thought is that Wenger likes having a game-changer like Arshavin coming off the bench to run at tired defenders.

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  2. Dumb of me to get involved in other peoples internet battles but…

    Adrian, you post a million times a day and often its stuff that clearly seems aimed at getting a rise out of people. Its becoming borderline trolling.

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  3. I think it’s going to be tough to beat Barcelona at home. Also, Barcelona have an edge with their away goal. Then again, I sense Barcelona’s defense will be vulnerable without Pique and Puyol. (Look what happened to Man U. last weekend minus Ferdinand and Vidic.) As long as Fabregas and van Persie are fit to play, Arsenal have a good chance at an upset.

    My DVR is set to record the match so I can watch it after work. I’ll have to avoid all soccer websites for the rest of the afternoon. (Drat!)

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  4. Ives–I like when you put the time of upcoming games. And be sure to put EST, so we on the west coast can convert 😉

    LOVE your site, thanks for all you do.

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  5. I think the media is blowing the quote out of perspective. Wilshire would be in the reserves. Who would he replace in Barca’s first team? Definitely looking forward to the game.

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  6. wow, the results of this poll make realize how many EPL fans their are on this site. I guess FSC has done it’s job to promote the EPL. I think in most places in the world (including possibly England), Barca would be winning this poll by a landslide. Interesting.

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  7. As a Barca fan I am seriously nervous about missing Puyol and Pique. Could be a game changer, similar to RVP and Cesc missing for Arsenal last year.

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  8. as a madrid fan, i want to see barca lose…but at the same time, i want them to have as many games left to play as madrid. i dont want them to have a fatigue advantage in Copa and La Liga…in addition to the advantages they already have.

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  9. I do believe you are right, this is the same Adrian who called me a “kid” cause I said arshavin was clearly pushed over by Bramble. How ironic

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  10. Wait, is this the same adrian who called out arsenal fans for their referee complaints over the weekend?

    Because it sure sounds like you’re suggesting the referees were culpable for the result in the first leg…

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  11. just dissapointed that i forgot to tivo the game. i see barca winning a close one – maybe 2-1. but i want to watch history as it happens!!! maybe i’ll bust out of work for the second half at a nearby brit pub that plays soccer..

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  12. Cheering for Arsenal but I voted Barca. I really think that the absence of Walcott and uncertainty with actually health of RVP are big blows to the Gunners and limit their ability to challenge Barca makeshift defense.

    What I am expecting is some fantastic football and I’m hoping for big days by Schzesny, Wilshere Fabregas and Arshavin . . .

    [side note: just like last year I really wish this were the finals]

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  13. If Arsenal can withstand the huge pressure I’m sure they’ll be under and take advantage of the makeshift defense Barca will be deploying, I think they can advance. Going to be an intense game.

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  14. It’s the claude makelele effect. People talk about something/someone being underrated so much that it/he ends up being overrated.

    I just like arsenal to steal a couple goals against barca’s makeshift central defense.

    And with wilshere and fabregas maintaining some possession, they can keep the catalans under four.

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  15. Couldn’t care less about Europe, but very interested in seeing how Jaguares does against Emelec in the Libertadores this afternoon. The Mexican sides have been struggling in the second round, you know.

    Take that, Eurosnobs.

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  16. The Gunners will come out firing, Barca will weather the storm and put one in before the half. Second half, Arsenal again come out too strong and Barca catches them on the break. 2-0. Barca go through.

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  17. Funny… I thought people in general were underestimating Arsenal, but the majority voted for them here!

    I think Arsenal has a real chance to go through. A good chance. Last year’s 4-1 drubbing is a red herring. Do you remember who started that game? Rosicky (no Fabregas), Denilson (no Wilshere), Bentdner (no Van Persie), Silvestre (no Koscielny), and Almunia (no Schzesny). That’s like an Arsenal B team.

    Fabregas and RVP – assuming RVP plays – together change Arsenal from a good English team to a world class Champions League team. Those two over Bentdner and Rosicky is like a Rolls Royce to a Honda. And Wilshere over Denilson? The team today is so much better than last year’s.

    Add to that, of course, that Puyol and Pique are BOTH missing. In every game Barcelona has lost or drawn this year (I think) Puyol has been out.

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  18. on a more serious note, as much as I enjoy barca, they’ve become too arrogant.

    Check this quote from Pep – “Wilshere is a top player. He is an excellent player, not just Arsenal, but also for the national team. [But] he is lucky because we have many players in the second team like him but he plays because there is no pressure at his club to win titles.”

    As an Arsenal fan, I hope they show up big for this match!

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  19. If RVP and Cesc start, then Arsenal go through. If they come on in the 2nd half, Barca will all ready be up a goal and have 98% of possession. Too much to overcome. RVP is deadly, one of my favorite players.

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  20. I’ve learned that it’s actually impossible to predict how Arsenal is going to do this season. I didn’t think that they were going to win last time (and I’m a fan), and they did so quite convincingly.

    That said, Barca at home? That’s going to be tough to beat. The Gunners have a bit of luck in that both Pique and Puyol are out, but they’re playing without Theo Walcott and RVP’s fitness is questionable. I’d be happy with a draw, to be honest. I think that Arsenal is the underdog due to where they’re playing, but that they could still pull off a win.

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  21. Voting with my heart rather than my head, so I chose Arsenal. Barca will apply a ton of pressure, but I’m hoping Arsenal will demonstrate some polised finishing today which isn’t always the case and capitalize on the chances they generate.

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