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Rupert Wyman 15th Feb 2011 - 19:06

Things are getting Messi for Arsenal

Arsenal have not won a trophy for six years and they may be off to Wembley for a Carling Cup final, but the crown jewel is the Champions League. Qualification for next year's Champions League looks secure but United have probably run away with the title this season.

Just like their London neighbours Chelsea and Spurs, the fans really want to head to Wembley for a Champions League final in May. Chelsea have a far simpler tie against Copenhagen than Arsenal.

Arsenal take on one of Europe's best, the Catalan giants Barcelona at the Emirates on Wednesday night. Arsene Wenger's Arsenal lost out to Barcelona last season and will be seeking revenge against the Spanish Champions.

Arsenal have struggled against Barcelona recently and they lost to them in the final of this competition in 2006.  Last season, the difference was Lionel Messi. He is the best player in the world, the modern day equivalent to Maradona.  He blew Arsenal away when he scored four goals in the return leg at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi is just 8/11 to score anytime and if you fancy him to grab a hat-trick, it is as short as 16/1. Arsenal are 3/1 to win at home, I can guarantee you will not see a bigger price for a home win at the Emirates this season.

Barcelona are 5/6 for the 90 minute win and I think that is a fantastic value for a side that have been in immense form this season. Once again they look on-course to win La Liga and apart from the 1-1 draw against Sporting Gijon at the weekend, there results have been mesmerising.

They have won five of their last six matches, scoring eighteen goals in the process with only one conceded. With all due respect to Arsenal, the likes of Van Persie and Arshavin would never be good enough to grace the pitch at the Camp Nou on a permanent basis.

If you fancy an upset at the Emirates, I would back Arsenal at 7/4 draw no bet. It was a draw in London last season and the Gooners will have a massive fan base behind them. The Barcelona clean sheet is a cracking 13/10 and they may be without Puyol but their defence is class. They are amazing at retaining possession.

They just do not lose the ball! Alex Song has the toughest job, he plays between the attack and the defence and must attempt to stop Lionel Messi's runs. You can get 4/1 on the time of the first card given in the 1st to 15th minute.

Arsenal are likely to miss a few tackles in the first half and not only do they have to deal with the trickery of Messi but also Iniesta, Xavi and Villa. It could be a long night for the Gunners and they are 5/6 to receive the first card.

If you fancy another goal-fest at the Emirates, over 3.5 goals is 7/4. Both teams will play attacking football and the Catalan side will be fuming that they dropped two points at the weekend.

I cannot see past a Barcelona win, although the Gunners are in good form, they have looked susceptible at times at home this season. Barcelona are Europe's finest and it will not take long before Arsenal realise that their targets for this season may need to be reassessed.

We have a couple of enhanced wincasts for the Match Winner.  Will either Fabregas or Messi score anytime in a victory for their team? Well, Messi just loves scoring against Arsenal.



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