Itâ€™s now just a week to go until Barcelona roll into the Grove, and quite honestly, I think I can allow myself another dose of early excitement. Yes, I know thereâ€™s a crucial Premier League game at St. Andrews first up â€“ theyâ€™re all crucial now â€“ but without a midweek match thereâ€™s plenty of time to think about both.
Itâ€™s all about Messi, with his spectacular hat-trick against Zaragoza (â€œthatâ€™s for Nayimâ€, I muttered) well worth a watch if youâ€™ve not seen it. Heâ€™s in such ridiculous form at the moment that the worldâ€™s pundits are running out of players to compare him to. I canâ€™t wait to see him play to be honest. Iâ€™m sure Wenger will devise a cunning plan involving the periscope sprinklers to negate him.
One person who does find the whole thing a bit weird is Thierry Henry, who has said â€œI donâ€™t want to play against Arsenalâ€. I can understand the sentiment but itâ€™s still odd to be seen to be talking yourself out of a place in the starting XI. Perhaps he knows already that heâ€™s unlikely to start?
Verm but fair
I was surprised to learn that Arsenal tonight appealed against Vermaelenâ€™s red card on the grounds of wrongful dismissal. I must admit, I did think the club would take the one-match ban on the chin, but clearly they a) feel they can get this one overturned or b) are sufficiently worried about Saturday to give it a go. Presumably the FA cannot extend it further if the appeal fails?
Having seen Song drop into central defence against West Ham, and do very well there, it does of course give us more options for Saturday, albeit at the expense of the holding midfield role in which the Cameroonian has so excelled this season. Given the proximity of the next two games, Iâ€™m inclined to think Campbell will play in only one of them, and seeing that Arsenal have appealed against Vermaelenâ€™s red, it could well be that Sol is earmarked for Barcelona only. That would leave Song and Silvestre as the only option for this weekend, which might explain the appeal. I could of course be talking absolute guff, but Campbell and Vermaelen, with Song mopping up in front, would be my choice for Barcelona.
Right then, laters.