Arsenal v Barcelona: the Arsenal team, Barca woes, and Balogun




By Bulldog Drummond

Another Arsenal pre-season friendly which pays no regard or respect to the fans who pay Arsenal week after week, this time with it being played at 0330 UK time.   But still, whoever heard of a football club looking after the people who pay your bills week after week?

But that’s not the only issue doing the rounds as we approach the match, for Barcelona canceled their last match, which was due to be against Juventus, because of viral gastroenteritis in the squad.  Now that of course sent all football fans to their computers to work out what the difference is between viral gastro-whatnot and normal gastro-thing – and we are of course pleased to bring the answer (although that is not to suggest we had any idea before we looked it up).

It turns out that bacterial gastro occurs when bacteria has caused an infection in your gut. The viral variety needs a virus as the name suggests, inside a living host, in order to survive and multiply.  So any Arsenal players who were not living would not have got it.   I’m glad we have that sorted.

Anyway, if this game does go ahead, as it seems it will, tickets are available for around $96.  Otherwise it is on although if it is called off, I wonder if any of us who have paid will get their money back?  Quite a few people complained that they couldn’t get the earlier matches on their computers, and the company involved has so far been unwilling even to entertain the possibility that it was their fault, and they are certainly not offering to refund anyone, it seems.  Not very good PR for Arsenal.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Reiss Nelson will almost certainly be missing for this game in the early hours (British time) which means either Kieran Tierney or Jakub Kiwior is likely to be playing in the defence.  Declan Rice and Kai Havertz might have another go, after having some problems with the appalling pitch, combined with Manchester United’s record fouling rate.

Arsenal don’t play Barcelona very often, and in fact in the last 12 years there have only been five games between the two sides.  Arsenal beat Barcelona in the Champions League 2-1 in February 2011, but followed that with a 3-1 defeat a few weeks later, and so were knocked out.   In the next meeting in 2016, in the same competition, Barcelona won both games 0-2 at the Emirates and 3-1 in Spain.

The most recent game was in August 2019 – a pre-season friendly which Barcelona won 2-1.

Pain in the Arsenal have ventured forth with a possible line up…


Timber, Saliba, Kiwior, Tierney;

Partey, Trossard, Odegaard;

Saka, Jesus, Martinelli


90 Min go with exactly the same line up so it must be right.

There was an interesting report yesterday in the Athletic which stated that Folarin Balogun trained separately from the Arsenal squad in the last training session.   However, although that sounds like some sort of disciplinary or disputational matter in fact it wasn’t – he was working with Arteta and one of the coaching team on the pitch in a way that rather suggests that Ballogun was being lined up for a particular role in this forthcoming match against Barcelona.

He did after all play against the MLS All-Stars in the first game in the series, despite the stories in the usually completely wrong media (which I think we should rename UCWM – pronounced Ukwum) suggesting he is about to be sold for £50m.

Despite being effectively bankrupt Barcelona won the Spanish league last season by ten points from Real Madrid, with Atletico Madrid coming in third, a further one point behind.    And they played the same number of games as Arsenal their performances can be compared


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Barcelona 38 28 4 6 70 20 50 88
2 Arsenal 38 26 6 6 88 43 45 84


However, the huge difference now between the clubs now is money.  Barcelona are on the edge of financial ruin, having been refused the right to count the sales of future rights for broadcasting etc in the current year.  Arsenal on the other hand appear to have no financial worries at all.

This summer Arsenal have spent £105m on Rice, £65m on Havertz and £38.5m on Timber.  Barcelona have spent £3m on Oriel Romeu from Girona which is really quite a contrast.  Last summer it was about £130m – but that was before Uefa rejected their latest financial manipulations. 

Indeed part of Barcelona’s problem now primarily appears to be that other clubs are not willing to allow them to make stage payments for players because there is a real concern that the money due might never come through if Barcelona goes into liquidation.  Now there’s a thing.


3 Replies to “Arsenal v Barcelona: the Arsenal team, Barca woes, and Balogun”

  1. At least i would expect Barcelona to attempt to play football, rather than simply try to kick our players off the park, like Man Utd did, in their familiar traditional way. (Neville has admitted that under Ferguson, they knew that they couldn’t match Arsenal for skill, so deliberately resorted to repeated foulling, with the knowledge that referees, following the example of Riley, would allow them to get away with it.)

  2. The Premier League appears to have some sort of FFP policy, as does UEFA, although it remains to be seen how effective they are.

    Does the Saudi Pro league and the AFC have similar policies? I can’t find any record of their existence.

  3. Well that was fun to watch. Must cut out on the individual errors though. But maybe we all make them in preseason so we won’t make them in the PL season???

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