Wow, what a week. Could you ask for anymore controversy? Britney Spears shaved her head, A new JFK home video is discovered, the Valentine's Day blizzard, I could go on and on. Personally, it's been an emotional rollercoaster and I'm glad just to see my boys get back on the pitch for the first time in ten days. Heck, Xabi hasn't played in 17 days! He's got to be getting a little bit antsy and hopefully that'll be in our favor.
There have been some rumblings in the press lately that have been bothering me though. Most of it has been surrounding our most controversial player, Jamie Carragher. I mean, this guy has been trouble since day one. Jamie Carragher wants to score a hat trick? Jamie Carragher doesn't think Barca could cut it in the Premiership. There have also been rumors that Carra left the team's camp in Portugal early because he was upset. You heard it here first, Carragher is on his way out the door and will be the first casualty this summer. And if you believe that, I've got some real estate in Baghdad you might be interested in. It's right outside of the Green Zone and has a lovely view of the Tigris.
In all seriousness, I'm a little bit worried about our approach towards this match. I get the feeling that we think we can beat Barca, but we don't believe that we can win. We have sort of a 'nothing to lose' approach, when we should have an 'everything to lose' attitude. Coming into the match, we aren't exactly in top form after the Anfield draw with Everton and the luckless loss at Newcastle. Injuries to Luis Garcia and Fabio Aurelio doesn't help our side either as both have plenty of experience playing at Camp Nou.
On the other hand, Barca isn't exactly gleaming with confidence as they come off an away loss to Valencia. Not to mention the inner team turmoil caused by Eto'o's comments regarding Ronaldinho and Rijkaard. They appeared to have made up, but it's still not clear whether or not the Cameroon Striker will play tomorrow. It is also unclear whether JP Saviola or Lillian Thuram will be available as well. My guess is Saviola and Thuram will start along with Messi, who's seen limited action since recovering from a three month layoff, and Eto'o will come in as needed.
For our side, it's not hard to figure out that Crouch will start along with Kuyt up front. I think we'll see Arbelao, Sissoko, and Xabi, in the midfield with Gerrard on the right, which sucks because it means Pennant will be on the bench. I would love to see an X-formation with Gerrard in the middle between the strikers and the central midfielders and with Arbelao and Pennant on the wings, but I'm very doubtful that will ever happen, even though both Alonso and Sissoko are great defensive midfielders. It would limit us to three defensemen and with offensive-minded types like Riise and Finnan, it could be too much of a gamble. In the back, if we see Zenden start on the left instead of Arbelao, it'll probably be the Riise, Carra, Arbelao, and Finnan line-up, if not, then Agger will probably start alongside Carra.
I'm pretty sure Rafa will try to attack early and then play 'small club' ball if we are lucky enough to get an advantage. If not, this game could go up and down all day.