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29.03.2010 14:17

Four years on from Paris

Sandra Sarmiento

Three Barca players and four from Arsenal could face each other on Wednesday for the first time since the Paris final of the Champions League in May 2006. However, both squads have changed considerably since then.

The Barca eleven that walked out onto the Saint Denis pitch on that evening in May 2006 consisted of Valdés, Oleguer, Puyol, Marquez, Gio van Bronckhorst, Edmílson, Deco, Van Bommel, Giuly, Ronaldinho and Eto'o. Eight of these players have since moved on, as has manager Frank Rijkaard. However, on Wednesday a handful of players from both Clubs will get the chance to repeat their triumph - or avenge their defeat!

Valdés, Puyol and Marquez

bf1f2480.jpgThese three players featured in Barca’s starting line-up four years ago and on Wednesday could well play in the Emirates Stadium. Iniesta, who came on for the second half in Paris, will definitely miss the game due to injury but is hopeful of getting fit in time for the second leg. Xavi and Messi were both regulars in the Barca team of the time but missed the final through injury.

The Arsenal Four

BF1F2219.JPGMeanwhile, Arsenal have kept faith with the same manager - the highly regarded Arsène Wenger – but there have been many changes on the playing side. The London giants have put the emphasis on youth and only four players remain from the side that was defeated in Paris: Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, who took over when German international Lehmann was sent off, Eboué, Sol Campbell, who scored for the Gunners and, of course, Cesc Fabregas.

Looking at the squad as a whole, nine players remain: Almunia, Cesc, Van Persie, Walcott, Djourou, Clichy, Eboué, Campbell and Bendtner.
Four years on from Paris
First time for many
Barca and Arsenal qualify for Europe season after season but, perhaps surprisingly, there are many Barca players who have never faced the Gunners before in a competitive match: Xavi, Messi, Bojan, Pinto, Busquets, Pedro, Milito, Jeffren, Chygrynskiy, Abidal and Touré.

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