From Morecambe to Barcelona
Sol Campbell has had a remarkable season. The 35-year-old centre-back left Portsmouth last summer and signed for ambitious League Two outfit Notts County under the guidance of Sven-Goran Eriksson.
But after just one game – a 2-1 defeat against Morecambe – Campbell walked out on the Magpies and his five-year deal was cancelled by mutual consent. Now, just six months later and with Gallas injured for the trip to the Nou Camp, Campbell is set to line-up against Barcelona – the last side big Sol faced in his previous spell with the Gunners.
Campbell actually scored in that meeting – the 2006 Champions League final – and to see him play against the Catalan giants again will be, as Arsene Wenger said, “amazing”.
“It is unbelievable, he played at Notts County six months ago. That he can turn up and play against Barcelona is quite amazing,” the Frenchman said.
It’s been a remarkable 12 months for Campbell, who arrived back at Arsenal in January, and if he can help shackle Lionel Messi and co in the second leg I think his return will have been justified. But marking Morecambe frontman Paul Mullin and keeping Messi in check is a whole different ball game.
The big defender has made two Champions League appearances this term, scoring in the 2-1 defeat at Porto but his task won’t be envied by any defender in the world at the moment.
Messi has been in devastating form, scoring 30 goals in all competitions and chipping in with over 50 assists for Pep Guardiola’s men. The World Cup 2010 odds also make Messi one of the favourites to be top scorer at that tournament, underlining the threat he poses.
Arsenal’s Champions League odds suggest the side will have a tough time against Barcelona and Campbell will have to roll back the years to keep the Argentina ace quiet again, if he does it will be some achievement and it could help swing the tie.
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