Champions League 2016 – Round of 16: Arsenal FCFC Barcelona

Barcelona and Arsenal are set to meet again in a very attractive tie. Arsenal won in 2011 at the Emirates against the Blaugrana the last time they met but Barcelona overcame the deficit to move forward at the same stage.. Is history repeating again? Does Arsenal stand a chance against the Spanish giant? We will soon find out…

Coach Arsenal, Arsene Wenger share his views on how he will play the game and praises Barcelona’s offense trio:

“I am more concerned about stopping them from scoring because you can say even at home in the Champions League that 0-0 is not a bad score. Recently we made it always difficult for ourselves by conceding goals at home and basically the rules of the modern European Cup encourage you to defend at home and attack away because of the importance of the away goal. 

Certainly offensively they have top, top strikers at the moment. We have to use every moment in the game where we have the chance to score, and as I said after the Hull game, we had 70 per cent of the time the ball but we didn’t make a lot of it. Against Barcelona we will have the ball far less and we will have to make more of it.”Many times I said that should be suppressed because if you concede a goal at home in the Champions League, it’s a knife in your heart every time. Against big, big teams it becomes very difficult.

I cannot go into a game and think I will just play a zero-zero. I believe you cannot say you are a big club and you just want to defend. On the other hand, Barcelona is a very offensive team.

They are top, top class. Individually they have exceptional talent. The only way we can stop them is by being collectively resilient, having great solidarity and intelligence as well. Let’s not forget we have a good defensive record and a great goalkeeper as well.

When you see the other day that Messi scored his 300th [La Liga] goal in less than 340 games, I’ve seen many strikers in my life, but I’ve never seen a record like that.

So to give you no chance at all to score against them is guilty as well. You have to try to score against them because if they have a vulnerability like we have it is defensively like with any offensive team.”

Coach Barcelona, Luis Enrique is excited about the head-to-head:

“Arsenal have the potential to dominate matches. They are a very difficult opponent and have a very dangerous attack. “We have to do be excellent on and off the ball to control an opponent like Arsenal.”

On paper, this is one of the most attractive and appealing types of games you are going to find. That is if you like this style of football, some like it more straight forward. There are so many styles. I think we are going to see a really good game as we both want to dominate and win as well. I have seen Arsenal before twice this season. They are going to press high at some moments in the game.

Last year, (Messi) was amazing and this year he is the same, if not better. Now he is playing on the wing, but he has the freedom to move and create. He is our leader.”

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