Arsene Wenger and his men are facing the toughest test of the season. The Gunners host the European champions at home in the first leg of Champions League round of 16 encounter. And Arsenal has been knocked out of the competition in round of 16 for the past five seasons.
Champions Barcelona has arrived at the Emirates stadium. Luis Enrique’s team is different from Pep Guardiola’s side, which twice visited the Emirates in the past seasons. The Catalans’ style and tactics has changed. Enrique’s team has added a new flavor by banking on devastating counter-attacks compared to Guardiola’s style of direct-passing, according to the Telegraph.
Gunners coach tries to look at the bright side of things ahead of the match-up. “We have to find the right balance between being audacious but also strong defensively as a unit and not put ourselves in a difficult task in the second leg,” said Wenger, according to The Guardian.
“No team is perfect. Barcelona are not far from it. We need to take our chances. The Catalans are super favourites, we need to raise the urgency level. Tomorrow everybody is convinced we need to absolutely be totally focused to have a chance.”
The Spanish giants have the most threatening strike force of the world. With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Brazilian Neymar Jr, the three-pronged forward line is capable of making all the difference in the game’s complexion.
Wenger rested five men of his starting lineup in the FA Cup tie versus Hull City eyeing the first leg game against Barca. Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech will return to the squad on Tuesday for the crunch tie.
Messi has scored 300 goals in 340 games and will lead the Catalans to pounce on the North Londoners at Emirates. That’s how champion Barcelona plays their game. And that’s the way they are on a 32-game unbeaten streak.