Barcelona vs Arsenal Preview

All eyes on Messi

All eyes on Messi

Arsenal travel to the Nou Camp clinging to the hope that they can hang onto or build, on their one goal advantage to progress to the quarter finals of the Champions League at the expense of the mighty Barcelona.

Arsene Wenger will not be hoping for a repeat of the same fixture last year when his side were taught a footballing lesson by Barcelona, defeating Arsenal 4-1 courtesy of four goals from Lionel Messi.

However Wenger will believe his Arsenal side are now a much more dominent and consistent force as they currently lie just three points behind Manchester United in second place in the Premiership.

Wenger will be boosted by the news that Robin Van Persie may be available to travel with the squad should he overcome a fitness test before the game.

Arsenal welcome back the key midfield duo of Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshire, with the later expressing his confidence of Arsenal progressing to the next round.

“We know we can beat Barcelona,” stated Wilshire. We did that at the Emirates. If we beat them again we know we have a good chance of winning the tournament. We will go there with confidence but realise we have to defend well and hit them on the counter-attack.

“If we get a goal, they will have to come at us but we can win there. We do not want to go to Barcelona looking for a draw. It will be an open game and we will create chances. We are looking to score and then see what happens.

“We have shown we have the character to come back from a goal down against the best team in the world and are going there with a massive amount of confidence.”

Barcelona will not have enjoyed their usual preparations for a big game with manger Pep Guardiola forced to spend the last five nights in a Spanish hospital due to a back problem.

Guardiola will also be without his main central pairing of Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique as they are ruled out through injury and suspension.

Arsene Wenger will be without Theo Walcott, Alex Song, Thomas Varmaelen and Lukasz Fabianski for the encounter.

Should Van Persie fail to pass his fitness test, Wenger will then turn to Bendtner or Chamakh to lead the line for his side, with Nasri providing the man threat from midfield.

All eyes per usual will be on Messi and whether or not Arsenal will be able to deal with the Argentinian genius.

It should be a good one no matter what the outcome.

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