Arsenals captain Cesc Fabregas was quick to admit his team had closed the gap on Barcelona, and the difference between this Arsenal side, and the one that faced Barcelona 12 months ago was huge, but he was quick to point out the tie is still well in the balance.
Arsenals 2-1 win at the Emirates leaves them with a priceless lead to take to the Nou Camp in three weeks time, but Barcelona remain slight favourites due to their home record.
Last season Arsenal came back from 2 goals behind at home to draw 2-2, and then scored first in the Nou Camp, only to be torn apart by the Lionel Messi show and ended up losing 4-1.
That was without several key players, including Fabregas who had broken his leg in the first leg, and this time round Arsenal go into the game with plenty of options.
He said: “They don’t lose many games. They are the best side in football history, in my opinion.
“But we have only played half of this tie. It’s a nice compliment to us, but that’s all.
“We have closed the gap on them from last year. We are one year older, we have less injured players.”
Van Persie, who also missed last year’s tie through injury scored the equaliser and was quick to praise his team for playing their own game.
He said: “We had to play our own game. If you drop back they will beat you easily.
“We had to beat them with their own style. We got a bit lucky, but in the end we deserved to win.”