Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri is looking to his sides second leg tie against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 as a golden opportunity for Arsenals ‘macho’ squad.
Arsenal travelled with similar hope to the Nou Camp a year ago, and despite taking a one goal lead, ended up on the end of a 4-1 drubbing and a 6-3 aggregate loss.
This year they take a 2-1 lead with them, and Nasri thinks the team has matured from the one who were so soundly beaten last time out.
Nasri said, “Barcelona seemed much better last year because we’ve become more macho, both physically and psychologically.
“Some of the players are much better this year than before – Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, myself.
“We’ve all stepped up and become stronger and more macho. Players have stepped up and driven the team forward. We can compete with everyone now.
“We approached the game differently this time because last year we were a little bit scared of Barcelona.”
Arsenal will play Sunderland at the weekend, before their trip to Spain, and will hope to build on the 5-0 demolition of Leyton Orient on Wednesday night in the FA Cup
Hat trick hero that night, Nicklas Bendtner hopes his form is returning at just the right time for an important run of games.
“I believe now I am getting back to where I belong, and there are still improvements,” he said.
“It is going well, but we are a team and it will be the team which wins in Barcelona, not just one player.”