Barcelona have been dealt a huge blow ahead of their Champions League clash with Arsenal with news that their captain, Carles Puyol will not return from injury in time.
Puyol also missed the first leg but fellow centre back Pique, who will also miss the second leg following a suspension, had suggested at the weekend his team mate may be fit.
Puyol has been out since January but returned to light training last week, although despite doing some running, his knee hasn’t recovered enough to face Arsenal.
Barcelona will be faced with a huge selection dilemma with the absence of their two World Cup winning defenders, and may have to draft in midfielder Sergio Busquets to partner Eric Abidal at the back.
Arsenal also have their own injury problems with the absence of Van Persie and Walcott, but will hope to attack Barcelona’s unfamiliar back line and cause them problems.