A fierce rivalry is about to be renewed when Arsenal face Barcelona in the European Cup round of 16 in the Champions League. Arsenal, the third most valuable football club in the world, bring an impressive attack, although the north London men lost to Spain’s highest-ranked club in the final in 2006 and again last year in the quarter-finals . Manager Arsene Wenger insists his club are not determined to take revenge. They are also not particularly worried about the game.
No stranger to each other
“I know who we’ll get,” he said. “If I say we want Barcelona, you won’t believe me. I don’t even think about it.” As for last season’s game in which Arsenal were upset by Barcelona, Wenger calls it “one of the best football I have ever seen”. He marvels at the skills of the Barcelona club. “What was surprising was that they didn’t have a weak moment in this game. Their determination and focus for 90 minutes was perfect and the quality was incredible.”
Despite the fact that Arsenal have won only twice on Spanish soil, Wenger takes an all-can-do approach, saying: “One night anything can happen”. Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola feels the same and shows no measure of overconfidence. “Arsenal scares me, but it’s true for all clubs in the draw,” he said, calling the Gunners “a classic of English football”, and underlining the boldness and daring of the offensive to ‘Arsenal. “If you’re not at your best, Arsenal will invade you.
Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain anticipates a real donnybrook when his team line up against the Premier League better team. “It will be the most spectacular of all the quarter-finals in terms of football,” he said. It should be noted that no one on either side is willing to make a prediction. They will have to settle it on the ground.