Barcelona vs Arsenal – UEFA Champions League – Preview

Posted on by Sreya

Arsenal vs Southampton

Barcelona hosts Arsenal at El Camp Nou on 16th March, Wednesday for the return leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture. The defending champions Barcelona are the favorites to progress to the quarter-finals after Luis Enrique’s side all but put the tie to bed with a 2-0 win at the Emirates last month.

Arsenal have an uphill battle away from home and Arsene Wenger’s men have to cause a massive upset should they wish to knock out Barcelona. Arsenal played an impressive first half during the first leg at home, but fell back due to two defensive errors.

Team News

Gerard Pique misses the game due to a suspension. Rafinha and Sergio Ramirez are the only injury concerns for Luis Enrique. Arsenal have a lengthy list of absentees with Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain, Petr Cech and Santi Cazorla still sidelined through injuries.

Barcelona Possible Starting Lineup: Marc Andre-Ter Stegen, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar.

Arsenal Possible Starting Lineup: David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Danny Welbeck, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud.

Thoughts From Both Camps

“[The 2-0 win in London] was a good result but it doesn’t change our approach. It is still an open match, our opponents are dangerous and we need to play very well to go through.

We have to try to handle quality players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. We want to keep the ball as much as possible to avoid counterattacks – it will not be easy, but lately we have being doing that well.”

– Luis Enrique, Barcelona.

“The key for us will be a solid defensive performance. We have to attack and that suits us. We will do that knowing that the magicians of Barcelona will demand a good defensive performance from ourselves. We have won almost everywhere in Europe, but still not here and we need to do that now.”

– Arsene Wenger, Arsenal.

Contributor’s Pick

According to Head-2-Head statistics, Barcelona have won four out of their last six meetings with Arsenal while the Gunners have won only once. At home, Barcelona have won their last three games against Arsenal in all competitions.

Barcelona have scored at least two goals in sixteen of their last nineteen UEFA Champions League matches, so it should be a high scoring affair. Barcelona are likely to progress to the quarter-finals with the most probable scoreline for the return leg being 3-1 in favor of the hosts.

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