Arsenal face an uphill battle tonight when they travel to the Camp Nou trying to overturn a 2-0 home defeat to the best team in the world, Barcelona. After having held the Catalan Giants in the first leg for the best part of 70 minutes, two lapses of concentration led to two late goals scored by Lionel Messi.
Are they capable of doing what would be best described as the great escape? Yes.
Are they capable of beating Barcelona away from home? Yes
Will they make it through to the last 8 of the UEFA Champions League? No.
Arsenal have been hit with a number of injuries recently (Walcott, Ramsey, Cech) to add to the list of casualties that they already have (Cazorla, Rosicky, Wiltshire, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta). It’s going to be a massive task for them to not only beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp but to turn around the 2-0 aggregate score. It’s been 37 games in all competitions since Barcelona lost and I can’t see Arsenal getting close to them tonight. In recent weeks, The Gunners haven’t played to their best, their defence has lacked concentration and confidence and their attack has lost momentum and skill. Players like Mesut Ozil who were pulling the strings early on in the season looked lost when they played Manchester United and Tottenham. Their defence has looked vulnerable especially when conceding 4 goals at Old Trafford. In order for them to have any chance tonight, they need to start fast, create chances and not concede early. We know Barcelona will have a lot of the ball, they like to dominate possession, but Arsenal need to pressure them from the first whistle. They need to be patient and wait for the opportunities to arise and when they do, they need to make sure they take their chances.
Starting Line Ups:
Arsenal : Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Gabriel, Monreal, Elneny, Flamini, Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Dani Alves, Mascherano, Mathieu, Jordi Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Neymar, Suarez.