Arsenal cushion no comfort for Barcelona


Luis Enrique warned Barcelona to be wary of “quality players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez”, insisting defending a 2-0 lead at home against Arsenal will “not be easy”.

[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. Sometimes the match looks perfect because of the result, but there is always room for improvement. That’s why football is so complex – 11 players have to do the same things at the same time.

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. Alexis is a very important player for Arsenal and his national team. He is a quality player, fast and attacking, and he has improved his game since he went to Barcelona. We have to be careful with him.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
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. Koscielny is important for us because he has lots of pace and Barcelona are good on the counterattack.

We have won almost everywhere in Europe, but still not here and we need to do that now. Barcelona are in a good position, but we have a chance. Our approach wasn’t too bad [in the first leg]. We just lost our shape a bit after half-time and got caught on the counterattack.

I don’t think the football gods owe us anything, but I owe a lot to football. We want to come here and give a positive performance. We will play with passion and commitment and show our talent.

Possible lineups
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Mathieu, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets; Rakitić, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Out: Rafinha (knee), Sandro (hamstring), Piqué (suspended)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked: none

Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Elneny; Campbell, Özil, Sánchez; Giroud.
Out: Ramsey (hip), Čech (calf), Cazorla (Achilles), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Rosický (thigh), Wilshere (calf/shin), Chambers (not in squad)
Misses next match if booked: Monreal, Özil, Campbell, Giroud

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