With just hours remaining ahead of Barcelona’s visit to the Emirates Stadium, one tactical hurdle Arsene Wenger must overcome is finding a way to stop the world’s most prolific attacking trio from scoring against his side.
Boasting a staggering 91 goals between them this campaign; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar look simply unstoppable in their pursuit of bringing home back-to-back trebles for the Catalan giants.
Following on from Arsenal’s goal-less draw with Hull City in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday, Wenger is confident that his players will be fired up for their Champions League last 16 tie:
“Barcelona everyone is focussed, naturally, so it makes it easier to create belief and confidence as Barcelona are super favourites to win this game.”
When asked whether he had lost sleep in thinking up ways to stop Barcelona’s front three, Wenger said: “honestly no, because I know individually they have exceptional talent, but the only way we can do it is collectively.”
Going into the fixture, the Gunners do look like a far more polished outfit than the team that suffered a 4-3 aggregate defeat at the hands of Barcelona in 2011.
With one of the best defensive records in the Premier League this season, and the wealth of experience Petr Cech brings between the sticks, there’s just a glimmer of hope for Wenger’s Arsenal to quell Barcelona’s MSN threesome.
Keeping Barcelona to nil will be firmly at the top of Wenger’s agenda, as the away goal could decide Arsenal’s fate in the second leg at the Camp Nou in March. However, with Messi, Suarez and Neymar at the peak of their powers, it will take a gargantuan effort from his Arsenal side.
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