Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will be a match for Barcelona
Arsenal boss insists his side have learnt from last season's defeat and that he is not interested in revenge
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is convinced his side can put last season’s 4-1 hammering behind them and beat Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Wenger’s side were taught a footballing lesson when Lionel Messi scored four times in Barcelona’s 4-1 second-leg win at the Camp Nou to complete a 6-3 aggregate victory for Pep Guardiola’s men in last season’s quarter-final tie.
But the Arsenal manager claims his side have learnt from that defeat and has faith that the Londoners can knock out the Spanish champions this time around after they were paired together for the second season running.
“Revenge is not on my mind,” said Wenger. “We want to qualify and we want to knock them out. So is it difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Yes.
“Barcelona are certainly the favourites [for the competition] and a famous team but, on their side, they did not want us either because they know they will get a game.
“I think we are better than last year and we have a good opportunity to show that.”
The Arsenal boss has targeted a solid run in all domestic competitions as the perfect preparation for Barcelona’s visit to Emirates Stadium on 16 February.
“We are in the middle of December and we play at the end of February, so there is a long way to go,” said Wenger.
“It is too early to speak about this game concretely. You can just speak about the draw. The whole context might be completely different in two months. We don’t know what we will do and how we will feel.”
He added: “But the best way of going into that game with confidence is down to what we do from today until then. If we do well in the league, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup that will give us the best chance of knocking them out.”