Pep Guardiola likes watching Arsenal, not playing them

Barcelona manager is wary of the gunners' threat ahead of Champions League showdown at Emirates Stadium

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
pep guardiola

pep guardiola

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola admits he enjoys watching Arsenal but is not looking forward seeing his side come up against Arsène Wenger’s men on Wednesday night.

Guardiola, who last week signed a new deal to keep him with the Catalan Giants until 2012, has warned his men they will be “chasing shadows” if they are not at their best during the first leg of the last-16 tie at Emirates Stadium.

Barça overcame Arsenal with a 6-3 aggregate quarter-final victory in last season’s competition and also got the better of the gunners in the 2006 final.

“With Arsenal if you are not well prepared you will be chasing shadows,” said Guardiola. “I like to watch Arsenal play football but I don’t like to play against them.

“Of course I have worries about the game that Arsène Wenger plays. Theo Walcott has some good moments, Wenger is an incredible coach and Robin van Persie is a very mobile player who has a lot of influence.

“When you play Arsenal you know what is required of you. The players of Barcelona know what we have to do.

“We will try to play attractive football, we have for the last 20-25 years. We might lose, we might win but we will always play attractive football for our fans.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger insists his side are in “ideal condition” ahead of Wednesday’s showdown.

“The only thing I can say is we are in an ideal condition to face them,” said Wenger. “We cannot complain. We have the belief, the confidence and the players available.

“We are 90 per cent in February and that was not the case last year. I feel we are in an ideal position to face them.”

The Frenchman, who has Samir Nasri available for selection again after the midfielder recovered from a hamstring strain, believes his side have a point to prove after last season’s defeat to the Spanish champions.

“We just want to show how good we are,” he continued. “We want to show the belief we have in our game, in our quality, more than looking at the past.

“We have practiced. We are determined, focused and we want to win this competition. We know we face the super-favourites of this competition but the only way to do it is to knock them out.”

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