Guillem Balague states his prediction for Arsenal v Barcelona
Guillem Balague says Barcelona will beat Arsenal over two legs in the Champions League last 16
Guillem Balague is backing Barcelona to comfortably beat Arsenal over two legs in their Champions League last-16 clash.
The Gunners host the reigning Champions League holders in the first leg of their last-16 clash on Tuesday night after a goalless draw with Hull City in the FA Cup on Saturday.
I fear Barca will prevail over the two legs, even if Arsenal make an impact in the first leg
Barcelona edged out Las Palmas in a 2-1 win in La Liga at the weekend to warm up for their European clash with a victory.
The north London side haven’t beaten Barcelona since Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie cancelled out David Villa’s opener in a 2-1 home win in 2011.
However, La Liga expert Balague is confident that Barcelona will ease past the Gunners over two legs as Pep Guardiola’s did in five years ago.
“Arsenal are not used to being on top of a team defensively so, for that reason, I fear Barca will prevail over the two legs, even if Arsenal make an impact in the first leg,” Balague told Sky Sports.
Balague also rubbished the suggestion that Arsenal are similar to the Champions League winners in style.
“In Spain, people have got the impression that Arsenal are a team that is very similar to Barcelona – a team that enjoys possession and a positional game,” Balague added.
“In reality, they are actually not similar. In the first round of this season’s Champions League, Arsenal are 10th in the passing percentage charts and 13th in the overall possession standings.
“I would say Arsenal have become a team that prefers to counter attack with pace as they are not that comfortable in possession as they once were.
“Nevertheless, I am looking forward to an intriguing game, a game which Barca head into as clear favourites.”
Arsenal are hoping to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.