Barcelona star: We must be wary of these quality Arsenal players
Javier Mascherano warns Barcelona about the quality of Arsenal's midfield
Javier Mascherano has warned his Barcelona team-mates that they must be prepared to cope with the quality of Arsenal’s midfield in Tuesday’s crunch Champions League clash.
The Gunners head into the first leg of their last-16 tie looking to return to winning ways after the disappointment of their goalless draw with Hull City in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Arsenal have been knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the last five years and know that they will have their work cut out against the Catalan side.
However, Mascherano believes that Arsenal will pose plenty of threat to Barcelona’s European hopes on Tuesday thanks to their talented midfield stars.
Mascherano told the Guardian: “Arsenal have always competed, consistently – even [back] when each year they lost important players and had to rebuild. In the last two seasons, they’ve raised their competitive level.
“Mesut Ozil’s vital: you notice more and more that everything revolves around him. And their midfield, when everyone’s fit, has lots of quality: Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey are players you have to be very aware of.
“They’ll be difficult: they want the ball and want to attack. They won’t change because it’s Barcelona. They’ll attack us and I think that deserves praise.”
Arsenal, who finished third and won the FA Cup last term, are currently third in the Premier League table and two points behind leaders Leicester City heading into the final 12 games of the campaign.