Charlie Nicholas states his prediction for Barcelona v Arsenal

Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal have a small glimmer of hope ahead of the second leg after Gerard Pique's ban

Charlie Nicholas believes Gerard Pique’s suspension gives Arsenal a small glimmer of hope ahead of their trip to Barcelona on 16 March.

The Gunners suffered a chastening 2-0 defeat by the La Liga champions at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday night.

Lionel Messi scored twice in the final 19 minutes after Arsenal had managed to keep the Champions League holders at bay for the opening 71 minutes in north London.

Former Manchester United defender Pique was booked in the final 10 minutes for a reckless challenge on Danny Welbeck, which rules the Spain international out of the return leg.

And former Arsenal playmaker Nicholas believes the 27-year-old’s absence is a small positive for Arsenal ahead of their mammoth task in Camp Nou.

“Pique’s out for the second leg and they’ve not got a lot of choices at centre-back,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“That will give Arsenal a little bit of hope.”

Arsenal have only beaten the Catalan side once in eight attempts in the Champions League.

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The Gunners are hoping to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.

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