Kick off: Tuesday, February 23, 19:45 GMT
Venue: Emirates Stadium (London)
Head to head record
Barcelona vs Arsenal 3-1 (2010/2011 Champions League)
Arsenal vs Barcelona 2-1 (2010/2011 Champions League)
Barcelona vs Arsenal 4-1 (2009/2010 Champions League)
Arsenal vs Barcelona 2-2 (2009/2010 Champions League)
Barcelona vs Arsenal 2-1 (2005/2006 Champions League)
Arsenal vs Barcelona prediction
All eyes will be on Emirates Stadium when Arsenal and Barcelona square off against each other in the Champions League last 16 first leg. The Gunners aim to upset the title holders, but Barca trio Messi – Suarez – Neymar looks unstoppable at the moment.
Arsenal failed to impress in the Champions League group stages, but thanks to back to back wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos Piraeus the team made it to the knockout stages of the elite competition. Nonetheless, Arsene Wenger’s men have been handed a tough draw in the last 16 as they will face defending champions Barcelona in the two-legged tie. The Gunners have nothing to lose in Tuesday’s showdown against the high-flying Catalans and that is the main reason why I believe that hosts will adopt an attack-minded approach in the first leg. Coach Arsene Wenger fielded a weakened side in a goalless draw with Hull City at the weekend, but the French tactician is likely to field the best possible team against Barcelona. Mesut Ozil is among those set to be recalled and all eyes will be on the German midfielder when the two teams take on each other at Emirates Stadium. Alexis Sanchez has been struggling to find his top form of late, but “El Nino Maravilla” is definitely capable of making life difficult for Barca defenders.
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla have yet to overcome their respective injuries. Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez all return to the starting line-up after they were rested in the goalless draw with Hull City.
MSN trio on fire
Thanks to a 3-1 win over Juventus, Barcelona clinched the 2014/2015 Champions League trophy and they are now on a quest to defend their title. The Catalan giants are enjoying yet another season to remember and it is no surprise they are regarded as main favourites to win the Champions League trophy. Luis Enrique’s men have been producing outstanding displays in 2016 and thanks to a 2-1 victory over Las Palmas in La Liga the team moved one step closer to defending the domestic title. The Catalan tactician can count on all his big guns for Tuesday’s game against Arsenal and I am positive that the opposition defenders will have their work cut out for them when facing Barca trio Messi – Suarez – Neymar. They have been in a perfect working order of late and there is every chance the reigning champions will extend their impressive goals-scoring run at Emirates Stadium.
Arda Turan is suspended, while Rafinha Alcantara misses the match through injury. Coach Luis Enrique has no other selection worries and it has to be noted that Gerard Pique returns to the starting line-up after being rested against Las Palmas.
- Arsenal scored in each of five meetings with Barcelona
- Gunners are on a four-match unbeaten run on home soil
- Barca have not suffered a loss since October 3
- Barcelona are after their first ever win at the Emirates Stadium
- 14 goals were scored in Barca’s last three games
Arsenal vs Barcelona betting pick
Barcelona aim to get their job done in the first leg and given that Luis Enrique can count on his key attackers for Tuesday’s match, I expect the defending champions to score in the Emirates Stadium clash. Arsenal are a real force to be reckoned with at home and if we have in mind the fact that Barca have not been impressive at the back in recent weeks, both teams to score bet should be considered.
Pick: Both teams to score