Monday, February 22, 2016 12:03 pm
Arsenal will host Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 Tuesday at the Emirates Stadium in London.
But looking ahead, manager Arsene Wenger has admitted his boys have a tough task, stopping Barca’s attackers such as Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Talking specifically about Suarez, Wenger said it is difficult to keep him out of the game.
“Individually, all their players are difficult to stop,” he added.
“We have to find a way to do it collectively. We have to analyse what we do and do it well and together.
Arsenal almost signed Suarez from Liverpool in 2013, but the stingy Wenger offered just £40 million plus £1 to activate a clause in his contract to lure him to the Emirates.
A year after, Barcelona broke the bank and paid £75m for the same striker, that has now joined a trio of attackers ever know in football.
Wenger admitted that he regretted not signing Suarez but added he has now put the issue behind him.
“I used to think, ‘What if I signed Luis Suarez’ before, but not now,” Wenger said.
“He gives camaraderie to a team. He did it at Liverpool and he did it playing with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan for Uruguay, and did it well.
“Suarez is the kind of guy who manages to create that spirit in teams.”
Just as Wenger and his team are having nightmares over Barca attacking team, Barcelona are also afraid of Arsenal’s potential to cause them grave danger.
One of the Arsenal players Barcelona are not so sure they could cage, is Alexis Suarez, who joined Arsenal from Barcelona, having played there 2011-2014.
Andres Iniesta described his former team mate as “dangerous” and “unpredictable.”
“What makes Alexis so dangerous is that he is unpredictable,” the Spaniard told Arsenal’s official website. “When he dribbles, when he attacks, he is a very strong player.
“He’s got skill and when he has the ball he always creates doubts. In that sense, we have to try to make him feel uncomfortable on the field and try to minimise his strengths.”
“Arsenal are known for having a style of play, a way of understanding football through having the ball,” he said. “I also think that the type of players that their coach or that Arsenal look for are very similar.
“I think their strong spots are their quality, their talent and the way they play. The way they attack, they way they combine. I think they’re a very dangerous opponent in that sense.”