Arsenal v Barcelona Preview, Line-up and Score Prediction

Arsenal can probably hurt Barcelona but… By Twig

It used to be only Messi in the past, but even then Barcelona was a cause of sleepless nights for many Arsenal fans. At this moment though, Barcelona is an even more fearsome prospect boasting not only Messi – who has hardly waned since that 4-goal masterclass at the Nou Camp – but also Neymar and Suarez. Suarez in particular has been in fine form this season with 41 goals in all competitions and Wenger has identified him as the man whom Arsenal must stop when the two teams clash tonight.

Surprisingly, Arsenal hasn’t done too badly against Barcelona. Of course we suffered that humiliating 4-1 defeat six years ago, but we did also beat them 2-1 in probably the greatest moment at the Emirates about a year later. If Van Persie hadn’t got sent off in the return leg, we could perhaps have defied the odds and secured semi-final qualification at the expense of the overwhelming favourites. Despite Barcelona’s undoubted class, they have never managed to stop Arsenal from scoring and our head-to-head record since 2010 stands at a 6-10 loss which isn’t all that terrible you know.

There is no doubt that Arsenal can deliver against the top sides: We had defeated Bayern 2-0 earlier in the season, also held them to a 1-1 draw two years earlier, and have managed an impressive 3-0 victory against Milan. The problem however is not if we can beat the top sides in one odd fixture but whether we can keep disciplined and focused over two legs. Even though we did beat Bayern 2-0 we found them too difficult to handle in the return fixture succumbing to an embarrassing 5-1 loss. Although we did beat Milan 3-0, we did also have a 4 goal deficit which we had to surmount after the first leg. In both cases, although we did secure impressive results it simply wasn’t nearly enough to secure qualification.

For Arsenal to have any chance against Barcelona, we must be disciplined and show great solidarity while defending and while attacking. Any opportunities we have to attack must not be wasted. And of course, we need not stress how terribly important it is for us not to pick up silly bookings or play into the Barcelona players’ theatricals. We will be forced to mainly play on the counter-attack, as we’ll see very little of the ball, but actually this could also be to our advantage. In Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck we have very speedy forwards who could hurt Barcelona very badly on the break anytime we’re able to win the ball.

In this game, Wenger will probably not need the aerial prowess of Olivier Giroud – since we’ll be playing mostly far away from the Barca danger area – but he may find the trio of Alexis, Theo or Welbeck more useful to lead the attack. Like the boss did against Bayern to great effect, he may bring Giroud on in the second half after our speedy forwards have tired out the Barcelona defence. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud provide such a huge contrast in playing styles that most defenders find it perplexing when made to face the two players in the same game! It served us well earlier in the season and it could serve us well today. If Arsenal beat Barcelona this evening it’ll be no surprise to me, the question however is if can we keep our discipline and focus at the notoriously boisterous atmosphere in the return leg at the Nou Camp.

Key Arsenal players: Coquelin and Welbeck

Preferred Lineup:

Welbeck Ozil Sanchez
Coquelin Ramsey
Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Bellerin

Score prediction: Arsenal to win 3-2


Tags Coquelin Walcott welbeck


    1. As fans we`re expected to be positive, but I think scoring 3 zero against Barcelona is too unrealistic. I expect a draw or a narrow win by Arsenal.

      The predicted line is good though I would substitute Ramsey for Elniny.

  1. Only because I’m a fan I’ll say 2-1 to us, if we do win I don’t see us shutting them out, really hope we win

  2. MSN have 20 more goals than the entire Arsenal team this season. If you think we’ll beat them over two legs you might as well bet on Sunderland winning the PL. Suarez has been my favourite player for the last 3 years so I’m just gonna enjoy the game as a neutral instead of an Arsenal fan.

    1. negativity again…an because u like suarez u forget arsenal your ‘ team’ and become a neutral fan?

      i will find you

      1. Hahaha ???
        They will be doing a Mexican wave next! ??
        With NY_Gunner at the back shouting “WE GOT THIS”


  3. How does AW play this game… does he go out to attack Barcelona does he rely on defending and hoping to hold out and maybe get a couple of break away goals like we did against Bayern. Either way you have to think that our back line has to work together to hold out 3 of the best attacking players in the World. Sadly we know what happens when Arsenal have to work that hard at defending, and with the extraordinary talent backing up MSN or task is immense. Having Ozil, Theo, Welbeck and Rambo just doesn’t have enough defensive capability in it for me. Especially as Welbz is only just coming back from injury.

  4. such a shame we have so many deluded fans here.
    We were unable to handle:
    harry kane alone
    bale alone
    ronaldo alone
    suarez alone.

    So what makes you think we can handle messi suarez neymar.In a team full of ballon dor contendors

    1. “Deluded” is thrown around on here as an insult but on a scale of bad traits for a a fan to display it is one of the more benign. It an acceptable quality for a fan to have, positivity in the face of adversity. Flat-out negativity and plasticity not so endearing or impressive. The alternative is just to constantly whine to the extent you have to wonder why some even bother.

      Luckily football doesn’t work like you suggest. 11 of Barcelona’s 24 La Liga games have ended in either a loss (2), a draw (3) or a narrow 1 goal win (6). So there are plenty of examples of the Barcelona juggernaut not steamrollering opposition in every game contrary to the media lines being peddled.

      Just to be clear – do I think we can beat them over 2 legs? Unlikely. But whilst it is possible I will at least reserve slating the team/manager/club/owners etc until after the event.

  5. man im so nervous for tonight..

    wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger starts with Ramsey on the right and Flamini-Coquelin as midfield pairing in order to keep that clean sheet. Please let Alexis and Giroud find their shooting boots tonight! COYG!

  6. Also, Gooners. Don’t let the La Liga stats carry you away too much. Yes the opponent is an elite one, but in a league full of teams with comical defending you have to take something with a pinch of salt aswell.

  7. We must play Elneny and Coquelin along each other to breakup Barca’s passing game and shield our defense properly. Ramsey for me will be a no no, he lacks the discipline to sit back and make those necessary interceptions. Welbeck, Walcot and Sanchez will be good for our forward line! Go you Gunners!

  8. I said it first. Mark my words Arsenal are gonna win today 2-1 and then hold off Barcelona at Camp Nou for a cheeky 1-1. You heard it!

  9. Nervous as hell –

    Yes we are rightly the underdogs- but we know from experience there are no gimme games in football, and thats true for Barca as well as any other team.

    Honestly – I feel Arsenal struggles the most when they are playing against a team they are expected to beat easily. The media/fans give them stick, and the pressure is often greater. For that reason- the pressure in-that-sense will be off tonight – and that will help us a lot.

    There is no shame if we were to lose, but huge pride if we can pull of the win! So I hope we play with that freedom in our movement and attacks when we get them.

    If we really want to go through (rather than just perform well) – then we have to stop them getting the away goals. With that in mind- I’d play a controversial lineup, deliberately defensive minded, knowing we have pace, and skill going forward to potentially hit them on the break.

    Bellerin – Mert – Kos – Monreal
    Coq – *Elneny*
    Cambell – Ozil – Sanchez

    Elneny may not be an obvious choice – but hear me out…

    With 2 genuine midfield defenders, we’ll have our best opportunity to curtail their attacks. Play deep will indeed get them closer to our goal for significant periods of the game, but it will also remove the space for their great 1-2’s, and through balls because their will simply be much less room. Per’s lack of speed will also not be a problem – and he can do what he does best- which is organise. And don’t forget we have a world-class goalie – so lets be brave!

    Whilst its tempting to pick Walcott for those fast-break attacks. Overall I think Giroud offers us more, he’ll have a better chance of holding onto the ball as our midfield attackers are able to join. And also for corners at both ends of the pitch.

    Cambell – not only offers (highly under-rated) good passing, a good engine, and excellent tracking back. Walcott offers zero – and we can’t afford that in an un-ashamedly defensive minded setup.

    If you want to win the whole tie – I think this is the best way to do so. COYG!

  10. Beating Barca needs hardwork. And I think our frontline should like this, Campbell, Welbeck and Sanchez. With this three players, we will have both high workrate, ball retention, goals, Assists, track back, Dribbles and movement off the ball.

  11. guys
    am i the only fan in this forum who wished we had won against Hull a respectable loss 🙂 against barca and beat the shit out of Manu on Sunday
    i just hope whatever happens we dont get any injuries and move on
    Barca is untouchable we have to be realistic

  12. For goodness sake who the hell is bacerlona? Arsenal is a team that you’ll never underestimate they’ll hurt you when they want how they want & always play beyond imagination they always surprise the fans when the fans think they can’t do it they make fans happy when the fans are not excepted to be they make you sad when you don’t have to! so come on guys this is Arsenal fc we’re talking about here Arsenal is like Obama be in the white house thing about it it called white house not black nothing in life is impossible history always repeat itself .

  13. I had a dream last night:kos scores on 20th,Theo on 25th and ozil on 37th.
    Dany alves gets “red” on 52nd.

  14. We are capable of winning if we get our tactics right. As much as Ozil has been our best player this season, I think he should start this match from the bench. We need somebody to break up their attacking moves from the midfield and Ozil is not that player. If we lose the midfield, then we are screwed!

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