Substituted after just 18 minutes of a Champions League Final, Robert Pirès never played for Arsenal again.

After Jens Lehmann saw red, Pirès was sacrificed and it was the moment that convinced the then 32-year-old to end his time in London. Barcelona went on to win the game and Arsenal haven’t reached a European final since.

Saint-Denis, FRANCE: Barcelona's Brazilian forward Ronaldinho (R) vies with Arsenal's French midfielder Robert Pires during the UEFA Champion's League final football match Barcelona vs. Arsenal, 17 May 2006 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, northern Paris. AFP PHOTO PASCAL PAVANI (Photo credit should read PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Robert Pirès takes on Ronaldinho before being subbed early in the 2006 Champions League Final. He would never play for Arsenal again. (PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Gunners have met Barcelona twice since, both times in the last 16. On both occasionss the Spanish giants have gone through, and the Champions League draw has given history the chance to repeat itself this season.

“The draw for the Champions League…everybody knows it’s difficult,” Pirès admitted in an interview with Omnisport. “When you play Barcelona or Bayern Munich you know it’s very difficult and is going to be a very tough game.”

However, Barcelona failed to win at the Emirates Stadium in 2010 and 2011, while Bayern Munich lost 2-0 to Arsenal this season (only to beat the Gunners 5-1 at the Allianz Arena weeks later). It’s clear that Arsène Wenger’s side are capable of beating anyone on their day, and that gives Pirès hope for his former club.

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in London, on October 20, 2015. Arsenal won the match 2-0. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Arsenal have already beaten Bayern Munich this season…so why not Barcelona? (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

“But I repeat the same. When you talk to everyone about football, I think anything is possible. Of course Barcelona are one of the best teams in Europe. But I believe in Arsenal for this game, yes.”

I believe in Arsenal for the game too, but perhaps only the home game. Travelling to the Nou Camp in need of a performance to kick Barcelona – the current holders – out of the competition is a daunting prospect.

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Since one ended Pirès’ Arsenal career, ties against Barcelona have twice ended Arsenal’s hopes of European success for yet another year. Fourth time lucky?