After Arsène Wenger spoke to the media on Thursday morning, a Luis Suárez hat-trick saw Barcelona into the Club World Cup Final.
The Spanish champions won the treble last season, and will meet Arsenal in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League as they look to defend their title.
Back-to-back meetings between the two sides in 2010 and 2011 both went Barcelona’s way, and they will be the hot favourites again this time around.
“We play against the holders and the best team in Europe at the moment,” Wenger admitted. “But I think we have a chance to knock them out.”
A 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich back in October proved that Arsenal can beat the biggest and best teams in Europe, and can do it when the pressure is on.
Previous visits from Barcelona have proven as much too. Five years ago you’d have said Arsenal weren’t as strong as the team today, but Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona sides could only draw 2-2 (2010) and lose 2-1 (2011) at the Emirates Stadium.
“We have to be inspired by the result against Bayern at home,” Wenger added. “It will be the same difficulty, not more.”
Defeats in the Nou Camp in 2010 and 2011 were Arsenal’s undoing, but Arsène Wenger believes his players are better equipped for such a challenge this time around.
“We are more mature, we played against Barcelona with top teams but we were very inexperienced and very young.
“We still managed to beat them, it was always very tight and we were sometimes unlucky as well. So that is in our minds and that is deep in my body as well and i do not forget that, we have a chance to put things right.”
After losing to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, the Gunners won three games under huge pressure in order to qualify from the Champions League group stage this season. It would be something of a shame if that was all for nothing.
It’s a while since we knocked a big side out of the Champions League, so why not now?