Barcelona are the huge favourites for our Champions League tie, and it’s no wonder.
I don’t think it’s unfair to say all five of Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Neymar and Lionel Messi are in the top 10 players in the world. After winning the treble last season, they’re on course to do so again.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t give them a scare. Iniesta and Javier Mascherano have already mentioned the qualities of Alexis Sánchez as something to look out for, but they know he isn’t Arsenal’s only threat.
“Özil is key. Everything revolves around him,” the Argentine, expected to line up in defence on Tuesday, said of Arsenal’s chief creator. “They have a very good midfield and they are always competitive even when they were losing important players and had to rebuild.”
There was even more praise from Iniesta, one of the greatest midfielders of all time. The Spanish maestro knows that, if he performs, Özil has the ability to hurt Barcelona and turn the tie Arsenal’s way.
“He’s a great player with lots of quality and lots of talent,” said the 31-year-old. “At any given moment he can come up with a move which can change the game or a tie.
“He can do it with an assist, a goal, a dribble. I think he’s one of the strong points in his team.”
While Alexis has stuttered through the season so far, Özil has been at the centre of everything good Arsenal have done. In the Premier League it has generally meant assisting goals, in the Champions League he has scored twice, including in the 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich.
Let’s hope he shows his class again on Tuesday evening, giving Arsenal something to believe in ahead of the second leg.