Arsenal will be tasked with stopping the most fearsome and prolific frontline in football tomorrow, but Arsène Wenger is hoping Petr Čech can defy Lionel Messi once again.
Facing the media in Friday’s press conference, the Arsenal manager said he hasn’t lost any sleep trying to figure out how to stop Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar.
Between them they have 91 goals already this season, but Messi – possibly the greatest player of all time – has failed to find the back of the net in each of his eight appearances against the former goalkeeper. No wonder Wenger isn’t concerned!
“Let’s not forget we have a good defensive record and a good goalkeeper as well,” said the boss. “I hope that (record) will give Petr Cech a lot of confidence and that we’ll keep (Messi) quiet.
“I remember we played Barcelona in the Champions League Final in 2006. He was injured at the time and couldn’t play the final so that’s when he already started to have a reputation.
It’s remarkable what he’s achieved between 2006 and 2016 but I hope with Petr Čech he’ll have a little complex tomorrow and the history will play against him.”
Messi isn’t the only problem, though. Even if Arsenal – and Čech – keep him out, Suárez and Neymar will be lurking. The entire 90 minute will require an enormous defensive effort from the Gunners, and even then Barcelona could run riot.
Ultimately any positive result is going to come with a little luck on the evening. Having said that, it would be very helpful indeed if the Čech complex struck Messi one more time.