Unfortunately Arsenal struggled to a 0-0 draw against Hull City at the weekend, and now face a much steeper task against European Champions FC Barcelona.
Ouch. Play like we did at the weekend and we simply have no chance, but the game will be a completely different one. Arsenal will have far less of the ball but also fewer men to beat when they try and push forward.
Above all else, Arsenal will come up against an attack which can’t even be compared to any other in the world, least of all Steve Bruce’s second string.
On a tactical level preparing for Barcelona, who are unbeaten in a club record 32 games, feels impossible. However, psychologically, Arsène Wenger feels it’s easier than making his players ready to face the Tigers.
“Of course the difficulty of the task is completely ifferent but it’s more difficult to prepare against Hull than against Barcelona, becuase against Barcelona everybody is focused naturally,” explained the Arsenal manager. “It’s more about creating belief and confidence because Barcelona are the super favourites in this game. Against Hull it’s more to raise the urgency level and convince everybody that it’s a very difficult game.
“Tomorrow everybody’s convinced we need to be totally focused to have a chance and that’s what I try to raise, the belief, confidence, let’s go for it.”
It’s a rousing message, and the team appear to be relaxed and confident about their chances of upsetting the apple cart. With nobody betting on us, there’s no expectation that Arsenal will beat the Spanish giants and very little pressure.
Going forward we will be limited to counter-attacking opportunities, but these usually lead to bigger chances and it could play into our hands.
“As I said after the game against Hull we had the ball 70% of the time, we didn’t make a lot of it. Against Barcelona we’ll have much less of the ball and we’ll have to make more of it.”
But hey, like I said, there’s no pressure!