The Champions League night returns with one of the most anticipated battle of the year as Arsenal host defending champions Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
Arsenal are coming on the back of a bore 0-0 draw against second division team Hull City and their recent form has been far that encouraging when coming up against a team of Barcelona’s stature.
Barcelona on the other hand were made to work hard to grab a vital 2-1 win against relegation threatened Las Palmas in the weekend. The match also witnessed the Canary Islanders winning the battle for possession for longer periods against a star studded Barcelona lineup.
Arsenal vs Barcelona – Form Comparison
The Gunners are currently third in the Premier League, with just 2 points separating them from top placed Leicester City. Arsenal have only lost once in their last 15 home matches in all competitions.
Their last five home matches in all competitions witnessed 2 wins, 2 draws and a defeat
Barcelona are flying on the top of La Liga, 9 points clear off second placed Atletico Madrid and 10 points clear off third placed Real Madrid.
They have lost only twice in all competitions this season, both of the defeats coming in away matches in Spanish La Liga.
Since their last defeat at Sevilla on 3rd October 2015, Barcelona are unbeaten in 32 matches this season, with 26 of them ending in wins.
Arsenal : Team News
Arsenal will be bolstered by the return of Danny Welbeck from injury, who scored a vital goal in the injury time to see off Leicester last week. Cazorla, Rosicky and Wilshere remains sidelined for the Gunners and Wenger has an almost fit squad to choose from for this key clash against Barcelona.
The clash also mark Alexis Sanchez making his first appearance against Barcelona, for the club he scored 47 goals in 141 appearances from 2011 to 2014.
Barcelona: Team News
Rafinha is the only player sidelined through injury for Barcelona head-coach Luis Enrique. While their new signing Arda Turan will serve a one-match ban.
Thomas Vermaelen will return to Emirates Stadium for the first time since leaving Arsenal in 2014 after making 110 Premier League appearances.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Barcelona (4-2-3-1)
Cech – Monreal, Koscielny, Gabriel, Bellerin – Coquelin, Ramsey – Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott – Giroud.
Barcelona Predicted Lineup vs Arsenal (4-3-3)
Claudio Bravo – Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Iniesta, Busquet, Rakitic – Messi, Suarez, Neymar.
Arsenal vs Barcelona: Head to Head
Arsenal and Barcelona have met each other five times in the Champions League, with Barcelona leading the charts with 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. The teams were drawn together in the round of 16 in 2010/11 season and quarter finals of 2009/10, in both occasions Barcelona knocked out Arsenal on aggregate. The highlig
The highlight of the clashes was in the 2006 final at Stade de France where Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1. Sol Campbell’s strike for the Gunners was overturned by late goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti, in a match which witnessed Arsene Wenger’s team reduced to ten men after their goal keeper Jens Lehmann was sent-off in the first half.
Arsenal vs Barcelona : Prediction
Arsenal are looking to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010. Moreover, they have only won once against Barcelona in five meetings in the competition.
Barcelona look unbeatable at the moment with the trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar at top of their form. But the team have shown in recent times that they are vulnerable to concede goals against teams whose principle is built on patient build up play.
The odds are in favour of Barcelona here and Arsenal will be relying on lucky to get a positive result out of this tie.
My Prediction for the match is 3-1 in favour of Barcelona.