By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal are in ‘ideal condition’ to face Barcelona on Wednesday.
Last season, the Frenchman had a number of injury worries going into the Champions League Quarter-Final first leg against the Spanish champions. Two of those, Andrey Arshavin and William Gallas, started the game but had gone off injured by the start of the second half. They missed the return rubber, along with Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song, and Arsenal were subsequently knocked out 6-3 on aggregate.
This year, however, the London side are in a different position. The treatment table is relatively clear, with Samir Nasri even set to return for Wednesday’s Knockout Round first leg tie at Emirates. Meanwhile confidence is high as Wenger’s men continue to gun for four trophies.
“The only thing I can say is we are in an ideal condition to face them,” said the Frenchman. “We cannot complain. We have the belief, the confidence and the players available. We are 90 per cent in February and that was not the case last year. I feel we are in an ideal position to face them.”
But despite being well-beaten over the two legs last season, Wenger baulked at the word ‘revenge’ in his pre-match press conference
“We just want to show how good we are,” he said. “We want to show the belief we have in our game, in our quality, more than looking at the past.
“We have practiced. We are determined, focused and we want to win this competition. We know we face the super-favourites of this competition but the only way to do it is to knock them out."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Feb 2011