By Chris Harris
Pep Guardiola says Arsenal are talented, consistent - and certainly not fragile.
Arsène Wenger's side have had that last charge levelled at them a number of times and their critics were in full voice after last month's surprise defeat to Birmingham at the Carling Cup Final.
The Champions League represents one of three possible trophies for Arsenal this season and, although Guardiola will have something to say about their prospects in Europe, he believes his Barcelona side will face one of the continent's finest at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
"I keep hearing about the fragility in the minds of the Arsenal players, but I do not agree," said Guardiola.
"They are competing with Manchester United for the Premier League, reached the Final of the Carling Cup and a few seasons ago were in the Final of the Champions League.
"Arsenal are always in the top, and when you compete every season at the top, it is because you are quality.
"Sometimes they sell players, but Arsenal always keep the same level. Many teams arrive at the top for one year, but then are finished. Arsenal are there every season. For many years they have kept up there, and that is the real merit.
"Yes, they lack something, but they are a young team. When they win the first time, they will change the mentality, they will realise they are good."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 7 Mar 2011