By Richard Clarke
Barcelona’s demolition of Real Madrid has made them the “super-favourites” for this season’s Champions League, according to Arsène Wenger.
Arsenal were knocked out by Pep Guardiola’s side in the Quarter-Final of last term’s competition. A topsy-turvy 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium meant the North London side had hope going to the Nou Camp. However they would come up against Leo Messi at his immaculate best.
The Argentinean also helped Barca to thrash bitter rivals Real Madrid 5-0 in El Clasico last week. Wenger feels the performance laid down a marker for this season’s Champions League.
“With that game, they said 'everybody, we are the super-favourites’ and the team which wants to win this competition has to knock us out'. That is what they said. And it was the case last year.”
Of course, Inter did knock out Barca in the Semi-Finals in April and then went on to win the trophy. But Wenger feels they that tie could have gone either way.
“I believe that when they played Inter last year they were physically going down,” he said.
“They were unlucky with some decisions too. In the first game they had some penalties turned down and in the next game they scored a regular second goal. People say Inter beat them but Barca lost it.”
That was not true against Arsenal. Guardiola’s side were in control for the majority of the tie but Wenger’s men still had their chances.
“In the first game last season I felt they played us off the park for the first 30 minutes,” said the Frenchman. “Then we were 2-0 down.
“In the end, it was 2-2 but I felt if it lasted ten more minutes we would have won the game. When we played over there it was the reverse. In the first part we should have been two up and then Messi was in top form and made the difference on his own.”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 Dec 2010