By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has labelled Arsenal’s Champions League assignment against Barcelona as “difficult but possible”.
On Friday, the Emirates Stadium side were drawn against the Spanish champions in the last 16 of Europe’s top competition – a repeat of the Quarter-Final in 2009/10.
Back in March, Arsenal came back to draw 2-2 in the home leg. Nicklas Bendtner then put them in front at the Nou Camp before Lionel Messi ran in four goals to send Barcelona through.
Having finished second in Group H this season, Wenger knew his team could face either Schalke, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Barcelona. Pep Guardiola’s side were widely regarded as the toughest draw possible but, speaking exclusively to Arsenal.com, Wenger was not daunted.
“My reaction is very simple – difficult but possible,” he said.
“I didn’t want anybody really, in that all teams would have been difficult. You could have said that Schalke – a team with less history in the Champions League – would have been easier maybe. But the advantage is that we will be on our toes and we’ll be ready.
“Revenge is not on my mind. We want to qualify and we want to knock them out. So is it difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Yes.
“Barcelona are certainly the favourites [for the competition] and a famous team but, on their side, they did not want us either because they know they will get a game.
“I think we are better than last year and we have a good opportunity to show that. I won’t come out on [how we will make it a different game]. What is on my mind right now is Stoke tomorrow more than Barcelona.
“We are in the middle of December and we play at the end of February. So there is a long way to go.
“It is too early to speak about this game concretely. You can just speak about the draw. The whole context might be completely different in two months. We don’t know what we will do and how we will feel.
“But the best way of going into that game with confidence is down to what we do from today until then. If we do well in the League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup that will give us the best chance of knocking them out.”Copyright 2017 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