By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger accepts that Arsenal will have to adapt their usual game to get the right result against Barcelona.
The Frenchman takes a 2-1 lead to the Nou Camp on Tuesday night thanks to a stunning turnaround in the first leg when Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin provided late responses to David Villa's early opener.
Van Persie, Alex Song and Theo Walcott are all set to miss the second leg through injury - making Arsenal's task significantly tougher - and Wenger knows exactly what to expect from Barcelona after Lionel Messi ran in four goals to eliminate his team at the Quarter-Final stage last season.
The Gunners are renowned for their free-flowing, expansive play in the Premier League but their manager knows that pragmatism, not idealism, is the key to their success this time around.
"We will have to [play another way] because it’s one of the few games where we will spend 60 per cent of the time defending," said Wenger.
"We have to fight against the pre-conceived ideas because the only way of thinking is that Arsenal cannot defend. I will just remind you that in the last seven games we have seven clean sheets in the Premier League, we have conceded less goals than Man United who have a very good defence.
"We prefer to attack that is for sure, but we can defend when we have to."
Nicklas Bendtner gave Arsenal a shock lead at the Nou Camp last year before Messi took over and Wenger thinks his players can learn lessons from that encounter.
"We can learn and I would like to have the same start as last year because I feel defensively we can cope better with their pressure," he said. "That is what we want to show. The second leg last year was the Lionel Messi show, you can never bet on a poor performance from Messi. That’s certainly one of the keys of the game.
"Of course we would take [a 0-0 draw]," he added. "But it is a little bit of an illusion to go to Barcelona and think they will not score at all. So you have to think we want to score at least a goal."Copyright 2016 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