By Giuseppe Muro

Jack Wilshere feels the Arsenal players learned their lesson from last season’s encounter with Barcelona.

The game at Emirates Stadium took on a similar pattern to the 2-2 draw of 11 months ago - the away side dominating the early stages with Arsenal weathering the storm and finishing well on top.

Wilshere was on loan at Bolton so didn’t feature in either game last term but he knows the team heeded the warnings of that tie.

“Last year helped us,” said Wilshere “We knew we had to push them harder. Last year they started off well in the first half and we came back into it [and] this time we got the win.

“We know they are a great team, they can keep the ball and, for 20 minutes in the first half, we were chasing them. We knew we had to keep our shape and hit them on the counter-attack and press them hard in the second half.

“We know there is character in this team [and] we showed that the other week against Everton. We are still in all four competitions and that takes character. There is still a job to do at the Nou Camp, we have to get a goal early and let them come at us again.”
David Villa’s 26th-minute strike put Arsenal behind at half time before a stirring comeback shocked the La Liga leaders and gave Arsenal an advantage going into the second leg on March 8.

“We created four chances in the first half so we weren’t out of it,” added the England international.

“In the first half they showed how good they are at moving the ball and it was hard to get in their faces. But in the second half we did better, we pressed them harder and we got two goals.

“The chances were going to come so we just had to keep plugging away. That’s what we did, we pressed them hard in the second half and we got two good goals.”

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17 Feb 2011