Barcelona v Arsenal – PREVIEW, QUOTES, FACTS
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was in a bullish mood during his pre-match press conference ahead of the Barcelona clash in the Champions League, claiming he built the club.
The Frenchman also insisted his motivation was higher than when he first arrived in London as he seeks to overturn a 2-0 deficit at Camp Nou in the last 16 second leg. The pendulum of opinion at the Emirates is firmly in the ‘Wenger Out’ camp following a miserable run of results that have seen them drift to the fringes of the Premier League title race.
While Arsenal were sent packing by Watford in the FA Cup at the weekend, Barcelona enjoyed the perfect warm-up dispatching Getafe 6-0, with Luis Suarez rested for the full 90 minutes.
ARSENE WENGER : “I built the club with hard work, without any external resources and, if you compare where we are today to when I arrived, we have moved forward and without any money from anybody, just the money we produced from the work,” said Wenger.
“The problem when you’re a long time somewhere [is that] you are questioned about your dedication, but I don’t question my dedication at all and I give more time to my club now than when I arrived.
“I have no doubts about my huge motivation. I am even more motivated from the first day I arrived and feel the pressure and the responsibility to keep moving this club forward more now.”
“I am honest enough to make sure that I give my best. I’m not too much of an image person, I just want to think I give my best for this club and I’m determined to do that. Honest dedication and total commitment is the most important thing.”
LUIS ENRIQUE : “In the modern era it is impossible [staying at a club for so long],” Enrique said of the Frenchman.
“It is not the case now with any coach. It means Wenger is a very good coach, no one doubts about that and only the chosen ones can be such a long time in one club – it is because of their good quality.
“I really don’t have a deep knowledge to assess the situation of Mr Wenger, but every time there are more coaches out there and more competition and possibilities – the number of teams is always the same but there are more coaches,.
“That is why it is difficult to be 20 years in the same position, and that is why he has done a good job and is at a good level.”
Barcelona are in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 12th consecutive campaign. They have reached the semi-finals in seven of the last eight campaigns.
Barcelona have won the Champions League in four of the last 10 seasons. They could become the first team since AC Milan to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League titles. The Rossoneri did it in 1989 & 1990.
Barcelona have come out on top in each of their three previous Champions League home & away knockout encounters with Arsenal: 2006 final (2-1), 2009/10 quarter-final (6-3 on agg.) and 2010/11 Last 16 (4-3 on agg.).
Arsenal have never beaten Barcelona at the Camp Nou (D1 L2). They’ve conceded seven goals in their last two Champions League trips to Catalonia.
Only one team has beaten Barcelona by at least two clear goals at the Camp Nou in the Champions League in the last 12 seasons: Bayern Munich in May 2013 (3-0).
Barcelona are one of two clubs still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, the other being Real Madrid. They have won 16 of their 20 Champions League games since last season (D2 L2), scoring in all 20 games.
Arsenal and Barcelona’s eight previous Champions League encounters have produced 29 goals, an average of 3.6 per game.