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Walcott bent on bringing Barça down

Identified by FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola as the main threat to his side, Arsenal FC winger Theo Walcott would cherish a starring role in Tuesday's quarter-final decider.

Theo Walcott was in relaxed mood at the pre-match media conference
Theo Walcott was in relaxed mood at the pre-match media conference ©Getty Images

Singled out for his rapid impact in the first leg, winger Theo Walcott hopes to play another significant role as Arsenal FC hunt the win at FC Barcelona that would send them through to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Arsenal were on the ropes at 2-0 down in the first leg when Walcott entered the fray in the English capital last week, but his pace caused instant problems and after scoring within three minutes of coming on he eventually helped the Gunners salvage a 2-2 draw. That result has left Arsène Wenger's men probably needing victory to progress at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, and Barça coach Josep Guardiola identified the 21-year-old as the one player most capable of upsetting his European champions.

"The best thing is to react on the pitch tomorrow night," said Walcott. "Hopefully, as a winger, you can always be on the front foot and creating problems for rival teams. If you can also create space for your team-mates, then all the better. But it's nice to have rival coaches praising you."

The English international – who revealed that he can run the 100m "in about 10.3 [seconds]" – has no illusions about the size of the task awaiting his team, however. "We've got to be at 100% tomorrow and be honest with ourselves," he explained. "Barcelona at times play fantastic football – the best I have ever seen."

They are also likely to be an even more daunting prospect in their own stadium, where they dispatched VfB Stuttgart 4-0 in the first knockout round following a 1-1 draw in Germany. "I've been at some fantastic stadiums in my short career and this one's spectacular, but if I get to play tomorrow it'll be an honour and then I hope we win," added Walcott. "I'm looking forward to being part of that."

Giving the Gunners added hope is their capacity to stay calm and deliver late goals, as they demonstrated yet again in the domestic realm at the weekend with Nicklas Bendtner's last-gasp winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. "[In the first leg], we managed to score that first goal and came back in the last 20 minutes, managing to equalise," said Walcott. "We're good at getting goals in the last minutes of games and we've done that in the Premier League."

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