Arsenal wary of another Barcelona masterclass
Friday, February 18, 2011
Last year's loss at the Camp Nou was a chastening experience for Arsenal FC and they will be looking for better in another repeat of the 2006 final, although this time they hold the lead.
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The teams who contested the 2006 UEFA Champions League final renew their rivalry in the round of 16 with Arsenal FC well placed to turn the tables after their quarter-final defeat by FC Barcelona a year ago.
• The London club lost 6-3 on aggregate to the Spanish side in 2009/10, going down 4-1 in Catalonia and failed to beat Barça in their first five attempts, drawing two and losing three – conceding ten goals in those defeats.
• The Gunners finally ended that run on 16 February, however, recovering from David Villa's 26th-minute opener to earn a valuable first-leg lead thanks to late goals from Robin van Persie (78) and substitute Andrey Arshavin (83).
• The sides were level after last season's first leg, Arsenal recovering from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 home draw against the then holders. Arsène Wenger's team went ahead in the return through Nicklas Bendtner's 18th-minute effort only for Lionel Messi to take matters in his own hands, scoring all Barça's goals in a 4-1 victory.
• The lineups for the game at the Camp Nou on 6 April 2010 were:
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Márquez, Milito, Abidal (Maxwell 53), Xavi, Keita, Busquets, Messi, Bojan (Touré 56), Pedro (Iniesta 86).
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Silvestre (Eboué 63), Clichy, Diaby, Rosický (Eduardo 73), Nasri, Walcott, Denilson, Bendtner.
• Barcelona also came from behind to defeat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 final at the Stade de France. Samuel Eto'o and substitute Juliano Belletti scored in quick succession late on to overturn Sol Campbell's opener for an Arsenal side reduced to ten men by an early red card for Jens Lehmann, the first player sent off in a European Champion Clubs' Cup final.
• The full lineups for that match on 17 May 2006 were:
Barcelona: Valdés, Oleguer (Belletti 71), Márquez, Puyol, Van Bronckhorst, Deco, Edmílson (Iniesta 46), Van Bommel (Larsson 61), Giuly, Eto'o, Ronaldinho.
Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboué, Touré, Campbell, Cole, Pirès (Almunia 20), Gilberto, Fàbregas (Flamini 74), Hleb (Reyes 85), Ljungberg, Henry.
• The clubs also met in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League group stage. The game in England was played at Wembley where the Catalan giants followed a 1-1 draw in Spain with a 4-2 win. Current coach Josep Guardiola captained Barcelona in both matches while Puyol was on the bench for the Wembley game.
• Barcelona won all three home fixtures in finishing top of Group D, overcoming Panathinaikos FC (5-1) and FC København and FC Rubin Kazan (both 2-0). It was the fourth successive year they had topped their section and they have now qualified from the initial group stage in the last nine campaigns in which they have taken part.
• Last season Barça reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual winners FC Internazionale Milano.
• Arsenal won their first away game in Group H, 3-1 at FK Partizan, but then lost 2-1 at FC Shakhtar Donetsk and 2-0 at SC Braga to finish second behind Shakhtar.
• Arsenal are taking part in their 13th UEFA Champions League campaign and this is the 11th successive time they have progressed beyond the initial group stage. In the last three years they have made it to the quarter-finals or better.
• Barcelona have won 11 ties in UEFA competition when they have lost the first leg away from home – although they have gone down in the other 12, most recently in last season's UEFA Champions League semi-final when a 1-0 defeat of Inter was not enough to overturn a 3-1 first-leg loss.
• Of the four times they have been defeated 2-1 in an away opener, Barcelona have lost two ties and won the other two.
• Arsenal, meanwhile, have won the first leg at home on 15 occasions in UEFA competition, going on to win the tie no less than 14 times. However, their sole defeat came in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when a 2-1 home win against Spanish opponents – Valencia CF – preceded a 1-0 away reverse.
• On the only other occasion the Gunners earned a 2-1 home first-leg lead, against 1. FC Magdeburg, they drew 2-2 in the return.
• Arsenal eliminated AS Roma in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16 7-6 on penalties and beat UC Sampdoria in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals by the same method but lost final shoot-outs to Valencia (1980 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup) and Galatasaray AŞ (2000 UEFA Cup).
• Barcelona have been involved in six shoot-outs in UEFA competition – although none since 1988/89 – and won five. The sole defeat came in the 1985/86 European Cup final against FC Steaua Bucureşti, who won 2-0 on spot kicks after a goalless 120 minutes.
• In addition to their meetings during 1999/2000, the coaches also lined up against each other when Wenger was coach of AS Monaco FC and Guardiola was a player at Barcelona. Barcelona won home (2-0) and away (1-0) in the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Guardiola was in the Barcelona team that won the European Cup for the first time with a 1-0 extra-time win against Sampdoria in the 1992 final at Wembley.
• Thierry Henry, a UEFA Champions League winner with Barcelona in 2009, is Arsenal's record league scorer. He hit 174 goals in 254 Premier League appearances, and 226 in 369 matches overall, between 1999 and 2007, when he left for Spain, winnng two league titles and three FA Cups in north London. His first coach when he joined Monaco as a teenager was Wenger.
• Cesc Fàbregas left Barcelona to join Arsenal as a 16-year-old in September 2003.
• Arshavin was in the Russia side beaten 3-0 in the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-final by a Spain team including Puyol, Villa, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta along with Fàbregas. Villa played only 34 minutes before tearing a muscle, an injury which ruled him out of Spain's 1-0 final victory against Germany.
• Gerard Piqué played once against Arsenal while at Manchester United FC from 2004 to 2008. That appearance, in a 2-1 United win at Old Trafford in April 2008, was his last for the club.
• Seydou Keita scored the opening goal for Sevilla FC when they beat Arsenal 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League group stage in November 2007. Daniel Alves and Adriano also played while both Alves and Keita were involved in Sevilla's 3-0 reverse at Arsenal two months earlier.
• Javier Mascherano was in the Liverpool FC team that opened the Premier League season with a 1-1 home draw against Arsenal on 15 August. He played against them on seven previous occasions – including a 2007/08 UEFA Champions League quarter-final which Liverpool won 5-3 on aggregate – but triumphed in just two of those encounters.
• During two seasons with Sevilla, Sébastien Squillaci was on the losing side against Barcelona on three occasions in the Liga, his team shipping a total of ten goals.
• Thomas Vermaelen was a team-mate of Maxwell at AFC Ajax from 2001 to 2006.
• Vermaelen was in the Belgium team beaten 5-0 by Spain in La Coruna in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in September 2009. Piqué scored for a home side also featuring Puyol, Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Fàbregas.
• Van Persie's Netherlands side lost 1-0 in last summer's World Cup final to Spain, Iniesta scoring a 116th-minute winner. Villa, Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Pedro and Busquets all also featured for the victors, as did Fàbregas.
• Bacary Sagna and substitute Abou Diaby were in the France side that recorded a 1-0 friendly win against Brazil in Paris on 9 February; Alves appeared for the visitors, with Éric Abidal also in the France ranks.