Guardiola on the offensive against Arsenal
Monday, March 7, 2011
Josep Guardiola promised FC Barcelona "will attack" as they bid to undo a 2-1 deficit against Arsenal FC, whose manager Arsène Wenger raised eyebrows with his squad selection.
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With FC Barcelona trailing 2-1 from the first leg of their round of 16 tie in London, coach Josep Guardiola promised absolute commitment from his side in the return fixture against Arsenal FC, while visiting manager Arsène Wenger kept the world guessing about his Camp Nou team selection.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
[Nicklas] Bendtner is a quality player, so is [Marouane] Chamakh, and [Robin] van Persie is also a great player. They are all good. It'll be a match with very little space in the middle and a bit more down the wings; we will have to attack carefully because Arsenal can strike on the counter.
Arsenal aren't a mentally fragile side. They are competing at the top of the table for their league title and every season they do well in the Champions League. The fact that they are at the top every season means they are a good team. When they win a first major trophy they will realise they are strong enough to win more. We will attack – you can rest assured that we will try to win and do all we can. Our target is what we have to do to beat them, that's the only important thing in this kind of match.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
I trust [Jack] Wilshere because he's good enough to play and I know when a player deserves to play or not, and that's the case with Wilshere.
For us it is the next game, and we have had a very strong run and we have done very well. It's our next game and we want to stay in the competition. If you ask any player, he will give his life to win this match. Both sides have similar philosophies and both want to win trying to play good football. For us one of the problems is to get away from Barcelona's pressure and we shall see how we can do that.
With Gerard Piqué suspended and Carles Puyol injured, Barcelona will be fielding an unfamiliar central defensive pairing, though Guardiola did not reveal who they would be. Andrés Iniesta is within a booking of a match ban.
Wenger surprised everyone by including Robin van Persie (knee) in his travelling party, though the player will undergo further tests before it is decided whether he will play. Emmanuel Eboué misses the next match if booked, while Alex Song (knee) and Theo Walcott (ankle sprain) are out, with Wenger saying: "Walcott is at home and will watch it on TV, and hopefully he will watch us win."
Saturday: Barcelona 1-0 Real Zaragoza
Barcelona stretched their unbeaten run at the Camp Nou to 20 matches in all competitions. They have won 18 since the 2-0 defeat by Hércules CF on 11 September.
Saturday: Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland AFC
Arsenal stretched their unbeaten league run to 11 matches (seven wins, four draws). Wenger's side are yet to concede in the opening 15 minutes of a league game this season.
Did you know?
Arsenal have won the first leg at home on 15 occasions in UEFA competition, and gone on win the tie no less than 14 times. However, the sole exception came in Spain in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when a 2-1 home win against Valencia CF preceded a 1-0 away reverse.
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