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Čech hope for Arsenal against Messi and Barça

Barcelona have held the upper hand over Arsenal, if not their goalkeeper Petr Čech, in recent years but the Gunners aim to end a run of five straight round of 16 exits.

Lionel Messi misses from the spot against Petr Čech in 2012
Lionel Messi misses from the spot against Petr Čech in 2012 ©Getty Images
  • First leg: Arsenal v Barcelona, Tuesday 23 February (20.45CET)
  • Second leg: Barcelona v Arsenal, Wednesday 16 March (20.45CET)

Robert Fernández, Barcelona technical secretary 
The tie is going to be open and very tough; they have a very good team, magnificent players and play good football. We're going to have fun. We have to be very sharp in the first leg and it is vital to get a good result there. Their philosophy is similar to ours.

Messi v Arsenal
Messi v Arsenal

Analysis

  • Barcelona overcame Arsenal in the 2009/10 quarter-finals and 2010/11 round of 16 as well as the 2006 UEFA Champions League final at the Stade de France.
  • In 2009/10 Arsenal came from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw in the home first leg, but Lionel Messi's four goals in the Camp Nou return helped Barça win 4-1 on the night and 6-3 overall.
  • In the 2010/11 last 16, Arsenal eked out a 2-1 first-leg victory in north London but went down 3-1 in Spain.
  • In 2006 Sol Campbell headed Arsenal in front at the Stade de France in the 37th minute despite goalkeeper Jens Lehmann becoming the first player to be sent off in a European Cup final. Late strikes from Samuel Eto'o and Juliano Belletti took the trophy to Barcelona.
  • Messi has netted six in four games against the Gunners: four in the 2010 quarter-final second leg and two more in the 2011 round of 16 second leg.
  • However, Messi has never beaten Petr Čech in six matches against the former Chelsea goalkeeper.
  • Barça also came out on top against Arsenal in the 1999/2000 first group stage, following up a 1-1 draw in Spain with a 4-2 away success in which current coach Luis Enrique scored the second.
  • Arsenal have lost in the round of 16 for the past five seasons. Barcelona last failed to reach the quarter-finals in 2006/07.
  • Arsène Wenger is the first coach to get past the group stage 16 times, while Barcelona are the first team to go through a group unbeaten ten times.
  • The tie means a return to Barcelona for Alexis Sánchez and former La Masia trainee Héctor Bellerín.