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Arsenal cushion no comfort for Barcelona

Luis Enrique warned Barcelona to be wary of "quality players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez", insisting defending a 2-0 lead at home against Arsenal will "not be easy".

Douglas and Neymar in training with Barcelona ahead of the Arsenal decider
Douglas and Neymar in training with Barcelona ahead of the Arsenal decider ©Getty Images
  • Luis Enrique warns Barcelona to be wary of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez
  • Hosts unbeaten in 37 matches in all competitions; won last eight games
  • Holders aiming for tenth straight quarter-final
  • Lionel Messi's double gave Barcelona a 2-0 first-leg victory in north London
  • Laurent Koscielny in Arsenal squad after recovering from calf problem

Possible lineups
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Mathieu, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets; Rakitić, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Out: Rafinha (knee), Sandro (hamstring), Piqué (suspended)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked: none

Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Elneny; Campbell, Özil, Sánchez; Giroud.
Out: Ramsey (hip), Čech (calf), Cazorla (Achilles), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Rosický (thigh), Wilshere (calf/shin), Chambers (not in squad)
Misses next match if booked: Monreal, Özil, Campbell, Giroud

Luis Enrique at his pre-match press conference
Luis Enrique at his pre-match press conference©Getty Images

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
[The 2-0 win in London] was a good result but it doesn't change our approach. It is still an open match, our opponents are dangerous and we need to play very well to go through. Sometimes the match looks perfect because of the result, but there is always room for improvement. That's why football is so complex – 11 players have to do the same things at the same time.

We have to try to handle quality players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. We want to keep the ball as much as possible to avoid counterattacks – it will not be easy, but lately we have being doing that well. Alexis is a very important player for Arsenal and his national team. He is a quality player, fast and attacking, and he has improved his game since he went to Barcelona. We have to be careful with him.

Highlights: See Messi double for Barcelona

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
The key for us will be a solid defensive performance. We have to attack and that suits us. We will do that knowing that the magicians of Barcelona will demand a good defensive performance from ourselves. Koscielny is important for us because he has lots of pace and Barcelona are good on the counterattack.

We have won almost everywhere in Europe, but still not here and we need to do that now. Barcelona are in a good position, but we have a chance. Our approach wasn't too bad [in the first leg]. We just lost our shape a bit after half-time and got caught on the counterattack.

©Getty Images

I don't think the football gods owe us anything, but I owe a lot to football. We want to come here and give a positive performance. We will play with passion and commitment and show our talent.

Weekend results
6-0 Getafe (Juan Rodríguez og 8, El Haddadi 19, Neymar 32 51, Messi 40, Arda Turan 57)
With his team 1-0 up, Lionel Messi missed an 11th-minute penalty, but Munir El Haddadi resumed the scoring before a Neymar double, trademark Messi strike and 57th-minute Arda Turan effort completed the rout.

Arsenal 1-2 Watford (Ighalo 50, Guedioura 63; Welbeck 88)
Odion Ighalo and Adlène Guedioura struck as the visitors stunned FA Cup holders Arsenal in the last eight. Substitute Danny Welbeck reduced the deficit two minutes from time but was unable to prevent the Gunners suffering a third successive home loss in all competitions for the first time since November 2002.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Barcelona: WWWWWW
Arsenal: LWDLLL

Arsène Wenger oversees an Arsenal training session
Arsène Wenger oversees an Arsenal training session©Getty Images

Reporter's view: Graham Hunter (@BumperGraham)
Wenger has been in charge of Arsenal for all eight of their meetings with Barcelona – against four different coaches for the Liga side – but never got better than a draw away from north London. The absence of Petr Čech, who has experience of victory at Camp Nou with Chelsea, is a particular blow for the Gunners although Barça will miss Gerard Piqué just as much. Expect goals, entertainment ... and the holders to proceed.

Did you know?
Barcelona beat Arsenal in 2010 and 2011 as well as the 2006 UEFA Champions League final; the Gunners are hoping to avoid a sixth successive elimination in the round of 16. See our match background for more.