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Barcelona aim to quell Arsenal comeback

FC Barcelona have failed to win any of their last five home games against English opponents and Arsenal FC will need to make it six if they are to have any chance of staying in this season's competition.

Barcelona aim to quell Arsenal comeback
Barcelona aim to quell Arsenal comeback ©UEFA.com

Arsenal FC will attempt to build on their sterling first-leg comeback when they travel to FC Barcelona seeking a famous UEFA Champions League victory and a place in the competition's semi-finals.

• The Gunners looked to be heading out of the competition when Zlatan Ibrahimović turned Barcelona's first-half dominance into goals with two strikes early in the second half. Theo Walcott revived the home team's chances, however, and Cesc Fàbregas's late penalty after Carles Puyol had pulled down his Spain team-mate ensured the teams go into the second leg all square.

• Barcelona may start as favourites but Arsenal can take heart from the fact the Spanish titleholders have not won any of their last five home meetings with English sides.

• After Thierry Henry's return to north London, Fàbregas has been denied his turn to play the prodigal son as he is suspended for this second leg, although injury would have denied him in any case. Gunners' skipper Fàbregas left his native Catalonia for Arsenal as a teenager in 2003.

Previous meetings
• Barcelona came from behind to defeat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final at the Stade de France. Samuel Eto'o (76) and substitute Juliano Belletti (81) scored in quick succession to overturn Sol Campbell's 37th-minute opener for an Arsenal side reduced to ten men by goalkeeper Jens Lehmann's 18th-minute dismissal.

• 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, Pires (Almunia 20), Gilberto, Fàbregas (Flamini 74), Hleb (Reyes 85), Ljungberg, Henry.

• The clubs also met in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League group stage, drawing 1-1 in Barcelona before the Catalan giants won 4-2 at Wembley.

• Current coach Josep Guardiola captained Barcelona in both matches while Henry appeared each time as a second-half substitute for Arsenal. Puyol was on the bench for the game at Wembley.

Match background
• Barcelona will want to improve on their recent home record against English opponents. They have drawn four and lost one of their last five games against Premier League visitors to the Camp Nou, including goalless draws with Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC in the last two seasons.

• The holders have won three of their four home games in this season's UEFA Champions League, however, including the 4-0 thumping of VfB Stuttgart in the round of 16.

• Barcelona have won eight and lost nine of 17 previous two-legged meetings with teams from England.

• Besides beating Arsenal in the 2006 final, Barcelona defeated United 2-0 in last season's showpiece in Rome, winning through goals from Eto'o and Lionel Messi. That was their second major final against United, who beat them 2-1 in the 1991 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

• Barcelona are looking for their 11th semi-final appearance in the European Champion Clubs' Cup while Arsenal are targeting their third.

• Arsenal have lost their last two away games in the competition, going down at Olympiacos FC in the group stage in December then FC Porto in the round of 16.

• Henry was Arsenal's hero when they last won in Spain, the Frenchman hitting the only goal in a last-16 win victory at Real Madrid CF in February 2006.

• The Gunners earned a 1-1 draw at Villarreal CF on their last visit to Spain at this stage of last season's UEFA Champions League, before finishing off the Liga side with a 3-0 home triumph.

• That victory meant Arsenal have won five and lost just one of six two-legged ties with teams from Spain.

• Arsenal have a less enviable history when it comes to meeting Spanish sides in major finals, however. Besides their 2006 defeat by Barcelona, they lost UEFA Cup Winners' Cup finals against Valencia CF (1980) and Real Zaragoza (1995).

Team ties
• Guardiola was a player in the Barcelona team that got the better of Arsène Wenger's AS Monaco FC side in the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League. Barcelona beat Monaco both home (2-0) and away (1-0) in that season's group stage. Both clubs subsequently lost to AC Milan, Monaco in the semi-final, Barcelona in the final.

• Henry 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.

• The French international won two league titles and three FA Cups during his time in north London. His first coach when he joined Monaco as a teenager was Wenger.

• Fàbregas travelled in the opposite direction to Henry when he left Barcelona's youth ranks to join Arsenal as a 16-year-old in September 2003.

• Gerard Piqué, who along with Puyol is suspended for this second leg, played once against Arsenal during his four years at Manchester United from 2004 to 2008. That appearance against Arsenal in a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in April 2008 was his last in a United shirt.

• 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 also played for the Andalusian side that night and the future Barcelona pair were involved too in Sevilla's 3-0 reverse at Arsenal two months earlier.

• Thomas Vermaelen was a colleague of Maxwell and Zlatan Ibrahimović at AFC Ajax, playing with the latter from 2001 to 2004 and the former for another two years until 2006.

• Vermaelen had an unhappy experience in Spain with the Belgium national team beaten 5-0 in La Coruna in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in September last year. Piqué scored for a Spain side also featuring Puyol, Xavi Hernández, Sergio Busquets and Fàbregas.

• William Gallas played in the Chelsea team that eliminated Barcelona in the last 16 of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League but then lost to them at the same stage the next season.

• Mikaël Silvestre appeared as a last-minute substitute for Manchester United in their 2008 semi-final win against Barcelona at Old Trafford.

• Andrei Arshavin was in the Russia side beaten 3-0 by Spain in the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-final. Puyol, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta were in the Spain lineup along with Fàbregas.

• Carlos Vela is a team-mate of Rafael Márquez with Mexico.

• Barcelona's shoot-out record in UEFA club competitions is:
5-4 v Lech Poznań, 1988/89 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round
0-2 v FC Steaua Bucureşti, 1985/86 European Champion Clubs' Cup final
5-4 v IFK Göteborg, 1985/86 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final
4-1 v RSC Anderlecht, 1978/79 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round
3-1 v Ipswich Town FC, 1977/78 UEFA Cup third round
5-4 v AZ Alkmaar, 1977/78 UEFA Cup second round

• Arsenal's record is:
7-6 v AS Roma, 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16
1-4 v Galatasaray AŞ, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup final
3-2 v UC Sampdoria, 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-final
4-5 v Valencia CF, 1979/80 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final

• The victors will take on the winner of the contest between FC Internazionale Milano and PFC CSKA Moskva in the semi-finals.