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Mission - overturn the deficit

Barça play host to Arsenal in the Champions League last 16 (20:45 CET) aiming to overturn the 2-1 result at the Emirates. Barça are without Pique and Puyol, whilst for Arsenal Cesc and Van Persie are doubtful.


08 March 2011 01:03 PM


Roger Bogunyà

Barcelona (FCB).- Barça are on a mission: Overturn the 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in the first leg 3 weeks ago. If they succeed they\u2019ll reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League. It is, therefore, the moment of truth, where failure is not allowed. They won\u2019t be alone, as they will get the support of a packed Camp Nou crowd, faithful to the team that has helped them dream over the past three seasons.

English doubts

The days prior to the return leg has been shadowed by uncertainties in the two clubs team selections. Xavi, Valdes and Jeffren have all recovered for Barça, but Puyol is still out and Pique suspended. Arsenal, meanwhile, will travel without Song and Walcott, but Van Persie, who days earlier had been discounted by Arsenal, will travel with the team. Wenger also has doubts about Cesc and Wilshere, although everything points to the fact that they\u2019ll finally play.

Encouraging precedent

Barça manager Pep Guardiola, who was discharged from hospital on Monday morning following 5 days treatment on his herniated disc, will also be there. His team comes into the game in good shape after winning the four league games following the defeat in London. The major Barça doubts surround the heart of the defense, due to the absence of Pique and Puyol. It's the same scenario as in the quarterfinals of last year, when everything turned out perfectly: 4-1 with Messi as the superstar and into the 'semis'.

Gunners\u2019 Ambition

Arsenal, meanwhile, are looking to consolidate on the 2-1 win at home, though, as Arsene Wenger has warned, they will not sit back on the result because it would contradict his footballing philosophy. The 'Gunners' showed in the home leg that they want the ball and they will try to do the same at the Camp Nou. The matches between these two teams are always exciting and it looks like this game will be no exception.

Barça Bite

Barça are favourites with Betfair

The bookmaker Betfair has Barça as clear favourites to win today\u2019s match. A Barça win pays 1.32 euros, while an Arsenal win pays 9.32 euros. 2-0 and 2-1 are the punters preferred scores, and they continue to see Barça as clear favourite to win the Champions League.


  • Messi celbrates he scored against Panathinaikos (by FC Barcelona)

  • Messi celbrates he scored against Panathinaikos (by FC Barcelona)