It is a very big ask of Arsene Wenger’s side, but I firmly believe that they have what it takes to beat Barcelona tonight in the first leg at the Emirates.
Whether or not they can win the tie though, I am not so sure.
Although Barcelona are unbeaten away in Europe this season, they were extremely lucky on their visit to the capital against Chelsea last season and I think that they will struggle again this time around. Mallorca could have been 3-0 up against the catalan side by half-time on Saturday had it not been for some bad luck and poor finishing.
Wenger’s men will try to play football against Barca as they haven’t got the players to pose a physical threat, and I think with Pique half-fit and the possible inclusion of a slow Gabriel Milito they can expose a few cracks in their defence.
For Pep Guardiola’s side attack is considered the best form of defence and Arsenal will need to put them on the back foot early on and try to take control of the game from the off.
If they let Messi and Pedro run one-on-one at their centre halfs and allow Barca to grow in confidence, then they will stand little chance of winning this tie. Their best chance lies in playing as much of the game as they can in the final third of the field and suffocating any service to the flanks if Barca attempt to play on the break.
If Barcelona click then it is unlikely Arsenal or anyone can stop them. I think the opening 20 minutes will be massive in this tie and see Arsenal winning tonight but with Barcelona turning it around in the Nou Camp in the second leg.
It promises to be a fascinating tie.
Tonight’s Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona