Champions League

'Barca difficult but beatable'

2010-12-17 17:32
Arsene Wenger (Gallo Images)

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his team can beat Barcelona after the Gunners were drawn against the Spanish giants in yet another Champions League showdown on Friday.

Barcelona defeated Arsenal in the 2006 final in Paris before sweeping aside the English club 6-3 on aggregate in last year's quarter-finals, and will start as huge favourites for next February's last 16 clash.

Speaking on Arsenal's official website after Friday's draw, Wenger acknowledged his team faced a daunting draw but said victory was possible.

"My reaction is very simple -- difficult but possible," Wenger told Arsenal.com, denying the Gunners would have a score to settle after their recent defeats to Barca in the competition.

"Revenge is not on my mind. We want to qualify and we want to knock them out. So is it difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Yes.

"Barcelona are certainly the favourites (for the competition) and a famous team but, on their side, they did not want us either because they know they will get a game," Wenger added.

In last season's tie, Arsenal fought back from 2-0 down at home to draw the first leg 2-2 and then took an improbable lead in the Nou Camp before Lionel Messi struck four times to seal a 4-1 victory.

Wenger believes his side have improved since last season.

"I think we are better than last year and we have a good opportunity to show that," he said.

"(But) it is too early to speak about this game concretely. You can just speak about the draw. The whole context might be completely different in two months. We don't know what we will do and how we will feel."

While Arsenal were handed the toughest draw of the English clubs, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was adamant his team would not take anything for granted in their meeting with French side Marseille.

"Marseille are a handful at their own ground, their fantastic atmosphere and incredible support guarantees that," Ferguson told MUTV.

"They've had a good change in fortunes in the last two or three years, after a dry spell, and think it'll be a difficult tie.

"Didier Deschamps is the coach there, and they've got one of our old players in Gabriel Heinze so it'll be nice to see him."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp meanwhile said his side would relish the prospect of a return to the San Siro to face AC Milan after playing Inter Milan at the famous venue during the group phase.

"It will be a great game. I would have taken AC Milan before the draw. They are leading the league in Italy but it has the makings of a great game over two legs. I'm looking forward to it," Redknapp said.

"A tough draw but it will be a great game. That's what you want. Great games."

Chelsea meanwhile were rewarded with the plum draw, a tie against minnows FC Copenhagen, the first Danish side ever to reach the last 16.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay insisted however there would be no complacency from the English champions however.

"There's no easy games at this stage and we'll be very careful," Gourlay told the club's website.

"They've played 10 games so far in the Champions league with qualifying, and were second to Barcelona, so they're a very, very good side and well clear in their domestic league."

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