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Feb 19, 2016

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.Sun Tzu

Can't belive that Arsenal and Barcelona last met in the Champions League four seasons back. This clash has been a familiar fixture in those times with both of them meeting a season before also. A lot has changed in both clubs since then. Barca went in a steep diving curve for two seasons; a diving curve by Barca’s standard but a blip by others. In terms of Coaches Arsenal still have Wenger controlling the room whereas Barca changed thrice with Luis Enrique with the help of his players creating a attacking football revolution of sort. Compared to Barca, Arsenal's success were limited but last season they finally broke that curse and secured silverware. Something Arsene Wenger recently admitted as saved his job. As per the latest champions league betting tips, Barcelona is the firm favourite to proceed further from this round but the taste of success in last season makes Arsenal a daring opponent.

In terms of players both teams have undergone huge change even though Barca still has two of that famous trident with Messi and Iniesta available. The sensational trio has been replaced by another trio who plays infront of the still sensational Andres Iniesta. Barca's current attacking trident of Messi, Saurez and Neymar is considered as one of the most potent force the game has seen ever. The speed these three brings especially the acceleration is something sensational. Arsene Wenger meanwhile has tried slowly to evolve his team into a more potent force since our last meeting. Very few players remain from our last meeting. He has successfully managed to assemble one of the more creative attacking forces in Premier League. Ex-Barca star Alexis Sanchez links up with ex-Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil to create an attacking force which has put Arsenal back in contention for the coveted Premier League title.

Arsenal comes into this match with some serious form and result behind them. Last week they defeated Leicester City 2-1 at home to spring back to life in their Premier League title chase. They will be facing Hull City in FA cup this Saturday and there is no doubt the entire focus is at the mid-week clash with Barca. Barcelona also come into this match already opening a six point lead at top, something they will hope to maintain when they play Las Palmas away from home. Their trident has been displaying some sensational football and to Arsenal's bad luck their favourite nemesis, Messi is firing in full cylinders.

From Barca's perspective, Arsenal staying alive in Premier League title race is very good news. It will definitely make sure that the London club will have to perform with the same intensity in FA Cup and Premier League. That should be good news for Barca. But playing away against Gunners is no mean task. In our last two visits to Emirates Stadium we failed to taste success even after playing some sensational football. On the road in Europe, Arsenal had played some of the worst football in recent times, but at home they have always been formidable even rattling Bayern Munich in recent times.

Regardless of the opposition we will be playing our usual style and line-up. I will be hugely surprised if I see anything other than ter Stagan, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Saurez and Neymar as our starting line-up. For Arsenal also the startying line-up should be the usual one. They are expected to line-up with the now familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez and Girourd. There is a chance that Wenger will go for an extremely defensive lineup considering Barca's attacking force. But looking at the players at his disposal, I doubt that it will be the case. More so, considering their away form in Europe. Arsenal will need a positive result to take to Camp Nou. But that won't be simple against a team which has gone 30 games in a row undefeated. I would go for a tight away win for Barcelona come Tuesday.

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