The Londoners host the Defending European Champions Barcelona in the first leg of Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League at the Emirates with the hopes of ending their ’round of 16′ at least this year. Arsenal did not cross the first level of knock-out stages in the Champions League since 2010. On the other hand, Barcelona for whom anything less than the last two spot is considered as a failure.
Arsenal Vs Barcelona March Preview
Arsenal struggled hard in group stages to reach the round of 16 of the competition whereas Barcelona remains undefeated in the Champions League. The Blaugrana lost just only one point in the group stages and Arsenal did not win a game in their first four group stage games. Arsene Wenger’s men must thank Olympiacos for their fewer goal difference which allowed Arsenal to progress through.
Barcelona are running like a goal scoring machine this season, scoring goals for fun against almost all of their opponents. They are on the top of La Liga points table with a unpreventable 9 points difference.
Current Form and Performances of Arsenal
The Gunners are struggling in the English Premier League after having a dream run in the first half of the season. They lost their top spot to leaders Leicester City in the English Premier League, winning just two out of the last 6 League games they played. Wenger’s men were stopped by Championship side Hull City in the FA Cup who earned a goalless draw at the Emirates last week. But the positive fact for Arsenal is, they have just last 2 games at the Emirates against La Liga opponents in 13 games.
Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil are leading the Gunners’ League chase this season and it is expected that the two former La Liga stars can impress their side against a very strong Barcelona.
Arsenal and Injuries are very good partners and the cussing partnership still continues as the Gunners have 4 players out due to injury. The list includes Gabriel Paulista, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
Predicted Starting XI
Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Oliver Giroud.
Current Form and Performances of Barcelona
Barcelona are one of the two teams not to lose a single game in Champions League so far this season as they have lost just four points in the Group E, topping the group with 14 points. In the League, Barca’s last defeat was against Sevilla back in October, since then the Blaugrana are undefeated in League games, winning 15 out of their 18 games.
The best forward combination in the world right now MSN are thrashing everyone on their way and the Arsenal defenders must be 100% perfect of they want something from the game.
Barcelona did not have any big injury concerns as midfielder Rafinha is the only absentee due to injury. New signing Arda Turan is not eligible to play the game as he is suspended.
Predicted Starting XI
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Dani Alves, Gerrard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andreas Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Neymar Jr, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi.
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez
The impressive duo is the Gunners’ only hope to break the solid Barca defense. Both the players have good knowledge about the Barcelona players and their system which gives the Gunners fans a big hope in beating the defending European Champions.
The star Trio are the most dangerous players on the planet Earth right now and they will try o test Wenger’s men in full throttle. Arsenal must not make any mistakes if they want to stop these three from scoring.
Though Arsenal have a good squad, they have not any mortal weapons to neutralize the mighty Barcelona. The game may end in favour of the visitors, but we can expect a very good free flowing football from both sides for which they are very well known.
Live Streaming and Commentary
The game can be watched in live via official sites of Sky Sports and Ten Sports. Both the sites will require a registered account to watch the game which may include payments. For commentary, Goal.com is the easily available choice whereas you can also watch the live commentary in the official sites of The Independent, Sky, UEFA.com and other leading Sports sites. Head over to this page to watch Arsenal vs Barcelona free live streaming.