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Barcelona v Arsenal in Champions League

Arsenal will face holders Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The tie will be a repeat of the 2006 final in Paris, when the Gunners led until late in the game before Barca turned the game around to lift the trophy.

It will also mean a return to the Emirates Stadium for former Arsenal superstar Thierry Henry, now with the Catalan giants. And it means Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas, who has been strongly linked with a summer move to the Nou Camp, will be up against his former club.

The first leg will take place at the Emirates on March 30 or 31 with the return game in Catalonia on April 6 or 7.

If Arsenal get past the holders, they will face a semi-final meeting with either Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, who beat Chelsea in the previous round, or CSKA Moscow. Inter produced a superb display at Stamford Bridge to complete a 3-1 aggregate success over Chelsea and will be favourites to meet the Gunners or Barca.

Some comments and reaction to Arsenal being drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger:

“I believe we will not be favourites but for me it will be a 50-50 game. That’s how we have to take it. Of course they are a good side, so are we. It will be an interesting, exciting game. We have to make sure we have the belief and focus right.”

Barcelona sporting director Txiki Beguiristain:

“It’s a great tie. We are two teams who don’t shut up shop and play long ball football, and this tie will be nice for the fans. It will be a good spectacle and we’ll see if we are a little stronger than them. In any case, the best news is knowing that we will be playing the return leg at home. We are strong at home and we’ve shown that.”

Barca defender Gerard Pique:

“Arsenal are a young team but they are not to be taken for granted. Cesc (Fabregas) is the best Arsenal player, who carries the weight of the team and pulls the wagon. It’s important to play the second leg at home, but it means nothing as last year we reached the final playing at home first, and we won the Champions League.”


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