Arsenal almost lost a chance to advance to the knock-out round of Champions League after losing their first two games of the group stage. They lost a third time, away against Bayern Munich which meant their fate wasn’t to be decided until the very last fixture of the group stage. Gunner’s striker, Olivier Giroud stepped up, scored a hat-trick which saw them through to the next stage only to be drawn against Barcelona. If qualifying for the round of 16 was difficult, this, for Arsenal is impossible for a number of reasons.
Arsenal and Barcelona met in the Champions league finals in the year 2006, in which the Spanish giants were crowned champions. Since then Barcelona has knocked Arsenal out twice from the Champions League. Not only does Barcelona have a clear 3-0 head-to-head record against the Gunners but they also have the experience of winning the competition four times including the final of 2006. Although Arsenal has played in the Champions League for consecutive 16 years but besides the season 2005-2006, the longest they have survived in the competition has been in the year 2008-2009 when they reached the semi-finals only to be eliminated by none other than Barcelona.
It is not only the experience in the Champions League, but Barcelona has the upper-hand overall as it has risen to be one of the best clubs in the world. In almost ten years Barcelona has won about 14 domestic titles, including La Liga, Copa Del Rey, and Super Copa de Espana. Arsenal on the other hand hasn’t won the Premier League in 11 years. So when it comes to taking experience and history into consideration, Arsenal’s chances of defeating Barcelona seem bleak.
Another important factor that will determine which club will mostly fare better is the quality of players within both the teams. While Arsenal has improved immensely in areas of defence and midfield, the attacking line-up needs to strengthen a lot if they want to give Barcelona any competition. With the likes of goalkeeping giant Peter Cech and creative midfield in the form of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both who have been phenomenal for the Gunners this season, Arsenal can be optimist about the fixture. However, Barcelona’s striking trio, Messi, Neymar and Suarez would not be an easy combination to hold off. The three have 32 league goals between them, whereas the total number goals Arsenal has scored in the premier league is 29. This statistic alone shows the domination the deadly trio of Barcelona has.
The past doesn’t paint a favourable picture for Arsenal, and neither does the comparison between the existing team of both the clubs. While both are having an impressive season so far, when the two are compared together, it is seen that it will not only be difficult for Arsenal but near impossible for the London side to turn the odds in their favour and defeat the current La Liga leaders.