June 16, 2021

Wenger: Arsenal must focus on not conceding rather than scoring against Barca

first_img Arsene Wenger 1 Arsene Wenger will look to ensure Arsenal do not concede an away goal when they host Barcelona in the Champions League – saying he would settle for a second stalemate in a matter of days.The Gunners boss has always been an advocate of attacking football but that philosophy has seen his side endure a torrid run in the knockout stages of the competition as they have not got past the round of 16 for the past five years.During that time Arsenal have made life hard for themselves by losing the first legs to AC Milan, twice to Bayern Munich and then to Monaco last year.In facing holders Barcelona, Wenger knows his team are coming up against the strongest attacking team in world football – with the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar having scored 91 goals between them so far this season.Arsenal go into the tie on the back of a goalless FA Cup fifth-round draw at home to Sky Bet Championship club Hull.While that result left fans trudging out of the Emirates Stadium at the weekend, Wenger would embrace another 0-0 draw on Tuesday night.“I think we will score tomorrow so I am not too much concerned,” he said.“But it’s true that recently our goals have dried up a bit and that we have to find a way to get that going again.“I am more concerned tomorrow about stopping them from scoring because you can say even at home in the Champions League that 0-0 is not a bad score.“Recently we always made it difficult for ourselves by conceding goals at home and basically the rules of the modern European Cup encourage you to defend at home and attack away because of the importance of the away goal.“Many times I said that should be suppressed because if you concede a goal at home in the Champions League it is a knife in your heart every time. Against big, big teams it becomes very difficult.”While Arsenal have failed to score in four of their last seven games, Barcelona have drawn a blank just three times all season across all competitions and have knocked the Gunners out of the Champions League twice in the last six years.But Wenger says he cannot simply send his team out to play for a draw and believes a win can still be achieved even if they are ultimately outplayed.Asked if he was planning to select a more defensive line-up, the Frenchman replied: “It’s a bit against my nature. I cannot go into a game and think I will just play for a 0-0.“I believe you cannot say you are a big club and you just want to defend. On the other hand, Barcelona are a very offensive team. So to give you no chance at all to score against them is guilty as well.“You have to try to score against them because if they have a vulnerability like we have it is defensively like with any offensive team.“It is quite funny because the one year we beat them, they played us off the park but we still won the game. That can happen.“We played Hull and it was 0-0, we can go to Sheffield Wednesday (in the Capital One Cup) and lose 3-0. So why can’t it be possible the other way around?”last_img

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