The stat gurus at Opta explain five tactics Arsenal can employ to help overcome the mighty Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League clash
Arsenal host Barcelona on Wednesday with memories of their last hammering at the Camp Nou still fresh in the mind.
However, as Sporting Gijón proved with a 1-1 draw on Saturday, the Blaugrana are by no means unstoppable, and below Opta offer five ways in which Barça could potentially be undone.
1. Let them have the ball
Barcelona have averaged 78% possession in the Champions League this season, at least 10% more than any other side (Bayern Munich are next with 67%). However, possession does not always lead to victory. In their last match against Sporting Gijón Barça managed 82% possession, their most this season, but still failed to win.
2. Don't rely on the counter attack
Despite their almost constant possession, the best way to beat Barcelona is perhaps not on the break. They are yet to allow their opponents a single shot from a counter attack in Europe this season, and have only allowed five in La Liga.
3. Don't overlook set pieces
It sounds extraordinary for a team famed for their expansive style, but Barça have been a threat from set pieces in the Champions League this season. Just five of their 71 league goals this season have come from set pieces, compared to six of 14 in Europe (five corners, one penalty).
4. Nullify the star strikers
It is not surprising that all five of the matches that the Blaugrana have failed to win in La Liga and Champions League this season have come when one of their star strikers – Messi, Villa, Pedro – has been absent from the starting XI. Between them, they have accounted for 79% of Barcelona´s goals in Europe in 2010/11.
5. Score early
All five of the games that Barcelona have failed to win in La Liga and Champions League this season have come when their opponent has scored in the first half. It seems scoring too early is not such a bad thing against this amazing side
The Match will be coming up on wednesday 16th of feb 2011 @ 7PM