Djourou - I don't fear Messi

Defender targeting big win at Emirates

Djourou: Ready for Messi

Johan Djourou says the reputation of Lionel Messi will not intimidate the Arsenal defence when they face Barcelona.

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The Argentinean tore through Arsenal last time the two sides met in the UEFA Champions League, scoring four in the quarter-final second leg defeat last season.

The Catalan giants arrive at the Emirates for Wednesday's clash with a five-point lead in La Liga, having only tasted defeat twice all season in all competitions.

Yet the 24-year-old Gunners defender insists he is relishing the chance to pit his wits against Barca, as well facing who many believe is the world's best player - Messi.

"You don't get scared, if I was scared I wouldn't be playing," said Djourou.

"Messi is just a great player, he has shown that across the world, but I am excited. We know about Messi but it's not only about him. There is Xavi and Andres Iniesta as well.

"Every game is a big game, I don't see it as bigger because it is Barcelona.

"They are the best team in the world but for me and the team it is a normal game. We want to be focused and go through.

"We all know what they can do, we've watched their games. We have to be focused for 90 minutes, but don't forget we have great players going forwards as well."

Powerful statement

With the Gunners still in contention in all competitions this season, Djourou suggested that a win over Barcelona would not only send out a message to the whole of Europe but also give his side the confidence to challenge for major honours.

"It would show we have great ability, not only in the Premier League but also in Europe," he added.

"We could show the world that Arsenal is a big club. It is great, we are not conceding many goals. We have good defenders at the club and are getting good results."

Full fitness

Djourou has enjoyed a strong season in the Arsenal back-line following a near season-long knee injury last term.

Having forced his way into his manager's first-team plans, the defender is committed to staying there.

"Everything has gone well for me. I have the confidence of the manager and I'm happy I'm in the team and showing what I can do," he said.

"You get doubts when you are out, but once I came back I knew it would be okay.

"For me it was a good point to show my injury is fine and in the past, now I am enjoying myself and I want to keep it that way."