Iniesta expects classic contest

Guardiola admits respect for Wenger's principles

Iniesta: Missed 2009/10 clash

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Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has described Arsenal as one of the greatest teams on the planet ahead of their showdown in the UEFA Champions League.

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The two clubs meet at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night for the first leg of their last-16 tie and it is expected to provide an exhilarating encounter.

Both Barcelona and Arsenal are famed for their determination to play attractive, attacking football and they are not expected to abandon their principles.

Barcelona won 6-3 on aggregate in last season's quarter-finals, with a Lionel Messi master class inspiring a second-leg demolition, but Arsenal are thought to have improved.

Iniesta was absent due to injury in the 2009/10 meeting, but he expects a tougher task in the current campaign, as he said: "I couldn't play last year but it was an excellent match here, very interesting and a lot of goals.

Pressure

"There were some good moments for us, but they put us under a lot of pressure. They are going to try and play a good game again and we need to play really well because this is one of the best teams in the world.

"This tie will be decided in the next match when we return to Barcelona. It is the Champions League, we find ourselves against the best in the world so I don't think anyone will think the tie can be won today."

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has also admitted his respect for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's tactics.

"With Arsenal if you are not well prepared you will be chasing shadows," said Guardiola.

"I like to watch Arsenal play football, but I don't like to play against them. Of course I have worries about the game that Arsene Wenger plays.

"Theo Walcott has some good moments, Wenger is an incredible coach and Robin van Persie is a very mobile player who has a lot of influence."

What will be the outcome in the match Arsenal vs Barcelona?

  • Arsenal
  • Draw
  • Barcelona