Wenger wary of Barcelona
Arsene Wenger insists that Arsenal remain underdogs in the UEFA Champions League despite their exhilarating victory over Barcelona.
Last Updated: 17/02/11 1:46pm
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists that his side remain underdogs in the UEFA Champions League despite their exhilarating victory over Barcelona.
Late goals from Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin turned a blistering last-16 first-leg encounter on its head at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night as David Villa's first-half opener was overturned.
Defending Primera Liga champions Barcelona had dominated the first half and even after 60 minutes they had incredibly out-passed their hosts by 412 attempts to 203, but the excellent Jack Wilshere and captain Cesc Fabregas helped turn the midfield tide.
Premier League Arsenal will now begin the second leg at the Camp Nou on 8th March with an advantage in the scoreline, although Villa's away goal will be a reason for caution.
Wenger, having seen his side demolished in Spain by the brilliance of Lionel Messi in last season's quarter-finals, is aware of this and is adamant that his team are far from certain of a place in the last eight of the 2010/11 competition.
The Arsenal boss said: "We are not favourites now, but what is important is the belief that we have a chance.
"Barcelona are still favourites. We know now that we can beat them, though. We did not know that last year."
Wenger added: "The problem with their (Barcelona's) possession is that if you are a fraction late you are in trouble.
"You have to be tight with the marking and if you don't it is difficult.
"We were prepared mentally to live with that. Usually we have the ball more than our opponents, but we knew that 60 per cent of the time we would have to be focused on them."