Arsenal Faces Barcelona In Champions League Round Of 16

The draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 was made this morning in Switzerland. The biggest headline for Premier League clubs is that Arsenal will face Barcelona, which will be a rematch of last season’s Champions League quarter-final which the Spanish giants won 6-3 on aggregate.

The fate of the other English clubs were revealed in the draw this morning. Manchester United will play Marseille, while Chelsea have been handed a tie with Copenhagen. Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, will face AC Milan.

The round of 16 games will be played February 15-23 and March 8-16, 2011.

In the draw for the other Champions League matches, the biggest headline is that Inter Milan will play Bayern Munich, which were the two teams who battled it out in last year’s final. Roma will play Shakhtar Donetsk. Valencia visits Schalke. Last, but not least, Real Madrid will play Lyon.

Manchester United and Chelsea would cruise past Marseille and Copenhagen with relative ease. But North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham will have their work cut out for them with their two-leg clashes against Barcelona and AC Milan respectively. On paper you would have to consider that Barcelona are strong favorites to beat Arsenal again especially with relative ease in which Barcelona beat the Gunners in the second leg whereby Wenger allowed Barcelona too much time and space.

With Tottenham, anything is possible. As we saw against Inter Milan, they could be three-nil down in a short amount of time and the match may seemingly be over. But Tottenham came back against Inter. However, AC Milan are a lot more defensively stronger than Inter Milan so Spurs may find it won’t be so easy.

In the meantime, here is the draw for the Europa League which was also announced this morning:

  • Napoli v Villarreal
  • Rangers v Sporting Lisbon
  • Sparta Prague v Liverpool
  • Anderlecht v Ajax
  • Lech Poznan v Braga
  • Besiktas v Dynamo Kiev
  • Basle v Spartak Moscow
  • Young Boys v Zenit St Petersburg
  • Aris Salonika v Manchester City
  • PAOK v CSKA Moscow
  • Sevilla v Porto
  • Rubin Kazan v FC Twente
  • Lille v PSV Eindhoven
  • Benfica v Stuttgart
  • BATE v Paris St Germain
  • Metalist Kharkiv v Bayer Leverkusen

The full draw for the round of 16 in the Europa League:

  • Benfica/Stuttgart v BATE/Paris St Germain
  • Besiktas/Dynamo Kiev v Aris Salonika/Manchester City
  • Rubin Kazan/FC Twente v Young Boys/Zenit St Petersburg
  • PAOK/CSKA Moscow v Sevilla/Porto
  • Lille/PSV v Rangers/Sporting Lisbon
  • Metalist Kharkiv/Bayer Leverkusen v Napoli v Villarreal
  • Anderlecht/Ajax v Basle/Spartak Moscow
  • Sparta Prague/Liverpool v Lech Poznan/Braga

What do you think of the draw? Which Premier League teams will make it through to the next round of both the Champions League and Europa League? Are there any banana skins that English teams should watch out for? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

31 thoughts on “Arsenal Faces Barcelona In Champions League Round Of 16”

      1. Its the great news for Arsenal – Wenger got his Christmas wish two years in a row. A chance to test his flawed football experiment for perfection of the football aesthetic against the closest team on earth to have actually achieved it.

    1. I love the positivity of the Arsenal faithful……6 years of nothing and they think that major trophies are just around the corner………I mean pompey is won more titles in the last 6 years……is it not time to rise up and smell the sun.

  1. what a pity……………Arsenal can only try but they cant win Barcelona because the match is just like father and son…………….is what a pity that Arsenal are not still going anywhere again this season……………………………………………

    1. Uhhh…wouldn’t Arsenal have to beat a team like Barcelona at some point in order to win the CL? What’s the difference if they play them in the Round of 16, Round of 8, or semifinal?

      1. Well money is one big difference. Lose to them in the finals and you’ve put a lot more money in the Arsenal coffers than if you lose to them in the round of 16. Secondly, there’s a difference in the resulting league coefficient rankings. And lastly, I assume it would be a hell of a lot more fun for gunner fans to see them win three rounds before exiting.

        I’m a new fan of EPL and have been rooting for all of the EPL teams in CL play (although I have to admit I rooted for Rangers against Manu both times), and I certainly didn’t want Arsenal to draw Barca or Real. But they have only themselves to blame.

  2. As an avid Arsenal supporter (and a realist), I know we’ll be knocked out, and aside from the revenue loss, I’m not disappointed. Arsenal typically look tired after CL matches, and hopefully the early exit will help for them to stay healthy and in the PL title race.

    Love the Carling Cup comment. Absolute truth! I can’t stand these Arsenal fans that think were going to do the treble every year! Same problems every year, when are these people going to come clean? They’re like a bunch religious fanatics, blind faith!


  3. One of the things that is in Arsenal’s favor is that Barcelona will be pretty cocky going into this match, thinking that they should win it with ease. Very few people will predict Arsenal can win this, so no matter what they do, they can’t lose. Who knows, maybe they can sneak a win?

    The Gaffer

  4. Am I the only win who thinks Copenhagen has a shot against Chelsea? They held their own against Barcelona in November, and it’s not like Chelsea has been tearing it up lately. February is a long time away, but can we say for sure that Chelsea will have figured their way out of this funk by then?

    1. Yeah I agree with you Joe. Most people (and I was guilty of this as well) will look at the Chelsea/Copenhagen draw and think Chelsea have it in the bag. But I think you’re right. I don’t think it’ll be a walk in the park given their form lately, but who knows. The transfer window could do wonders.

  5. We should not forget that most of the teams in the CL will strengthen during the January transfer window and are likely to buy players that are not cup tied. Sometimes just adding one or two players could make a big difference to a team’s chances. So predicting now what may happen in Feb. and March is very premature. Injuries will also play a big part.

    Arsenal have been handed the toughest draw of the EPL teams but I also believe, as other have, that Barcelona could be too overconfident and a team like Arsenal could nick it. If Arsenal can buy a decent goalkeeper and have Van Persie and Fabregas healthy I wouldn’t count them out to cause an upset.

    The Spurs – Milan matchup is a tough one for Spurs. Again, if Spurs can get in one or two more quality players and Van der Vaart is healthy I can see them winning this tie especially since the secong leg is at White Hart lane.

    Manchester United and Chelsea have been handed easy draws and they will both progress comfortably.

    1. As a Spurs fan, I am eagerly anticipating the tough test that is Meeeelan. After the draw, I immediately went onto and did some Milan research, only to find that they are tipped to bring Cassano from Sampdoria in the transfer window! NOT GOOD. Sure, Cassano’s a basket-case, but their forward line of Ibra, Robinho, Ronny, and Cassano is frighteningly formidable.

      All that to say – COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

  6. This draw might actually be a blessing in disguise. Chelsea went out early last year and won the PL because they did not have to carry the load of Champions League.

    But Champions League is so prestigious and Wenger has never won this before, just makes it oh so sour.

    Is Barcelona unbeatable? Absolutely Not. Can Arsenal beat Barcelona by playing their own game? Hell No.

    That first 25 minutes of Barcelona blitzkrieg in our own home ground last year just gives me chills and does not give me one ounce of hope of pulling something out of this. But there must always be hope or nothing can be achieved.

    So what can we do? IMHO, sit back and hit on counter. Let Barcelona come at us instead of going to them. We cannot and I repeat cannot open up this game. Arsenal cannot let this be a spectacle of beautiful football. Barcelona will out play us almost entirely if that’s the case. But at the very least, we have a chance to break when Barca plays in Arsenal’s half. There will be two or three good chances for sure. And when they get the chance to break, they have to break with pace and agility and not give up ridiculous possessions. They have to precise, tactically and passing wise. Defense will have to rock solid. Keep very tidy and steady at the back. Early goal cannot be conceded or this encounter is over by the time it starts.

    In other words, all the elements must absolutely click for us to win. Otherwise, no chance.

    1. Well said, guy! That’s absolutely what Arsenal need to do, but will probably never do – just ain’t in Wenger’s mental regimen to sit back. I think we’ll take the Carling Cup and let the lads look at their reflections in it for a while. That’ll psyche’em up good for next season and we can push forward stronger then. Meanwhile, I’ll be cringing every time I think of the Barca draw until it’s actually over.

    2. Arsenal are in a real Catch-22. If they play their natural style, they’ll probably lose simply because Barca are better at that game than they are. The best (only?) way to beat Barca is to defend like rocks and play ugly, like Inter did last year, and like Chelsea did when they ran them close the previous year. But that’s not Arsenal’s style, so I doubt they could adopt that plan successfully.

  7. The good thing about this Barca team is that they never get cocky and over-confident. They always give their best and work extremely hard. Guardiola makes sure that over-confidence doesn’t creep in.
    In addition, I think this is the best Barca team ever. Better than in 2008/2009, but we’ll have to see what happens in the second part of the season. And remember, Arsenal fans, that in the second leg last year, you weren’t the only one missing key players. Barca were missing Pique, Iniesta and Zlatan at least (can’t remember all).

    Anyway, it’ll be an exciting match 😀

  8. What a great draw. Arsenal/Barca, Milan/Tottenham, Inter/Bayern, even Roma/Shaktar should be fun to watch. Gunners got their work cut out. RVPFan, I agree 100 percent. Arsenal need to go into Spain and smarten up. You can not out possession Barcelona and you are not as creative as them. Start the intense defending drills now.

  9. I’m fine with drawing Barca. If we go out we can focus on the league and not waste time and energy chasing a cup we’ll never win! Not in the next 5 years anyway. And if you’re gonna go out, why not now, you don’t want to finish 3rd and get stuck in the Europa League and if you progress from this round you’ll only get knocked out by Chelsea or Real Madrid in the next one.

    So we’ll take Barca, we’ll try our best not to lick Messi’s arsehole again and perhaps we can sneak through, if we do it will be monumental but would be all for nought if we don’t go on to win it!

  10. I just have to say: I thin Metalist Kharkiv is the best team name EVER. I can’t read that name without thinking of some long haired dude in a faded black Megadeth T-shirt.

  11. I agree with a previous poster that it’s too early to say what might happen in these matchups. The fortunes of many teams will change between now and then. Let’s see which teams are on form when the games are to be played. Injuries and transfers will also determine what to expect in these games.

  12. Has anyone found a bracket of the draw yet? I’d like to see the path to the final for everyone but couldn’t find one on UEFA, Sky, or BBC.

    1. Dave, I don’t think you can because I don’t believe it exists. After the round of 16, UEFA make the draw for the quarter-final and it’s at that stage that you have an idea of how the brackets will shape up. The Europa League works differently where you can see the path to who will play who if the teams make it through the next round.

      The Gaffer

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