Arsene Wenger is unhappy with Arsenal’s recent performances and has taken action to ensure his players head into their Champions League match against Barcelona later this month in top form.
The Gunners have won just one of their previous five matches - a 2-1 win over Championship side Burnley in the FA Cup fourth round last weekend - and now find themselves fourth in the Premier League table, five points behind league leaders Leicester City.
Catalan newspaper Sport claim that Wenger, keen to ensure his squad are focused on Arsenal and nothing else ahead of such a crucial period of the season, has barred his Spanish players from conducting interviews ahead of that crunch match against Barça on February 23.
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Arsenal have received a large number of requests from media interested in speaking to Arsenal’s Spanish contingent - but Wenger has put his foot down.
This means we won’t be hearing from the likes of Mikel Arteta, Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin over the next few weeks.
Arsenal must believe they can beat Barcelona
In all probability, the interviews would have seen the Arsenal players eulogising about how good Barcelona are.
Wenger will need his side to believe they have a chance of beating the fearsome reigning European champions, who hammered Valencia 7-0 in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Wednesday night, and would prefer his players weren’t talking about how ridiculously talented Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are beforehand.
Arsenal will be the huge underdogs when they take on Luis Enrique’s side - but Wenger is doing everything in his power to ensure his side don’t bow out of the competition with a whimper.
Do Arsenal stand any chance of beating Barcelona? Let us know by leaving a comment below.