Arsenal fans will remember travelling to the Camp Nou in March 2011 full of optimism after their brilliant 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium three weeks earlier.
But Barcelona exacted their revenge in style, recording an utterly convincing 3-1 win over the Gunners in front of 95,000 spectators.
The stats from that match make for quite incredible reading. Arsenal failed to have a single attempt at goal - Sergio Busquets netted an own goal - produced 525 fewer passes than their opponents and had just 31 per cent possession. (Scroll down to see the match stats in full).
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Barcelona won the match thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi and another from Xavi, but they could have scored at least five or six on the night.
Pep Guardiola’s side had 19 attempts at goal - 10 of which were on target - completed 724 passes and forced Arsenal into seven saves.
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Injury to Wojciech Szczesny
However, Arsenal weren’t helped by an injury to first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who was forced off after 20 minutes with a dislocated finger. The Poland international was replaced by Manuel Almunia.
The Spanish ‘keeper could do little about Messi’s fantastic goal on the stroke of half-time, but Arsenal found a way back into the game when Busquets headed a corner past Victor Valdes on the 53rd minute.
Van Persie red card ended Arsenal's hopes
Things would then take a turn for the worse for the visitors; Robin van Persie earned himself a second yellow card for shooting after the whistle had already been blown, leaving the Gunners down to 10 men.
Van Persie pleaded with the referee that he hadn’t been able to hear the whistle due to the crowd noise, but his protests were ignored.
Two goals in three minutes from Xavi and Messi then earned Barcelona a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. They would go on to win the competition, beating Manchester United 3-1 in the final at Wembley.
Arsenal have to beat Barcelona tonight
Arsenal will be acutely aware that, just like five years ago, they’ll need to beat Barcelona at the Emirates this evening to stand any chance of progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Arsene Wenger’s men are the underdogs but their team is arguably even stronger now - although so, too, is Barcelona’s.
Barça are formidable at home and will be expected to beat the Gunners next month, but they might not have it all their own way in north London.
Former Real Madrid head coach Rafael Benitez said earlier this week that Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez can both hurt Barcelona in the first leg.
Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott will also be hoping to cause some damage.
But it’s equally important - if not more so - that Arsenal’s defenders, and goalkeeper Petr Cech, are all on top of their game to nullify the threat of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar who, between them, have scored 91 goals already this season.
Will Barcelona perform better at the Camp Nou next month than they did in 2011? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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