Ask 100 Arsenal fans whether they believe they can knock Barcelona out of the Champions League in their second round matchup next year and all but a few will respond with a begrudging "no".
The Gunners, of course, only managed to scrape through their group stage on the final day against Olympiakos while Barcelona are the outright favourites to win the competition for a second consecutive season. On that basis, it appears to be something of a mismatch.
Arsene Wenger's men have proved themselves against the Catalan giants before and, if Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are at the top of their game, they certainly have the ability to cause the La Liga giants a few problems.
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However, their greatest asset against Barcelona may not be the irresistible Ozil or the sensational Sanchez, but their only summer addition, Petr Cech.
Not only is Cech a world-class goalkeeper, he also has a rather impressive record against Barcelona's best player, Leo Messi. As he revealed in a recent interview with the Mirror, the superstar has failed to score against the goalkeeper in eight appearances.
Cech said: “I didn’t realise myself for a long time but, last time we played them somebody found out, and then he missed a penalty and we managed to go to the final and we went on to win the Champions League.
“It’s great, not many people can say they’ve played eight games or how many minutes against Messi and he hasn’t found a way to get past me.
“But, as I said, if he scores and we progress to the next round then it’s not really important. What’s important is for us to make sure that we give ourselves a chance to progress to the next round.
“As long as we keep progressing, if he scores a hat trick and we go through, then I won’t mind.”
Messi's record against Arsenal
While Cech may have a great record against Messi, his new club Arsenal have struggled to deal with the four-time Ballon d'Or winner in their previous encounters.
Messi has managed six goals against the Gunners in just four appearances, although four of those did come on one memorable evening in 2010.
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