Thierry Henry explains how Arsenal can beat Barcelona

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Football News

Thierry Henry is one of few players to have enjoyed successful spells at both Arsenal and Barcelona, but the Frenchman knows exactly who he will be supporting when the two clubs meet on Tuesday.

Barcelona will travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16 first leg in what represents a huge game for both clubs. The La Liga leaders arrive having won 13 of their last 14 matches in which they have scored 44 goals.

Needless to say, Luis Enrique's men are heavy favourites to advance past the Gunners and go on to retain the big-eared trophy. In fact, no one will be surprised to see them return to Spain with the two-legged tie effectively in the bag.

But Henry, himself an avid Arsenal fan, has done his best to give Arsene Wenger's squad the best possible chance of keeping the tie alive until the second leg at Camp Nou.

Whether that be a 0-0 draw or a famous win, Henry knows his former club will need all the luck in the world to keep Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez at bay. He has, however, given them a preview of what to expect and some potentially priceless advice.

Priceless advice

Here's what he wrote in The Sun on Sunday:

"You can’t try to man mark Leo and you can’t put two or three defenders on him because that just leaves more room for Suarez, Neymar, [Andres] Iniesta and [Arda] Turan to rip you apart. You have to stop Barcelona as a team. And for that to become possible, you need to have a perfect day and get very lucky.

"They have to accept they will probably only have 30 per cent possession and must be so efficient when they do get the ball. They need everyone to put a shift in. The whole team must defend more as a unit and the wingers must tuck in and play more in their own half.

"You very rarely get the chance to play against Barcelona so you must be prepared to sacrifice parts of your attacking game, home and away. Arsenal must be brave on the ball. They need to stay compact, play on the counter and score every time they get in their penalty area.

"They can’t be exposed in the middle and must force Barcelona to run back 60 yards before they get the ball. If you allow them to stay in your half for wave after wave, it becomes almost impossible to defend.

"They must make sure this tie is still alive when they go to the Nou Camp for the second leg next month, so even a 0-0 draw would be a reasonable result."

An epic task

Arsenal fans will no doubt remember that their team actually won the last time Barcelona visited north London as Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin helped to overcome a David Villa opener in a 2011 matchup.

However, Barcelona have only improved since that day and are arguably playing with the three best attacking players in the world. In fact, to put their utter dominance in context, Suarez has scored as many goals in all competitions (41) as the entire Arsenal team have in the Premier League.

How humbling…

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UEFA Champions League
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Thierry Henry
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