Former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has predicted a difficult evening for the north London side, when they face Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
The Gunners go into the game with a 2-0 deficit to attempt to overturn, after a Lionel Messi brace put the Spanish giants clear, with two away goals to rest on comfortably.
Barcelona are unbeaten in over 35 games, with the front trio of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez continuing their fine early season form into the final third, remaining favourites to win both La Liga and the Champions League.
Nicholas, speaking in his European competition predictions for Sky Sports, admits that the Gunners have next to no chance at the Camp Nou, with the home side set to run away 3-0 victors.
Arsene Wenger is stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of what strategy he goes for in the second leg. This has happened before when Arsenal have had virtually impossible second legs and you’d still think they’d be able to have a go and get something, but this isn’t the Arsenal team of previous seasons. It is more like one of the bottom teams in the Premier League taking on one of the top sides.
I would play Danny Welbeck up front and Theo Walcott on the right in the very slim hope that they could expose the lack of pace that Barca have at the back, then leave Alexis Sanchez out, as he’s been a non-event since his return from injury – except for the goal against Tottenham – and then have Mesut Ozil on the left and flood the midfield.
If Luis Enrique plays Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez then I can see all of them scoring and I’d chop your hand off for a 2-0 defeat. I fear the worst because this team is exposed and desperate. I’d love nothing more than being proved wrong but I just can’t see anything other than a heavy defeat.
Arsene Wenger’s job could be forced under scrutiny should Arsenal lose, with victory in the Premier League their only available option.