Arsenal boss Wenger: Barcelona will be favourites

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes they will be underdogs in their Champions League quarterfinals clash with Barcelona.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes they will be underdogs in their Champions League quarterfinals clash with Barcelona.

The tie will be a repeat of the 2006 final in Paris, when the Gunners led until late in the game before Barca turned the game around to lift the trophy.

It will also mean a return to the Emirates Stadium for former Arsenal superstar Thierry Henry, now with the Catalan giants.

And it means Gunners midfielder Cesc Fabregas - strongly linked with a summer move to the Camp Nou - will pit his wits against his former club.

The first leg will take place at the Emirates on March 31 with the return game in Catalonia on April 6.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "I believe we will not be favourites but for me it will be a 50-50 game. That's how we have to take it.

"Of course they are a good side, so are we. It will be an interesting, exciting game. We have to make sure we have the belief and focus right."

Club secretary David Miles admits the Gunners had landed the team everyone wanted to avoid.

"I'm sure the other clubs felt the same thing," Miles said. "But, having said that, the draw gives it what it gives us, we can only play, and hopefully beat, what's in front of us.

"We're looking forward to two fantastic games, which I'm sure they will be. We owe Barcelona one and we'll certainly be up for it and looking to get a couple of decent results."

Barcelona sporting director Txiki Beguiristain does not expect either side to curb their attacking instincts.

"It's a great tie," Beguiristain said.

"We are two teams who don't shut up shop and play long ball football, and this tie will be nice for the fans.

"It will be a good spectacle and we'll see if we are a little stronger than them. In any case, the best news is knowing that we will be playing the return leg at home. We are strong at home and we've shown that."

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