Barcelona are 95% through – Wenger

25 Feb

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Stats behind Messi’s goals at Arsenal

Barcelona are “95% through” to the Champions League quarter-finals, says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after his side lost 2-0 to the Spanish champions.

The Frenchman blamed his team’s finishing and naivety for the home loss in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud missed chances for the Gunners before Barca scored the opener.

“The way we finished our chances is a problem. I felt in the final third we missed something,” said Wenger.

“Barcelona are through 95% but we want to go there and play. We will not go there and have absolutely no chance,” he added.

‘They are better than us’

Arsenal will be eliminated at the last-16 stage for the sixth time in a row if they fail to overturn the deficit at the Nou Camp on 16 March.

Wenger likened his side’s defeat by Barcelona to their 3-1 loss to Monaco at the same stage last season when – similarly to Barca’s opener – they conceded from a counter attack.

Neymar and Luis Suarez combined to set up Lionel Messi to score Barcelona’s first before the Argentina forward scored a penalty after he was fouled by Mathieu Flamini.

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Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona: Arsene Wenger reacts to defeat

“The regret I had was once we looked like we dominated the game, we give the goal away. Similar to Monaco last season, naive, and that is frustrating,” Wenger told BT Sport.

“When we looked like we could win the game, we just gave it away.”

He added: “We were disciplined defensively but we knew that if we had to keep a 0-0 we keep a 0-0.

“I feel that we were extremely guilty and have no excuses for that first goal.

“They are better than us and I believe everyone knows that, but we could have won the game if we had kept the discipline until the end.”

‘Not technically precise enough’

Olivier Giroud<!–

Olivier Giroud had a good chance against Barcelona with a header which was saved

France striker Giroud struggled to make an impact in attack along with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez as the Gunners failed to capitalise.

“We were impatient in the build-up, we lost balls that we don’t usually lose. Not because Barcelona forced us but just because we were not technically precise enough in our passing,” added Wenger.

“When you lose 2-0 at home in the Champions League it is not a happy dressing room. I felt there was room to beat them. That is the biggest regret I have.”

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty addressed the issue of Arsenal’s strikers in a video Q & A after the game, saying “Giroud is a very good Premier League striker but I’m not sure whether he is world class”.

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