Wenger refuses to play it safe against Barcelona

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger set for the ultimate test against Barcelona
Wenger set for the ultimate test against Barcelona

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he will not deploy a defensive game plan to try and nullify the threat of Barcelona in Tuesday night's Champions League clash at Emirates Stadium.

Reigning European champions Barcelona are favourites to beat Arsenal in the last-16 clash, but Wenger is not planning to order his team to dilute their attacking instincts against their Spanish rivals.

"It's a bit against my nature. I cannot go into a game and think I will just play for a 0-0," he told reporters. 

"I believe you cannot say you are a big club and you just want to defend. On the other hand, Barcelona are a very offensive team. So to give you no chance at all to score against them is guilty as well.

"You have to try to score against them because if they have a vulnerability like we have it is defensively like with any offensive team.

"It is quite funny because the one year we beat them, they played us off the park but we still won the game. That can happen.

"We played Hull and it was 0-0, we can go to Sheffield Wednesday (in the Capital One Cup) and lose 3-0. So why can't it be possible the other way around?"

Wenger urged his side to make the most of home advantage against in-form Barcelona, as he suggested their best hope of making progress in the tie is to secure a first leg advantage.

“It’s our best chance no matter how big the chance is. We have to take it and have a go at them. I believe in these big games, in the first tie at home, we can’t be stupid," he added.

"Recently we always made it difficult for ourselves by conceding goals at home and basically the rules of the modern European Cup encourage you to defend at home and attack away because of the importance of the away goal.

"Many times I said that should be suppressed because if you concede a goal at home in the Champions League it is a knife in your heart every time. Against big, big teams it becomes very difficult.

"I think we will score tomorrow so I am not too much concerned, but it's true that recently our goals have dried up a bit and that we have to find a way to get that going again.

"I am more concerned tomorrow about stopping them from scoring because you can say even at home in the Champions League that 0-0 is not a bad score."