ARSENAL - BARCELONA

Big-game hunting in London

Barça face Arsenal as they return to action in the Champions League - the competition that has been the priority for Luis Enrique's men since the campaign's start.

Big-game hunting in London
FERNANDO ZUERAS DIARIO AS

With their place booked in the final of the Copa del Rey in the Calderón on 22 May against Sevilla and a substantial advantage in the league with the final third of the top-flight campaign to go, Barcelona return to the Champions League, the competition that’s been Luis Enrique’s side’s priority since the start of the season. This match in London is big-game hunting for Barça and Arsenal is quarry they don’t consider letting escape. As revealed by Arda Turan, Los Azulganas' focus since the pre-season has been on becoming the first club to retain the Champions League title. Today, they return to their biggest dream.

Barcelona touched down in London on the back of 32 straight games without defeat. It’s true that in some matches the side have had a result less than deserved on the grounds of their football; in others where they appeared more motivated, though, Luis Enrique’s men have utterly swept rivals aside. Yesterday in his press conference, the Asturian admitted that today’s match had ‘extra motivation’ for his men. Make your bets on that basis.

For the decisive phase of Europe’s premier competition, Barça's boss will be opting for the same side that won in Berlin on 6 June against Juventus.

Arsenal know all too well how difficult the Catalan club are for them, and will try to surprise the champions using their own football virtues. Compared to previous encounters, they’ve improved in goal and have Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, who connect perfectly. They aren’t going to be easy prey for Barça. This is big-game hunting.