Chance to knock Barca out: Wenger

LONDON • Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal can draw inspiration from their victory over Bayern Munich as they seek to dump Barcelona out of the Champions League.

The Gunners were paired with the holders in the last 16 and he is ready to play the worst hand that he could have been dealt.

"We're playing the best team in Europe at the moment," he said.

"We have a chance to knock them out. We have to be inspired by the result against Bayern, the same type of team," the Frenchman added of their 2-0 win at home in the group stage. "We have a good chance to go through. An exciting one. We're ambitious."

Wenger added that Arsenal are now better equipped to take on the Catalan giants following defeats by Barcelona in 2010 and 2011.

"We are more mature. We played against Barcelona with top teams but inexperienced and they were in full power," he said.

"We were sometimes unlucky as well. I don't forget that. We have an opportunity to put things right."

But first, Arsenal will have to take on one of England's finest when they host Manchester City on Monday. Wenger revealed that Alexis Sanchez has a slight chance to be involved in the showdown but will not allow the Chilean to take the final decision on his fitness.

Sanchez has not yet returned to full training, although he is running again, after a hamstring injury that he suffered in a 1-1 draw at Norwich City late last month .

As usual, Sanchez is ready to declare himself fit to play but Wenger made it clear that his selection would not rest solely on how the forward felt.

"Maybe, there is a slight chance for Alexis to be in the squad again but it is too early to be sure about it," said the Arsenal manager.

"I believe it is normal that he wants to play. You want him to be keen to play. He respects all the decisions I make and that is what I want from him."

City have a star of their own who is itching to return. Sergio Aguero could be available after returning to full training on Wednesday. The striker has missed four games with a heel problem sustained against Southampton last month.

"Provided there is no reaction, (City manager) Manuel Pellegrini will hope to have Aguero available for the trip to the Emirates Stadium," the club said on their website, alongside pictures of Aguero in training.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Chance to knock Barca out: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe