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Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 08:51 UK

Theo Walcott eager to cause more problems for Barcelona

Uefa Champions League
Venue: Camp Nou Date: Tuesday, 6 April Kick-off: 1945 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and Live on Sky Sports

Theo Walcott
Walcott's introduction had a big impact on the first leg

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has vowed to take the game to Barcelona when the teams meet in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Walcott inspired the Gunners' comeback in the 2-2 first-leg draw at the Emirates Stadium and hopes to cause Barcelona more problems in Spain.

"As an attacker you have to be on the front foot. Hopefully I can get at them and give them a problem," he said.

"If I can create space for some of the others then that's all part of my job."

Walcott came off the bench to score Arsenal's opening goal in the first leg, as they managed to salvage a draw despite having been largely outplayed in the early part of the game and gone 2-0 down courtesy of two Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals.

But Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola played down the importance of Walcott's contribution, instead picking out goalkeeper Manuel Almunia as Arsenal's real hero.

"Let's be clear, Walcott was not the determining factor, the determining factor was Almunia, who saved 12,000 balls," he said.

Wenger relishes chance to beat Barca

Defender Maxwell struggled to deal with Walcott's pace in the first leg and he is likely to be replaced by Eric Abidal for the game at the Nou Camp.

Frenchman Abidal is undaunted by Walcott's speed, saying: "It may be really good for him to run 100m in a little over 10 seconds, but the aim is to get to the goal.

"We'll wait there for him and we'll see what he can do with the ball - let's see if he can get past four defenders."

Under manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have produced some impressive away results in Europe, including wins at AC Milan and Real Madrid, and a 5-1 victory over Inter Milan.

And Wenger sounded an upbeat note despite the challenge of having to beat the European champions to progress to a semi-final against Inter or CSKA Moscow.

"We've won away everywhere in Europe - Barcelona is a place where we haven't done it, so there is no better opportunity than Tuesday," he said.

Arsenal will be without a number of players, with Alex Song ruled out with knee and groin problems, while Andrey Arshavin and William Gallas are also out through injury.

Skipper Cesc Fabregas is also out after breaking his leg in the first leg but would have missed the Nou Camp encounter anyway because of suspension.

"I'm confident despite the injuries we have that we can do it," said Wenger. "Of course, we will need to get everybody to 100% of his potential and have a great team performance.

"This team, though, has such a great mental strength and I believe they can fight against the odds anywhere in the world.

"They can turn up with a massive performance. The problem is not one of individuals, but about having a game-plan and making it work."

Arsenal were outclassed by Barcelona in the opening stages of the first match and Wenger admitted his side could not afford such a tentative start again if they are to progress.


"We were a little bit victims of the reputation of Barcelona, they have done it, we have not done it and in our heads, they were very big," said Wenger.

"We have learned that it is important we start with full power, without any inhibition, which we showed in the first 20 minutes at the Emirates.

"How we manage to do that will certainly have a big influence on the game and on the result."

Barcelona are not invincible at home in Europe. Last October, Russian side Rubin Kazan pulled off one of the great Champions League shocks when they beat Guardiola's side 2-1 at the Nou Camp.

Their home record against English sides in recent years is also patchy, having shared goalless draws with Chelsea and Manchester United and lost to Liverpool 2-1 in February 2007.

However, under Guardiola, Barcelona have outscored their opponents 13-2 at the Nou Camp in four knockout round games.

"We're going to try to be ourselves and to get the ball and I think Arsene Wenger thinks the same," said Guardiola. "The team that has the ball more is going to win."

Report - Arsenal anticipate Barca showdown

Guardiola goes into the game without central defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, who are both suspended, while Ibrahimovic is unavailable because of a calf injury.

And although Wenger was not looking to make a big issue of their absence, the loss of their physical presence could play into the hands of Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.

The 22-year-old was criticised earlier in the season for missing some golden chances, but has hit back with a hat-trick in the win over Porto in the previous round, and a last-minute winner against Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday.

"He is important because he gives us something different," said Wenger.

"Bendtner has size, is good in the air, on crosses you have hope with him.

"When people told us you have no Plan B he gives us a little bit - we always want to play football, but he gives us an option in the air that we did not have without him."

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Champions League results

6 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

see also
Arsenal's mission possible
05 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (agg 6-3)
06 Apr 10 |  Europe
Arsenal can make history - Petit
04 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona
31 Mar 10 |  Europe
AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal (agg 0-2)
04 Mar 08 |  Europe
Arsenal thump Inter
25 Nov 03 |  Champions League
Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal
21 Feb 06 |  Europe

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