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Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wednesday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2230: And on that note, I'll bid you adieu. A fine win for Arsenal fans to savour... and what a tie we have on our hands when they meet Barcelona in the second leg at the Nou Camp on 8 March. Tantalising. Congrats, too, to Shakhtar, Bolton and Scunthorpe. Paul Fletcher will be your host tomorrow evening when Liverpool and Rangers resume their Europa League campaigns and I'll see you all again at the weekend for the FA Cup. In the meantime, why not check out some video highlights of Ipswich's 6-0 demolition of Doncaster? It's that or Air Force One on BBC Three for me... coin-toss time. See ya!

jezza_afc on Twitter: "Didn't see that result coming at half time - but as Mr Wenger would say, it's all about the spirit. Well done Gunners, incredible."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"That late turnaround has given Arsenal, and their fans, a real boost. A great night at the Emirates, but with the return leg in Barcelona coming on 8 March even the buzzing Gunners' fans know this is far from over."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Shakhtar rattle Roma - sensational goals, a fightback and a Brazilian called Douglas. Brilliant."

2217: WIGAN 0-1 BOLTON
Les Roopanarine reports:
"A deserved but laboured victory for Bolton, whose performance will have done little to cause the watching Mark Hughes any lost sleep ahead of Sunday's fifth-round showdown with Owen Coyle's side at Craven Cottage."

2215: Another super night of Champions League football, then - and as I pointed out back in my first entry last night, man how I missed this wonderful competition in its two-month absence. Let's hear from our reporters...

Daily Telegraph writer Henry Winter on BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's a fantastic couple of nights for north London. Last night Tottenham, tonight Arsenal. You can definitely see Tottenham progressing, although it'll be a lot tougher for Arsenal in the Nou Camp - we've all seen what Barca can do in their won back yard. But credit to the Gunners for keeping their belief tonight, and even more so to Jack Wilshere who had a terrific game. And who knows? Gerard Pique will be a loss to Barca in the second leg, Samir Nasri will be that little bit fitter... tonight's was a great result, whatever happens."

2210: An interesting stat from Infostrada Sports reaches me - in the history of all European competitions, 51.8% off all clubs that lost the first leg 2-1 away went on to reach the next round. Ahem. Still, not that the Arsenal fans care too much right now judging by your texts and Tweets - and quite right too. Purportedly the greatest team in history done over in the modern game's greatest cup competition? Stick that in your sandwich and eat it. Or something.

Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden on Twitter: "Great win tonight, knew Klasnic was gonna score, should have tipped u all off!!! Hahah!! On to the next round of the FA Cup."

2205: Now, I don't want to upset any Wigan or Bolton fans tonight - heaven forbid - but might I just highlight the attendance for their FA Cup fourth-round replay? A grand total of... 7,515. Ouch.

PayneLJ on Twitter: "Who cares if Arsenal beat Barcelona, Bolton finally beat Wigan!"

2200: Typo alert! Again! Refresh please, muchos appreciado.

mrjhay on Twitter: "At the Nou Camp, I can't see Messi being quite so forgiving as tonight. This tie is poised nicely. Arsenal need to look for the away goal."

Dan, Bedford via text: "I wonder who would have predicted Arsenal, Spurs, Schalke and Shakhtar to be so well placed at this stage?"

2157: Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola: "It was a fantastic game. Both teams had many chances. It's a pity [to lose] but we knew Arsenal are a very good team and dangerous on the counter-attack. However, I think we more or less controlled the game and we just need to create the chances we did tonight in the Nou Camp and then take them. It will be an open game I am sure. Yes we have lost tonight, but we still have the second leg."

2154: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It is one of the special nights. The game promised a lot and it didn't disappoint. It was a game between two special teams in my opinion. We suffered in some spells during the game but never gave up. We have shown special strengths and shown great resilience. We will go the Nou Camp now and play our game again because we cannot go there and defend. We will go and give our best."

Brownbridge on Twitter: "Football League Danny - how about the celebrations in Leeds?? Write us off at your peril :)"

Isaac, Manchester via text: "Szczesny, Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Arshavin, Bendtner. Their names liveth for evermore."

Football League Danny: "Just a quick add for those of you who don't believe me about the shock value of Scunthorpe beating Nottingham Forest. That was Scunthorpe's first home win in the Championship since August. Iron fans = long-suffering."

2149: A quick word of clarification on that Bolton FA Cup win, by the way - the Trotters now go on to face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday in the fifth round. Which is nice.

tokeepmeyoung on Twitter: "We've finally beaten Barcelona... OF COURSE IT'S A GREAT RESULT!"

Tom, Redditch via text: "Got to heap praise on the Arsenal for their late showing but let's not forget what happened at the Nou Camp last year! Still a big job to be done..."

2145: Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas: "They are the best side in football's history in my opinion. That is one game and this is half-time. It is a nice victory but that's all. If we show it here and not the Camp Nou, it is nothing for us." Goalscorer Robin van Persie: "In our opinion if you drop back too much they are so good they will beat you. We had to beat them in their own style. It was a fantastic result in the end. The fans got us through the game."

Football League Danny: "Didn't see this one coming. Well, I sort of did (see 1918). Scunthorpe 1-0 Nottingham Forest is the full-time score. Brilliant result for the struggling Iron, Forest's 10-match unbeaten league run ends. The celebrations in Norwich, Swansea, Cardiff and, er, Queens Park Rangers, might be almost as loud as those in Scunthorpe."

glenposh on Twitter: "Man of the match - Jack Wilshere, all these world class players on show and an Englishman steals the show. Awesome."

2140: A cracking win for Arsenal at the Emirates, then, especially given how things were looking with quarter of an hour left. One for the fans to savour, for sure. But... dare I say... do we think a 2-1 win is a great result with the second leg at the Nou Camp to come?

Full time
2139: FULL-TIME Wigan 0-1 Bolton

Allain from Witney via text: "RE 1937; One day I'll be able to tell my grandkids I had the privilege of watching this Arsenal team BEAT this Barcelona team...!"

Full time
2135: FULL-TIME Roma 2-3 Shakhtar

2134: FULL-TIME Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona

2132: Is that handball? Arsenal substitute Andrey Arshavin might just have got away with one there as the ball strikes his arm in the box, but the referee waves play on... Dani Alves does play on and his square pass is almost forced home by Lionel Messi, but the Argentine's shot is blocked.

2132: Barcelona are pressing now... heavily...

2131: Two minutes of injury time at the Emirates.

2129: And then out of nowhere Barcelona threaten an equaliser, Lionel Messi laying Dani Alves in on the right and the Brazilian's slid effort kept out by Wojciech Szszesny. What a game.

2127: Barcelona are right on the rack here and Arsenal fancy a third, Nicklas Bendtner almost forcing home when his effort from near the touchline is turned behind at his near post. This is cracking stuff.

Arsenal goal: Total turnaround and Arsenal have fought their way right back into this tie. It's a classic counter-attack from the Gunners, Cesc Fabregas releasing Samir Nasri clear behind the Barca defence and the Frenchman squaring for Andrey Arshavin to lash home the hosts' second on the run. The Emirates is jumping.

2123: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona (Arshavin)

2121: Arsenal with their tails up now and just under 10 minutes of normal time to find a leg-winner. Can they do it?

2120: By the way, typo on 'injury' there at 2116 - if you could refresh, I'd be grateful. Cheers.

Arsenal goal: Fabulous strike and a potentially precious goal for Arsenal. Gael Clichy's fine pass releases Robin van Persie in the box and while the angle looks against him, the Dutchman lashes a fierce strike at goal that creeps inside Victor Valdes's near post and home. Game on.

2118: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-1 Barcelona (Van Persie)

2117: Moments after Nicklas Bendter replaces Theo Walcott for Arsenal, Jack Wilshere - who has been excellent tonight - swaps passes with Robin van Persie on the edge of the Barca box only to see his cross blocked brilliantly by Eric Abidal.

A little gloss taken off Tottenham's superb 1-0 win at AC Milan last night - Jonathan Woodgate, making a first appearance for 15 months in that match, sustained a strain of the left Adductor muscle, a scan has confirmed this evening.

2115: Shakhtar's Henrik Mkhitaryan tries to pass the ball into the net from 20 yards over in Rome but his shot flies wide of the Roma right-hand post by a few inches.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2114: Almost an immediate equaliser for Wigan against Bolton as Franco di Santo feeds Jordi Gomez on the left - but the Spaniard, from just inside the 18-yard box, fires in a shot that beats Adam Bogdan but not the bar. Close.

2111: Change apiece at the Emirates, Seydou Keita on for David Villa for Barcelona and Andrey Arshavin replacing Alex Song for Arsenal.

Bolton goal: Finally - and after a more even start to the second half - Bolton have the lead against Wigan, Mark Davies playing in Ivan Klasnic and the Croatian finding the bottom corner with a neat finish.

2110: GOALFLASH Wigan 0-1 Bolton (Klasnic)

2109: While we're on Lionel Messi, by the way, it was remiss of me not to correct my entry at 2023 when I said the Argentine was offside when nodding in the rebound from David Villa's shot... replays showed he was onside, my mistake. Could've been even worse for Arsenal.

2108: Lionel Messi has left his shooting boots at home tonight, for sure. After his initial 20-yard effort - on the back of a trademark run - is blocked, he is set free to the left of the box by Andres Iniesta only to fire into the side netting.

2106: Shakhtar go close to restoring their two-goal lead as Luiz Adriano, following up on the rebound after Henrik Mkhitarayan's shot was saved, forces goalwards but his effort is blocked. Quite a game in Rome.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Arsenal showing a great attitude again going in search of the equaliser and getting superb backing. Barcelona still a constant threat though. Edge of the seat stuff."

Roma goal: Tie back on at the Stadio Olimpico. Frenchman Jeremy Menez, who is reported to have aroused the interest of several Premier League clubs, surges towards goals before curling in a fabulous shot from 20 yards into the top left corner.

2103: GOALFLASH Roma 2-3 Shakhtar (Menez)

2102: Arsenal continue to knock on the door but after being found by Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri's whipped centre is forced behind by Gerard Pique under pressure from Robin van Persie. Good defending, but yet more encouragement for the Gunners.

2100:'s terrible from Cesc Fabregas, though, floating the delivery straight into the arms of Barca keeper Victor Valdes.

2059: Significant yellow card now as Gerard Pique goes into the book for a foul on the edge of the box - he misses the next leg. Free-kick to Arsenal 25 yards out, too...

2057: Theo Walcott - the player Lionel Messi admitted "scared" Barca last season - is still looking Arsenal's most dangerous attacking outlet, but after getting free down the left his delivery is well cut out by the Barca defence and the visitors are able to clear.

2056: Over in Rome, Shakhtar are understandably getting plenty of men behind the ball in defence of their two-goal lead - while still looking very dangerous on the break. More goals in that one, I fancy.

2055: Much ado about nothing so far in the second half at the DW Stadium. Do these teams want extra-time and penalties?

2052: Someone might want to point out to Arsenal midfielder Alex Song that he is already on a yellow card in this match - he is throwing himself about with all the abandon of a kid on a bouncy castle. He might want to calm down here.

2051: My word, Barcelona are really rather good at football you know. The Spaniards are knocking the ball about lovely at the start of the half at the Emirates.

2048: Positive start for the Gunners and Jack Wilshere fashions some space and fires in a low shot. Decent power, but Victor Valdes is well-placed to save. We're back under way in the FA Cup replay by the way, where it's still Wigan 0-0 Bolton.

2045: We're back under way at the Emirates. And in Rome.

andrewhewitt01 on Twitter: "Out of Xavi's 51 passes he made in the 1st half, he completed 48 of them. WOW!"

Adam, Darlington via text: "Arsenal have most definitely improved from last year. But Barcelona have, somehow, improved from what they were as well. Amazingly nervous game!"

Half time
2038: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-0 Bolton
Les Roopanarine's HT snap-shot:
"It's fair to say the watching Mark Hughes, whose Fulham side play the winner of this fourth-round replay, will not be quaking in his boots. Wigan on the back foot, but Bolton have nothing to show for their dominance."

stephencarm on Twitter: "If Arsenal are going to get anything from this they have to go through Walcott more."

Football League Danny: "So, Chris Dagnall has notched the only goal so far at Glanford Park. Scunthorpe lead Nottingham Forest 1-0. Forest have the chance to go clear in second place, four points behind leaders QPR with a game in hand, if they win. Scunthorpe are equally desperate for the points though - a win moves them to within four of safety and they have games in hand on the teams above them. Half-time = advantage Iron."

Half time
2035: HALF-TIME Roma 1-3 Shakhtar Donetsk
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"The first 25 minutes was fairly dull before arguably the biggest 'explosion into life' seen in the Champions League this season. Four goals in 17 minutes, but most importantly three away goals for Shakhtar Donetsk."

Half time
2034: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-1 Barcelona
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Wonderful entertainment but Barcelona's goal through David Villa is a real body blow for Arsenal after they had shown such a threat themselves. Barcelona dictating too easily in spells."

2032: And now it's oranges time in the north west.

2030: The half-time whistle blows at the Emirates... and then at the Stadio Olimpico. Still playing in the FA Cup fourth-round replay at the DW Stadium...

Someone has struck the woodwork
2029: Yet another chance for Bolton as Johan Elmander's low shot beats Mike Pollitt in the Wigan goal only to strike a post, trickle along the line, and go out for a goal kick.

Shakhtar goal: Talking of barn-stormers... John Arne Riise is the guilty party for Roma here, the Norwegian robbed in defence and allowing Douglas Costa to square for Luiz Adriano to side-foot home the visitors' third. Is that tie over?

2026: GOALFLASH Roma 1-3 Shakhtar (Luiz Adriano)

2025: Have 40 minutes really gone at the Emirates Stadium already? It's been a veritable barn-stormer in north London.

2023: Wojciech Szszesny saves Arsenal again, Lionel Messi bundling his way towards goal before setting David Villa free - his clipped finish brilliantly stopped by the home keeper. Messi nods in the rebound, but he is flagged offside and it doesn't count.

Shakhtar goal: Total turnaround in Rome as Shakhtar come from behind to lead. Douglas Costa is the goalscorer, taking a touch before pinging an unstoppable left-foot effort into the far corner. Fine strike.

2020: GOALFLASH Roma 1-2 Shakhtar (Douglas Costa)

2019: Good work defensively from Laurent Koscielny sets Arsenal breaking forward again and only a fabulous block on the edge of the area prevents Cesc Fabregas's snap-shot flying goalwards. It's a cracker at the Emirates.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Arsenal a threat going forward but really on the ropes at the back. David Villa's goal had been coming. Shame after such a promising Arsenal opening. Tense at The Emirates now."

2017: Another chance for Bolton at the DW Stadium, where Ivan Klasnic really should have scored after finding himself one-on-one with Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt, who bided his time before smothering the Croatian's lacklustre effort.

Shakhtar goal: Almost straight from the kick-off, Jadson fires in the equaliser for Shakhtar from about 25 yards, although his effort takes two deflections before looping over keeper Doni.

2015: Chances at both ends back at the Emirates. First Pedro's close-range finish from David Villa's cross is stopped excellently at his near post by Wojciech Szczesny... and then Robin van Persie, breaking up the other end, lashes miles wide when he looked to certain to bulge the net from free on the left of the box. Went for power instead of precision, the Dutchman, and it cost him.

2013: GOALFLASH Roma 1-1 Shakhtar (Jadson)

Roma goal: A deserved opener from the hosts as midfielder Simone Perotta gets free to head in Rodrigo Taddei's cross at the far post from a yard out.

Barcelona goal: And, just like that, Barca lead. Lionel Messi drives at the Arsenal defence and his pass is weighted perfectly to release David Villa - onside - and the Spaniard slides home with aplomb. Clinical.

2012: GOALFLASH Roma 1-0 Shakhtar (Perrotta)

2012: GOALFLASH Arsenal 0-1 Barcelona (Villa)

2011: Close! Arsenal counter with ferocious speed, Theo Walcott scaring the life out of the Barca backline before setting Cesc Fabregas free on the right of the box - his cross looks on a plate for Robin van Persie to nod in the opener, but Eric Abidal desperately heads away to clear the chance. Cracking defending.

2009: Sloppy defending there by Wigan as Gary Caldwell inadvertently diverts a back-pass away from keeper Mike Pollitt, allowing Johan Elmander to nip in with a sliding challenge and force a save.

Football League Danny: "Told you football was a maverick sport (see 1918). Chris Dagnall puts Scunthorpe 1-0 up at home to Nottingham Forest. Scunny, don't forget, haven't won this year, Forest are 10 league games unbeaten."

2008: Two chances... two misses. Lionel Messi again causes a touch of panic in the Arsenal ranks with a trademark dance across the box, but his attempted right-footed chip floats harmlessly into the hands of Wojciech Szszesny. Has someone spiked his pre-match orange?

2006: Big miss at the Stadio Olimpico as Nicolas Burdisso, completely unmarked in the box, sends a header wide of the far post from Francesco Totti's precise cross. Should have scored there, the defender.

2004: Barcelona are on the front foot again at the moment and Andres Iniesta is inches away from setting David Villa clear on goal, the Spaniard putting a touch too much on his through-ball.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "Arsenal have shown a world of difference from that first 20 minutes last season when they were outclassed. A really positive start - but Lionel Messi should have put Barcelona ahead. The Emirates gasped in disbelief at his miss."

2001: Would you believe it? Barca burst in an instant and Lionel Messi is through one-on-one, released by David Villa, only for the Argentine to clip over onrushing home keeper Wojciech Szczesny... and past the far post. The Arsenal keeper did well to stand tall there, but Messi misses one of those once in a blue moon normally. Huge let-off for the Gunners.

1959: Believe it or not, a few passes have gone astray at the Emirates Stadium in the last few minutes - from both sides. A far better start to proceedings for Arsenal this time around, though, compared to the last time Barca were in town. They've certainly already seen more of the ball in the first 15 minutes here than they did in the whole first hour of that match, I reckon.

1957: Closest we've come to an opener at the Stadio Olimpico as Dario Srna's free-kick is turned over the bar on the stretch by Roma keeper Doni.

1956: It's been a lively start at the DW Stadium, where Bolton have already come within a whisker of taking the lead at one end and scoring an own goal at the other. Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt was unable to hold a 25-yarder from Bolton's Martin Petrov and Johan Elmander nipped in to tuck the ball in, only to be caught offside. Moments later, Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan was forced to spare David Wheater's blushes when the defender made a hash of an attempted clearance.

bobbyperyer on Twitter: "If Arsenal-Barca continues like this, this game is going to be epic."

1954: Nearly 10 minutes in at the night's other Champions League game in the Stadio Olimpico, but not much to report from Roma v Shakhtar. Visiting striker Jadson has had arguably the best effort, his shot blocked by John Arne Riise.

1951: All of a sudden Arsenal are bossing things and a delightful flick over the Barca defence releases Robin van Persie in the box, the Dutchman forcing a smart stop with a half-volley from the angle. Lightning start to this Champions League match, here.

1950: And now more encouragement for Arsenal as Theo Walcott bursts from inside his own half, only for his through-ball towards Robin van Persie to just err on the strong side. Arsenal settling down.

1949: ...and it's a cracking delivery from Samir Nasri as well, his whipped set-piece right in the danger area and needing only a touch to deflect it past the keeper - a touch that doesn't come.

1948: Hello, though, Arsenal free-kick wide on the left here...

1947: Deary me. If this is the pattern of the match for the rest of the night, then Arsenal have a long evening's work ahead of them. Two minutes in, almost complete domination of the ball from Barcelona - kings of the pass-and-move philosophy - and already signs of Lionel Messi getting on the ball.

1945: We are up and running at the Emirates Stadium. And at the Stadio Olimpico and the DW Stadium. Jumping.

1944: The players are out, the atmosphere cracking, and I'm more excited than a six-year-old on Christmas Eve. You lot ready?

ambigram0 on Twitter: "Hate people who suggest Arsenal should 'park the bus'. I'd rather lose 4-0 than play like that. It's not the Wenger way."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Emirates: "The Emirates rocking as the teams prepare to come out - and no need for those plastic flags. The atmosphere is real enough."

1940: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We want to win this competition and we know the only way to do that is to beat the super-favourites. Barcelona are certainly the best team in the world at the moment. If we knock Barcelona out, we straight away have a good chance to win the tournament. We don't deny the quality of Barcelona, but what is important for us is we have a good opportunity to show who we are now. Not only that, we also want to show Barcelona we are capable of knocking them out. We have the belief and a strong togetherness to show we are a different team now. I believe that confidence-wise and mentally we are a completely different team today."

1937: Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola: "I like to watch Arsenal play football but I don't like to play against them. Of course I have worries about the game that Arsene Wenger plays. Theo Walcott has some good moments, Wenger is an incredible coach and Robin van Persie is a very mobile player who has a lot of influence. We can't overlook their quality. [But] we know that scoring away from home in Europe is vital so we will try play our way; we are Barcelona."

Ahmed in Barcelona via text: "Am in a sports bar in Barcelona and the amount of stick I'm getting for wearing an Arsenal jersey is unbelievable! Well, saying that, to be honest they could be saying good things as I don't understand Spanish at all! 3-1 to the Gooners!"

mUtEl0_PR on Twitter: "One day I'll be able to tell my grandkids I had the privilege of watching this Barcelona team live."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"As expected, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez rings the changes with no fewer than nine changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Anfield on Saturday. If Martinez's teamsheet is indicative of where priorities lie for the Spaniard's band of Premier League strugglers, Bolton - whose manager, Owen Coyle, has spoken warmly of his affection for the FA Cup - are likewise much altered, with six changes to the team that saw off Everton at the weekend."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Roma boss Claudio Ranieri brings back forwards Francesco Totti and Jeremy Menez to the starting line-up after the pair had started the loss to Napoli from the bench. Shakhtar's Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho is back in training having recovered from a broken leg, but he will not be fit until next leg."

Brent at the Emirates via text: "You can cut the tension with a knife. Gooners cautiously optimistic."

JoeyIsSwansea on Twitter: "A long shot I know, but I am praying, that Scunthorpe can do the business against Forest tonight. Come on Scunny!!"

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"So Samir Nasri has won his race to recover from a hamstring injury and gives Arsenal a huge lift as he is named in the starting line-up. This is a game that should suit his silky, progressive approach. Right-back Bacary Sagna is suspended and Emmanuel Eboue replaces him as the Gunners make two changes from the win over Wolves at the weekend. Big night for Theo Walcott too after the impact he made against Barcelona last season. No Carles Puyol for the visitors so Eric Abidal will partner Gerard Pique in central defence with Maxwell at left-back. A wonderful array of talent elsewhere in the Barca side, too, with David Villa an addition from last season's meetings."

1924: Right. Let me hit you with some stats, courtesy of Infostrada Sports. Arsenal, who have scored at least twice in their last eight Champions League home matches, have been awarded a penalty in each of their last five European home matches. They were all converted. Meanwhile, Barca playmaker Lionel Messi needs one more goal to become Barça's out right top scorer in European competitions. He and Rivaldo both have 31. Which is nice.

Vespers_Light on Twitter: "Arsenal can win tonight, but they'll have more than one away goal against them, I fear."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"Following the death of Nat Lofthouse last month, Owen Coyle threw down the gauntlet to his Bolton players, demanding they honour the great man's memory with a good Cup run. Their task - against a Wigan side that drew 0-0 at the Reebok Stadium to lay the foundations for both this replay and a subsequent four-game unbeaten streak - will be none the easier in the absence of the Cup-tied Daniel Sturridge. The teams have drawn three times already this season, and both managers are expected to make wholesale changes. Penalties, anyone?"

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"There's currently a lot of uncertainty in the Roma camp. According to reports, 'Tinkerman' Claudio Ranieri's job is at risk with his team down in eighth spot in Serie A. The cash-strapped club could also be taken over by an American consortium soon. Maybe a last-16 Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk is just what the medico ordered. Shakhtar have not played a competitive game since 8 December - the Ukraine league has a three-month winter break. Three months?!"

15hmansour on Twitter: "Nasri will make or break Arsenal's game. If he can perform Arsenal could edge it. If he can't I don't see Arsenal beating Barca."

Neel Shah, Twickenham via text: "Got off work early, trains on time for once, tasty dinner waiting for me at home. The omens look good already. Come on the Gunners!"

Football League Danny: "Just the one match tonight. It looks straightforward Championship clash as bang-in-form Nottingham Forest take their 10-match unbeaten league run to a Scunthorpe side which is still looking for a win in 2011. The Iron have the worst home record in the Championship to boot. Nonetheless, in a Football League world where Ipswich can notch six at Doncaster and unstoppable football machine Chesterfield can go five games without a win, who knows what might happen..."

whiskey920 on Twitter: "I'm looking forward to a game between two teams who play a very distinct brand of football in an historic cup. C'mon Bolton!"

Pollitt, Stam, Gary Caldwell, Steven Caldwell, Lopez, Gomez, Diame, Thomas, McArthur, McManaman, Di Santo. Subs: Kirkland, McCarthy, Watson, Moses, Roman Golobart, Mustoe, Redmond.
Bolton: Bogdan, Ricketts, Wheater, Cahill, Robinson, Lee, Mark Davies, Muamba, Petrov, Klasnic, Elmander. Subs: Lainton, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Moreno, Blake, Cohen, Alonso.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Doni, Cassetti, Nicolas Burdisso, Mexes, Riise, Taddei, De Rossi, Perrotta, Totti, Menez, Vucinic. Subs: Lobont, Castellini, Juan, Borriello, Greco, Simplicio, Brighi.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Srna, Chygrynskiy, Rakitskiy, Rat, Mkhitaryan, Hubschman, Douglas Costa, Jadson, Willian, Luiz Adriano. Subs: Khudzamov, Eduardo, Stepanenko, Alex Teixeira, Ischenko, Chyzhov, Vitsenets.
Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)

1909: Of course, it is not all about Arsenal v Barcelona tonight, so let's hear the latest from our other matches...

shanekels on Twitter: "Arsenal's best player would not even make the starting line-up for Barca tonight."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Arsenal and Barcelona played out a classic 2-2 draw at The Emirates in the Champions League last season. Barcelona advanced courtesy of four goals from Lionel Messi in the second leg - but Arsene Wenger believes this is a different Arsenal and is hoping they can prove it in front of their own supporters. Barcelona have a mixed away record in the competition under Pep Guardiola. Can Arsenal make it worse?"

JamesLangley42 on Twitter: "Stern test for Arsenal tonight, it determine how far they've come in a year & if they are real contenders for major honours."

Ady via text: "Wigan v Bolton will be NIL-NIL and penalties."

Szczesny, Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie. Subs: Almunia, Rosicky, Denilson, Squillaci, Arshavin, Gibbs, Bendtner.
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Abidal, Maxwell, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Villa. Subs: Pinto, Bojan, Mascherano, Keita, Milito, Afellay, Adriano Correia.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

dandelacour on Twitter: "Tonight's game should be a good'un! Wonder whether the result will determine who Cesc Fabregas will play for in 2011/2012?"

Samir Nasri starts for Arsenal against Barcelona following his recovery from a hamstring injury, with Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie also starting in an attacking looking line-up.

Dan Scott via text: "A game of artistic beauty in the offing, from two of the best artists of the game in Europe currently. Like seeing Da Vinci and Van Gogh in their prime head to head at the Emirates Gallery."

Alynch0512 on Twitter: "RE: 1851, I already have optimism, we are in much better shape than last season and I really think we can get a result tonight."

1856: But first, I need you all to get involved in a big way - for, frankly, I spend too much time talking to myself as it is and I don't want to get a reputation. Your options are thus: Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, ask me a question direct @sampatricklyon or text me via 81111 (UK). Boomtown.

1855: Oh yeah, and there's also Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk, an FA Cup fourth-round replay between Wigan and Bolton and Scunthorpe v Nottingham Forest in the Championship. Basically, an absolute feast of football. More on all those to come.

1851: Don't despair just yet, though, Arsenal fans - for Uncle Sammy brings tidings of optimism; not only has no team outside England won any of the 27 Champions League games, including qualifiers, staged at the Arsenal stadium, but Barcelona, on a run of only two away wins in their last 12 games in Europe, have yet to win a single game outside of the Nou Camp in the knock-out stages under manager Josep Guardiola. I know... you're starting to believe now right...?

1848: Yep, Barca have proven a right royal thorn in the side of Arsenal's Champions League ambitions in the past. They helped dump the Gunners out of the group stages in the 1999/2000 season with a draw and a win - the Londoners' misery compounded by defeat to Galatasaray in the Uefa Cup final that year on penalties. In 2006 it was another final defeat - in the Champions League this time - as Arsenal were undone thanks to late goals from Barca's Samuel Eto'o and Juliano Belletti in the Stade de France. And then last year, a 6-3 aggregate defeat - thanks largely to a four-goal salvo from Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp - saw Arsenal crash out of the competition at the quarter-final stage. To say Arsene Wenger's boys have a score to settle is a bit like saying Gennaro Gattuso can be a touch testy.

1845: Undoubtedly two of the finest exponents of the beautiful game, Arsenal v Barcelona is starting to develop into one of modern football's classic Champions League face-offs, isn't it? Now, if only Arsenal could get one over on the Spanish giants for once...

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Champions League results

16 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

see also
Wednesday's football photos
16 Feb 11 |  Football

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