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Get stuck in

One of the highlights of last season’s Champions League campaign was the ease with which Barcelona ran rings around Arsene Wenger’s cream puff Arsenal side, comprehensively beating them at their own game and then stamping on their corpse for good measure.

So it’s unlikely that the Gunners will get past a Barca side that is even better than last year’s, thanks to the overrated lump Zlatan Ibrahimovic being replaced by the mesmerising David Villa. However new England star Jack Wilshere has a plan that might destabilise the Catalan giants: get stuck into ‘em, in the classic English style. The fact that the only teams to have beaten Barcelona in the knock out stages of the Champions league over the last few years – Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter – did so by shutting up shop and hitting them on the break seems to have eluded Wilshere, unless it’s a reverse double bluff. In any case Barca will got through, and you heard it here first.

‘I was at the Emirates Stadium for the first game against Barcelona last season and they were brilliant, especially in that first half,’ said Wilshere. ‘I was in Bolton (on loan) for the second match and watched on television but I remember we basically played our game, passing it around. This year we have to get in their faces and show them what we're all about. When we have the ball, we've got to keep it as well as they can. We've got to change our game a bit to play against Barcelona – we'll learn from last year, but we need to get in their faces and, if you like, be a bit nasty, in a footballing sense, to get the ball back.

‘We have to press them as a team – there's no point just one of us going after them, so we have to close them down as a team and get the ball back from them. But we'll go into the game on Wednesday looking for the win still. It's important we get that to take to their place for the return match.’

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