Carlo Ancelotti believes changes to the way we play made by Arsene Wenger have seen us bridge the gap over Barcelona recently, but still insists we’re the minnows in our upcoming Champions League tie, as reported by Goal.
The fact that Barcelona are the favourites is hardly news, and is something everyone already knows. The Catalan giants are arguably the best team in the world right now, and the forward line of Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi is unquestionably a devastating prospect.
That’s not to say we’re without a chance against them though, and if we play our best then it’s not unthinkable that we could progress in the Champions League. Ancelotti may be right that we’ve bridged the gap a little, but it’s still going to be a tall order to get the win.
“Arsene Wenger has changed their style of play, they’re playing more on the counterattack, using the skills of their strikers – Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez,” the former Chelsea boss said.
“Maybe they’ve closed the gap but Barcelona are really strong.”
You could argue that our forwards don’t actually thrive in a counter-attacking team, as for the most part it doesn’t play to their strengths. Giroud certainly isn’t blessed with the pace required to get up the pitch quickly, so unless he starts further up the pitch then he finds it hard to contribute. Alexis should be an excellent counter-attacker, but far too often he looks to use his quick feet and trickery to keep the ball away from the opposition, and ends up turning back on himself rather than playing his teammates in early. Özil is the only one of the trio who really excels in the counter-attacking role, as not only is he blessed with pace, but also a quick mind and the ability to pick a fantastic forward pass.
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If Barcelona are at their best then we may not stand a chance regardless of how we perform, but if the likes of Özil and Alexis are on form and we get a little bit of luck, we could defy the odds.