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Arsenal's work not finished
by Paul Kennedy, February 16th, 2011 11PM
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TAGS:  england, spain, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted that the Gunners' thrilling 2-1 comeback victory over Barcelona doesn't change the fact that they are still the underdog in their UEFA Champions League series, but it did prove one thing: they can beat a team considered by many to be invincible.

"We are not the favorites now," the Frenchman said. "But what is important is we believe we have a chance and we'll go for it. Barcelona are still favorites. But after tonight we know that we can beat them. And we didn't know that last year."

When Arsenal and Barcelona met last season in the quarterfinals, they tied, 2-2, at the Emirates Stadium and Barca won, 4-1, at home thanks to four Lionel Messi goals.

Barcelona took the lead in the first half on a goal by David Villa and looked to be heading to another win when Arsenal rallied for a pair of late goals scored by Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin -- set up brilliantly by through balls from Frenchmen Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri -- in the final 12 minutes. (Highlights)

Barcelona had more than 60 percent of the possession, but Arsenal was able to stay in the game because of its attacking prowess.

Wenger started five attacking players -- van Persie and Theo Walcott up front and Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Nasri in midfield -- and brought on Arshavin for defensive midfielder Alex Song early in the second half.

"I wanted to go for it offensively," said Wenger. "We needed to score two goals. I just took a gamble -- it could have backfired to 2-0 or 3-0 but it worked. I'm very proud for Arsenal tonight. Because everybody urged us to play differently to our nature and this result will strengthen the belief in our philosophy. That's important."

  1. Robert Robertson
    commented on: February 17, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.
    Correction: Walcott started as one of the attackers. Go Gunners!
  1. Brian Roseberry
    commented on: February 17, 2011 at 8:28 a.m.
    Great match for the Gunners! Bendtner did not start the match, he was a second half substitute for Walcott!
  1. Josh Edgmon
    commented on: February 17, 2011 at 10:29 a.m.
    great article! it explained alot that i didnt know about past matches. GUNNERS!
  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: February 17, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
    What a game. Gooners everywhere were buzzing all night. Cant wait for the return leg.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: February 17, 2011 at 4:37 p.m.
    A big upset in London but now the stage is set for the return game at Barca, can't wait for it.

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