Despite losing their opening two group games, Arsenal squeezed into the last 16 of the Champions League but in order to reach the quarter-finals they must oust holders Barcelona.
After falling to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympicaos in their opening two group games, Arsenal edged through to the last 16 of the Champions League with three victories finishing second behind Bayern Munich in group F.
2015 Champions League winners Barcelona cruised into the knockout stages finishing top of group E and Luis Enrique’s side are also currently on an 32 game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Arsenal’s Champions League campaign has ended at this stages in the past five seasons and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger believes they will need to take their chances against a strong Barcelona side.
“No team is perfect, but Barcelona are not far from it, ” said the Frenchman.
“They have top strikers. Maybe they look like they are having a little bit less possession at the moment because they used to have Xavi in midfield. They have a team that can score at any moment. Even when they are being dominated they are still very dangerous.
“We need to take our chances. We will have less of the ball than against Hull, but we have to make the most of it.”
Barcelona look to become the first team to retain their crown in the Champions League era but manager Luis Enrique wants his side to ignore the favourites tag and focus on a tough trip to North London.
“Being labelled favourites means nothing, ” said the 45-year-old.
“Arsenal are a good team, strong in the transition and with really good players up front. They will press high at times but I hope we can keep the ball in their half and impose our own game.”
“We have to prove ourselves game after game and we are going to try to. If we get a good score tomorrow that would be fantastic, but we have a lot of confidence going into the second leg whatever happens.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech and midfield duo Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil will return to the Arsenal starting line-up after the trio were rested for Arsenal’s FA Cup fifth round draw against Hull on Saturday.
The Gunners are still without midfield quartet Mikel Arteta (unspecified), Santi Cazorla (knee), Jack Wilshere (calf/shin), Tomas Rosický (thigh) through injury, while defender Gabriel Paulista is also out with a hamstring problem.
Barcelona welcome Sergio Busquets back from suspension after the Spaniard missed their 2-1 win over Las Palmas on Saturday, while Gerard Pique will also be called after being rested at the weekend.
Midfielder Rafinha missed the trip to Arsenal with a knee injury, while former Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan is suspended.