Ander Herrera believes Arsenal can “find a way” to beat Barcelona – as long as Mesut Ozil doesn’t suffer from one of his “not so consistent” performances.
Arsenal face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, with Ozil certain to start against the Spanish champions.
Speaking to Marca, Manchester United midfielder Herrera believes Arsenal have a chance of springing a shock against the competition favourites over two legs, but that Barcelona remain “superiors”.
“I believe that in this year it will be more complicated for Barca,” Herrera said. “I think Arsenal, besides having many good footballers, they believe in themselves this season, both in the Premier League as in the Champions League . They’ve been winning cups and they are better now.
“Yeah, I see Barça as superiors. Not much superiors, but superiors at the end of the day. It will be a beautiful knockout game.
“I believe it will be equal. Barça alternate possession stages with a game without the ball. And Arsenal dominate the game very much, but they also attack quickly, with Alexis [Sanchez], [Theo] Walcott and [Alex] Oxlade [Chamberlain]. That’s why it’s going to be a beautiful match. It’s a shame that [Santi] Cazorlita won’t be there, because he always makes the difference.
“If Messi is on one of those days, there’s almost nothing to do. But, of course, your mission as an opponent is to try to make him not have that day. I’ve played against Leo many times and at San Memés I’ve won one and drawn two. I mean, he is beatable. But if he is well, one hundred percent, and has one of those days, you either pray or say goodbye.”
Herrera then noted his admiration for Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta, but labelled Ozil as “not so consistent”.
“For me there’s only one Iniesta. I love playing against him, to tell my grandchildren in the future, but I suffer as a rival,” Herrera said.
“Arsenal have [Francis] Coquelin, Ozil… Mesut isn’t so consistent, but he makes the difference when he’s on his day.”