Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal players not to be “stupid” in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal are seeking to avoid exiting the competition at this stage for the sixth year in succession but face a difficult task against the favourites, who stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 games with a 2-1 win at Las Palmas on Saturday.
Last season Arsenal were knocked out by Monaco after losing the first leg 3-1 when seeking to make the most of home advantage.
Wenger is planning a less gung-ho approach in north London this year but still believes taking a lead to the Nou Camp represents his side’s best chance of progress.
“It’s our best chance no matter how big the chance is,” Wenger said. “We have to take it and have a go at them.
“[But] I believe in these big games, in the first tie at home, we can’t be stupid.
“Many times we’ve won away and at home we have conceded. We have to find a good balance between defending and attacking.
“I believe that at some point in the game we’ll have to be deep because of the way they play. You can’t always stop them high.
“Individually, all their players are difficult to stop. We have to find a way to do it collectively.”