Champions League

Arsenal secretary David Miles: ‘We wanted to avoid Barcelona’

Arsenal club secretary David Miles has admitted that drawing reigning champions Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League was not ideal.


The Gunners discovered their fate less than a week after beating Olympiacos 3-0 in Greece to scrape through their group and into the knockout stages for the 16th season in a row.

“On the back of the great win in Athens, we were hoping for a good draw today and I think it’s the tie of the round,” Miles told BT Sport.

“It’s not going to be easy and it’s the team that most Arsenal fans would have wanted to avoid at this stage, but it’s up to us to make a good fist of it. “We’ve got our own world-class players and certainly we’ll go in for this.

It should be two fantastic games, both in London and Barcelona, and we’re very much looking forward to it.” Arsenal also faced Barca in the 2010 quarter-finals and 2011 last-16 stage, losing both times 6-3 and 4-3 on aggregate respectively.

“They’ve beaten us twice in the last five or six years and it’s about time we turned the tables on them,” Miles added. “We’re in a rich vein of form at the moment, we’re top of the Premier League and come February, March we’ll have some of our injured players back hopefully.

“It would be great to take them on with our full-strength side if we could.” The first legs will be played on February 16/17 and 23/24, with the return legs taking place on March 8/9 and 15/16.


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