CL: Wenger praises Suarez but backs Arsenal to beat Barcelona
Arsene Wenger was in a hurry to get home from the Emirates. "We need to make this quick because I want to go and watch Barcelona ," said Wenger as he headed into an interview room.
Arsene Wenger and Luis Suarez. Pics/AFP
The Frenchman watches so much football that he probably already knows enough about Barcelona without having to watch Saturday's 2-1 win at Las Palmas. The obvious question is how can Arsenal beat Barca if they cannot even see off Hull City from the Championship.
But Wenger knows his players will be inspired by the challenge of beating the Spanish champions on Tuesday and the Arsenal boss is a big admirer of Luis Enrique's side and how they have put the fun back into football.
It is the team ethic of Barcelona's front three of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar which he really likes and has drawn comparisons with great teams of the past.
Wenger was asked if he saw the great Real Madrid team which won five back-to-back European Cups and featured Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Francisco Gento."Yes," he replied.
"Raymond Kopa, Di Stefano, Gento, Puskas. It's difficult to compare with this Barcelona team. "I believe that apart from the individual talent the three have, they have a good understand and cohesion. They have a great solidarity.
"I have seen that Cristiano Ronaldo said that Messi passed the ball to Suarez at a penalty last week because he wanted him to be the top goal-scorer.
"When you see someone like Messi, who could score his 300th goal, give the ball to Suarez when he had the opportunity to score goal 300 that means there's really something in there.
"It's incredible camaraderie. I believe Suarez gives that to a team. He did it at Liverpool, he did it playing with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan for Uruguay and did it well."Suarez is the kind of guy who manages to create that spirit in teams.
It looks like it is fun for them to play together. But honestly, it is fun to play football, don't forget that.
"They don't look to play under any pressure because they know at the moment it's easy for them."
Wenger famously tried to sign Suarez from Liverpool when Arsenal made a bid of £40,000,001 in 2013 only for the Uruguayan to sign for Barcelona a year later.
But he still clearly believes Suarez is something special and the glue which bonds Barcelona's front trio together. So, any regrets over missing out on Suarez?"Not now. It happened to me before but not now," replied Wenger. "He's a player there and we have to keep him quiet on Tuesday night.
"We have to analyse what we do and do it well and together. Individually all their players are difficult to stop. We have to find a way to do it collectively."
Arsenal have met Barcelona seven times, winning just once and losing four. They feel as big an underdog as Hull against Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger on potential fixture pile up after draw with Hull means a replayIt was the third time the sides have met in the FA Cup, Arsenal won the 2014 final at Wembley, won the third round at the Emirates last year and now Hull have a replay neither side wanted.
Hull's Switzerland keeper Eldin Jakupovic made a string of brilliant saves to deny Arsenal, his best were Joel Campbell's free kick and then Danny Welbeck's deflected shot.
But Arsenal, despite youngster Alex Iwobi and new boy Mohamed Elneny playing well, lacked a sharpness which will concern Wenger ahead of their trip to the Nou Camp. There will be big changes, but Wenger believes 19-year-old Iwobi is now ready to step up into the first team on a more regular basis.Wenger said: "I think he can play. I like his game and he's mobile.
His passing is forward. It was not an ideal game for a guy in his position because they were in numbers at the back.
"But I like the way he sees football, the way he's not conservative in his game, he's aggressive in his passing."He had two or three shots in the first half when he was well forward. He has a quick mind and I like that."