Ex-Barcelona man makes surprise prediction ahead of Arsenal clash

Arsenal

Juliano Belletti believes the Gunners can upset the Spanish giants in their Champions League meeting.

Former Barcelona defender Juliano Belletti believes that Arsenal have what it takes to secure an against-the-odds win over the Spanish giants, telling Omnisport, as quoted by Goal, that the Catalan side are not invincible.

Luis Enrique's side travel to the Emirates on Tuesday for the first leg of the last-16 tie looking to extend a mammoth 32-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

However, Belletti is adamant that the formbook does not mean that the result is a given, and suggests that the unpredictable nature of football should give the Gunners reason for confidence.

He told Omnisport, via Goal: "Barcelona are not invincible. That's one of the great things in football. You can have a respected team with a lot of quality, but that doesn't make it invincible.

"Arsenal are currently at the best level for many years and their confidence gives them a chance. They have already proved their quality.

"This Barcelona team have lost and it can happen again. Football is the only collective sport in the world where the best team does not always win.

Belletti's is a name which will conjure up painful memories for Arsenal fans, as it was the Brazilian fullback who hit the late winner as Barca came from 1-0 down to beat the Gunners in the 2006 Champions League final.

Arsene Wenger's record against the Catalan side in recent years is not good, with the North London club also having exited Europe's premier competition against Barca in the knockout stages in 2010 and 2011.

Although Barcelona are unsurprisingly being billed as favourites, Arsenal also come into the first leg in fine form, having lost just once in 11 matches in all competitions since Boxing Day.

The Gunners' recent record in the Champions League is a bad omen, however - Wenger's side have been knocked out at the last 16 stage in each of the last five seasons.

 

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