Laurent Koscielny claims there is a positive from first leg Barcelona defeat

The Arsenal defender says the his side will be able to play with freedom at the Nou Camp with the weight of expectation off their backs.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has told the club's official website that he and his teammates can play without pressure against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night after their first-leg defeat.

The Gunners travel to the Spanish giants for their Champions League last-16 second leg needing to score twice without reply just to force extra-time in the tie after they conceded two late goals to Lionel Messi at the Emirates Stadium last month.

The odds of progression are stacked heavily against the North London club after that defeat, but Koscielny insists that the visitors will be able to play with freedom in Spain now that they are expected to be knocked out.

The France international told the club's website: "We don’t have pressure like in the first game, because we play against the best team in the world. Now we need to play the second leg away at Barca and we have nothing to lose.

"People always talk about the statistics and I think we have maybe a five per cent chance to qualify. You know when you play against the best players in the world, the best team with a good collective side, it’s very important for us. It can be very important if we can have a [good] result.

"We need to play with freedom and believe in our quality because we did well during the first six months of this season. I don’t see why we can’t [play like that] against Barcelona and for the rest of the season."

If Arsenal, as expected, fail to overturn the first-leg deficit, it will be the third time in a decade since the 2-0 defeat to Barca in the 2006 Champions League final that the Catalan side have knocked Arsene Wenger's men out at the first time of asking in the knockout stages.

The Gunners have gone from competing for trophies on three fronts less than a month ago to the verge of being all but out of the hunt for an honour.

They crashed out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage with a 2-1 home defeat to Watford at the weekend, and are 11 points behind leaders Leicester City in the Premier League title race.

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