Van Persie threat a concern for Cruyff

Former Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff has identified the biggest threat to the Catalans' hopes of progressing past Arsenal in the Champions League... Robin van Persie

Cruyff has warned the reigning La Liga champions that his fellow countryman Van Persie is the man to watch out for.

"He is good on his right foot, even better on his left and decent in the air,” he said in the Telegraph.

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Pep Guardiola’s men will start Wednesday’s clash at Emirates Stadium as favourites to progress past Arsene Wenger's Gunners to the quarter final stages.

But the threat of Van Persie is something of concern to the famous winger, who said: “As well as being a good player in excellent goalscoring form, he is fresher than anyone else having come back from injury in December.”

The Dutch legend, who won the European Cup while in charge at the Nou Camp, also gave a somewhat back-handed compliment to the English game.

“It is when the ball is given away, and the inability to string three passes together, that makes it attractive. The teams trade blows and everyone gives the ball away a huge amount of the time.

“Arsenal’s forwards are incredibly fast and run their socks off. Barcelona don’t commit the sin of giving the ball away or playing a long way from the opposition’s goal.”

The Gunners are yet to beat Barca in Europe and 63-year-old Cruyff hopes history repeats itself.

“They [Barcelona] can play the offside trap and also run down the fuel levels on those turbo engines that [Theo] Walcott, [Andriy] Arshavin and Van Persie have by making them chase the ball."

By Tom Biltcliffe