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Mascherano: We knew Arsenal would collapse

Javier Mascherano insists Barcelona never worried during Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Arsenal as they knew Arsene Wenger's men would be unable to keep up their high level until the final whistle.

Arsenal caused the Catalans plenty of trouble in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie at the Emirates Stadium, but they ended up empty handed as Lionel Messi struck twice after the break to all but send Barca into the quarter-finals.

"We knew that Arsenal couldn't maintain the intensity of the first few minutes," Mascherano was quoted as saying by The Mirror.

"We knew that sooner or later we would find them disorganised at the back

"And in the end that’s how it was. We seized the moment and we've taken a great victory that allows us to face the future with greater optimism."

Barcelona defend a two-goal lead in the return at Camp Nou on March 16, but Mascherano has warned they cannot afford to relax just yet.

"Clearly we've done a good job but I still don’t think it's definite," he added.

"Arsenal are a team with a lot of quality that can make life difficult for anyone."