Skip to main content

Wenger, Arsenal search for balance

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is eager for his team to find the right balance between attack and defence in their Champions League first leg against Barcelona.

The Premier League title contenders face the daunting task of Barca in the last 16, with the first leg to be played at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Wenger said he understood the difficulties awaiting his side, particularly when it came to their approach at home.

"I think we will score. I cannot go into a game and think I will just play for a 0-0. It is against my nature," the Frenchman said.

"We need to find the right balance between being audacious – because that is what you will need – and being strong defensively as a unit.

"Barcelona is a very offensive team so you have to try to score against them because, if they have a vulnerability, like we have, it is defensively."

The last time Arsenal kept a clean sheet at home in the knockout stages of the Champions League was in March 2012, when they beat AC Milan 3-0.

Wenger said conceding in front of their home fans could be costly.

"Recently we always made it difficult for ourselves by conceding goals at home and basically the rules of the modern European Cup encourage you to defend at home and attack away because of the importance of the away goal," he said.

"Many times I said that should be suppressed because if you concede a goal at home in the Champions League it is a knife in your heart every time. Against big, big teams it becomes very difficult."