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Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (Agg 5-1): Sublime goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi dump Gunners out of Champions League

Published 16/03/2016

Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Luis Suarez (L) of Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mate Jordi Alba (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) celebrates a goal with Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (C) and Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (R) celebrates a goal with Barcelona's defender Jordi Alba during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal's French midfielder Mathieu Flamini (L) vies with Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Luis Suarez (L) of Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mate Jordi Alba (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Neymar of Barcelona runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin (L) and Arsenal's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny (2nd L) vie with Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (C) next to Barcelona's midfielder Andres Iniesta (R) during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Luis Suarez of Barcelona and Nacho Monreal of Arsenal argue during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Arsenal's French coach Arsene Wenger gestures no his bench before the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique (R) speaks to his assistant manager Juan Carlos Unzue before the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez gestures during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Arsenal's Nacho Monreal, right, escapes Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Alex Iwobi of Arsenal shoots at goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez points his finger as he runs during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Arsene Wenger (4th L) Manager of Arsenal is seen on the bench during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi controls the ball prior to shooting to score a goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) celebrates a goal with Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (C) celebrates a goal with teammates during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi gestures after a failed attempt on goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: David Ospina of Arsenal saves a shot by Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Arsenal's forward Danny Welbeck (L) vies with Barcelona's Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: David Ospina of Arsenal saves a shot by Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) vies with Arsenal's Spanish defender Nacho Monreal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
The carpet is rolled out pitchside prior to the players arrival during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: A Steward looks on as the rain falls prior to kickoff during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: A Steward looks on as the rain falls prior to kickoff during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Rain falls prior to kickoff during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Rain falls prior to kickoff during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: The match ball is displayed prior top kickoff during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou on March 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Arsenal have been knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona after losing 3-1 at Camp Nou and 5-1 on aggregate in the last-16 tie.

Having crashed out of the FA Cup following a 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Watford at the weekend and with Leicester now 11 points clear of the Gunners in the Barclays Premier League, Arsene Wenger's side are staring down the barrel of a trophyless season.

Arsenal could not make the impossible possible on Wednesday night as Barcelona's renowned triumvirate all scored to knock the Gunners out .

Many did not give Arsene Wenger's men a prayer given Barcelona's 37-game unbeaten run heading into a contest in which the Gunners needed to score three times to go through.

They put up a spirited fight against a home side who, in truth, played the game largely in second-gear and secured a 3-1 win courtesy of goals from Neymar, Lionel Messi and a sublime Luis Suarez volley - taking the trio's combined goal tally to 106 for the season - with Mohamed Elneny getting Arsenal on the scoresheet.

Wenger had conceded his side needed to achieve the impossible to advance past the round of 16 stage for the first time since 2010 but, despite a brave effort, it was not to be.

The Frenchman opted to play 19-year-old Alex Iwobi instead of Joel Campbell or Theo Walcott, while Danny Welbeck was played up top and Laurent Koscielny returned at the heart of the defence.

Arsenal started with confidence, unlike that of a team that has won just twice in their last eight games, and Welbeck should have done better when played in on goal by Mesut Ozil but the former Manchester United man stumbled and was lucky to win a corner.

Barcelona soon got into their effective stride but it was the visitors who had the next chance, Ozil pouncing on a loose ball in midfield and charging forward before zipping an effort wide of goal from 20 yards, with Elneny following suit soon after.

But Luis Enrique's magicians soon began to weave their magic, Neymar playing a perfectly-weighted, defence-splitting pass in to Messi - who controlled and shot but saw his strike kept out by a fine David Ospina save.

They were soon ahead, however as Koscielny was caught in possession looking to play out from the back and Suarez took full advantage, playing the ball into Neymar, who finished low past Ospina.

Iwobi wanted a penalty just after the half hour mark but was turned down - with Alexis Sanchez missing Arsenal's best opening of the half as he headed Hector Bellerin's cross wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's goal.

After the interval, Arsenal were again on top as Iwobi was played in before seeing his shot blocked behind for a corner before they finally got it right as Sanchez's pass across the area was lashed home by Elneny for the Egyptian's first goal for the club.

Ospina was on hand to keep Arsenal's slim chances alive, again keeping out Messi as he dived to his left to push away an effort from the Argentinian.

A brave block from Javier Mascherano prevented Welbeck getting a shot on ter Stegen's goal as the hopes of the travelling contingent high in the wet Barcelona sky continued to grow.

But it is the hope that kills you - and Suarez finished off the tie with a stunning volley, connecting sweetly with Dani Alves' cross to arrow his strike past a helpless Ospina.

Welbeck hit the bar from an acute angle before he and Iwobi were withdrawn for Walcott and Olivier Giroud - with Sanchez finally working ter Stegen with a well-struck free-kick.

The German stopper also kept out Giroud's follow-up as the visitors pushed for a result on the night but Barcelona were not finished as Messi lifted over Ospina to put the icing on the cake.

Match preview

CAN ARSENAL ACHIEVE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?

Improbably.

Wenger said after the FA Cup defeat to Watford that his side now need to "make the impossible, possible" at the Nou Camp - but Barcelona's record in front of their own fans is utterly formidable.

Arsenal have not made it past this stage of the Champions League since reaching the quarter-finals six years ago and, while Wenger's job of continually qualifying for the tournament - and subsequently getting out of the group stages - this looks like another time where the round of 16 will see the Gunners go.

WILL BARCA TAKE IT SERIOUSLY?

Luis Enrique has certainly insisted it is business as usual.

The Barca coach could have looked to make a few changes - maybe rest Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez to give Arsenal a sporting chance - but he has said he and his players will treat the game with the respect it deserves.

Wanting to extend a record of 37 games unbeaten will also spur on the home side, "37 games without losing is astonishing, and we want to extend it further" - skipper Andres Iniesta said after the 6-0 thrashing of Getafe at the weekend.

SO WHAT ABOUT WENGER?

The Frenchman may feel he is in a lose/lose situation here.

He could, and most likely will, go full strength in the hope his star players can pull off a major upset - but can he risk losing further players to injury?

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil were recalled against Watford and could not inspire a victory so if one were to take a knock in Catalonia, would it be seen as a derailment of the faint hopes the club have of winning the Premier League?

WHO COULD PROVE TO BE AN UNLIKELY ARSENAL HERO?

Virtuoso performances have been hard to come by at the Emirates Stadium since the turn of the year, with even the best of Arsenal's players struggling for form, fitness or both.

Goals have been at a premium as Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott endure struggles, the FA Cup replay against Hull aside, while Sanchez has not looked the same since returning from a hamstring injury.

The Chile international will want to impress against his former club, however, and Ozil always has the ability to conjure up something out of nothing - Danny Welbeck has also looked sharper than many of his team-mates and could be vital to Arsenal's slim chances of progressing.

ARE ALL OF ARSENAL'S PROBLEMS IN ATTACK?

Sadly not.

Per Mertesacker may have said his attacking colleagues are lacking a "killer instinct" in front of goal - but the German World Cup winner and his fellow defenders must shoulder their portion of the blame for recent results.

Both Watford goals shone a light on defensive frailties, while David Ospina will never be deemed as safe a pair of hands as the injured Petr Cech.

Arsenal did well to nullify the threat of Messi, Suarez and Neymar in the home leg - for 70 minutes at least. Then they caved with errors at the back costing them dear, mistakes which simply cannot be repeated on Wednesday night.

Wenger set to go on offensive

Arsene Wenger is ready to send his Arsenal side on the offensive in Barcelona on Wednesday night - but is aware he needs his defence to hold a hex over the Catalan club's magicians.

The Gunners face the reigning Champions League holders at the Nou Camp needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit having lost February's last-16 home leg, with Lionel Messi scoring twice in the second half in London.

Along with fellow attacking talents Luis Suarez and Neymar, the triumvirate have scored 103 goals this season to set Luis Enrique's side on the path to plenty more silverware.

While Wenger cannot call on anyone as prolific as that from among his own ranks, the Frenchman will throw caution to the wind in an all-or-nothing game for Arsenal.

But he will do so knowing one piece of magic from Barcelona's front three, with Enrique famously saying before the Emirates Stadium clash last month that he simply says 'abracadabra' and they produce the goods, could kill any slim hopes the visitors have of reaching the last eight.

"I believe that the key for us will be a solid defensive performance," he said.

"The advantage in our position is that the task is clear. We have to attack. We will do that but the magicians of Barcelona will make sure that we will need a remarkable defensive performance from our side.

"I felt that our approach (in the home leg) was not so bad. We lost our balance a bit just after half-time. We got caught on the counter-attack at a moment where we looked to be on top of the game, so we are in a position where I don't think we have to think too much.

"We are in a position where we need to score two or three goals. We know that we need to attack and take the game to them."

Travelling home after the game having not achieved what many consider to be almost impossible would be another huge dent it what was promising to be a successful campaign for Arsenal.

But, having fallen from top of the Barclays Premier League at the turn of the year to 11 points adrift and being knocked out of the FA Cup by Watford at the weekend, the pressure on Wenger and his position continues to build.

"Look, I have no doubt about my huge motivation," he said.

"The problem when you are a long time somewhere is that you are always questioned about the duration. I personally don't question. I think I give more time to my club now than when I arrived."

Meanwhile, Enrique may have plenty of attacking options - but the Spaniard is wary of the threat posed by former Barcelona man Alexis Sanchez on his return to the Nou Camp.

Asked if the Chile international may have extra motivation coming up against the side he left for Arsenal 2014, Enrique replied: "Yes there is no doubt about it.

"It would be better for Alexis to answer the question but I'm sure it is a stimulus, he was here for three seasons.

"He is a very important player for Arsenal and also for his national team, he is a quality player and is very fast.

"I think he improved when he came to Barcelona in his way of playing and we have to be careful."

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