Barcelona defender Dani Alves has dug his foot into Arsenal before the second leg of the round of 16 clash of the Champions League at the Nou Camp, stating that the Catalans were happy to have drawn the Gunners because of the north London club's inability to dig out results against big opposition. Arsenal managed to keep Barcelona out in the first half at the Emirates but lapse of concentration in defence allowed Lionel Messi to break through and put the tie almost beyond reach for the Gunners.
Alves has faced Arsenal on two ties before in the Champions League and has progressed into the next round on each occasion. Meanwhile, it is Groundhog Day for the north London club, who have not progressed into the quarter-finals in over six years, falling to better opponents in each of the last few seasons. The run has given rise to frustration among fans, who want Arsene Wenger to bow out after the end of the season.
Alves revealed that it could have been much worse for the Catalans in the draw and are pleased to have been pitted against the Gunners who do not have the mental strength to grind out results against the big teams. The statement runs true looking at Arsenal's run in all competitions; they have been knocked out of the FA Cup and are currently 11 points behind Leicester City in the race for the league title.
"When the draw was made, we knew it could have been tougher for us. That is no reflection on the quality of Arsenal. The quality of the way they play the game and the quality of some of their players is there for all to see," Alves said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"It is a reflection on their experience, character, and mental strengths. There are teams in Europe that don't have the quality that Arsenal have, but you would rather avoid them and play Arsenal — because you know that those teams have experience and character," he added.