Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must avoid giving away ‘stupid fouls and red cards’ if they are to stand a chance of beating Barcelona in the Champions League.
The Gunners’ disciplinary record against the Camp Nou outfit suggests that’s easier said than done…
Arsenal beat the Catalan side 2-1 when the teams last met at the Emirates five years ago only to get turned over 3-1 in the second leg; a match that saw Robin van Persie given a second yellow card for shooting at goal after the referee had blown for an offside. The boss was later handed a three-game ban by UEFA for comments made about the referee in the aftermath of the defeat.
The Dutchman’s red card wasn’t the first sustained by an Arsenal player against Barcelona. Gilles Grimandi was sent off for an elbow on Pep Guardiola in an away draw in 1999 and Jens Lehmann was infamously dismissed in the 2006 Champions League final for fouling Samuel Eto’o after just 18 minutes.
Barcelona’s only red card against Arsenal came in the 2-2 draw at the Emirates in 2010 when Carles Puyol fouled Cesc Fabregas to concede a penalty that the midfield scored.
The need for Arsenal to maintain discipline is all the more important with Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil just a yellow card away from a one-game suspension.
Our German midfield maestro was involved in several feisty encounters with Barcelona while on the books at Real Madrid, on one occasion – in the 2011 Super Cup – being dragged from the pitch by teammates after a stoppage time red card.
Nacho Monreal has also been sent off playing for Malaga in a Copa del Rey tie at Barcelona in January 2013.
Stats courtesy of UEFA.com.