Charlie Nicholas makes his prediction for Arsenal vs Barcelona

By on February 23, 2016
Alexis Sanchez

Image: Mirror

Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas has made his prediction for tonight’s huge Champions League clash with Barcelona and is expecting an entertaining game at the Emirates.

We welcome the Catalan giants to North London in the first leg of our last-16 tie and most aren’t giving us much hope of stopping the defending European champions, with some ‘fans’ even suggesting we might as well throw in the towel before a ball is kicked.

Nicholas, who played over 150 times for Arsenal between 1983 and 1987, is understandably concerned about the threat posed by Messi, Suarez and Neymar but he feels Arsenal are going to have a go at the Spaniards to try and expose their own defensive frailties.

Like the rest of us, Nicholas is looking forward to what should be an enthralling game between two attacking teams and feels that it will end 2-2 tonight with Alexis Sanchez getting on the score-sheet against his former club.

In his column with Sky Sports, ‘Champagne Charlie’ wrote:

“I’ll be a nervous wreck in the Sky Sports studio every time either Lionel Messi, Neymar or Luis Suarez get the ball and the fans at the Emirates will feel the same.

They are probably the best three in the world. I include Cristiano Ronaldo in that and I genuinely think they’ll be the three competing for the Ballon d’Or next season, they’ve been that good.

You get to the stage where you wonder how on earth you even begin to plan to stop them. Do you put two holding midfielders in? Well that means you’re never going to attack and the one thing we know is that Barca do leak goals.

I think Arsenal know they need to take a risk and go for it. What would be a comfortable result to take to the Camp Nou? Is 3-0 even enough to make them favourites to go through?

Olivier Giroud has to have a right go at Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano, Alexis Sanchez will be up for playing his old club and it’s another chance for Mesut Ozil to show he can shine among the stars. However, it’s Petr Cech that I’m really hoping will show just how important he is.

Whatever happens I will enjoy it in a strange way as Barcelona are just the best team on the planet right now and a pleasure to watch every time they walk on a football pitch.

I’m expecting them to get a result which will leave them as huge favourites, and I do like Sky Bet’s 6/1 for Sanchez and Suarez both to score.

Charlie predicts: 2-2

A 2-2 draw would no doubt be an entertaining affair, but it would leave us with it all to do heading to the Nou Camp for the second leg. We’d either have to somehow win over in Spain over score at least 2 in a draw.

Would you take a 2-2 draw tonight? I certainly wouldn’t. We simply have to win, and ideally with a clean sheet, to stand any chance of progressing.

However, we’re the huge underdogs so let’s just enjoy the game as this is what the Champions League should be all about…..

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