Olivier Giroud insists Arsenal will not just “throw in the towel” against Barcelona and is confident of upsetting the odds in their Champions League last-16 tie.
Arsenal scraped through the group stages after beating Olympiacos 3-0 in a must-win encounter having lost three of their opening four matches in the competition.
Their reward for doing so was a mouth-watering tie against holders Barca, who are among the favourites to retain the trophy.
Arsenal have failed to go beyond this stage in the past five seasons but France striker Giroud, while recognising the difficulty Arsene Wenger’s men face, insists he and the rest of the team have no fear against the Liga champions and pointed to their victory over Bayern Munich in the group stages as proof they can mix it with the best.
“We are looking forward to playing against Barcelona. The Champions League is always a special occasion, especially against Barcelona.They are the best team in the world and it will be great to measure ourselves against them,” Giroud said at a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s first leg at Emirates Stadium.
“We have to be focused and be 100 per cent together. We need commitment and determination. They sometimes look unstoppable, but we would love to beat them.
“We will not just throw in the towel. We are confident and must play the Arsenal way. We did well at home against Bayern Munich and showed we can beat big teams.
“We want to bring the fans joy. Why would we not be able to win? We can beat them. They are favourites, but we have a lot of quality. We are not favourites, so maybe the pressure is not on us, but we want to do well in front of our fans and in this first leg.
“We have often struggled in first legs in the past, so we must keep our chances alive. We put in a great team performance against Olympiacos earlier this season and we have to show the same commitment and even more because Barcelona will see a lot of the ball.
“We need to be mentally strong and we must try to play our own game.”
The return leg at Camp Nou is scheduled to take place on March 16.
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