Arsene Wenger hopes that Lionel Messi fails to overcome his “complex” about scoring past Petr Cech when Arsenal take on Barcelona on Tuesday.
Cech revealed in an interview in December that he was proud to have kept out the Argentina star on all eight occasions they had faced off.
And Wenger, who hailed Messi’s achievement of reaching the 300-goal mark in La Liga against Sporting Gijon, is banking on history repeating itself as his side aim to knock the holders out of the Champions League.
“I’ve seen many strikers in my life but I’ve never seen a record like that,” he said of Messi reaching 301 goals in 334 league matches. “I hope that [Messi’s failures against Cech] will give Petr Cech confidence.
“We played a final against Barcelona in 2006 and that’s where he started to have a reputation. It’s remarkable what he has achieved. But I hope he has a little complex tomorrow and that history plays against him.
“I know they have exceptional talent but the only way to stop them is collectively. Let’s not forget we have a good defensive record and a great goalkeeper as well.”
The 66-year-old claimed his preparation has been centred on raising the Gunners’ belief in their chances against a team which he described as close to perfection.
“It’s more difficult to prepare against Hull City because, against Barcelona, everyone is naturally more focused,” he explained, with Arsenal having been held at home in the FA Cup on Saturday.
“They are super-favourites, but against Hull it was about raising the energy level and convincing everyone it’s a difficult game.
“We have to be totally focused tomorrow to have a chance and I try to raise belief and confidence.
“Our world is not perfect, no team is perfect. They’re not far from it, I must say, but we have to use every moment in the game where we have a chance to score. We didn’t make a lot of the ball against Hull. You have to do more with it against Barcelona.
“Offensively, they have top, top strikers. They maybe have a little less possession than when we had the first game. Xavi always allowed them possession.
“They have a team who can score at any moment. Even when they are dominated they are dangerous. They were suffering at 1-1 in the final last season and scored, and that’s when they are dangerous.”
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