BARCELONA, Sporting Alert – Arsenal will welcome back defender Laurent Koscielny from injury for Wednesday’s difficult Champions League round of 16 second-leg tie at Barcelona.

The English Premier League powerhouses enter this game down 2-0 and will need every bit of help they can get as they seek to pull off an unlikely upset against the defending champions.

Koscielny had been sidelined with a calf injury, but the Frenchman is back and replaces Calum Chambers in the matchday squad.

Barcelona are expected to beat Arsenal on Wednesday night and book their place in the quarter-finals and Koscielny believes the lack of pressure heading into the game could benefit the Gunners.

The centre-back still has hopes of turning around the tie, although admitting that on current form, the travelers may only have a “five-percent chance” of advancing.

“We don’t have pressure like in the first game, because we play against the best team in the world,” the defender said on

“Now we need to play the second leg away at Barca and we have nothing to lose. People always talk about the statistics and I think we have maybe a five-percent chance to qualify.

“You know when you play against the best players in the world, the best team with a good collective side, it’s very important for us. It can be very important if we can have a [good] result.

“They have a lot of quality, they can have a lot of possession during the game and when they accelerate with their top players, they create chances.

“We need to play with freedom and believe in our quality because we did well during the first six months of this season. I don’t see why we can’t [play like that] against Barcelona and for the rest of the season.

“You know we are in a difficult period and we need to stay like a unit to be stronger. We will fight until the end of the season.”

Arsenal head into this game with a number of injury worries, including midfielders Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Jack Wilshere (leg), Tomas Rosicky (thigh), Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both knee) and goalkeeper Petr Cech (calf).

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Arsenal Provisional squad: Ospina, Macey, Monreal, Gibbs, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Flamini, Ozil, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud.


Walter Hoyos joins SportingAlert as contributor for Spanish football and the Spain national team. I like to travel, one of the favourite things on my list, but I also like to just spend time with family and friends when I am not covering football games. Hope to dump into some of my readers some day.

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