Remember all the hemming and hawing about Arsenal not making it out of the group stages, and how Arsenal had to work their asses off to get out of the group? Well, they did, and their reward, as usual, is one of the giants of the competition - and of Europe, of course - Barcelona. This is the third time in six years Arsenal have faced the Catalan team - certainly less than they've faced Hull City, but still a lot.
Barcelona are cruising through the league this year, eight points ahead of Atletico Madrid and nine in front of Real Madrid. Why are they cruising? Well, when three of your attacking options are Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar, you'd have to have a team full of idiots to not be able to capitalize on that, and Barcelona are anything but that. The scary thing with Barca is their continuity; Messi may be nearing 30, but Neymar's only 24 and just now rounding into prime form, which...wow.
Anyway, enough about the opposition. Arsenal came through the scoreless Hull draw with no additional injuries, which is good, and the resting of Özil and, for the majority of the game, Sanchez and Giroud means that Arsene will have a full, first-choice squad to choose from tomorrow.
I believe that a full strength Arsenal side has the horses to run with Barcelona; my main question is do they have their shooting boots. Barca have scored 67 goals in 25 La Liga matches to this point, which is 26 more than Arsenal (and, for context, 19 more than Leicester City) in one fewer game. If Arsenal can't find goals, this could be a long 180 minutes of football, because there is almost no chance they'll prevent Barca from scoring at all.
But enough of that pessimism. The first leg is at home, which after the quick turnaround from Saturday is a good thing; let's hope Arsenal can turn that advantage into something positive.