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Feb 18, 2014

Wenger: Barca '09-11 the 'best I've seen'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested the Bayern Munich class of 2014 are no match for Barcelona team Pep Guardiola guided to Champions League success on two occasions.

 

Arsene Wenger believes the great Barcelona European Cup-winning sides of 2009 and 2011 were the best he's ever faced.
Arsene Wenger believes the great Barca European Cup-winning sides of 2009 and 2011 were the best Arsenal's ever faced.

Wenger's Gunners were beaten by the Barcelona side who reigned as European champions in 2009 and 2011 as well as the Bayern Munich team that won the biggest prize in European club football last season, but he is clear which of the two teams impressed him most.

 

Ahead of his re-match with a Bayern side now led by ex-Barca coach Guardiola, Wenger has offered up a fascinating comparison of the two teams that have dominated the European game in recent years.

 

"I was most impressed by the Barcelona team at the peak, through the speed of their passing and the speed of their game," Wenger told reporters.

 

"The first time we played them at the Emirates (March 2010), the first half an hour was the best I've seen. Hopefully I will not have the same impression on Wednesday night. Until now, in my experience, in my life, that's the best team I've played against."

 

Arsenal held on to draw 2-2 with the Catalans in the Champions League quarter-final first leg that Wenger refers to, before being eliminated 6-3 on aggregate following a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp, in which Lionel Messi scored all four goals.

 

Speaking before Barcelona's impressive display against Manchester City on Tuesday, Wenger suggested it would be wrong to write off Tata Martino's Spanish league leaders in this season's Champions League.

 

"They are not finished," was Wenger's verdict on Barcelona. "They still won the championship in Spain [last season] The consensus of opinion adapts always to the last result. I don't think they are finished.

 

"They have Neymar, Messi, they have [Cesc] Fabregas, [Andres] Iniesta. They are not average players. They are top-class players. They can surprise everybody again this season."

 

Meanwhile, Wenger suggested the Bayern side his team will face on Wednesday are not an improved model of the team that overcame Arsenal at the same stage of the Champions League a year ago.

 

"Last year they won the German league, the German Cup, the Champions League and the [Club] World Cup," he added. "How can they improve?

 

"Maybe in the style there is always room for improvement, but if they just do the same achievements this season they can say they have improved, because it's more difficult to do it again."

 

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