Wilshere: We have to be 'nasty'
Jack Wilshere admits Arsenal must alter their approach and be "a bit nasty" when they face Barcelona in the Champions League at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Spanish champions also visited North London last season in the competition and in the first leg at Emirates Stadium produced what coach Pep Guardiola described as the best 45 minutes of football during his time at the club.
While the first half of the quarter-final first leg finished 0-0, and Arsenal managed to secure a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes, Barca blew the Gunners away in the second leg when Lionel Messi scored all four in a 4-1 win at Camp Nou.
As the first leg of this season's second round fast approaches, Wilshere says Arsenal have learned from their chastening experience last season and will replicate Barca's high-intensity pressing and unsettle the Catalans.
"We've got to change our game a bit to play against Barcelona," Wilshere said. "We'll learn from last year, we need to get in their faces and win the ball back, and if you like be a bit nasty with them. And when we've got the ball we have to keep it.
"Barcelona were great last year, especially in the first half at the Emirates. That's the game that we want to play, and they played us at our own game and they were brilliant.
"I watch Barcelona playing in La Liga and I watch Xavi and Iniesta just run games. That's what I want to learn from and do myself. Barcelona are definitely my favourite other team to watch. They play like Arsenal and try to keep the ball, like we try to do."
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has predictably been the centre of attention in recent days given he told Arsene Wenger he wanted to return to his former club over the summer, only to see Barcelona fail with two offers. But Wilshere says the repeated speculation about Fabregas' future does not affect his team-mates.
"Maybe the fans get frustrated with all the talk about Barcelona and Cesc," Wilshere said, "but the players don't think about it because we see Cesc every week and he's focused on Arsenal at the moment. He's doing the business for Arsenal, so that's all we can ask for."
Fabregas scored a penalty in the 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium last season before missing the second leg due to injury. This time he insists Arsenal have nothing to fear when they play a side that has been making strong claims to greatness with their performances under Guardiola.
"We know they are the best team in the world and it is a big task for us," Fabregas said. "We will do our best. We have a young team but one with a lot of quality and energy. We are very motivated."
"We don't have to worry too much about them. We have to play with no fear. Last season in the first half [of the first leg] we respected them too much. We just have to play our game."