Messi class rises to the top as Barcelona prove too much for Arsenal

The Gunners played well in stretches but it wasn't enough

Messi class rises to the top as Barcelona prove too much for Arsenal

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, second right, takes a shot on goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates stadium London, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Arsenal face a tall order to reach the Champions League quarter-finals after reigning champions Barcelona defeated them at the Emirates. 

Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half to secure a 2-0 win for the Catalans and leave Arsenal with a difficult trip to the Nou Camp if they wish to salvage a result. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has wasted the best opportunity for the home side when he shot tamely at the Barca goalkeeper during a gutsy first-half display from the Gunners.

Barcelona have had several chances either side of half-time, with Luis Suarez heading wide from close range before the break before Neymar shot straight at Petr Cech when he was put through on goal.

But Barcelona were far less lenient after the break with break being the operative term.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (10) celebrates with teammates Luis Suarez (left) Neymar (centre) and Ivan Rakitic after scoring his sides first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture by: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images

With Arsenal piling forward, Barcelona broke up the field at pace with Luis Suarez and Neymar exchanged passes between each other before squaring for Messi to stroke home.

Suarez hit the post minutes later but Messi made sure of a 2-0 advantage after sub Mathieu Flamini brought him down inside the box.

The Argentina captain dusted himself off and beat Petr Cech from the spot.