Kenny Cunningham on whether Wenger should risk his key players in the Barca return leg

Arsenal are 2-0 down heading to the Nou Camp with other priorities on the horizon

BY Raf Diallo 22:00 Tuesday 23 February 2016, 22:00 23 Feb 2016

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears dejected after Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores his side's second goal (Picture by: John Walton / EMPICS Sport)

Former Ireland centre-back Kenny Cunningham thinks resting a couple of his key players in the second leg against Barcelona may be something Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will contemplate.

A 2-0 deficit tonight leaves Arsenal with an uphill task ahead of the next game at the Nou Camp and with the Gunners also challenging for the Premier League and FA Cup, Wenger may have to prioritise.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there are one or two players in the back of Wenger's mind he thinks 'I can't do without these players in the title run in,'" Kenny told Off The Ball, giving Francis Coquelin as a player who can be rested with Mathieu Flamini coming into the team in his stead.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, No 12, has his shirt ripped as he falls by Barcelona's Javier Mascherano 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 did have chances during tonight's first leg with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud spurning opportunities to score and get into great positions for assists.

Kenny felt Giroud's skills linking up the play up front let him down tonight.

"When you're working so hard and you feed it into your No 9 and he gives it away as cheaply as that or takes the wrong option, that's really disheartening. That hurt Arsenal a little bit this evening," said Kenny, although he felt Barcelona's highly regarded front three were not as excellent as usual overall.


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