Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Song Gunning for Clash with Arsenal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Song Gunning for Clash with Arsenal

Article excerpt

Byline: Duncan Bech

BARCELONA midfielder Alex Song would welcome a return to Arsenal when the Champions League round of 16 draw is made in Nyon this morning.

The Spanish giants are one of six teams Arsene Wenger's group runners-up could face alongside Paris St Germain, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Song (pictured right) swapped the Emirates Stadium for the Nou Camp when he joined the Gunners' exodus during the summer and expects only one outcome if they meet for a place in the quarterfinals.

The 25-year-old said: "Of course I would like to play against Arsenal.

"For me to go back there, where I had seven magnificent years, would be something very special.

"If we draw Arsenal I'd be happy to see the fans again and go back to the club, even though if we go there it will be to get the best result possible.

"Arsenal are a big club, but Barcelona are a level above because of the talent of the players there.

"That's no disrespect to Arsenal because they have talented players, but I think the Barcelona players are above them. I saw a lot of people come and a lot of people go at Arsenal."

Song's desire will not be shared by the Gunners, who will be desperate to avoid a team which has been hailed by some as the greatest of all time.

Having finished second in Group B, the possibilities facing Arsenal are alarming and Wenger will also be anxious to evade last year's beaten finalists Bayern Munich and Serie A leaders Juventus.

Manchester United are the second Barclays Premier League side to make it through to the knockout stages after defending champions Chelsea and Manchester City failed to progress.

Real Madrid may be trailing Primera Division leaders Barcelona by 13 points but they are still the team Sir Alex Ferguson will want to avoid most, knowing only Champions League glory can redeem Jose Mourinho.

Porto, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia and Celtic are the other possibilities, with the latter setting up a fascinating Battle of Britain contest. Celtic defied all expectations to qualify as group runners-up behind Barcelona, in the process securing more points than any other Scottish team in the Champions League pool stages with ten. …

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