Arsenal's defence not afraid of Barcelona trio, says Ozil

LONDON: Arsenal's defence do not fear Barcelona's prolific front three, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, and are keen to test themselves against the world's best players in the last 16 of the Champions League, midfielder Mesut Ozil said.

Arsenal paid the price in the draw, after they finished second in their group, and now face the holders for the third time in six years, having been knocked out by them on the previous two occasions.

Messi, Neymar and Suarez have scored 52 goals between them in all competitions so far, and former Real Madrid man Ozil said it would be tough, but exciting, to face the side again in February and March.

"Barcelona are the hardest team in the world to play against. Barcelona are the best team at the moment in the world. We know that," Ozil told the Times newspaper.

"But as a player I look forward to encounters like this. For me it is important to have these big games, it's nice to play against the best teams; to compete with them is a big opportunity for us.

"We respect Barcelona but they will respect us too. We are not afraid of Barcelona. We just need to play our game and we can beat them. There is no fear. In football everything's possible.

"It is a tough match but I don't think our defenders were afraid after the draw. It's a big opportunity for them to prove themselves against the best attack in the world, players like Suarez, Messi, Neymar.

"It will be an exciting game, with the possibility of lots of goals, but it's not like we are afraid," he added.