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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Song eyes Arsenal showdown

ESPN staff

Barcelona midfielder Alex Song believes it would be "very special" for him to take on former club Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16, claiming the La Liga leaders would eliminate the Gunners if given the chance.

Song's comments echo those of fellow ex-Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who is also hoping to take on his former club in Europe's elite club competition.

The draw for the last 16 will take place in Switzerland on Thursday, and Song has no doubt who he would prefer Barcelona to face.

"Of course, I would like to play against Arsenal," Song is quoted as saying in The Sun.

"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, go back to the club, even though if we go there it will be to get the best result possible.

"Arsenal's a big club, but I think Barcelona's 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. I saw a lot of people come and a lot of people go at Arsenal."

Song, meanwhile, declared Arsenal fans must give manager Arsene Wenger more time to mould his new-look squad into Premier League title contenders.

"It hurts to see them now because the Arsenal players have talent and potential," he said. "Given all that manager Arsene Wenger has done there I don't think it's normal that the situation is the way it is today.

"New players have come in and you have to give them time to adapt - and I think that when they have adapted, things will be better."

The Cameroon international insists Barcelona have not yet wrestled the La Liga crown back off rivals Real Madrid, despite holding a nine-point lead over second-placed Atletico.

"Everything's going well at the moment as we have started the season well," he explained. "You can't say the league title's already in our pocket, but we've taken a big step. We're playing well but we can't afford to drop points.

"I had some great times at Arsenal but I think it was the moment for me to change, to see something else, given the fact I had the opportunity to come to Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world.

"I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I'm getting there step-by-step. Now when the coach gives me the chance to show what I can do, I have to seize the opportunity.

"Barcelona are a team of champions, I think there will be opportunities here. I have five years left on my contract and I know I have to work hard.

"It's up to me to show what I can do. I've improved enormously. I've been here four months and, honestly, I'm seeing the changes.

"The fact I'm working with them every day in training, I think, as a player, I will go on to have even more credibility with regards to the season I had last year.

"You have to be here to experience it. We work enormously hard in training, every day we work hard to practise closing down, short passes and movement.

"When the day of the match comes people think it's easy, but there's nothing easy about it. We work hard."




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