Ozil: Arsenal not afraid of Barcelona

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil insists his side do not fear Barcelona ahead of their Champions League round of 16 tie in February.

The Gunners were drawn against newly-crowned Club World Cup champions Barcelona for the fourth time in 10 years and Ozil is confident the London outfit can cause an upset.

"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.

"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."

Arsenal just scraped through the group stage of the European tournament for a record sixteenth consecutive season after losing their first two matches of the campaign.

"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," the German World Cup winner added.

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