In the face of three games without victory, Barcelona have yet again truncated Pep Guardiola’s hope of victory, as Manchester City lost to the Spaniards on Wednesday night.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi netted the opener for the Spanish giants in a much expected tough UEFA Champions League showdown at the Camp Nou.
Efforts by the English side to balance the scoreboard in the first half proved abortive, but led to David Silva and Fernandinho getting a yellow card apiece.
As City’s Claudio Bravo bagged a straight red card, Messi showed his former coach that he was ready for the face-off, as he netted a brace in the second half (making it a hat-trick for the football legend).
Despite Guardiola’s familiarity with the hosts, Barcelona took their stand to maintain their home unbeaten record in the Champions League since 2013, as the match ended 4 – 0 with Neymar’s late goal.
The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.
Granit Xhaka says former Gunners Havard Nordtveit, Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos encouraged him to join the “family” atmosphere at Arsenal.
The 23-year-old midfielder arrived in north London as Arsène Wenger’s first signing of the summer, having spent the last four years at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Xhaka says his former Gladbach team-mate Nordtveit and Swiss compatriots Djourou and Senderos talked up the positive atmosphere at the club.
“I spoke with [Nordtveit] about Arsenal and he told me it’s a big club, a family club and it’s very important for me to come here,” Xhaka told Arsenal Player.
“Philippe played here and I play with him in the national team. Johan and Philippe have only told me positive things.
“Arsenal is Arsenal. It’s not a small club, it’s a very big club and it’s like a family. It’s very good for me because I love my family and to have another family here is very good.”
Xhaka progressed through the youth ranks of Mohamed Elneny’s former side Basel, and the 23-year-old says he is looking forward to playing with the Egyptian.
“I know him by name, but when I went to Monchengladbach he came to Basel,” he said. “My brother played with him and I had heard of him before I came here. In Switzerland we produce very good young players and many of these players have come to England. That’s very good.”
Arsenal have completed the signing of Egyptian midfielder, Mohamed Elneny, from FC Basel.
The central midfielder became the first Egyptian to join the club when his transfer was completed on Thursday morning.
Elneny is delighted to be an Arsenal player and the 23-year-old has promised the fans that he will make a positive contribution in North London.
“I am very keen to participate positively with my new team, God willing, indescribable feeling, I am really glad of course,” he told Arsenal Player.
“Arsenal is one of those teams that everyone enjoys watching and of course I would love to play for such a great team.
“Mr Wenger is a highly respected manager and one of the world’s best managers. It is my honour to be trained under his management.
“It is one of the biggest clubs in the world, I know everything about it and its players.
“I would like to tell [the fans] that, although you have not seen much of me, I promise I will contribute positively with the team. I am hoping that we win the Premier League and cup this season, and the Champions League as well.”
The Arsenal manager also believes that “intermediate stay in Europe” will help Elneny to acclimatise to life in London.
“Overall I believe he will be a good addition to the squad,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“First he has not come in straight to a big club, he had an intermediate stay in Europe so the adaptation is less of a question mark.
“He is 23 years old and has already got Champions League, Europa League and Swiss League experience. He is a player who is adaptable in midfield.
“He can be box to box and be a holding midfielder so that is for us very promising. We wanted a versatile player and I wanted a player who can play defensive but can as well play to box to box.
“His strengths are his technical level, his vision, his intelligence, his disciplined attitude and his physical attitude to compete at a high level. I think he has the physical qualities to play at the top level.
“Where he needs to adapt is to the challenges, the force needed in the Premier League to survive. I think that could demand a little bit of adaptation. But overall I think he has all the attributes to do well.”