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The Frenchman revealed at his press conference how the current Spanish leaders would be his least-desired opposition but still feels his side would have a chance of winning

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes to avoid Barcelona when the draw for the Champions League last 16 is made on Thursday.

The draw for the first knockout round of this year's competition takes place on Thursday and the Gunners will hope to avoid a meeting with the Catalan giants for the third time in four years.

Alex Song previously revealed his desire to face his former club - after leaving Arsenal for Camp Nou during the summer - but Wenger is after a different challenge his term.

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"If you give me the choice, I would rather avoid Barcelona," he told reporters at a press conference.

"No-one is keen to play Barca. But if we draw them we still have a good chance."

Arsenal could face another Spanish outfit in the form of Malaga, who Wenger snapped up Santi Cazorla from in the summer due to financial problems at the Andalucian club - a move that club manager Manuel Pellegrini called "a blunder" earlier on Thursday.

The Frenchman believes the La Liga side's turnaround in fortunes has been impressive and pointed to the statistic that just a handful of the sides who made it this far last year have done the same in this current campaign.

He said: "Malaga are a big surprise, they were a club in big disarray in July. Uefa say out of the last 16 only five teams made that stage last season. It shows how things can change."

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