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The Gunners forward is remaining calm at the prospect of facing the Liga champions in Europe but says it would not be a surprise if his side did not advance

Olivier Giroud claims it would not be a shock for Arsenal lose to Barcelona, labelling their Champions League last-16 opponents as the "best team".

The Gunners have exited the competittion at the first knockout stage in each of the last five seasons, and despite their impressive league form this season - Arsenal are third and three points off top spot - their French striker remains doubtful of achieving progression to the next stage.

Giroud downplayed the prospect of the north Londoners' possible elimination, stating his awe at Barcelona's squad.


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"We are happy to play big games. Barca is in great shape and his players are impressive," he told Canal+.

"It is not for nothing that this is the best team. If one loses against them, it will not be a scandal ". 

While specifying that beating the Catalans would be a real feat, Giroud says the ambition of his London team is to play thoroughly in all the matches in which they compete.

"[this season] We put the oil in the engine," he continued. "It gets to be effective. [The team] has the size to go as far as possible in every competition."

Giroud has scored 18 goals in 30 matches this season, and the 29-year-old former Montpellier attacker feels he has produced the most consistent form of his career this campaign.

"This is my best season. It is engaged at the moment," he said. "I hope to continue like this and beat my record in the league, which is 16 goals. If I put a small score, it might help the team to win the title."

Arsenal host Barcelona at Emirates Stadium on February 23 before the return leg at Camp Nou on March 16. 

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