Club Focus – Barcelona – Arsenal victory sets yet more records for Guardiola’s team

Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Arsenal on Tuesday saw Pep Guardiola’s current crop work the club’s historians and statisticians once more, as they set another record. La Blaugrana reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the fourth season in succession in addition to scoring their 900th goal in international competitions.

Since 2007/08, the Catalans have reached the quarter-finals in successive seasons, a feat shared (to date) with Manchester United. While Barca’s passage through is already assured, United’s game next week against Marseille will determine whether they will share the honour with the Catalans. Had Arsenal knocked out Guardiola’s side, then they would have also achieved the feat of four consecutive quarter-final appearances.

The last time Barca failed to win a Last-16 tie was in 2006/07 when Liverpool knocked out the reigning champions on away goals courtesy of a 2-1 win in the Camp Nou. An Eidur Gudjohnsson strike at Anfield was not enough to see Frank Rijkaard’s charges through.

After stealing most of the headlines on Wednesday morning, Lionel Messi can also boast an individual record of his own. He has now scored in every Last-16 tie over the last four seasons: one against Lyon and a brace of goals against Celtic, Stuttgart and of course Arsenal. Seven of Barca’s nineteen goals at this stage: around 40% of the club’s total, a truly monumental contribution.

The Argentine and his contemporaries saw the club’s total number of goals in international competition tick over the 900 mark on Tuesday, finishing the night on 902. Fittingly, it was Messi’s superbly crafted opener that was the 900th strike.

The Catalans have taken just 467 games to reach the landmark and for the loss of just 479 goals. A breakdown of the numbers is as follows: Barca have scored a massive 412 goals in the European Cup and its re-vamped successor the Champions League and 178 in the now defunct Cup Winners Cup. Having yet to play in the re-branded Europa League, they have notched 149 goals in the UEFA Cup and 141 in its predecessor the Fairs Cup.

Of the less high-profile European trophies, they have scored ten in the Super Cup and two in the Fairs Cup Grand Final. Internationally, they have nine goals to their name in the World Club Cup and just one goal in the Intercontinental Cup.

Under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola, Barcelona have scored 69 of those goals, over half of the last 100. A true testament to the development of La Blaugrana under the current incumbent when one considers that the 800th goal was scored just over fifteen months before his appointment: Rafael Marquez scoring in the World Club Cup semi-final win over America of Mexico.

Sunday evening sees a return to La Liga action for the Catalans. A trip to Sevilla, themselves in the hunt for a European place, will be no easy task as they look to keep rivals Real Madrid at arms’ length in the title race.

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