Javier Mascherano has revealed he and his Barcelona teammates knew Arsenal wouldn't be able to cope with the La Liga champs for the entirety of their round of 16 first-leg match at the Emirates on Tuesday, but has cautioned the tie has not yet been decided.
Barcelona put on a patient performance in their 2-0 defeat of Arsene Wenger's side, waiting until the second half to pick off the Gunners with a pair of goals from a brilliant Lionel Messi.
The two teams are no strangers to Champions League clashes with each other. However the Catalan giants have experienced a one-sided rivalry with Premier League outfit, eliminating Arsenal in the 2006, 2010 and 2011 editions of the competition.
Speaking a day after Barcelona's most recent triumph, in which a resolute Arsenal stood firm for long stretches, the Barcelona defender said it was always a matter of when, not if, their opponents would lose their way in defence.
"We knew that Arsenal couldn't maintain the intensity of the first few minutes," Mascherano told the The Mirror on Wednesday.
"We knew that sooner or later we would find them disorganised at the back
"And in the end that's how it was. We seized the moment and we've taken a great victory that allows us to face the future with greater optimism."
Though confident of Arsenal's eventual collapse on Tuesday, Mascherano did warn that he and his teammates can't take March 16th's second leg for granted, despite Barca's commanding advantage.
"Clearly we've done a good job but I still don't think it's definite," Mascherano continued.
"Arsenal are a team with a lot of quality that can make life difficult for anyone."