After praising his team’s second half fight-back against an astonishingly good Barcelona last night Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed he didn’t see the entire first forty-five minutes.

When questioned about how it felt to witness his side embarrassed and chasing shadows like a Hank Marvin groupie until the break he replied ‘I did not see the incident. My vantage point was not very good so I moved at half-time. After that I saw everything very clearly.’

The Frenchman, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Professor Yaffle from Bagpuss, is renowned for his selective eyesight but usually such instances are reserved for isolated leg-stamps and acts of thuggery by his team. This is the first known occasion when blindness has occurred for half the duration of a match.

‘I believe we started very well. Or so I’ve been told’ he slyly smirked. ‘Fabregas controlled the midfield very well and Messi and co were subdued and could not play their normal passing game at all. In fact, I was astounded to find out we were losing but it was probably all the referees fault. It usually is.’

'Come closer so I can see you'

Barca’s president Sandro Rosell was said to be outraged by the comments and has promised to provide the entire Arsenal coaching staff with the best seats in the Nou Camp and a pair of binoculars each for the return leg.

‘We are…how do you say?….going to batter them yes?’ he pledged to a throng of Catalan pressmen.