You may know the former Arsenal players that have worn the Barça shirt. But here are some things you may not know about the North London club... / FCB

As excitement mounts for the Champions League last sixteen match (Tuesday 8.45pm CET), here’s a selection of things that you might not know about the North Londoners.

Young guns

Arsenal were formed in 1886 by workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, hence the name (although they were originally called Dial Square) and also hence the nickname (the Gunners). Curiously, in the early 20th century there was also a club based in Barcelona called Futbol Club Arsenal. There was no connection, although the Catalan team was also named after a local arsenal.

Longevity kings

Despite misguided claims to the contrary, there is no club that has never been relegated out of the English top flight. Arsenal finished bottom of the First Division in 1913, but have been back every season since 1919, the longest run for any team.

Elected back

When Arsenal did re-join the First Division in 1919, following a four-year hiatus due to the First World War, they had only finished fifth in the previous edition of the Second Division. Under circumstances many believe to have been a little bit dodgy, they were voted back into the top flight ahead of other teams … including Tottenham Hotspur, which is claimed to be the origin of their fierce North London rivalry.

On the box

An exhibition match between the Arsenal first and second teams in September 1937 was the first football match to ever be televised live.

And on the silver screen

Very few movies have ever been made about football, but one rare exception is the Arsenal Stadium Mystery. Made in 1939 it tells the story of a suspected murder at the old Highbury ground, and features several players and staff members from the period. Apparently it’s surprisingly good!

First meeting

The first ever meeting between Barça and Arsenal was for a friendly in October 1973, part of a series of matches arranged to pay for the transfer of Johan Cruyff. Barça won 1-0 with a goal from Juanito. The sides also met later that season in a testimonial played in honour of Gunners legend George Hamilton. Barça won 3-1 at Highbury.

Lucho scores

Barça never played a competitive match at Highbury. When the clubs met in the Champions League group stage in 1999/00, Arsenal played their home games at Wembley and after that moved to the new Emirates ground. Barça’s first official goal against Arsenal, in a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou that season, was scored by none other than Luis Enrique!

Long service

Arsène Wenger, the first foreign coach to win the English Premiership title back in 1998, is the longest serving manager in any of the top four divisions of English football. He’s currently in his 20th season at the club (Paul Tisdale of Exeter City is next on the list). But did you know that the Frenchman has an asteroid named after him? He does, and it's called 33179 Arsènewenger.

Topping Tottenham

St Totteringham's Day celebrates the date when local rivals Tottenham Hotspur can no longer finish above Arsenal in the Premiership table. Believed to date back to 2002, the idea didn’t even exist the last time Spurs placed higher than the Gunners in 1995. Although with the teams currently tied on 51 points each, this season the champagne might be staying in the fridge.

Famous fans

Arsenal have no shortage of famous supporters including, allegedly, HRH The Queen herself. One of the many is Alan Davies, the permanent panellist on the BBC’s popular QI programme. He’s only missed the show once, and that was in 2006 when he was at the Champions League Final between Arsenal and FC Barcelona instead.

Hooray Henry

David O’Leary holds the record for the most games for Arsenal (722 appearances from 1975 to 1993), while the club’s record goalscorer is Thierry Henry, who scored 226 goals for the Gunners (and 36 for FC Barcelona, of course). Curiously, though, the great Frenchman never scored in a major final for any of his clubs.

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