Barcelona 3 – 1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

Some top of the mind thoughts after this game are –

It was a heroic effort by the Arsenal players.

The ref completely took the life out of Arsenal in a moment of stupidity.

Barcelona certainly deserved to go through but they would have been seriously tested if the game had been 11v11 till the end. It was amusing to watch Guardiola getting anxious towards the end and waiting for full time.

I’m still tearing my hair out with some of the tactical mistakes, albeit predictable, by Le Boss and his players, the perfect example of which came when, with 90 seconds of stoppage time to go, Wilshere took a free-kick short. I don’t want to blame the youngster who put in a tremendous shift but it does highlight the limitation of Arsenal as a club under Wenger to think about the game in a different way. It was the perfect time to send everyone forward and have Almunia kick one into the mix but they just weren’t prepared for it mentally. I’m not even sure some of them realized what they needed based on the away goals rule.

I don’t want to be too harsh after all the effort that was put in but it was disappointing to see Rosicky on the right and Nasri on the left with Van Persie in the middle.

That meant Arsenal had no pace/threat along the right wing which was one of Barcelona’s weaknesses. It also meant there was a lot more pressure on Nasri as he had to defend against Alves and had to make lung bursting forward runs. Given how close this game was, in terms of qualification and not possession, it leaves me wondering what could have been if Arsene had put Nasri on the right and a more defensive minded player on the left.

While the first half was tight Arsenal didn’t have any, and I mean it literally, attacking opportunities. Apart from the blunder with Rosicky on the right, starting Van Persie added to the woes. That meant Arsenal had no outlet for playing the ball out. The Dutchman wasn’t working the channels and wasn’t able to win much in the air either.

Barcelona created a number of half-chances in the first half but failed to impress creatively despite a lot of possession. Most of their moves were going through Messi but Arsenal were doing a decent job of holding out.

An injury to Szczesny saw Almunia entering the fray early on. It didn’t affect the pattern of play too much.

The game had been a bit edgy with a couple of Arsenal players playing physically in terms of pushing the opponents a bit. Barcelona had Alves who was playacting and tackling rough.

Towards the end of the first half a tough but fair tackle on Wilshere left the youngster in pain. Iniesta probably thought Wilshere was a Barcelona player and was rolling around without any cause so he went to pick him up. This situation led to a coming together of players. I don’t know exactly what went on but we could see Abidal grabbing Van Persie by the throat.

If the ref really wanted to go by the rule book, the defender should have seen Red.

Moments later Van Persie was booked for a shove on Alves as the Brazilian displayed his acting skills once again when he went down clutching his face.

Five minutes were added on for the two injuries and Messi scored in the third of those with a sublime piece of skill to beat Almunia. The chance however, came from an astonishingly careless back-heel by Fabregas who gave the ball away on the edge of the box.

One goal wasn’t going to change much and Arsenal were always in it. Barcelona always give the opponents some chances to score if the other team can get to their penalty box.

Eight minutes into the second half Arsenal got the equalizer after Nasri won a corner with some good work down the left. The Frenchman’s delivery was headed into his own net by Busquets.

It could have been an exciting game after that but for the ref. Van Persie was flagged off-side as the ball was played over to him. The Dutchman controlled the ball and shot on the turn. He was given a second yellow card for playing on after the whistle i.e. time-wasting. Given the number of whistles being blown by the crowd and the fact that the time between the ref’s whistle and the shot was a mere 1 second, it really was a mind-boggling decision.

One could blame Van Persie for the first yellow and for not going down clutching his throat when Abidal grabbed him. Perhaps he will learn from Alves after watching this game again but for now none of it matters.

Arsenal seemed to lose all composure for the next fifteen minutes or so. Barcelona were able to move the ball far too easily and opened the Gunners up time and again. During this period the defence and midfield lost their shape far too often and ended up chasing balls instead of defending spaces.

Almunia kept Arsenal in the game with a number of saves in one-v-one situations proving again that he is among the best in the world at that.

The Spaniard couldn’t keep Xavi’s strike out after it took a deflection. Replays showed that the Keeper had the original shot covered but the deflection and subsequent bounce caught him off guard. The third came from the penalty spot after Koscielny fouled Pedro.

Barcelona created some more chances after that but Almunia was up to the challenge. Arsenal weren’t able to do much with ten men.

Arsene brought Arshavin and Bendtner on for Rosicky and Fabregas but it was too little too late. And with the Gunners not showing any inclination for using their aerial superiority or for making tactical adaptations, the game ended tamely.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the choices of Wenger but that doesn’t reduce the frustration or disappointment. In fact, it only worsens it. Nevertheless, the players deserve a great deal of credit for the effort they put in. In both games Arsenal performed better than they did last season showing clear signs of improvement.

Barcelona will need to do much, much better if they are to get past other tactically more astute sides in this tournament if they want to win it.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Wasn’t really tested during the time he was on the pitch. Got injured saving the only shot that came his way.

Almunia: Made a number of excellent saves. Was beaten by a sublime skill from Messi, a deflection, and a penalty.

Sagna: Struggled under pressure when in possession. Can’t fault him for effort as he maintained the narrow shape and chased as many balls as he could.

Djourou: Made a number of last-gasp tackles. Deserves credit for hard work and concentration.

Koscielny: Similar to Djourou in some ways. Was booked early in the game but did well despite the pressure. His tackle led to the penalty but the team was all over the place at that time.

Clichy: He was the one who played Messi on-side for the first goal but again it’s difficult to blame the defender in such a situation. Did well to deal with Alves and Pedro on most occasions but Barcelona got in behind on the left quite often. Can’t blame Clichy for it as Alves was playing really high up and not having a defensive player there put Clichy under pressure despite the best efforts of Nasri.

It would be easy to blame the back five for conceding three goals and many chances in the second half but I don’t think it’s fair. They won’t face this kind of a pressure again this season so it’s time to move on and focus on the other games.

Diaby: When in possession, wasn’t able to use the ball as well as one might have hoped. His leap did play a part in Busquets scoring an own goal. Did his part in chasing the ball.

Fabregas: Not a good idea to use him in a supposedly advanced role when the team was defending deep and he had no forward looking options. Should have been playing in front of the back four with a couple of players in attacking positions in front of him.

Wilshere: Another heart-warming effort from the youngster. Looked positive when he got the ball.

The midfield put in a solid shift in the first half. They lost their composure after Van Persie was sent off and they didn’t know whether to sit back or to attack. The better option might have been to stay compact at the back and sustain pressure for a while. The lack of an attacking outlet was always going to make life difficult.

Rosicky: Tried hard and was the chief grappler for Arsenal but just wasn’t up to the level of the game.

Van Persie: Needs to control his aggression and channel it in the right manner. Extremely unlucky to be sent off in such a manner.

Nasri: worked tirelessly on the flank but Wenger’s tactics were asking too much off him. Still managed to earn a corner and delivered it in the right area.

Can’t really call these players attackers in such a game. As mentioned earlier, I feel Arsene got key decisions wrong while picking the forward players.

Subs: Arshavin tried but couldn’t do much. Bendtner had one chance but it’s difficult to blame him for missing that as we saw plenty of Barcelona players miss one-v-ones.

While disappointing and undoubtedly frustrating, this game or the result should not be seen negatively. No one gave Arsenal a chance when the draw was made so the players should be credited for the effort put in despite playing an unnatural style against a better team with a real footballing genius in their ranks.

101 Responses to Barcelona 3 – 1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Phv says:

    Bendtner’s miss in the end was an absolutely disgrace. It was not really a miss because he could not even control the ball from a simple pass. He is simply not good enough at the highest level. He has scored some fantastic goals but in general his all-around game is simply not up to scratch.He is too hit and miss. I wonder why Wenger gives him so many chances when Vela looks like a real Arsenal player-Great pace, great first touch, movement, dribbling……

    • Northbanksy says:

      In the 2006 Barca / Arsenal CL final (also 11 V’s 10) Thiery Henry missed a couple of straight “one on ones” with the keeper which were much easier goal scoring chances. Does this mean that Henry wan’t good enough to play at this level?

      • Phv says:

        He was getting older

      • samir nasri says:

        it’s good to see a blog with mostly optimistic comments for this one.

        for me, it was a joke. i’m not saying we would have won

        but we had our chance stolen, i hope we can fight for the league now. for the players sake we need a trophy

        again (and it’s been a common trend of late) the fans and supporters that roam the internet disappoint me in every way possible

      • amband says:

        Bentner makes a national sport of missing “sitters”. That’s the difference

  2. Greencard usa says:

    Very difficult game to watch; Arsenal bore little resemblance to the team we are accustomed to watch. Not sure any player can be satisfied with either individual or collective effort. Tactics aside, did we give Barca too much superiority in value and talent? We did not seem to fight much on the field. Yes we stopped Barca quite often but did little to play our own game.

    • Tee Song says:

      It did seem like we lost almost all the 50-50 balls and even lost possession against a single Barca defender. Like I said below, nerves. Or as Arsene likes to say, playing with the handbrake on.

  3. Tee Song says:

    Firstly, Barca upped their game compared to the Emirates. I thought the defenders had pretty good games overall, actually. If you’re going to start Rosicky, why not switch Nasri and him. I think Wenger was going for more defensive solidity but you’re asking you’re most effective offensive threat to track back. Have Rosicky deal with Alves and put Nasri on the right. Our main problem was never being able to break out of the initial defensive block when we did win possession. Players didn’t show for the ball and when they did receive, couldn’t keep it. Defenders were forced to kick it long themselves or back to goal for a long kick. It was simply a lack of composure, partially as a result of Barca’s intense pressing but also I thought big game nerves. Neither RvP nor Cesc seemed fit which contributed to their poor showings. The big miss here was Walcott. The ref sucked, but given the performances I doubt it made that big of a difference.

  4. WC says:

    You know you say you can’t fault Clichy for playing Messi on side for the goal but quite a few significant goals against us have come from him playing opponents on side. Remember it was he who did not step up for Villa goal in the first leg. Granted Cesc screwed up big time with the stupid pass but everyone else pushed up, except Clichy. I’m not singling him out, just pointing out fact.

    We missed Alex Song dreadfully and Rosicky continues to add nothing to this team. Song and Wilshere were desperately needed together to hunt down the Barca midfield. We definitely need another quality CM to rotate with Song – Denilson and Diaby are both mediocre players and I’ve been saying that for years.

    • veskovp says:

      Totally agree, Diaby today played with confidence but however whatever he does is never good enough. No strength , not physical presence, no speed, no pass loses the ball in 75 % of the time. As I said before Diaby and Denislon can play with teams in bottom 6 in PL , but not in the CL. So good effort from the guys , I would not say bad word for anybody. Playing with 10 men against this Barca team no team could take result. I just do not understand until when we are going to be screwed from the refs. In CL final, when Lehman was sent off the first goal from Etoo was from offside, now second yellow for rvp was harsh, final warning would be enough . Slowing the game in 55th minute , common. it is disgrase .

  5. Norm Poh says:

    Wenger totally to blame with his stupid tactics.
    Choosing an attacking team and playing defensively.
    Has overachieved this tear with substandard 2nd grade players like Denilson, Diaby, Bendtnet, Rosicky, Eboue, Chemakh, Clichy, Squillaci.
    Time now to sell them and replace with quality for next season.

    • URAHotSpudInDisguise says:

      It is also time for you to come out of the closet and start supporting the Spuds… Cause thats who you truely are.

    • amband says:

      Wenger is an idiot. Shows we need specialist defenders, and you can only defend when you don’t have the ball, and you should be wanting possession always and getting it as much as possible to attack

  6. Phv says:

    Van Persie’s second yellow was a joke but Messi scored a valid goal at the Emirates that was disallowed and then Diaby made a penalty which was not given and Van Persie hit Alves in the face without the ball which could have been a red so probably we are not the only ones who were robbed in this tie.They were the better team. Let’s move on. I think we have a real chance for the Premier League. We must really win it.

  7. Northbanksy says:

    In 50 years of watching football I’ve never seen a player carded under those circumstances. Would it have made a difference had it been 11 V 11 for the last 35 minutes? As a gooner I’m bound to think so but the travesty is that we’ll never know. In last years quarter final at the Emirates it was a “game of 2 halves”. We were given a footballing lesson in the first half but scored 2 goals in the second. Likewise in the first leg this season. Every week there are games where one team dominates the first 45 minutes & then fails to do so in the 2nd half. Regardless of Barca’s first half performance, possession, meters run, passes completed, shots on or off target, when RVP was sent off Arsenal were winning the contest in the only aspect that matters…goals for at home & away. Up to that point Barca had looked fantastic but were actually losing the tie. So to say that we were going to lose anyway, or that the sending off wasn’t a major contributing factor to the games outcome is as ridiculous as was the sending off.

  8. mids says:

    messi`s goal clichy was the last man but messi was behind the line further up

  9. cbinlondon says:

    rvp was obviously not fit enough to start this game and would have had more chance of making an impact as a sub. I think it was a big mistake to go into the game with 3 players short on match fitness who were always going to struggle to run out the match.
    Also agree nasri was wasted as an attacking threat on the left. We didn’t seem to have a plan to beat barca other than weather as much pressure as possible and hope they get complacent.

    While the decision to send rvp off was a disgrace, I thought we had the better of a few big decisions. Messi could easily have a penalty in the first half.

    Our possible quadruple has been reduced to a possible double but this would still be a great achievement & I hope the players don’t lose focus.

  10. USA Gunner says:

    We did a great job defending tonight,i think that was the plan from the start and it was working. 1-1 see’s us through.We played the best team in football and Wenger changed his tactics correctly,the official made a career mistake sending of RVP.Otherwise our offesively gifted GUNNERS would have pulled off an amazing defensive upset! I read alot of footbal news here in the U.S and the one constant is the acting by players and the officiating having a huge role in the outcome of BIG games. 2 more trophies to play for!!

  11. Tom says:

    Terrible ref awful decisitions he was completly bias against us and he should be demoted. I do love our captain cesc he is among the best and when playing well and fit i would choose no other midfielder in the world, but today he was the most useless in the whole team. Just got to keep our heads up for the league and fa cup double which we will win!

  12. MSL says:

    The two talismans who came back early from injury were the ones who decided the match in a very tragic way. I am not too worried about the result and hell, we have an FA cup to look forward to. I am hoping we can at least take the league as there are almost two full weeks for the next match.

  13. Northbanksy says:

    USA Gunner..Totally agree, until the sending off we’d defended fantastically. For all Barca’s flair they’d managed to score one goal in 56 minutes…& we were still winning the tie. It had been hard enough 11 Vs 11 but with one less player we were never going to get the oportunity to test them when they were likely slow up in the final 20 minutes of the game.

    • torontogooner says:

      totally agree with you mate and i have to add that for all of their flair and possession they had only 1 goal in 56mins and even that one goal was because of cesc’s mistake.

  14. Aussie Jack says:

    If there is something Wenger must learn from this game and that is that Arsenal are not in the same class as Barcelona and unless he attacks the market for two or three world class players it will remain that way. At the risk of sounding like an echo chamber we need a world class striker so Robyn can play second striker and a top drawer centre half to partner Vermaelen. A playmaker would be nice, I`m of the opinion Fabregas is past his best.
    We also need to lose at least four of the present squad.

    • lordgunner says:

      a top class cb like djourou and kos.both when play together they have one of the best record in the EPL and even maybe the best,not bad for a player who was out all last season and an cb who was playing second french level two years ago.
      Vermalaen will have to win back his place if they continue like that.

      and what do you call world class,i call world class someone who is in the 5 best in his position and they are very expensive normanly

  15. Aussie Jack says:

    By the way….Wenger said we would not park the bus and that`s exactly what he did….to me that was a mistake we should have gone all out to score early with a 4-4-2 system and take the risk. As it was we lost the ability to strike and played the first period in our own half without the ball.

    • amband says:

      Jack, Wenger is a third rate coach and is an economist by profession. The latter reason is why the board keep him on. He’s a money saver

      God I wish for the return of not for profit clubs where the money is returned to the club and community and not the pockets of private company boards

      • swikrath says:

        You are such a twat amband. Who the fuck told you that it goes into their pockets? huh?Any idea how kids like Wilshere come from? Go get a life. As hard as it is already to take the defeat the sight of the so called supporters who know nothing about football are like the worst thing to happent to us

  16. VIvek says:

    how dare van persie grab abidal’s hand with his throat

  17. Ajinkya says:

    Now we can say that the entire world is against us(referees that is).

  18. D says:

    I don’t see how one can defend RVP’s sending off. I guess the “one second” your talking about is just a figure of speech. It was more than a second and it has been well documented, in both the english and the european arena that shooting after a whistle can get you a yellow card. I don’t know why he did it knowing he was treading a fine line. I wouldn’t call it time wasting so much as petulance. I remember 2 years ago when RVP went ahead and elbowed the keeper after he had collected the ball (It was before the game vs Man Utd where we scored 2 both by Nasri and won the game 2-1 for which RVP was suspended). Maybe he didn’t really hear the whistle, but he knew he was offside, you think RVP in this kind of form would miss an one-on-one with keeper (left or right footed)? I don’t think so, he knew he was off side and hence a rather less composed finish.

    But I agree to the point that the game should have been 10 v 10 since Abidal should have been sent off as well. What really disappointed me was the lack of link up between the midfield and our wide players, it was so uncharacteristic of us. We usually do that so well, I mean thats what we do when playing against parked buses, we create space and weave patterns with the combination of our midfield and the wide players.

    Defensively, I feel we did our best but this Barca team has broken through most tough defences. No we should have outscored them and the attack didnt click. Our offide traps were largely precarious, it’s something that must be addressed quickly or we cannot play a highline defence effectively.

    Almunia showed experience in goal, there were moments when he wouldn’t let the ball go through his leg and his starfish wasn’t bad either. I feel he must have redeemed himself in the eyes of the fans. If he hasn’t well… I can’t say anything.

  19. amband says:

    Gunners usually have a lion’s share of possession. It was the reverse. Why? In terms of possession there should not have been too much in it. I suspect Wenger played a defensive game

    There is more to this than the alleged superhumanity of Messi

    hasn’t anyone told him defense is called on when you don’t have the ball

    What happened to RVP was a disgrace

    Carling Cup and Euriope gone. How long before we ruin the EPL and the FA cup?

  20. wankerwengermustgo says:

    No way in hell we would have beaten Barca. All you hopefuls out there are dreaming. Anyone out there notice that Barca did not even go into overdrive?? WE are just not good enough. Something I have been saying for the last 3 seasons. Wenger’s philosophy is flawed. He has no clue what it takes to win trophies. He stumbled into a great club with a great team he inherited from his predecessor. Since then what the friggin hell has Wenger done? The team has become progressively weaker – in all departments. This man is NOT the great manager that he is made out to be. He is utterly inept – he has no sense of strategy, he lacks the singular ability to assess his opponent and field a team that will meet the challenges that each opposing team presents. All he can do is play 1 style of football, 1 recipe for all possible dishes!

    Wenger MUST be replaced next season. This will be the 6th season that our trophy cabinet will be bear. No way in hell will we take the Championship. Not with Wenger at the helm. Not with the crop of players that we have. Wenger does not have the winning mentality that is required to take great cubs to great heights. He is a loser. He does not have the desire nor the passion that is required in football. And that is reflected so clearly in our players – especially in the big, crucial games. Where was the passion? Where was the desire? Except for Jack, and maybe Nasri, I certainly did not see it in any member of our team. Please. please lets GET RID OF THIS MORON who leaves us humiliated every season!

    • samir nasri says:

      that’s your, in my opinion, disgusting opinion.

      i however watched a game where wenger decided to go against his normal tactics. and actually used defensive tactics. surely you can’t be so blind in your hating of wenger that you missed that?

      we were winning until the card. that much i know. it would’ve been a hell of alot harder for them to score the two goals they did had we had 11 on, and most likely subbed chamakh for RVP and arshavin for cesc/rosicky. i’m not humiliated. speak for your goddamn self.

      • amband says:

        it’s not blind hatred. It’s justified frustration

        He should have added the board. They must leave. The board and Wenger are no good.

        You know, if you are a supporter of a club not doing well season after season, I suppose you get used to it, but when you know your champion FA Cup/PL winning club has been turned into a bridesmaid rather than the bride, you do tend to be miffed about it.

        A gppd player transferred in here and there would make a good difference

        Wenger is known for not spending. Arsenal is the 4th highest spender and get bugger all for it. May as well get a couple of good players rather than a few young ordinary players, who aren’t even English. The club is running in the red and not the black, but only just

        Sell these clowns and get a couple of good players. Pay the money they are not worth ( and they aren’t worth it ) but pay it anyway and get results

    • Damnit says:

      There’s not alot of teams that can beat that Barca team currently. Technically it’s only Mourinho’s Inter that has done it somewhat. But even then.. it’s not like we could emulate super anti football in that match. Look at this Barca’s team recent history and all the teams they have beaten. Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man United.

      I wouldn’t fully blame Wenger for his tactics. You could have any Arsenal Configuration out there and Wenger will still get stick. like why start arshavin when we knew we had to defend like dogs, denilson is better vs barca then diaby etc etc.
      The only thing is i wish we would have seen chamakh instead of RVP.

    • MGooner says:

      Im usually a staunched Wenger supporter. But after this game, he is starting to prove his critics right. Players who deserved to stay such as eduardo is sold (why not a loan move?). Brought in his replacement in chamakh who has proven that he is just not good enough for Arsenal (at least for now). This team breaths of incompetency. Useless players like Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner, and Rosicky (he needs a loan move for now) are allowed to stay and ruin almost every game that they play. Diaby and Bendtner especially are my least favourite players. They had taken too many chances already. Apart from that, his tactics are more akin to gambling than real tactics. No mind games, no change in formation, no change in game plan, late substitutions, its ridiculous. After yesterdays game, Im no longer convinced he will ever get it right with his tactics.

      • lordgunner says:

        well without chamak goal at the start of the season we wouldnt even be near MU this year.And if you read the news chamak already say after his good start of the season he physicly fall apart because normally he s got a break around christmass in france and he found difficult to stay at his best after that

    • amband says:

      Wenger is an economist by profession. He was hired by the board as he suits their purpose, to buy low, sell high. Profits into the pockets of the board who own the club. All nice and legal and indeed expected at law to maximise dividend for owner/shareholders.

      Trouble is, a sporting club, like a football club should not be privately owned for profit

      Wenger is not a coach’s foot. He clearly is not

    • swikrath says:

      its a travestythat we have fickle minded fans like you. Cant be man enough to take a loss huh?What has he done? he has made sure we were in top 4 every year since he took over despite building a bigger state of the art stadium, he was the guy whol led us when we went an entire season unbeaten.. Inherited a a great team? are you on poppy?Its actually losers like you who need to go . We dont need you

      • amband says:

        So who needed a good stadium, and it takes no brains to place up blocks of flats and make a profit.

        Is Wenger the coach, econonist, real estate man, Jesus Christ too.


    • johnny says:

      Yes, idiot, let’s buy two nice English players and let’s get rid of those foreign cunts and the old man leading them. If we had Joey Barton or R.Shawcross on the pitch we would won this easily. Wenger out! The bastard is filling his pockets with your hard-earned money and he doesn’t spend.
      Look at that nice team called Tottenham and at that nice man ‘Arry. That’s how you do business! They’re never humiliated, like we are every fucking week, every fucking game…

      • amband says:

        don’t be a smartarse. I am sick of foreign lightweights. They ain’t all Drogbas you know?

        Good English strikers are bendtner than Bendtner, defenders better than that lot we have now. We have no Carrol, no Bent, not even a lousy Micah Richards or a poxy Wright-Phillips, all of whom are better than Bendtner

        Personally, I would like to see the exist of all foreigners. It will make it cheaper to get a season ticket for a start and promote more English lads and make the pool larger for the England team

        Don’t worry about Tottenham, they are none of your business

      • Greencard USA says:

        ahem! Desi, what is your moderation policy? This is the kind of drivel in other blogs that most of us want no part of and avoid.

  21. Tiarnan says:

    We were crap tonight.

    9 years ago in the striker dept. we had Bergkamp, Henry, Kanu & Wiltord. As back up to these 4 we had Jeffers & Aliadiere.

    What do we have now? A half season wonder (Van Persie) and a couple of bargain basement hit and missers (Bendtner & Chamakh).

    Is this really progress? If this change of personnel had happened over a year we’d all be going bananas! But because its happening slowly we’re all being anaesthetised, dumbed down if you like, to the new Aldi Arsenal. Bargain Basements R US.

    • arvind says:

      I agree with you…

    • MGooner says:

      Totally agree with you. Chamakh, for all his silky passing does not have the aggresiveness and pace to be a top class striker. Hardly seen him be able to score half chances and chase through balls. Bendtner, by far is my least favourite player in the team. Thinks that by having so much confidence he would be world class. Pure trash. He’s got the worse 1st touch in the team, very poor positioning, can’t hit the target consistently, and runs as if his balls were too heavy. The only player that can be compared to him is adebayor. (even adebayor is better) Im willing to give chamakh another chance to prove his worth, but for bendtner, he has already taken too many chances.

  22. NepaliGooner says:

    Vivek, that is classic.

    But yeah, I’m actually not terribly disappointed. Cesc was a shadow, and Diaby was not the best player for this game. Anyways, what I really hope for is the League. I think Arsenal just need to make sure we stay strong in the League. RVP and Cesc are back, which is good news. We have a real shot. Just need to let all the negativity boil over, and keep calm in the League. All anyone is going to remember at the end is how we fared throughout the season.

    I still have faith in Wenger.

  23. Arsenal4 says:

    What to say – the positive is now we can concentrate to League competition where we have a massive chance.

    Looking back on the night – I thought it’s a tactical mistake. Our most potent attacking outlets were suppose to be Nasri & Arshavin – one too busy defending Alves & one too busy warming the bench. it’s appalling to see a team with Arsenal quality register zero shot to Barca. We never get out of our own half because either we just sweep the ball to no one or Nasri needs to carry it from deep of our half. if you noticed, once Nasri get the ball there will be 3-4 players closing in. Amazingly this was done with Barcelona playing only 2 defenders .. Alves particularly is up attacking.

    We should’ve been braver in the attacking, that said – leave Nasri and Arshavin a bit higher in the pitch to make the attack started. All night it was an attacking training for Barca. Even Valdez need not to play to some extent.

    In hindsight – i can;t understand the sending off of RVP. it definitely gave arsenal no chance at all.

    Anyway – the loss is actually not bad, after we lost CC & Man U drop points the complexion of this game is a bit change – to be the champion in the league is never closer for Arsenal in the past 7 years. so better focus for us now.

    Come on you Gunners!!!!!!!

    • MGooner says:

      Good comment. Right now all that we can do is encourage the team. All is not lost just yet. I agree with the question on why arshavin came on so late in the game. Arsenal needed an outlet and another attacking option in the 2nd half. Arshavin is back to almost his old self. Why is he benched for so long is beyond me. After he came on, we can see he offered much more in attack than rosicky. A typical AW tactical mistake. He never learns does he?

  24. arvind says:

    Well, its over and the lads did the best they could given the circumstances.

    I am blown away by how Barca completely pinned us back… destroyed us with passing and pretty much dominated the whole game.

    They deserved to win.

    Why cant we play like them? I always hear Arsenal is Barca lite. etc…. well, then???

    We need a deeper squad with better players… bottom line. injuries are always plaguing us and we need to start to spend the cash….

    wouldn’t it have been something if bendtner had scored?!Im not sure Barca would ever recover psychologically from that!

  25. arshavin=achilles says:

    i know probably everyone wont like this comment but i believe it has to be said, in my opinion what i think really cost us our game was Fabregas’s silly pass that led to the first goal b4 halftime. I know i know we tied 2nd half and Van Persie got sent off, but just picture starting 2nd half 0-0 and lets say Busquets still made the own goal. It wouldve been 1-0 for arsenal! Barcelona wouldve felt the pressure way past their necks. Even with the sending off of Van Persie it wouldve been a tough objective to have to score 3 goals. In the end, i do believe the Ref’s ridiculous call had a huge effect but i hold on to my view that if we started 2nd half 0-0 it wouldve been a total different game.

    • arvind says:

      I too was thinking this… just like Desi had mentioned that if we can defend the first half and keep them from scoring it would be wide open in the second half… that goal was a killer.. and does anyone here think that Messi was offside for it? I have seen the highlights and looks that way for me….

    • MGooner says:

      It was really poor of fabregas to play with fire against one of the best attacking teams in europe. He has admitted it and taken full responsibility. So Im not gonna dwell too much on it. But like it or not, he the best option we have in midfield. After seeing what rosicky, denilson, and diaby can offer in the FA cup, carling cup final, and the last game against sunderland, its a no brainer to pick fabregas. Im hoping this would not destroy his confidence in the next few matches that we really need to win.

  26. santori says:

    Barca deserve to win.

    I thought we showed them too much respect again.

    That said, I could see Wenger’s ‘rope-adope’ tactics sort of paying off as we frustrated Barca to one goal over the first 45-50minutes

    We recieved a fortuitous gift courtesy of Busquets and I thought we had a genuine chance of an upset had RVP not been sent off inocuously.

    after that, it was mainly downhill, although we could still have nicked it with a lucky goal (Bendtner had to be clinical which he wasn’t) @ 3-2.

    Bummer. Let’s take it out on United. 😉

    • MGooner says:

      I serously hope that is Bendtner’s last CL game for Arsenal. He is known for being an extremely wasteful striker. He has been impressing fans with his hatrick against Porto nand Orient. But for me, he is just riding on luck and poor defending. Almunia stepped up in the match; so I thought just for once he could at least step up to the occasion and do a decent strike when the only chance for redemption came. A decent striker would either control the ball and round the keeper, or shoot/lob it on 1st touch. Bendtner instead showed his incompetence with his heavy touch which costs us a crucial goal. For me, there is no forgiveness anymore for Bendtner.

      • arvind says:

        amen bro… he should have hit it first time… kudos to jack once again for busting a lung to get him the ball. Get NB out of here!

  27. arvind says:

    Does anyone wonder how our invincibles would have fared against this Barca team? We seemed so much bigger and faster than this current team. our counter attacks were potent. man I miss that team! My take is that we would have beaten Barca with that team!

    • amband says:

      even the invincibles had too many drawn games

    • desigunner says:

      It would help if you checked their record in Europe. They were quite poor, especially away from home even against teams that weren’t even half as good as this Barcelona side.

  28. vratne says:

    The real problem was the anchor role in midfield. Song was the real miss. The problem with Diaby in that position is that he holds onto the ball for too long…long enough for the barca players to close him down and limit his options. Song is quicker with moving the ball. The link between defence and midfield was really missing and thats what caused major problems in us moving the ball forward. And Nikki B…well he is only good against smaller teams…I dont remember him scoring a goal against a big side apart from that goal at the nou camp last season…he surely cant be the back up to Van persie…we need more quality !!

  29. Kushagra India says:

    Sorry Desi fully agree with whatever u say but Bendtner should’ve done better .One who claims everyday to be the best striker in the World missed a sitter really he will never be world class ,thats what gr8 players are all about taking their chances when it matters most his first touch is the worst u will ever see of a CF playing one of the top teams in Europe.After RvP the quality drop in our forwards is helluva lot u have to accept that fact especially when u play teams like Barca you have covert each and evrey chance and the Mourinho-esque game we were playing it was criminal Lee Dixon Martin Keown all were furious on Sky…..Time to sell deadwood like Rosicky Denilson Bendtner we can dominate Europe in future if we get a Rooney-esque, Henry-esque ,Drogba-esque and eveb Suarez-esque type of CF he will score 40 goals plusper season for us with the amount of chances we create….Look at RvP’s scoring rate despite his injuries.The bottom line is we haven’t replaced Henry…

    • desigunner says:

      You don’t remember the chances Henry missed in the CL final, do you? Or the ones Drogba missed against Barcelona in 09? I can go on and on but there can be no debate with irrational generalizations.

  30. Kushagra India says:

    Moreover Adriano was the more potent of Wing Backs Rosicky isa gonna only some tenacity left nothing else and we can never win and anything without a CF having that killer instinct really I feel sick now how many times we have seen us spurring chances and then go on to lose…

  31. Kushagra India says:

    The League and F.A. cup are ours for the taking ,Manure’s and Chelski’s mediocrity is a big factor in it…

  32. Kushagra India says:

    Cesc’s attitude was awful he looked in awe of his barcas friends really his performances leaves a lot to be desired…

  33. Kushagra India says:

    Cesc’s attitude was awful he looked in awe of his barcas friends really his performances leaves a lot to be desired…He is tryin to do a Torres or what…

  34. Kushagra India says:

    Ian Holloway on Twitter:

    BREAKING NEWS:Manchester United have made a 20million pound bid for Swiss SuperstarBarcelona say their ref is not for sale at any price!

  35. Kushagra India says:

    and I certainly know why Cesc sits in the bench for Spain he will do the same with Barca if he leaves now…

  36. amband says:

    Swikrath, the money and profit must by law into the pockets of the shareholders. The board are the owners and shareholders. The companies and corporations laws demand their profit is maximized. They are acting well within the law and meeting their obligations

    The trouble is, it should not be a privately owned club, because it means profits by law go into the pockets of the shareholders. why not! They bought the club and it cost them millions and they are entitled to a return and profit

    My argument is, clubs should not be privately owned

    Next time Shikrath, be honourable enough to keep your ” reply” open so I can answer you, and kindly learn about business and commerce before you insult people

  37. critic says:

    Barcelona cudn’t beat 11 men arsenal. That’s that.

    Arsene wenger lacks imagination. he can’t win every game based on same tactics. Sometimes u need to surprise opposition with different tactics. I don’t know why he can’t get this. It’s good to play beautiful football but it’s not possible to do it day in day out.

  38. critic says:

    Like arshavin’s law, if arsenal don’t win anything then they will end up mid-table for sure. Arsene really need something new. Some new ideas, just something, something.
    Now, goalkeeper are going down like fleas.

    Emirates is unlucky for us.

  39. Tim says:

    Overall, I thought the defensive effort was outstanding. Okay, maybe Koscielny could have avoided giving away the penalty, but he and Djourou were otherwise outstanding under heavy fire.

    Our inability to retain the ball was more disappointing. Fabregas and Diaby were not yet 100%, but Rosicky was poor again.

    And although we can point at van Persie’s red and Abidal’s non-red, Barca can point at Messi’s disallowed goal in the first leg and then the penalty that wasn’t given last night. The refereeing was poor, but you can’t really argue that Barcelona didn’t play the better football overall.

    Still, there is no shame in being beaten by this side. Anyone remember what happened to Real Madrid earlier in the season?

    On to Old Trafford …

  40. Anatole says:

    Very difficult game to watch. I guess this has become a feature of Arsenal during late Wenger years. To be sure the first 45 minutes were heroic. But most of the times, it was simply pathetic.

    First, Wenger’s main weakness is tactical. He simply doesn’t have a repertoire of solutions when confronted with different types of problems. The team usually strives on offensive, ball possession and technical mastery, velocity in the circulation of the ball and if necessary high tempo. Against Barcelona, none of this was in evidence. Wenger tried to turn an offensive machine into a defensive one in one game, without the kind of players Mourinho had when he did it last year.

    Second, almost every one here has been saying this for years. For this team to make it, it needs to lift itself up to its competitors. This implies (1) building a balanced team from goalkeeping to defense to midfield and attack.

    This team is simply unbalanced. There is no defensive midfielder to replace Song when we hit hard rocks. Since Viera and Gilberto left, Wenger has with the utmost arrogance refused to look for serious replacements in spite of almost universal observation that this was urgently needed.

    To be sure he got Vermalhen and we have been unlucky to not have him with us. But Wenger has been deaf at calls for a reinforcement of his defense.

    Next year, Fabregas will leave, although his own trading stock hasn’t really been kept to the level of early years. He is regularly injured and at this rhythm, would hardly enjoy regular first team play time at Barca. But he may go to Real Madrid. Who will replace him?

    Wenger is happy to be a permanent outsider. He does not want to spend money because whatever benefit is made must go to the shareholders first. But then he should not go around fooling us or blaming everything on some external forces, although the referee yesterday was a total ars…..

    Looking Arsenal play has become the most prefereed pastime of masochists. One has to love being tortured to support this team. I would be curious to know how many people have suffered a heart attack going through the vagaries and emotional turbulence of this most inconsistant bunch.

    With Wenger, what we witness is the failure of “soccer-calvinism” – this perverse mixture of stinginess, avarice, permanent coitus interruptus, sado-masochism and a silly belief in the purity of grace.

  41. peterparker78 says:

    Most of the fans here are deluded like Wenger himself; blaming everyone and everything but themselves for the shortcomings and hiding behind the excuses be it pitch, opponents parking the bus, injuries and these days refs and linesmen.
    You can count on fingers the number of times we had more than 5 passes in row and number of times we crossed the halfway line last night. Everyone was crying out for DM cover for last 2-3 seasons and better defenders and look what we go Squalacci and Koscielny (who has one good game followed by high profile mistakes in subsequent games), permanently injured TV and no proper strikers (before you jump, just look at number of goals van persie has scored since joining us in 2004 i.e. 50 goals in nearly 6 seasons and never managed to play more than half of the games a season). All those who start criticising those who show you the mirror (and asking them to support spuds or whatever) need to look at the facts; we are spending 117 million on wages, and most of it is going on mediocre players like Diaby, Rosicky, Denilson, Squallaci, Eboue and others. Manager takes 5 millions a year on top of that. The achievement you put forward is that we are in top four for every year but looking at the facts, we had big scares over last 5 years, and could have easily lost that status. Everytime we had a chance to close the gap on leaders this season and the last, we choked and fluffed our lines. I am not criticsing team for losing last night, there is no shame in that, but the manner of loss, lack of fight, lack of squad depth and ineptness of manager which hurts the most.
    People call it travesty to have fans who show you the mirror, I call it the opposite that the real shame is having deluded fans who are happy to be losers and happy to hide behind the excuses instead of facing the reality.
    I can assure you that come May, we will still sitting here trophyless finding some other excuses for another barren season basking on the profits made b club, raving talent of our young squad and hoping for the next season.
    I am, like others who show you the mirror, not asking for whole sale changes or spending 300 millions on players, we are only asking for getting rid of deadwood and replacing them with quality fitting for our great club. Is it too much to ask?

    • MGooner says:

      I absolutely agree. Deadwood must go. We don’t have to spend like Man City. There are many quality players out there with a decent price. Why spend the money paying these fools who don’t do anything for the club? Wenger talks about money well spent. Well the wage budget for all these deadwood is not money well spent for me.

  42. Samuel says:

    Desi was obviously dozing off again when he says we can,t blame our two inept wingers Clichy and Sagna as it was clearly a huge lapse in concentration that allowed Messi to step into the Arsenal box and score just before halftime,no amount of excuses about Cesc or Jack can cover the sheer ineptitude of these two ball watching wingbacks with Sagna caught out of position on his wing so many times it,s not funny anymore as it was Sagna,s last effort dive,way to late that deflected the ball past Almunia for the other Barcelona goal,what game was Desi actually watching ?

  43. Samuel says:

    If Arsenal,s two inept wingers could put in more crosses for Chamakh to header goals we wouldn,t have to rely so much on our midfield to score most of the goals ,so Mark Albrighton at Villa is available and Houllier is Wenger,s compatriot ,where,s the problem as we now have a winger who can put over crosses match after match and Chamakh would have been the top goal scorer already in the Premiership ,not useless Walcott,Arshav
    in ,Sagna and Clichy who can,t put in crosses ?

    • MGooner says:

      Only Sagna can put in a half decent cross. Clichy was never able to get any cross in. How people rate him so highly is beyond me. Im afraid our wingers are also not good crossers. Good crossers are always a asset because it gives you options. Great crossers like Nani, Bale, Lennon, Alves always trouble our defence. We know they are effective, by why are we not getting them?

  44. amband says:

    Our Gunners are not a big game side. With the odd exception they lose big games and they often let goals in close to half timer and close to, and into stoppage time. They knock off work early

    We will not win the PL or the FA Cup this yea. 4 trophies gone thanks to the usual suspects

    Still man Us to lose

  45. eleanor says:

    We lost by a single goal over two legs against the ‘greatest side in the world’.

    And if we had won, then what of our chances of the Premiership?

    I’d rather Barcelona win the CL, than Man U win the PL.

  46. max says:

    let’s stop moaning about the referee and how he has killed our game, pls!

    the sending off was a stupid decision and i understand that rvp and wenger are angry.

    but gurdiola is right when he said that it was down to the fact that we couldn’t make three stringent passes. THIS should be adressed by our manager and the team.

    we had the chance to take the game to them but we opted for total defence throughout the game. it could have worked out but it didn’t. we haven’t been up to it and barca clearly deserved to win. end of the story.

  47. Mishal D Souza says:

    I think RVP should have gotten a warning instead of a red card. But, over all Arsenal played well even though I supported Barcelona. Lets hope milan pulls off a victory tonight.


  48. Kushagra India says:

    Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, took up the theme: “They didn’t string three passes together. If they believe they lost because of [Robin] Van Persie’s sending-off they won’t go very far and will always remain on the outside looking in.”

  49. Ajinkya says:

    I know I will be in serious trouble for saying this, but I think it is good that we are out of it. Considering our position in the league we should be completely over it and the FA cup.
    The latter becomes difficult, because it is old trafford, and more because Arsenal has to face them as a package of the (players+the officials) and for us (players+officials+commentators+pundits) (all of them neurotic).
    The frequency of games will reduce and so will the fitness problems.
    Now is the best chance to get what we deserve. We have fought through much injustice, and winning the league will be awesome.
    Come on Gunners!

  50. Kushagra India says:

    will reply to you with something concrete tomorrow sorry for the delay…..

  51. MGooner says:

    RVP’s sending off is unbelievable. But to be fair, kocielny, diaby, and djorou could have given away multiple penalties. Im more upset by the poor change in tactics by Wenger and the Bendtner not taking the only opportunity in the game for Arsenal to get through. Arsenal are hard done by the sending off but they had 1 chance; 1 chance to survive the ordeal and Bendtner blew it. For that moment, I knew that Champions League 2011 for Arsenal is over.

  52. alphie says:




    -the biggest one is SAGNA, he’s a great defender but against teams constantly pressurizing the defence he makes more mistakes than u’d allow a player of his pedigree to make.

    -fabregas is a bit hit and go. in some big matches he’s perfomed well and others became quiet. i decided to watch more matches and i think fab is not necessarily an individual choker but he’s carrying too much pressure of the team.

    2. am always in support of wenger but like desi i believe he isnt a great tactician but he’s very good.the difference lies between how many times wenger has to make substitutions to CORRECT a situation.

    plus i’ve never understood why he waits so long to substitute.when is the last time wenger made changes at half-time.if it happens….it 99.9999999% AN INJURY

    3.ARSENAL IN my opinion perfom much better when going into matches as complete UNDERDOGS.

    4. WALCOTT SHOULDN’T BE OUR ONLY SPEEDY FORWARD. i hope next season vela comes with attitude plus i hope all the tricky forwards on loan at least 2 are kept around as reserve back ups.

    5. against a team like barca….its my opinion that where fabregas and VP played it should have been two fast counter attacking players.if i had my choice. i’d put walcott on the shoulder of the last defender and arsharvin behind him.

    my ideal team going to barca would have been.

    left midfield-rosicky/eboue
    2 central midfielders…wilshire and song sitting deeper.

    arsharvin’s work rate would be an issue so it would be easier for him and walcott to switch while arshavin looks for gas.

    6. WENGER HAS THE WORST LUCK ON TAKING GAMBLES WITH UNFIT PLAYERS.they either dont perfom or get injured or get sent off as is the recent case



    ROSICKY…i am a big big big fan of his but i think he’s totally lost his confidence and shouldnt be played as a game changer. he has ability but watching him this season is hard to take as by now he should have overcome his injury and get into form.



    • desigunner says:

      Agree with your observation about Sagna. Need to watch some more games before making a firm opinion.

      Ideally one would want to have more speedy players like Walcott and with great technical ability but there are very few around, that’s what makes the likes of Messi, Henry, et al so special 🙂

  53. amband says:

    Wenger and the board need to go

  54. […] Barcelona 3 – 1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis Some top of the mind thoughts after this game are – […]

  55. amband says:

    From what I understand, the Gunners didn’t even shoot for goal. Ours coming from an own goal

    If we lose to Man U, then that’s when the rot will set in, as it usually does this time of year. Now, it they are true to form, they will start drawing and losing games

    Let’s hope not

  56. Arsenal says:

    Actually it was the Barcelona players accusing Jack of time wasting whilst on the floor that kicked it off. Iniesta tried to drag him to his feet.

    Football has never been fair and never will be. Football is never won by the team that creates the most chances, and it is never won based on statistics. If that were so, then Arsenal would have trounced Chelsea last season and beat them twice this season.

    No one claims that a team should have won simply because they deserved to and that same logic applies to the Arsenal vs Barcelona tie. Sadly few people realize this fundamental truth in football.

    Football fans don’t watch the sport to get justice. They don’t watch the sport because they want the deserving team to win. They watch it because it is highly unpredictable, it can be decided with a single shot, and that could have happened had Nicklas Bendtner finished his shot properly.

    At the end of the 90 minutes only one thing matters, the final score. No one bothers about the possession, the shots each team got off, no one cares how many passes Xavi and company completed.

    Following Arsenal’s elimination from the UEFA Champions League, many have criticized Arsene Wenger and his team, and some fans have even boldly stated that it is time for Wenger to be ousted.

    Had Bendtner finished off his shot, or had the referee used common sense and not followed the rigid and inflexible rules, then these same fans would be proclaiming Wenger to be a visionary and a genius which he is and remains irrespective of this result.

    Much of the press have criticized Wenger for “betraying his style.”

    These “geniuses” feel that Wenger should have stuck to his style, and in the process, lost in similar fashion to last year.

    Last year, when Arsenal struggled to beat the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, these same people called for Wenger to change his approach, but when he does it, they say he has betrayed his style.

    Arsene Wenger never betrayed his style; all he did was go for the win, and it almost worked. When teams like Manchester United adapt a different strategy on the big occasions, it is applauded and all the critics have to realize that Arsenal too can adopt any strategy to suit the occasion.

    Many have criticized Wenger and his side for not getting a single shot on target and have stated that since they failed to get any shots on target, combined with prolonged spells of possession for the opposition, they deserved to lose

    At the end of the day, all these statistics count for nothing. After 53 minutes, the game was tied at 1-1 and Arsenal were ahead on aggregate. At this point, despite the statistics being in favor of Barcelona, they were behind.

    Only this counts. Despite playing worse than Barcelona, Arsenal were ahead and that is how football works.

    On the night, and currently, Barcelona are a better side than Arsenal. They dominated, overran and tormented the Arsenal defense. Yet the most important stat read: Arsenal 3-2 Barcelona.

    This is something that always happens with Arsenal. They normally dominate possession, create plenty of chances, and despite all this they find themselves trailing or level with their opponents.

    But when this happens, then everyone starts to criticize the Gunners and go on a tirade on their profligacy in front of goal and state they don’t have a killer instinct.

    But then in the 56th minute, the referee, Busacca, sent off Robin van Persie. Until this point Barcelona did not have anything to show for all their domination. Following Van Persie’s dismissal, Barcelona went onto score two more goals and advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

    Of course Barcelona were the clear favorites to win, especially with the numerical advantage. Even Arsenal have thrashed top teams like Manchester City with the numerical advantage. Until the numerical advantage kicked in, Arsenal were ahead on aggregate.

    Now I’m not saying Barcelona were lucky to go through, or that Arsenal should have gone through, but the statement that Barcelona deserved to go through because of their statistical domination is completely absurd.

    Had Bendtner scored in the 87th minute, then Barcelona would have been eliminated, and rightfully so. They were profligate in front of goal and failed to convert their statistical domination into real substance until the sending off.

    No team can claim they deserve to win because they dominated possession.

    None of us know how the result would have panned out had the referee been watching the same incident we all did, but the fact is that until the 56th minute, Barcelona had nothing to show for the statistical domination.

    Amidst all this criticism, people have failed to applaud the performance by Arsenal’s defenders who put in a great display that exemplified tenacity, perseverance and fighting spirit.

    Now I’m not trying to state Arsenal should be immune from criticism, but the level of criticism they have received in some blogs and in the press is totally uncalled for.

    Arsenal were getting the job done, the only thing that counts until the referee made a mockery of himself, and they don’t deserve the scathing criticism being hurled at them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s