Arsenal 1-4 Barcelona: Beaten by the best but wondering ‘what if?’

Is there a more empty and painful feeling in football than thinking about ‘what if?’ when your team has just lost an important game?

Our massive ‘what if?’ moment tonight came when the scores were locked at 1-1 and Tomas Rosicky set Nicklas Bendtner away with only the goalkeeper to beat and Theo Walcott in support. Whatever you think of the Danish striker’s finishing there was no way the ball wouldn’t have ended up in the back of the net but rather cruelly, the linesman incorrectly lifted his flag to indicate offside.

It should have been 2-1, leaving Barca needing to score two goals to knock us out of the competition. Instead it stayed at 1-1 and by half-time the home side had surged into an unassailable 3-1 lead thanks to the brilliance of Lionel Messi.

In fairness to Barcelona we did not deserve to get anything out this game. We also didn’t deserve to get anything out of the last game and when you put those two conclusions together we did not deserve to qualify for the semi-finals.

Barcelona outplayed, out-thought and won the tie in a manner that all Arsenal fans should admire. They are the benchmark for modern football for everything from their positive approach to the game, their ability to maintain possession, their fierce persistent to win the ball back at all costs when they don’t have it, their ingenuity and creativity in the final third and their pragmatism to know the right times to foul to kill their opponents move and the right way to foul to avoid excessive cautions.

They are the closest thing to a perfect team that I have seen in my twelve years as a football admirer.

It was always going to be tough on the night with a number of key names absent: the manager’s decision to start Mikael Silvestre a clear indication that in some areas we were down to our bare bones. The rest of the team was rather predictable as the usual suspects in the back five took their places, Denilson started in the holding role behind Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri and Bendtner lead the line with support from Rosicky on the left and Walcott on the right.

Our plan was to use Walcott and Diaby’s pace on the break and it was a concept that started swimmingly when the Frenchman fed the Englishman and he set up Bendtner who scored after Victor Valdes parried the first attempt. But Barcelona struck back through Messi, took the lead through Messi and then extended it through Messi to go in at the break 3-1 up.

It’s interesting to note that every one of the first-half goals had an element of good fortune about them: Bendtner’s initial shot fell kindly for the rebound; Eric Abidal’s cross was blocked by Thomas Vermaelen but fell kindly for Messi; Samir Nasri’s touch made Silvestre’s clearance difficult on their second and Vermaelen’s headed clearance fell fortuitously to Seydou Keita.

Despite being 3-1 down at half-time I was feeling quite optimistic. I felt our counter-attacking game was working well and if we could just sneak a second it might open up the door for a third. What I didn’t expect was that Pep Guardiola would make his mark on the game with a brilliant tactical move that essentially put the tie to bed.

When Abidal went down with a recurrence of the injury that kept him out the first leg and Maxwell prepared to come on, I had visions of Walcott teasing and tormenting him for the final forty minutes of the game. But Guardiola sensed the danger, brought on Yaya Toure for Bojan Krcic and instructed his team to refrain from pushing as high up on the pitch to retrieve possession, instead allowing our defenders to control the ball and clogging up the midfield.

It completely stifled our counter-attacking game and without a player of Cesc Fabregas’ quality orchestrating things from the middle – Nasri and Rosicky both had poor games – we were not able to pass our way through.

Messi ended the game with a fourth goal late on that showed off his best qualities as a player: exquisite close control, great trickery, dogged persistence and wonderful improvisation to finish between the goalkeeper’s legs. It was a great goal by one of the truly great players currently playing the game.

Despite being unable to get away from our ‘what if?’ moment the fact that we have been knocked out by the best team in Europe, against one of the best teams ever, does make it easier to accept. It was always going to be an unlikely task to go to the Nou Camp and get the result we wanted and we shouldn’t be too hard on our players for failing to achieve it.


Have your say on Arsenal’s loss to Barcelona by leaving a comment.



  1. well, gutted. That’s how I feel. It doesn’t hurt as much as Chelsea or Manure though. If this situation isn’t clear message to spend and buy then I don’t know what is. And we should examine our medical staff as well, it’s really messed up with all the injuries. I know it was mighty Barca but they are human (maybe except Messi, he’s from another planet). Can’t wait to beat Spurs.

  2. Valid point regarding the offside decision. But I dont think Arsenal’s defence would have still been able to contain Messi. He has been god-like this season and has hit his top form now.

    For all the free flowing football we witnessed over the last two legs, I think you need an Inter or a Chelsea to stop Barca.

    I was very disappointed with Rosicky.

  3. Another barren year (year 6). We have been outplayed and out classed, beaten this year home and away by Chelsea, Man U and now humiliated by home and away by Barcelona. World class striker, goal keeper and midfield general are required – will Wenger spend 60 Million on three proper players? I doubt it

  4. Andy Gray was spot on for once (unfortunately) when he said we’re a few years behind Barcelona. I think our fully fit first team would give a hell of a game to a fully fit Barca team. That’s my ‘What if?’
    We faced the reality tonight and boy did we suffer.
    I’m over it already as we were beaten by the best team in the world but I can’t wait to meet them again next year as EPL Champions…..Gooner forever.

  5. ‘what if?’ Barcelona didn’t have Messi? I think we could have won 0-1, I’m sure of that. But he’s the best player in the world and he have to play somewhere, so Barcelona is the luckiest team, to have him.

  6. Like us Barcelona did not have thier first team, Puyol, Pique, Ibrahimvavic and Iniesta (returning to match fitness). Henry did not even start!!!!

  7. And if Barca had taken all their chances?
    + If the ball had not fallen kindly to Bentner?…..

    If Barca had taken all their chances in the first game?..

    There are no excuses….. against good sides you normally loose!

  8. Barca beat us good and proper – agree that we need a world class striker, goal keeper and midfield general are required. Van Persie is baldly missed.

  9. Beaten by far the better side. Arsenal have a long way to go.
    Thought Clichy and Nasri did well tonight. Disagree with Sky about Diaby- I thought he was poor. Lost the ball too much though he did try hard.
    Special mention must go to Rosicky- did one pass find its target all night? Shocking.
    Project Wenger is over for another year. Silvestre, Campbell, Rosicky, Eduardo (sorry), Vela, Denilson, Almunia and a few more- time to go if we are to improve.

  10. I am very thankful that you post a positive summary of the game. Like all gooners I am upset, but also optimistic.

    You see, our best eleven would have won today, so it is not a problem of not being good enough. It is perhaps a problem of not having enough depth. In fairness, we were without 5 starters today, and it showed not necessarily in terms of quality (Sylvestre aside) but more so because some of the players have played a ridiculous amount of games this year. Diaby for example has not had a breather since coming back to full fitness in November (?), and I believe it caught up with him today as he looked exhausted.

    On the other hand, Denilson who has not featured as much of late looked very fresh and I am very happy with his and Clichy’s performance especially.

    My point being we definately need to buy players, but things are not all doom and gloom. We are growing as a club both on and off the field. Anyone who does not see that is blind. Let’s give the boys our support for the remaining Premiership games and urge them to keep fighting like they have done all season.

    After that, we can think about bringing in some quality players for depth. A striker, goalkeeper and centre-back are my priorities.

    Chin up boys. It’s been a while since we have been involved in April. Let’s not forget that. Believe.

  11. I agree that we need a reliable goalkeeper,lloris from lyon would be my choice as almunia is not good enough and fabianski is a joke. We also need another centre back to play alongside vermaelen. Clichy is ok but cant cross and sagna is very similiar, Midfield lacks physicality so we need a big strong defensive midfielder,i really think denilson is a fat waste of space.Rosicky never plays well when we need him and walcott is a disappointment. Bendtner is very average and rvp is always injured and eduardo will never be the player he was before his injury. Not looking good for the future unless wenger spends big on proven quality

  12. Agree with Tom – wenger must spend big on proven quality.
    Do we have the money?

  13. You have had the money every year for 5 years..

    Your manager wants to do it his way though…

  14. @ McGooner

    Apparently we have 45 million mate. Don’t know how true that is though. If it were me, I would spend it as follows:

    10 million: Manuel Neuer (Schalke GK, and battling with Adler for Germany no.1 at the WC)

    10-15 million: on a top class CB, not sure who yet.

    15 million plus Eduardo+Vela: Fernando Torres (who may want to go if they don’t make the Ch.Lge)

    Also considering Chamakh is signing, that would significantly strengthen our squad.

  15. im sick of having mediocre players and being told about record profits FOUR SUPER SUMMER SIGNINGS or wenger must be shown door upstairs not out!! he has too much power!!!!

  16. I could accept this if I thought we would learn from it but I don’t think we are a learning team. Arsene seems to believe that we just go on and on playing our way, hoping that it will all come good in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I love Arsene and I don’t want anybody else in to replace him but I just wish we would learn from these experiences.

  17. Oh gods, here come the deluded anti-Wengerites again.

    Face facts, any english team including Chelsea and United would not have been able to combat the sheer class of Barcelona.

    Arsenal are riddled with injuries. Anti-Wengerites – are you that idiotic that you would think Wenger would have put out that team should he not have a crippling injury list? Not a chance. It was ludicrous to believe that Arsenal would get much out of a away tie at the Nou Camp with so many first teamers out. We were relying on lady fortune, luck being something we might have used up in the first leg. Andy is correct when he says that we were down to bare bones with Silvestre in the middle of the defense.

    I agree there is changes to be made to the team next season – new keeper, another new CB, another striker and perhaps another midfielder, but we cannot expect to somehow discover the likes of Messi, Xavi or Iniesta amongst our youth ranks. Nor can we expect to pay top dollar given the economic pressures on clubs worldwide (how much did Barca pay for Ibrahimovich again?).

    Changes to the team, not the manager. There are some to be cleaned out (eduardo and vela come to mind unfortunately). This team is a long term project and if people don’t like it, go support a team like Chelsea or City.

  18. If only Bendtner had a worldclass first touch. Things could have been different, then. We missed 4-5 1st-team regulars, including our captain, and were playing a Messi in the form of his life and a great, great Barcelona team. The team did very well but were just not good enough.

    Having said that, if this year isn’t, then surely next year is the last chance for this team and Wenger’s experiment. We have the stadium, the finances are in order, there are, we are told, funds for transfers, so Mr. Wenger, no more cheap deals, no more pride, no more stubborness, no more excuses: trophy or end of.

  19. im genuinley worried arsenal fc has growned used to NOT winning anything and thats accepted as ok.

  20. I am not an anti-Wengerite – can we not question him and his stratagey after 5 barren years

  21. @ C Gander

    Mate, we all want to win something, but historically 5 years without a trophy (btw the Prem is not finished yet!) is not a lot for Arsenal. Before 1989 the wait was a lot longer!

    Obviously the earlier it comes the better, but sometimes you need to have perspective.

  22. aj- great point. while we have some players who don’t cut it I agree that its the playing philosophy which has its weaknesses too. If we want the good football sometimes we have to accept that we will concede goals etc. However Barca play this way too AND win trophies. Why? Cos they have better players than us in EVERY department and have players equally as good to fill in. We don’t.
    titan49- wenger ain’t going to spend 45 million and torres would not come to arsenal if a gun was held to his head. This is not championship manager!
    Akinfeev (GK), Metzhelder, and unnamed strong central midfielder would do nicely along with Chamahk and a fully fit van persie. Djourou back too but he would not have made a difference tonight.

  23. Summer Bargain Basement sale at Arsenal FC!

    A Diaby
    T. Rosicky
    P. Senderos
    M. Silvestre
    M. Alumnia
    L. Fabianski

    Also for sale:

    A. Wenger

    Please Real Madrid, buy Wenger at a cut rate price because then he can bring all his f**king French past-it players in which he puts country before his club to your Mob of a club!

    Last chance Saloon before we send them off to the Landfill!

    Thanks for looking!

  24. is this bloke stupid or something for 5 years we have been calling for a change in transfer policy a sprinkle of one world class player a season from 2005 that would leave us with atleast 5 world class players in our squad now.thats not asking a lot considering the money we make from selling.emirates is a money machine and th flats that we have sold around 80%, you are stupid to believe we would have beat these with a FULL we never have full team ALWAYS Missing a key player with no replacement im sick of blaming injuries and other things its down to wenger and board you are very square in your thoughts darrraghhhh

  25. No need to start blaming other.We have the best team, we are 3pts behind the leader chelsie despite our nemesis injuries, we still chasing the home title. Play against barca any team can lose. If we want to blah,blah abt Arsenal take a look on Liverpool n u’ll be proud of Arsenal n Arséne.Keep ur faith gooners.

  26. Questions about Wenger’s approach should be asked after the season is over, not while it is still on. If it had been our Invincibles side against this Barcelona side I would still have expected them to win, they’re a great team.

    The reaction to the loss from some people is just so predictable. I can understand and empathise that it comes from being frustrated but losing to the best side in the world does not make our team bad, nor does it make our manager or our players not good enough.

    If we were as good as Barcelona there would still be some people questioning our faults.

  27. @ Gerry Gooner

    I know, I know, I am being optimistic about Torres, but in fairness if he were to move on (this is assuming that they dont qualify and he is unhappy), I think we would have a pretty good chance. I mean, he would never go to City or Chelsea as he does not strike me as a mercenary. Also he would be hesitant to go to United because of the rivalry with Pool. Real Madrid he would never go to because of his history at Atletico and Barca don’t need him. Surely Italy, France and Germany are out of the question for him, so why not Arsenal?

    Obviously I am assuming a lot here, but I would love to see us make a bid. Eduardo (Pool were once interested in him) and Vela have been dead weight this season plus 15 million, that covers what they paid for him. I f they dont qualify and he wants to go, it might work.

    I can always dream can’t I?

  28. we ALL Love wenger its sooooooo frustrating because he knows what he has to do but he wont OR are his hands tied??? Iv come to a little conclusion maybe no money is being spent because kronke will take over and spend his OWN money??? its a possibility arsenal seem so secretive.

  29. It’s all been said. We are a good team with a positive manager who supports his vision and philosophy blah, blah. Unfortunately we lack the world class strength in depth that other teams buy when the windows open. AND, we all know what will happen in the off season. YES, you guessed it, we’ll buy ONE player. An unknown player from France. It will take this unknown player a couple of years to settle, particularly as he may spend half of next season on the treatment table after meeting Stoke head on in the 3rd game blah, blah. We won’t win the title and we won’t win it next season either. It’s frightening to think that the guy in the next cubicle to me is a Liverpool fan and I rightly give him sh*t about not having won the title for 20 odd years. Now he’s giving me sh#t that we have not won ANYTHING for 6.
    Ok so we had 10 first team players out. So what! WE ARE ARSENAL! When my father took me to my first Highbury match against Spurs in 1975, I didn’t complain then. And we weren’t that good. I stood in the North Bank for 15 years through the 80’s, we weren’t that good then either finishing 8th or 11th regularly.
    So I find myself in 2010, through the www, complaining about my team when they are in fact a great team. Regularly one of the most admired teams in the world.
    Now f##king buy some players Arsene!!!!!! 

  30. I had this vague dream that we would see Fabregas play again at the Champions League final but Barcelona with Messi too good. Diaby and Rosicky disappointing but we just missed too many players – Song was the final straw. I hope the lads get the momentum back for the premiership, I think those who were fit to play can feel proud of their performance against a superior team.
    I hope Vermalean gets some support next year – he has been my player of the year, but he cannot hold the back on his own. I will continue to dream of seeing Cesc in an Arsenal shirt next year, or maybe we will have another 50 million to spend.

  31. Am proud of Arsenal despite the exit of CL. We achieve beyond anyone expectation. Why blah,blah,blah. We had a better team than Liverpool of this world. We were writen off even b4 the c’son started bt now we proved them wrong.Yes,We don’t have Drogba,Torres,Rooney,Teves,Bellamy,Malouda,joe cole,Gerrard bt we are still better than them or we still give them a stif competition in the title. So any Gunners faithful must learn to appreciate wht the young players have done so far.Proudly gooners.

  32. Am proud of Arsenal despite the exit of CL. We achieve beyond anyone expectation. Why blah,blah,blah. We had a better team than Liverpool of this world. We were writen off even b4 the c’son started bt now we proved them wrong.Yes,We don’t have Drogba,Torres,Rooney,Teves,Bellamy,Malouda,joe cole,Gerrard bt we are still better than them or we still give them a stif competition in the title. So any Gunners faithful must learn to appreciate wht the young players have done so far.Proudly gooners.

  33. Questions must be asked of wenger’s policies…injuries are a PERENNIAL problem with this team. While Wenger cannot anticipate who will be injured and when, a manager must prepare for contingencies if he has an injury prone team.

    Why purchase Sol Campbell when he can no longer play two games a week? he has done a job for us, but if he can not play frequently, he is NOT adequate backup. So when Gallas is injuried Sol cannot provide the kind of cover the team needs.

  34. Average performance in a glamourous occasion. Wenger before the match: ‘we will get tighter to them in the first 20mins’ – granted Sir, you did that. What happened to the next 70mins. I’m fed up of spending £1000 a year to watch Arsenal get outclassed, surely we want to hear of trophies and not annual profit sales? I understand about not having a messi (once in a lifetime player) but surely we can get some worldclass players in to combat players like him? (I’m not plastic and therefore will not have a pop at individual players)

  35. Come on guys why are you distastefully drooling over Barcelona? Ok they beat us well, or you can call it a thrashing but believe me we are not this bad the team that was out there was not our 1st 11. And I believe we will meet them again under different circumstances with a full strength squad and we most definitely give them a run for their money, Ok give credit when its due but don’t start feeling inferior we are not a bad team at all. Things will improve next season and as I said we shall meet again.

  36. disappointed! but it’s just crazy how many injuries we have! around 10 if my counting is right ! So we didn t have a team to even fight Barca…the defense wasn’t experienced enough to face Mister Messi! who was just amazing!
    I’m just hoping that this won’t affect our boys in the premiere league!

  37. beaten by pure class,but beaten with a group of players that wud lose 100 times out of a hundred to barcelona,under guiordiola they are not content to play or come alive when they hav the ball,but without it they are hungry to apply pressure up the field and this is the big difference between them and us, and us and champions….for me,and this isnt sour grapes iv said it for ages, deni,nasri,diaby,eboue,theo,eduardo,rosicky,vela,almunia arent champions,they dont hav that win at all costs mentality that so many barca,utd and chels guys possess….maybe in the future theyl get it but theyd wanna start learning fast….its small things like disrupting play…when deni fouled xavi with 15mins left he was more interested in puttin an arm around him and apologising than standing over the ball,which was quickly played thru for pedro to shoot at almunia….this is when we shud be chasing the ball to create a chance with our tournament on the line and guys are still making school boy errors or displayin a blatant lack of tact…..diaby for me did the same as last week when he ‘closed down’ from 5 feet away all the time and nasri the same just trotting around,really look at the way they closed us down to the way we closed them down,token gesture tackling,its dissapointing really to be shown to be outfought so easily by a pure footballing team and if any1 feels im being harsh watch the pressure applied by the inter midfield when these two meet……if 20 teams cud be picked in world football to play and compete with barca you cud be full sure nasri,denilson,rosicky,diaby wudnt feature and theo wud be lucky simply becos you need guys who will match them for workrate first and foremost and our guys just dont hav it…sure when wer 3-0 up at the emirates they all wanna play but its like their waitin for the end when we go down against the big sides…..we need winners
    some1 asked where barca wud be without messi….i say theyd still be where they are becos if it wasnt him it wud be some other world talent becos they identify a propect and go get their man…..they got henry,ibrahimovic,alves by paying good money while bringin thru messi,iniesta and xavi types……i dont agree with fools calling for wengers head but i am still repeatedly frustrated by his stubborness to buy proven ready made quality and finished article……not just technically ready but mentally strong and eager to win…no one can tell me that deni,nasri,diaby and co hav ever shown the grit and never say die attitude that vieira,adams,keown and petit possessed that makes champions,maybe we need more british players,i dunno but we were destroyed over two legs by a team our own manager admitted are superior to us…the question is why are they SO superior to us and is he responsible when we hav injuries that the replacements dont hav the bottle for big european nights????
    i thought clichy was immense again….the guy has great pride in the shirt and was still busting a gut at 3-1…..still cudnt inspire the others in front of him tho and for me its not good enough to be depending on the afore-mentioned to deliver trophies…their too shy and timid on the big nite
    goodluck barcelona

  38. Dave m,why so many blah,blah,blah?Liverpool spent a lot to buy the so called world class players,man city did the same,spurs alwys spent their fortune to bring gud players.Are they any better than Arsenal?Chelsea never won CL dispite their players status,even winning premier title is a big challenge to them,tht’s why utd won thrice.Real Madrid were knocked out of CL even b4 they know it. So ur point is irrelevant & i must say it u are not a faithful gooners even if u to pretend to be.Our players luck protect we witnesses in every single match jst bcz we luck english player in the team,period.We still loves Wenger with/without trophy.

  39. @andy.
    the invincibles vs this barca side wud hav been epic but i dont agree it wuda went the same,we had steel aswel as finesse back then…..we cud go from defending a corner to scoring in 15 seconds….this team dont hav that,nasri isnt fast enuf to run to the halfway line in 15 seconds,never mind the full length…..teams just dont fear us any more and most of the big ones are tactically superior

  40. @ mannix
    you list the teams that hav spent top dolllar on players and ask wot hav they won,and its a valid point in theory…..but what harm has it done???none of them are out of business and ud be a fool to think they ever will…..the only thing they hav failed to do thru their spending is win trophies…..which we,thru not spending top dollar, have also done……the difference is the teams you mentioned hav a torres,drogba,rooney,tevez,ronaldo,kaka and its only a matter of time before they catch up….man city will be in the champs league next season whilst villa and spurs hav closed the gap and contested in finals in recent years and continue to do so…..can you really be grudge their fans if they say their season will hav been more successful than ours if we finish third and trophyless and city fin 4th and trophyless at the first attempt,or that spurs finish fifth and villa 6th or 7th…..if you examine the club stature and resources maybe these 3 teams will hav been more successful than us come may…….will we go out of business if we go spend 30 million on a david villa????????emmmm….nope

  41. Barca never out played us 2day bt they did in the 1st leg @emirates. The only thng they did,they denied us a space to play our ball, they were every where near the ball.We luck song services tht’s why Messi did wht he did.The midfield was full with no space to pass, we are not use to it coz english teams put their 10men behind the ball on their box bt barca deployed 7 players in the midfield.Wht will u do if u play in tht situation?

  42. Yes, they are good. Yes, we have had an unmanagable run of injuries. Yes, we are young and developing. BUT. We didn’t move the ball quick enough in possession. We didn’t move off the ball in possession. We didn’t close the play down when they had possession. And they outnumbered us in that they had eleven champions league players and we had Silvestre, Eboue, Denilson, Almunia, Walcott and Diaby. So it was eleven against five. The world tomorrow will be fawning over Messi, a brilliant player without doubt, but why did he ever get the ball? How did he get past the centre line? Where is our Karl Henry, our Ryan Shawcross, our Gilberto or Flamini, our destroyer?

  43. Tonight Barcelona would probably have beaten Wolves, Stoke, Blackburn, Hull, Man City, Birmingham, Wigan and Bolton. But not four-one. And they would have much preferred to play Arsenal before the Classico than any of the above.

  44. @ Mannix – We were outplayed today. They had more of the ball, scored four goals and looked comfortable when they allowed us to have it. That is the definition of outplaying a team.

  45. @Mannix, me, not a faithful Gooner … what an insult!
    Can’t you see that we are 2 or 3 off the class that we need to win? Yes we love Wenger and yes I would hate to be like Liverpool who buy players and then throw them in and ask them to get on with it. Wenger takes average young players (in my book) and turns them into a team. But we need that strength that I see on the subs bench at Chelsea. No, just buying any old has been will not do but Wenger needs to have cover. If Bendtner got injured we would have how many strikers??
    At least I can put a sentence together! Or are you drunk?

  46. We love Wenger BUT. . . get rid of Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, Silvestre, Denilson, Eboue, Eduardo, Vela . . . and let’s put the disappointing Walcott and the ageing Campbell under the microscope. YES to Wojcek Szezny, Diaby, Clichy, Sagna, Verm, Song, Ros, Nasri, Bendt, Fab, Arsh, RvP, Rams, Wilsh and maybe a few more. Would it have been that difficult to sign Shay Given? Brede Hangeland? And any northern midfield clogger who does nothing all season except break up play?

  47. Andy is right – we can ask such questions at the end of the season.

    Be proud that our injury ravaged squad made it further than Chelsea and Liverpool.

  48. Wenger could learn from Graham. What Barc did well and we didn’t; when they lost the ball they snapped into a well-drilled plan to get it back or deny space. Barca without the ball were a George Graham side: press the ball, don’t let the player pass and, if he does, make sure the player receiving it has no time or space. Obviously the difference between Barc and Graham’s Arse is the sublime talent in possession. But come on Arsene; there’s no shame in practise, practise, practise or corners and free kicks (defending and taking)

  49. Andy, my worry is that the brilliance of Barca will distract us from our own limitations. The opposition can only be as good as you allow them to be. Even before the first leg, people were saying it’s no disgrace to lose to Barca. Did we believe them? Fergie’s Man.U, Ancellotti’s Chavs or even Big Sam’s Bolton of old, may well have lost to Barse tonight, but not in the manner that we did.

  50. @shambogunner,maybe u have a point if not frustration whch ofcos..We all do bt let us be realistic, we have a strong team which can challenge any team anyday bt luck is not on our side,considering everytime we face a strong team we have to go without one/two key players due to injuries unlike utd n chelsie who rarely lost their key players especially in crucial encounter.Even purchasing Kaka or Messi is not an assurance tht they’ll click easily.Shevchenko was bought so expensive bt he turned to be a big flop, Veron,barbatov,ibrahimovic, Robinho the list is endless. The only way forward is going behind our team n give them support n encouragement not rendered them useless when they fail 1/10.

  51. OK, here it is:
    Almunia: not good enough for Premiership, definitely not Arsenal.
    Sagna and Clichy better than usual but why did Gael chose to shoot instead of pass on 2 great occasions?
    Verm; our best defender but of late always doing someone else’s job.
    Silvestre: his signing is proof that Wenger occasionally does magic mushrooms.
    Denilson; rubbish
    Diaby: talented but lacks killer instinct. Does difficult things well and simple things badly.
    Rosicky; not one of his best games.
    Nasri; tried hard.
    Walcott; completely overrated and needs instruction in basics of football.
    Bendtner, scored a great goal despite Theo’s efforts to make it impossible.
    Eboue; talented and fast and clever on the ball. Shame he doesn’t realise any of these things.

  52. Nothing could have been done to stem Barca’s dominance. After Bendter’s goal, there was a ray of hope but as usual Messi’s dominance of us showed our deficiencies in defence where Wenger needs to shore up during the Summer break.Face it Arsenal Fans,we lost to a better team with superior players and now our sole focus is on the league title. Man Utd has the Champions league (if they win tomorrow) Chelsea has the FA Cup as distractions so they are bound to lose points. 3 points behind them, we can catch up and snatch it from both of them in the last few games. It was a sore lost but bear in mind they ARE the best team in the world with the best player in the planet by far so let’s move on…a couple of tough away games coming up against Spurs and Wigan..let’s focus on beating this boys and we could be 1st soon…

  53. @Dave m.. The problem of our thin squad & luck of strong bench is frustrated by non commited players who openly threaten to live if not included in the 1st team.Remember Wiltord,Reyes,Flamini,Lass Diarra, Alliadere,Silvester,bentley they all willing to go if not included in the 1st eleven. Wenger is weak when it come to get tough with his players,he rather risk the crucial points or release an impatient player than disappoint him by one command, u are going nowhere.Where will we get a strong bench to fill the gap or fight for his number?Only Eboue & Walcott.

  54. Rip roaring Red – really? You really want Arsenal to loose in the style of Stoke, Hull, Wolves, Birmingham etc? You want Ryan Shawcross to play for Arsenal? You would prefer Barcelona to win 1-0, with Messi carried off on a stretcher never to play the same again, rather than the game we saw today, and last week.
    Why don’t you become a Rip Snorting Potter instead.

  55. What if we had a better tactician than Wenger? Again he falls short in the crunch games that are decided by small details. Why were Messi and Xavi allowed to do so much damage? Why were Alves and Abidal allowed so much room? On the tactic front, Wenger stinks.

    As for injuries, that is not an excuse. We have lost 4 out of 4 games against Utd and Chelsea, once missing Fabregas, the rest only missing RvP, and two fell after the transfer window when Wenger REFUSED to buy new players, so why blame injuries?

    The serious question we as Gooners need to ask, will we learn from this and prepare better next year? We got torn apart last year by Utd and never learned. Utd lost to Milan in 2007, and went and bought Anderson-Nani-Hargreaves and allowed Queiroz to make tactical decsions, and they only missed out on 1 trophy, the rest they cleaned up. We need a similar reaction.

  56. Guys let us be realistic,any team can lose in this stage, chelsie lost to inter,Real madrid were eliminated by Lyons.Man Utd lost 2:1 away to bayern. In CL anythng can happen.Let us accept it that we are out not bcz we are not good enough to reach semis but it alwys happened to anyone @ any stage.Real Madrid were strong enough to sail thru bt suffered in the hand of unexpected team to do so Lyons. Keep faith Gunners focus in epl till the end.Who knws chelsie,utd might lose 1 n draw 1 of their remaining fixture n pave way for my beloved Arsenal.

  57. big..big blow for us….no matter what…arsene wenger MUST buy top class players…so sad..Arsene wenger must sign Chamakh, Gerrard and torres, bordeux’s gourcurr, van der vaart, van der weil and the most important thing is to solve arsenal goalkeeping problem .Wenger must sign Nuer or akinfeew to replace almunia and fabianski. never give them chances anymore. arsenal need cup not. this is football and cups…
    players for sale

    1. almunia
    3. traore
    4. sylvestre (release)
    5. Eduardo
    6. fabianski
    7. merida

    we must sign

    1. nuer
    2.alex 0r naldo
    3. gourcuff
    4. chamakh
    5. gerrard
    6. van der weil ( to replace sagna)

  58. We (Arsenal) are an English attempt at a Barcelona-like Style of play, but this style of play require only world-class players to execute correctly as its not about physical power. We were just totally outplayed by Barcelona because their players , position for position are better than ours. We must buy world-class players for next season. However, People in the Arsenal management feel that being in 3rd or 4th in the premier league and making in to the quarterfinals of CL is good enough because it’s so far been the best balance between results and financial health. Unfortunatley, this philosophy may last for a long long time.

  59. I think if anyone should be out it should be Colin Lewin not Arsene. Look we were beaten by a world class team with half our first team missing. All this Arsene bashing is rubbish. Spend money for what?? Real Madrid have spent record spending money and we progresed further than they did!! Chelsea didn’t even make it to the quarter finals and this season is not over yet.

    Believe in your team and you rmanager and stop bitching before the season is over. I am proud of the fight, spirit and determination of this team! I’m proud to be a Gooner!

  60. Hey, Barca fan here. Good luck to you, you’re a great squad. I definitely hope you find a way to take the Premiership. And sorry about that Busquets thing, drawing a yellow with a non-existent hand to the face. That was embarrassing.

  61. I really don’t want to talk about who we should sign and how we need to change our entire style of play because of one result. As I said before it’s an argument for the end of the season.

    I’m seriously tempted to moderate any comments that go down this line – let’s talk about the performance in the tie and how we might have done better with the players at our disposal.

  62. Our players was not better than Barca and the result was expected somehow so lets just get on with it, there’s still the epl…

  63. Agree with you Andrew. The time to analyse the season is at the end. If we can beat Spurs we are still in the hunt. Let’s focus on that. Do we have eleven fit players though?!

    I wanted to focus on Barca. What impressed me most in the two games was their work ethic when not in possession. Every time we had the ball the player was surrounded by three or four Barca players hassling them into mistakes. And frankly many of our players were shown up to be not quite at the technical level we believed. Diaby, Nasri, Rosicky and even Fabregas – all players who week in week out in the EPL look skilful were made to look distinctly second rate. And when in possession Barca managed to make us look a dirty team – so many cheap fouls given away because man for man we were inferior.

    Having said that I would love to see a rematch with both teams at full strength. No other team in the world could have matched Barca let alone with five key players missing.

    Now, how can we raise the cash to buy Messi?!!!

  64. to tell you the truth, we really had a chance.. Even with the team that was on hand.. What if Diaby would have made the most basic of pass? Wenger was talking about grbbing your opportunities in life.. where there it was.. up 1-0, and on the break.. Walcott full speed to your right, Bentdner slowly joggin to your left: and you square off Bendtner?
    This is what pisses me off abot Diaby, there is no denying in his talent but where is hs vision? I was criminal not to have passed that ball to Walcott.. There is no way you can become a top class midfielder if you can’t even get a 50/50 decision right…it’s hard to believe , he is going to be our future centre mid..

  65. It’s true people have short memories. When we shouted from the roof tops to Wenger to strengthen the squad, he didnt listen. At some point he brought in Silvestre. For what ?. For what ? For what ?.

    Next, it is disgusting that you are all so generous to pour so much praise on Barca. Why ?. Cos we lost to them?. Someone called Messi God-like. Didnt you see the mega fake of a dive he gave and the writhing in pain that followed, to earn Denilson a Yellow ?. Didnt you see all the well timed tackles from behind at crucial points that stopped Walcott on his tracks ?. They have mastered the art of playing the beautiful game with cleverly disguised treason. C’mon guys, note these points :
    1. We lost cos we played bad.
    2. We lost cos Wenger has financials to manage as much as a team.
    3. We lost cos we went in with a team that has a lot of under par players like Silvestre, Denilson, Rosicky (never back to his best), Eduardo ( ditto) , Bendtner ( not the world class striker you need to win CL games), Abou ( brilliant when the moon turns to a dark blue ).
    3. We lost

  66. mr wenger you can no longer fool millions of arsenal supporters with the same old cliche it is a young team and needs time. The same players with exception of one or two are are playing for the past five trophy less years. you are living in a fools paradise by trying to win trophies by signing spent cartridges campbell and sylvestre. You plumped on a goalkeeper who cannot catch a ball properly his best qualities are to use flailing hands and legs. His howlers have already lost valuable points in epl. clichy and sagna can run faster but cannot cross or defend. the midget midfielders denilson, rosicky, nasri, merida and long-legged diaby might by good against the likes of wolves but not when pitted against chelseas, manus and barcas.
    strikers too lacks class. bendtner cannot a beat his marker in one to one situation. He scores one out of half a dozen easy chances, walcott should be sprinter rather than a soccer player. eduardo and vela should not even be mentioned. Off load these players and induct a goalkeeper of proven quality, a centre back, two steely midfielders in the mould of vieira and a quality goal poacher. Unless this is done 2010-2011 will be another barren year for the gunners that will be shame.

  67. I am not angry becos we lost or messi scored, I am angry becos, we lack the manpower to execute a full season, it has happened over and over again starting well and ending poorly either due to injury to key players or fatique. The point is we have quality players and a good manager but arrogant as well. But we need more, somebody who can play if fabregas is injured, somebody who can score without V.P. Arsenal is a big club and therefore deserves more. It is time for wenger to change and buy more not neccessarily world class, but average players will do. It is ridiculous to face barca with Silvester at the back, He is too old for that assignment. Six seasons without silverware is worrisome. UP GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. What if wenger sold silvestri at the end of last season, like he should have. Clichy had an amazing game.

  69. I really think wenger needs to strengthen our defence first. Look how Mourinho has turned inter from an average side into a team with a real chance of winning the cl,like his chelsea team of a few years ago inter are very strong in defence with lucio,samual,chivu and maicon in particular plus caser is an excellent goalkeeper. vermaelen is our only decent defender,clichy is ok but cant cross and is weak in the air. Lets be honest,you cant hope to win trophys with such a weak defence especially when you dont have a good defensive midfielder. I’d love to see us sign a good goalkeeper,maybe lloris from lyon and another strong centre back. Cant see wenger making much changes tho and i expect to be frustrated yet again next year by seeing almunia,silvestre,sagna,denilson,rosicky,diaby,walcott,nasri,bendtner and eduardo letting the side down as usual

  70. I amproud of this team. we lost cos we could not run for 90mins. we didnt close them down and yes injuries screwed us. simple. i predict a lyon vs barca final.

  71. I agree with rehan,walcott is fast but so is a cheetah. dosent mean a cheetah would make a good right winger,although he might be more consistent and a better finisher than walcott haha

  72. I had the impression all english streams went down in the 75th minute or so, just by the way, I missed the last quarter or so

    I agree with Lil Weezy, I remember this situation after the goal by Bendtner that there was a quite similar situation and Eboue just had to pass through the space for Walcott, he did pass to Bendtner and did that not very good, Bendtner’s first touch is horrible most of the time and the chance was gone, the next attack by Barcelona was Messi’s incredible goal………. and his never ending serie,

    but with Messi in this form I really would say no team of this world would have coped with that and would have lost yesterday, so at the end it doesn’t matter if nearly noone was at his best from Arsenal yesterday, I personally was very disappointed about Rosicky too, I have never seen him such bad, I would have expected more from him in such a match, it’s sad, simply sad,… but I don’t think Barca could have been beaten yesterday, so in the end it doesn’t matter, credit to Messi, I have often heard it but I have never seen it, his performance yesterday convinced me, he is defintely from another planet 😯

  73. I really hate to say this out loud, but are we developing a culture at Arsenal as heroic losers?
    I’ve become quite neurotic and pessimistic as a Gooner in the past few seasons.
    I honestly start every season with boundless enthusiasm. I really believe we are going to win the lot every August as the season kicks off.
    But the past two years have knocked the stuffing out of me.
    Surely, everyone at Arsenal felt the same pain I did at our capitulation to Man u in last year’s European Cup semi and swore they’d never allow that to happen again?
    So, how could we possibly have failed to strengthen our squad in the last off-season?
    How could we have possibly thought that we could persevere without a striker of VP’s quality?
    How could we possibly think we would win anything with a Scottish league quality keeper like Almunia as our last line of defense?
    I’m beyond being puzzled now.
    I’m beyond thinking: “Ah, but there must be something going on behind the scenes that I don’t know about.”
    Because I am a patient and loyal Gooner (since 1977) who does believe in Arsene Wenger.
    But I just feel sick now I’ve had eight hours to digest our latest “heroic” defeat to one of the best teams in the world.
    Surely the fuck we are also one of the best teams in the world and we should be winning at least some of these matches.
    Is there a lack of passion and belief in the side? It’s impossible to imagine Arsenal teams with men like Adams, Bould and Vieira losing repeatedly to the top teams in the big matches like we have over the past few years. Their pride wouldn’t have allowed it.
    After that Man u defeat last year they’d have been like “Right, we’re going to stuff the bastards next time”. And they would have.
    I’m beginning to question whether our team believes in itself.
    And if it doesn’t, then we need to do some pruning and get rid of the weak minds in there and replace them with men who will fight to win for our cause.
    It was great back in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s, because I never really expected us to win anything, except the odd FA Cup and that was so rare that it was hugely exciting. Like Haley’s Comet coming over or something.
    But this culture of resigned defeat that has developed (think Man u in last season’s semi or any recent Chelsea match) is starting to get me really, really angry.
    It’s just not fucking good enough!
    We’re the third richest club in the world, for fuck’s sake! We’re not noble losers. We are The Arsenal. The greatest football club in the world as far as I’m concerned.
    It’s about fucking time we acted like it.
    Righteo, rant over.
    Just really, really, really fucked off.
    Cue (from realists) “Told ya so.”
    Cue (from rosetinters) “Ah, you’re just a fucking plastic who doesn’t live in N5 anyway.”

  74. @andy, I disagree with you, This is largely the same Barcelona side that had not beaten an English team at home in their last five attempts. It’s all very well saying that they are the best in the world and that we had no chance. We should not be getting rolled over so comprehensively at this stage of the competition again. Inter Milan will not ship four goals at the Nou Camp regardless of Barcelona’s line-up. Their manager will not send out a team which offers no protection to its defensive line…

  75. Game of the decade my ar*e! Arsenal got steamrolled just like every other team (except for the English sides of course – all of them performed better against Barcelona in their recent meetings). This was supposed to be a game where Arsenal gave as good as they got, kept the ball, end to end stuff. In truth, it turned out to be worse than the final last season. United got outplayed, but then you expected that if Barcelona were to win. Arsenal got outplayed using the type of football that they are supposed to be the best at. THAT is embarrassing.

  76. This defeat in Champions league for Arsenal by Barca won’t be forgotten until the sacking of Wenger or buying of world class players in order to revenge against that otherwise if Wenger is not sacked, the humiliation by the Spanish giants won’t be forgotten in the world of football until the end of the world or the fourth coming of Jesus Christ will calm down the Arsenal fans worldwide and forgetting about that defeat or humiliation in European football.

  77. all of you end-of-the-world-because-we-lost people: dudes, it’s a game. we got beat by an amazing team. we had half of out first-choice players out. i don’t feel humiliated losing to them (but imagine 4-1 to spuds, that would SUCK). if buying of world class players to fill the bench means financial ruin then leave me out. i certainly hope we’ll hold on to some excellent players AND continue to develop and hold on to young talent. i think the opposition last night showed us how some of each can be a beautiful thing.

  78. Hey gooners, losing to the best team on the planet isnt something to be depressed about. As Andy Gray put it, this young team is learning.
    This season has all been about learning hasnt it? Late comebacks, late winners, it must be said that even if we end up trophyless, we should proud of the team for giving their best in every match. Rmb last season when certain players didnt seem pretty interested, well 09/10 has been the opposite. This young side have matured, they have shown character in times of inconcievable adversity. This is worthy of any trophy.
    I’m not gonna speak like a baseless optimist. We have improved by leaps and bounds but that still doesnt guarantee that if we finish trophyless again we are certain to win something next season. But we have to give our support to this team that has been criticised again and again. But they defied critics by being in the hunt even in April. How long ago have we been in this same position? We were written off twice and look where we are.
    I agree with Andy that we should leave the bullshit about Anti-wenger and who to sell.
    Lets just sit back and relax the last 5 games of the season knowing our team has given their all for the fans.

  79. we sure gave them a run for their money didn’t we?

    Arsenal is now officially a new form of torture, This is how the process goes:

    Instill a tiny bud of hope

    feed the tiny hope through a goal by bendner

    Bring the hope down a little by the equaliser. the hope is still there.

    Crush the hope the hope with a second goal from barca.

    Then twist the scewer into the heart by a third goal. funnily enough the hope is still there.

    Then absolutely vaporized the hope and it’s wielder by a fourh and final KO.

    I still love arsenal but Barcelona, you might as well give them the cup now. Wenger is probably gonna leave this year.

  80. NEWSFLASH: Arsenal do NOT have a God-given right to win trophies!

    It astounds me that people can react so badly to losing against the world’s greatest team. Do you so easily forget games like the first leg, and the battle against Porto before hand? Games like those are the reasons to be a football fan. We’ve had a tremendous adventure every year, despite winning nothing for the last 5, and I thank the club for every single one of them.

  81. we do not have a god given right to lose either.

    I have been harping on this (unpopularly) for the past three years.

    the small sized attacking midfielders needs to change. we start out every year with hopes and dreams only to be shattered come april. we need to get competent defenders… not 5’10 guys when all year they post up with 6’3′ guys. we need defensive midfielders who hold the ball and maintain the shape of the game. not dudes who grab it and run with their heads down.

    i hear they are extending Arsene’s contract. He has given us much but it is time to move on.

  82. Its the injuries that has hurt us for the last season and the problem gets graver and graver. This season is worst, long term injuries combined with short time injuries at the business end of the season.

    Yes Barca too didnt have their full 1st team……it was more of Messi vs Arsenal. I wonder what the result wud have been if we had swapped forwards……hehehe!!

  83. Small sized attacking midfielders like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, you mean? Defenders like Puyol, Maxwell, Milito, who all struggle to reach 5’10? Yeah that will never work, those guys will never win ANYTHING.


  84. what happened to off the ball movement? or coming towards the ball to maintain possession?

    also did wenger purposefully ask walcott not to track the full back when he was attacking?

  85. @Anyang abraham , GO FUCK YOURSELF!
    come on lads! in arsene we trust and in arsenal we believe!

  86. How can we possibly be so upset when the 5 best players on our team weren’t playing. Its not even a fair contest. I’m just heart-broken we couldn’t field our strongest or even a strong team. Talking about the game is pointless when Arsenal didn’t even have a real team out there.

  87. oh god.
    Arsenal is competing on the domestic and europe side on a string budget. We play great football, have great players. We just played Barca with our B team and pushed them all the way. A make shift defensive center pairing, our usual playmakers and leading goal scorer out for the season. Lets just admit Barca was really really good and if it was Man U, Chelsea vs them, they will be out of it too. in fact, i enjoyed the match and in my belief it will put them up in good stead. The positives from the first leg can be seen in the Wolves game. They pushed and pushed and finally they scored. I would love to see how we go against SPUDS.

    The complaints on the board tells me you’re all new or young fans. Sack Wenger lol. We have Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool fans taunting us and we dont need you sorts to do the same.

  88. It was a difficult night, can’t afford to measure it. I can only flush back to the Premier League and try to settle my brains there.

  89. It seems that many supporters have pushed the panic buttons, such as firesale of all who were lousy or ineffectual yesterday such as Silvestre, Rosicky, Eduardo, Diaby plus the perennials like Almunia. Throw in Walcott and why not Nasri. In fact I think Nasri was the greatest disappointment or at least equal to Rosicky. Who had a good game? “Even” Vermalen looked poor. YET, if we dare to think that Song and Fab and perhaps Gallas were fit, we might have been a little stronger up the middle which would have had a knock on effect for Nasri. But the truth is that we were running on fumes. Rosicky was marginal for the game after the blood letting at Birmingham, but who would have Wenger put there instead? One wonders why Wenger bothers with Silvestre, I would have had started the way he ended without him.

    but there was another what if moment at 1-0 when Diaby decided not to play to Walcott. …

    but these aside, Barca are pretty much a complete team and to have a shout we needed to be fully fit–imagine Barca starting without 5 first choice starers, half their outfield players (Gallas, Song, Fab, VP, Arshavin).

    I think the firesale needs to be put in perspective.

    Keep Eduardo and Rosicky for another year, see if there is improvement after year long injuries. Dump Gallas, Silvesrte and get a new goal keeper …

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