Barcelona v Arsenal: A preview from Spain

After three days in Barcelona, three days in Girona and a five hour train trip south, I am writing the preview to tomorrow’s game with the sound of firecrackers ringing in my ears in Valencia.

I had been all but assured tickets to the Nou Camp for Tuesday’s game but unfortunately things changed, so instead of heading back to Barcelona to watch it amongst the masses of Catalan supporters, I’ve decided to stay and watch the game in Valencia. I’m hoping it will be a happy occasion.

Nasri's pace will be important

Both sides go into the game off the back of similar performances — but whereas Barcelona’s against Zaragoza translated into a 1-0 win, Arsenal were denied a victory as a result of poor officiating. I saw Barcelona play in the Nou Camp on Saturday and they were quite impressive, keeping the ball well and creating plenty of chances, but Arsenal played just as well earlier in the day.

The big contrast between the sides going into the game is the availability of their best players. Whereas Arsenal will miss Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and now Alex Song from the return leg Barcelona’s biggest concern is the absence of Gerard Pique through suspension. Otherwise they are at full strength. Meanwhile both Cesc Fabregas, who mercifully returns from injury, and Bacary Sagna, who missed the first leg through suspension, will play.

This tie is delicately poised. Barcelona have the stronger team but our boys have a lead to defend which could prove invaluable.

In a perfect world Arsene Wenger would have looked to play quite conservatively and use Walcott’s pace to hit Barcelona on the break. But with our quickest player unavailable, the manager will have to come up with an alternate plan.

It seems certain that Nicklas Bendtner will start up front in place of van Persie, with Andrey Arshavin on the left and Samir Nasri on the right. Bendtner and Arshavin generally work well together and the Russian has returned to form of late, so they will be a more difficult proposition than Barcelona would have foreseen a month ago. Nasri’s ability to hold up the ball under pressure will be vital in allowing the rest of the team time to move forward.

The biggest question mark for Wenger is who to play in Song’s position. Abou Diaby and Denilson are the two options, but neither are ideal. Denilson is not in good form while Diaby has not played enough games. The other factor to consider is that Denilson’s presence would allow Jack Wilshere to play with more freedom while Diaby would give us a more unique attacking thrust. The manager has a tough decision to make.

The loss of Pique will hurt Barcelona a lot. He is their primary distributor from the back as well as their tallest defender. Meanwhile his absence will see Eric Abidal forced into the centre to partner the returning Carlos Puyol, meaning the inclusion of Barcelona’s weakest link, Maxwell, at left-back. If Arshavin or Nasri get the opportunity to run at the Brazilian they could have some success.

Barcelona will miss Piqué

Speaking with my good friend Oriol in Barcelona, the feeling amongst supporters of the home team is that they expect to win this tie. They have handled enough sticky situations over the past three seasons to instill a confidence in their supporters that this Arsenal team are yet to establish. They have great players, a strong record at home in all competitions and the history to give them belief to overturn the first leg deficit.

But just as Barcelona have belief, so do they have weaknesses. As we showed in the first leg, and as Zaragoza showed on Saturday evening — twice their forwards were through one-on-one with Victor Valdes after incisive, direct passes from Edmilson — they struggle against pace. Walcott might be out but in Nasri, Arshavin and Bendtner (yes, he looks clumsy, but he’s actually very fast), we have players high up the pitch capable of exposing that weakness.

What’s more, in Cesc Fabregas, we have a player capable of making the passes necessary to make that pace count. He missed last season’s encounter through injury but our captain will undoubtedly be fired up here, hoping to make his mark on the grandest of personal stages, in front of family and friends at the Nou Camp.

His first-leg performance was overshadowed by that of Wilshere but with Barcelona admitting a stronger focus on stopping the Englishman tomorrow, the opportunity could be there for Fabregas to make the decisive contribution to the game. A pass of the quality that set Nasri away in the first leg may be all it takes to turn the tie in our favour.

It may sound like a cliché but in many ways tomorrow’s game is no-lose for Arsenal. Should they get knocked out of the competition — as most people from Barcelona expect — then focus can switch the league, a competition that in a short amount of time has completely unfolded in front of them. Should they win, well, confidence would go through the roof.

A delightful game of football awaits. Enjoy it.

Spread your love of Arsenal by leaving a comment.



  1. well Andrew, pique as well as puyol out of the game at camp nou that will be some blow.

  2. I have high hopes for our boys tomorrow. Though I do fear playing without Van Persie and Song, but I’m sure Cesc’s presence along with Nasri’s pace will hopefully make up for it. I hope Wenger plays it kinda safe, I’m hoping for either a 0-0 draw, or a win. And as you said Andy, even if we do get knocked out, the league’s still there and hopefully Man U will keep dropping points and give us a chance to overtake them. It’s been a tough run for our lads, and I’m very impressed that they’ve made it this far despite missing VP for a long time.
    Some fans may bicker and moan, but all I know is maintaining 2nd place since December isn’t something easy to do, just ask Chelsea.

    Good Luck Arsenal.

  3. Is Puyol not out as well?
    That’s a massive blow missing their man central defensive partnership/

  4. Song is such a big loss but I think it will have to be Diaby in the centre of midfield. They’re similar players in many ways and whoever is there has to stop Messi running at the back 4. We can’t afford to sit back and let Barcelona dictate terms if we’re going to go through so that means shutting them down quickly. This team is not good at sitting back and playing conservatively as we saw against Newcastle.
    I think this is our best chance in years and if Arsenal click and get the first goal, I know they can go on with it.

  5. Well isnt puyol def ruled out, of course he is…. I really would’nt mind diaby/denilson in the holding role, i infact wld prefer denilson since diaby actually isnt a holding DM, even though he is asked to play in that position he seems to attack more than def, anyways my pt for having either of them play is because they have the superb ability to slow the game down (which really can get frustrating to us supporters as well, like in the game against sunderland when clearly we needed the opposite) .. And that might be just what we need, to slow the game down a bit, rather than looking for that killer pass…

    0-0 is gonna be tough but i can def see 1-1 or 2-2… hopefully

  6. good write up mate, i hope we go there and play our game coz i feel that barca get the jitters when we attack BUT we MUST defend with our whole team because one or two players sleep and we could get seriously punished, any way a draw or even a 3-2 lose should be enough because we all must admit that there will be goals so up the GOONERS keep the FAITH.

  7. If Gunners can score one or two goals,Barcelona will go to somewhere. Impossible is nothing.

  8. This article gives me hope but sinks my heart at the same time. If Arsene is stuck with the 50-50 choice of giving Denilson a go-ahead, we’re essentially stuffed. I hope not..

    But yes, Puyol is also out, just in case anyone was wondering.

    I wonder if the case is almost like United. Without their 2 main CB, they’re quite weak. I wonder if that will be the case for Barca. It certainly gives our players the opportunity to run at Maxwell. It will be interesting. A win may be too much to ask for however a draw is not. A draw would definitely see us through and so I’m hoping for a draw. One thing I do hope for in the match is, given Bendtner’s astounding confidence levels, I hope he can convert chances when provided because with the combination of Wilshere and Fabregas (fingers crossed), there may well be some decent opportunities. They may not come in abundance but if and when they do, we have to take them. Defending will need to be top notch. Hope Djourou and Koscielny are up for the task as well as the other two defenders.

    Hoping hoping hoping. Lots of hoping. Hope for the best. GO ARSENAL!!

  9. I don’t know if I really should watch this match, it’s all too emotional, but in the end believing in this rollercoaster of Arsenal’s play……… after the down of Sunderland (I think that was a down) there have to come an up………….. an upward…… a lifting……. a high……….. :sigh:

  10. pique out puyol out
    if we only had theo and rvp im 100% sure we could win now i only 99 % sure : ))

  11. Good lucks guys! you made it in the first leg and why not the history to repeat itself. I have all my trust in you guys. The absence of wolcott and RVP should not bring any laziness in you at all. Be men and show your menhood. God’s blessing for you all.

  12. UP THE FRIGGIN’ GOONERS!!!! pleeeeeeeeeease, don’t let us down tomorrow. we candef win this match. i’ll settle for a draw, but i know this arsenal side can win. it would have been easier, for sure, with RVP and TW but shava’s motoring again and B52 is confident. can’t wait… to watch the replays as i’m stuck on-call in the hospital tomorrow. 🙁

  13. We are a bunch of bottlers on the pitch we don’t have an easy run even if we were playing orient every week until May we would drop points.

    Every time we play a big team and win we then think we are the dogs bollocks and go on to drop points. So no matter if we win or loose against a big team like Barca or manure (yeh right) we will drop points next match. Fucking bottlers!!!!

    Scum carling cup 1.4 win – Lose to WBA next game

    Case of the players thinking they are super fucking stars and not putting the effort in

    Everton away 2.1 great game and we turned them over big time – Then we think we are fucking super stars – loose to the scum at home – thanks

    The big one!!! CHAVS – Big game what a night, great noise everywhere the team did well the crowd did well we beat the chavs!!!! Any other team would use that and go on to win more games, give the fans more to sing about!!!!!!! – no we drop points to Wigan away

    Everton at home – This was a massive game, full of noise and one of the best atmospheres I have seen at the grove. We win 2.1 and was a great noise and again the chance for the team to go to the next match and show guts and passion!!!! We allow Newcastle to score 4 in 20 mins – We drop more points

    And here is the big one people – Barca at home, the best game EVER played at the grove. Grown men in tears , pure jubilation with the fans and the team. This is the kind of game that makes champions and the kind of game that makes the average player world class. —– We then play 3rd division Orient and get a draw

    We then play Stoke get a hard earnt win to try and get us back on track after the great win to barca and all the injury’s – We win 1.0 followed by a loss to Brum in the carling cup

    After all the negativity and humiliation of loss we are offered a life line – The Chavs beat Manure. Back in the day the team would have been going crazy for this , and next game would of seen them step up and come out like fucking warriors…………. But no!

    We now play Sunderland AT HOME!!! and drop yet more points proving we are a bunch of fucking bottlers that no matter who we beat or loose too we don’t have it in us to win the league or any reputable trophy when any under pressure.

    But we show mental strength, we have great youth players coming through, we are great financially and we don’t have to sign players like Torres or Luiez in order to win the league.

  14. It will be a herculean effort to win or get a 0-0 result against barca considering our defensive frailities and failure to convert scoring opportunies especially in absence of rvp. Bendtner and arshavin are poor finishers and could not be relied upon to come up trumps against arguably the best club side in the world. Let”s hope for the best. .

  15. All i hear on this blog is excuses, AS USUAL!!!
    How the hell is bad decisions responsible for us dropping 2 points on saturday, Yes the officials made some errors, BUT almost everyone have been victims of that, ask United & wigan and to compound that look at the carling cup final, Brums were denied a goal a penalty and a a sending off, and we still lost so how the hell can we complain (DOUBLE Standard) The fact is this team without the big 4 on the pitch is under average to say the least its as simple as that, wenger and most on this blog can talk all they want BUT facts are facts.

    Bendtner And chamakh combined are not worth 1. We say chamakh is a good header of the ball, look what he missed, point blank header Arshavin as well, So we got chances we just didn’t take them any team worth there salt would have at least scored a goal.

    The worst thing is the Brums are in a relegation fight, and we lost a cup to them.
    Its just too easy to stop arsenal and its not the players fault.

    The next thing is why did cesc not play at least 20 min on saturday? to make sure we won. Hell if he’s 20 % fit he’s better than some of what we have.
    Now he’s 90% fit for barca. How much fit was he on saturday wenger, 75%? can’t be any less cause i don’t see how he can jump from any lower % to 90% in 3 days with the kind of injury he has, so he could have played some part on saturday.

    I wonder if wenger needs psychological evaluation. What is this man doing?

    Its going to be very hard to win at Barc without our big 4 all involved, only two will be involved and this will make it very difficult. This just shows what wenger is prioritizing.
    If cesc get injured in this Barc game and we loose that will be a shame cause he will miss more league games and by the time he returns the league will be gone. I’m not saying he should not play against Barc BUT he should Have played in the league game on saturday.

    The big winner over the last week have been MAU because they played two very dificult games and lost, BUT instead of them trailing us by 2 or 3 points the worst that can happen is we can tie them and if they were handed this situation before they played both games (Pool & Chel) am sure they would have taken that. And based on our inability to take chances it is no sure thing we will win our game in hand.

    If we don’t win this league this season we wont win it again in a hurry the league is begging for us to come and take it.

    Folks the fact is a lot of Arsenal players are under performing, players who have been at the club a very long time look at the experience teams we put out in cup games and still can’t win without replays, that says a lot about the players. I read here every day that Rosicky, Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner, Chamakh, and a list of others should leave the club or be held accountable for consistent bad performance.

    But Accountability starts at the top, wenger has been buying rubbish players and injury prone players for years now, who holds him accountable?. He has made more bad decisions in the lat 5 years than his whole tenure at arsenal, who holds him accountable?
    Until he is held accountable the above mentioned players can continue to under perform, cause at Arsenal under-performance is acceptable at almost every level. As long as the club make money.

    I wish the guys luck with Barc hope they win, But most of all no more injuries………….

  16. I have been in touch witth you aleady,,,,,,,but come down to Denia tomorrow (Tuesday)
    and watch the match in a Gooner pub………80 ks south od Valencta
    I’ll buy you a beer and a biscuit !!

  17. If Arsenal needs to win then there should be no goal scored till 70 minutes from our team and from them too,this will doubt their confidence and help us counter attack easily. otherwise like last time we will provoke the beast in them.Without Song we have a pretty tough task of containing Messi.We need some special speedster to run the show after 70 minutes to finish them off.

    I expect Fabregas,Diaby,Wilshere to control the midfield. Eboue to replace Walcott and arshavin to the super sub allowing nasri to play left.Probably wilshere taking care of messi and Diaby pushing forward. This allows both Fabregas and Wilshere to control the game.Though it may look defensive we have enormous offensive ability interms of Diaby,Eboue,Nasri ,Fabregas and Bendtner if he shows his hunger.

    Eboue is unpredictable even for himself which Barca had some problems in first leg

    Generally Diaby , Eboue team works up better.

    This formation allows Nasri to help Clichy on defensive front .Eboue Sagna on the right secures the right flank.Leaving the centre to be the only route, where our boys can win and retaliate

    We can pitch in the winner after arshavin takes up the left flank, nasri to take up Diaby role and Eboue by Rosicky or Chamakh.

    This allows two fresh legs in the left and right flank to attack at will with a consolidated midfield trio of Nasri,Wilshere,Fabregas which proved too much for barca in the first leg.

  18. RVP is included in the squad. My mood has completely changed about the tie, we have someone to lead the line that is in the goals. What a complete shock!!

  19. i think the manager shud not take this game with levity.i wud prefer denilson bcos of his defencive prowes,diaby his attacking minded.arsenal has to play a conservative futbol

  20. @andy,
    Gutted for you man that you couldnt get tickets, woulda been a fansastic experience, but heres hopin you’ll only miss a drab scoreless draw anyway….how great would that be?
    Didnt mean to come across badly last post, always enjoy your work….just gota work on the way I write stuff.
    I have to say that Liverpool team could really teach our boys a thing or two about getting stuck in, nothing to play for in the league yet they thumped Chelsea earlier in the season and now Utd, they really got in their faces its was an exceptional gutsy display from the off, some would say it was what we should have done on saturday instead of only starting in the 70th minute. Once again I have to say I do not blame le boss for this lethargic laid back fisrt hour, some of these players are just not strong enough and lack the desire, they think the goal will come from somewhere and play on the periphery of some of our home games.
    I dont want to single anyone out but should Denilson and Diaby not be putting in serious shifts to try and stake a claim for a regular start because they didnt seem to me to be playing like men who were playing for a place to face barcelona in our biggest game of the season, and I think that is the most frustrating and dissapointing thing regarding these two in particular, you want them to want to look like their ready for war on the field, and they, quite frankly, never are.
    Anyway theres nothing left to do now but countdown the minutes till tues nights big game.

  21. Have a feeling Arsenal will have to score 2 goals and go through on away goals if we are to cause an upset; cos I don’t think we will be able to stop them from scoring. Having said that I am optimistic that we won’t concede 3-4 goals like last year due to the fact that this time around we have in Sczesny, a worldclass goalkeeper capable of matchwinning saves and our centreback pairing of Johan ad Kos have never conceded more than 2 goals when they play together (in this regard the only match that comes to mind is the carling cup final)
    Can we pull it off? ‘Cesc we can’!!!! We just need to have the belief, to give at our best effort and maybe a bit of luck going our way…..Come on you Reds!!!

  22. My “team’s” for tomorrow’s game:

    Sagna Laurent Djorou Clichy
    DIaby/Denilson Jack
    Nasri Cesc Arshavin

    Sagna Laurent Djorou Clichy
    Cesc Jack
    Nasri Arshavin/Rosisky
    RVP – B52/Arshavin

  23. WE go out there and defend for the first 15minutes and frustrate them.Then bang! hit them on the counter from nowhere. This will unsettle them and allow us to take advantage of their desperation. Possession does not matter they can have it at 98% but hit them with 2 goals and were through. C’mon Gunners we can do this. Happy to know that RvP is playing. Too bad for Theo. ARSENAL FOREVER!

  24. Shame you couldn’t get tickets for the game Andy and you’ll be watching the game with Spanish commentators. But hey it could be worse, I am stuck here with Craig the sun shines out of Barca’s arse Foster and David Basheer on SBS!

    Big lift to hear that RvP might be right to play a part and fingers crossed Cesc is fully fit.

    If we can score first it will make things very interesting. Denilson or Diaby for Song, that is the question. Unfortuantely I am not sure I like either answer! Is Ramsay on the plane?

  25. Been a while since i posted on here…

    2 things are needed tomorrow:

    a. Absolute FOCUS
    b. The will to compete by every player on the pitch

    If we bring those we will progress I have no doubt. Point b is sometimes difficult for a few of our players (Diaby, Denilson, Nik) but if they cant get up for this game then they shouldnt be playing football. Bendtner usually shows up in big games.

    Im cautiously optimistic

  26. I have been a Barca fan for a better part of a decade, however recently I have been following more of the premier league than the two horse race that is La Liga. I have been intrigued with Arsenal’s style of football, which is obviously very similar to Barca’s way of playing. I find myself actually routing for the Gunners a lot lately and was quite torn when they had to play Barca. After the result of the first leg I had a little grin on my face, funny I thought, I actually liked the idea that Arsenal could dethrone the Catalan giants. Tomorrow’s game will be a turning point for the Gunners. I have a feeling they can pull it of. How? Simple, be stubborn enough to play Barca’s game. Go head to head and push forward. they need to pressure Barca. If they hold back they will lose. Best Chance is to beat Barca at their own game. Arsenal has the quality to do this, they are the only other team in Europe that can do this, possession and counter. Use their speed up front and creativity in the middle. It’s possible for Arsenal to win even in the Camp Nou.

  27. Great news that RVP is in the squad, weather he will play or not i dont know but just the determination to play this game is show of great stuff, i have a feeling we are going through and if its not too much to say by winning the game..

  28. V.persie is a GOD sent gift to arsenal. He has the soul of the team and feels his presence wont guarantee Barca an obvious win. What a player we have even before he plays the game. The manager believes in him and also us the fans. He can get something out of nothing and i hope we win the game at Nuo camp.We just have to dismantle all their game plan by opening up and attacking with pace and purpose. Why should people worry so much about Songs absence . Our two goals came when he was off the pitch and if he got a card today he would miss the next game. Denilson must start ahead of Diaby.Denilson played well last season at Nuo camp.We had a hero at Bernabue in 2006 and we shall have one today. I pray Rosicky stays in England cause his experinece is useless to the team.

  29. For me there were two equally important news these days regarding our match: the fact that Van Persie will be in the squad and that Fabregas is fit to play. If they both would be in the starting XI, we will have our best squad almost fully operational, the notable exception being Song (next to Walcott, of course). And while Song didn’t do that good in the first tie, I think that neither Diaby nor Denilson could bo better than him, and for what I saw, that was a dilemma for Wenger. From my point of view, of these two, I would rather have Diaby on the pitch, even though he only played just a couple of games this season and not necessarily because he did very well, but because I absolutely hate Denilson as a player and every time he touches the ball I feel like closing my eyes out of fear he might screw up like he did this whole season.

    As for the game itself, I think it will be even more of a tactical challenge for Wenger than the first one. And trying to see the bigger picture, I tend to agree with Juanito11, because I think it’s next to impossible for us to keep a clean sheet against Barcelona. Given the frailties in their defense, we can score, and if only we would manage to score two…

    My biggest fear tonight, however, is that we won’t manage to face their pressure, that they’ll close us so well that we can’t attack or counterattack and if I’m not mistaking, that’s what they did last season. However, in Arshavin and Nasri I see two players more than capable of breaking their lines, being supplied by Fabregas and Wilshere and then having Van Persie in front of them for the finishing touch.

    This could be our night and I’m hoping that after the match we’ll all get together here and congratulate this team, hyped from the qualification for the next stage. GO GUNNERS!

  30. Well you dont take RVP to Barcelona and NOT play him and a bold man would throw in Bentner and play 4-4-2
    at least to start with- 1 goal and it could be done- they have a centre back weakness and it should be exployted immediatly-and any score will be enough
    Then go Italian and defend like crazy
    should we loose I will say again and again we need a tall centre back !!!
    Go Buy Mertasacker………………

  31. @ peter taylor – A brave man would play 4-4-2? We haven’t played that all season.

    Go Italian and defend like crazy? We’re not drilled for that.

    If we lose you’ll say we need a tall centre-back? Barcelona are one of the shortest teams in the world.

    We cannot change our entire philosophy for one game. These are very strange comments.

  32. Well but i agree with peter taylor first point though you dont take RVP to Barcelona and NOT play him, well now that wld be kinda stupid now wouldnt it, the same thing happened with nasri in the first leg, wenger insisted that he wld be cautious he falls straight into the starting lineup, same case with rvp.

  33. Stomach in knots, inability to sit still, anxiety creeping into every limb…it can only be one thing, Arsenal Barcelona in the Champions League. I am so damn excited/nervous…Last year Barca decimated our second string and revelled in it like an achievement as did our rivals at home, fair enough. Tonight i want revenge for Paris ’06, a bus journey home i will never forget, urging myself never to forget how much it hurt. Tonight I’ll be using that memory and the disgusting pursuit of Cesc over the summer to fuel me. Tonight i’ll be in the middle of the 12 pins in finsbury park waiting for the sheer bliss of getting soaked in warm beer knowing that it means we’ve scored that crucial away goal. I’ll be singing we all follow The Arsenal and somehow thinking the louder i sing it in London, the better they’ll play in Spain…10 hours to go…you all know that if we win, there isnt an opiate based drug in the world that is going to rival that feeling, if we lose, i want to do it with our heads held high knowing we made them work harder than they have done this whole season. Last season Guardiola said it was the best they had ever played in the first leg at the emirates and Messi had one of his best in the 2nd leg meaning they had nothing left in the tank for the rest of the comp and that was against our second string, this year we ARE even better. Too close to call but come on gooners, even when all logic is telling you otherwise, BELIEVE!!!

  34. Any Toronto based Arsenal fans. The pub Scallywags on 11 St. Claire will be showing the game today. I wish I could tell you what the atmosphere is like but I just heard about it yesterday from a stranger on the subway with an Arsenal hat on. Needless to say, I will be attending to take in some spectacle.


  35. seems like wenger is putting our whole season on this match. I hope things workout, By this i mean regardless of the result no more injuries……………..
    Best of luck guys……………

  36. Interesting statistic, no team since the implementation of the 16 team KO stage has managed to knock Arsenal out of the CL and go on to win the tournament unless it was a final. They either got knocked out in the next round or lost in the final if it was a semi final game that they beat Arsenal.

    In short if you go down Arsenal’s path in the CL KO Stage you are destined to lose. So goodbye Barca whatever the result

    And it’s Arsenal,
    Arsenal FC,
    We’re by far the greatest team,
    The world has ever seen

  38. I am so pumped for this game. I have foregone every offer to watch it with people I know just so I can dance like an absolute lunatic or cry like the most heartbroken soul who ever lived, depending on the result. The last Barsenal game was one of the greatest I’ve ever watched, and the elation I felt was untainted joy. Somehow, this feels like one of the biggest games I’ve ever watched as an Arsenal fan. I can only wish the team well. In all honestly, I wish our clubs could play every week.

    AW: Epic Fabregas picture for the front of this article. Commiserations on the tickets, I hope you enjoy the game!

  39. Am watching it in Singapore, does anyone know who that bald fuck of a commentator is who creams himself every time Barca touch the ball? He was saying van Persie’s ‘hand on face’ was a red while completely ignoring Abidal’s hand on vP’s throat. what a piece of turd!

  40. The best team won, but they wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for that idiot of a ref. Cesc wasn’t ready and RVP couldn’t do much by himself. I think we should be proud of the lads paricularly Jack.

    Just heard Wenger in bust up with the ref. hope he socked him one, he deserves it

  41. Man, did we play some ugly football o’ what? Ugly as in impotent, emarassing, god-awful, without the slightest desire to go forward and score… Lucky me, I don’t have to get out of the house tomorrow and keep my head down in front of everyone. Because this is the thing, after a performance like this from our team, I am ashamed.

  42. ;(. I’m still a gooner for life!!!!!!

    Now there’s thatteam they call the arsenal
    The greatest of them all!..

  43. Ah, well. Comprehensively outclassed. Men against boys again. I think our current personel could play against theirs a hundred times and we might get lucky once like we did in the first leg, the other 99 we would get beat like tonight.
    Your waiting for that one chance and to have the quality to take it, Wilshere was a warrior tonight and he mustered a chance for Bentdner who couldnt even manage to keep the ball within 5 yards of himself, heartwrenchingly frustrating, you have to take those chances if you wanna beat the best…..and if Bentdner wants to fulfil all his self prophecising he should really be AT LEAST gettin a shot off.
    I was very dissapointed with Nasris effort to stop them down the right I thought he let Alves run the show and Clichy was put under huge pressure.
    Kosc is clumsy and cost us again with his rashness, Djourou was solid I thought.
    I just hope the manager doesnt come out and blame the ref, we didnt have a shot, let alone one on target so to say we should have got anything would be embarrassing. Lets just take the serious beating we got and get ready for the Fa cup game now, no point dwelling. we got our asses handed to us. Proper.

  44. ugh….what to say.

    1. Cesc!!!! not the time to back heel, not after you’ve been holding on by a thread for 45 minutes and are almost into the half with no score. Becoming a bit of an arsenal trend to give away the ball in front of their own goal in big games.
    2. I don’t like to blame officials in any sport, but A LOT of question marks here by this Swiss referee. How do you send of RvP there? Any time an official’s call has an effect on the result, it has to be called into question. Let them play.
    3. Did we miss walcott this much? I can really only think of two legitimate chances the gunners had on goal. One was a lucky own goal, the other was Happy Jack and Big Nik streaking toward the net very late. Would have loved to see a first time hit from Nik there, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight after that first touch got away. Can’t blame the missed chance, have to blame the lack of any other chances.
    4. Bravo Manuel Almunia. Have to admit I cringed when I saw him stripping off his warm up gear, but he proved equal to the task for the most part. Messi stranded him on the PK but, well, he is lionel messi. This could have been a much uglier score sheet if he hadn’t brought his A-Game. PLEASE TELL ME SZCZESNY IS OKAY!!!!!!!
    5. My friend said (and Martin Tyler implied) arsenal didn’t realize they only needed one more tally to go through. I can’t believe in a game on this stage an arsene wenger team didn’t know the result they needed. Gotta give credit to barca for not letting the gunners do a damn thing for practically the whole 90 minutes.
    6. on that note, it did feel that their goals were pretty inevitable. Even without the cesc give away at the end of the first half, barca probably could have gone in the dressing room up 2-0 if a few other chances had come though.

    Braca proved they were the better team, but this is incredibly frustrating after the first leg result and few moments where I felt we shot ourselves in the foot again. Two weeks ago we were talking about a quadruple, but that’s long gone. Gotta focus on the Prem, even though I can’t wait for Saturday. We’ll be underdogs again- it seems we play our best when that’s the case.

  45. Just to say again, Wilshere was phenomenal tonight, he is what I have been banging on, rowing with lads about for ages, could you imagine what we could acheive if the Denilsons, Diabys and Rosickys had his heart?
    The answer is Anything.
    Absolutely love the kid, genius and warrior in one little man child.

  46. This was a really hard result to swallow. People will say we were outclassed and outgunned but the fact is, we were winning until our striker was sent off. I really wouldn’t mind if we’d been smashed in the last ten minutes with 11 Vs. 11, but we weren’t. We had a man dismissed for nothing and from that point on had a mission that I don’t think any team in the world would’ve been up to completing.

    Personally, I think we defended like kings. Absolute kings. If Barcelona get a shot away on goal, who cares, no defence is water tight. They hadn’t scored until they outnumbered us. We will read all over the press that our defence it poor, weak, and prone to error, but if they defend every forthcoming game in the premiership like they’ve done against Barcelona in both legs, then we will win the league. I honestly think we went there knowing we’d get dominated, and we rode the storm with aplomb. Nasri was terrible on the left? Are you kidding? We’d have been skinned alive it that was Arshavin out there instead.

    All I can honestly say about this is that I am so fucking glad I support us, and not them. The officiating in this match overall was a disgrace.

  47. Wow Wow Wow Dan,
    I didnt say Nasri was terrible I said I was dissapointed with his defensive efforts, he let Alves run freely and uncontested so many times from simple one-twos and it was something every man and his dog knew we would have to prevent if we were to have any chance at success, he was neither attacker nor defender and unfortunately was caught in no mans land alot of the time, yes Im aware we were playing Barce but then be a defender, an out and out defender for the team, it just seemed Wilshere and Diaby were left to meet his man alot of the time, just my opinion though.
    Lets regroup and get ready for Utd now.

  48. Yeah sorry man, just a bit pissed as I thought Nasri was one of our best players on the night. Dealt well with trying to track Alves back overall I thought, got in his face a little bit, and still managed to slightly resemble an attacking outlet. Clichy was then left with a bit more opportunity to try and get to grips with Messi.

    I hope beyond everything that the boys can smash Man U. They are such a poor team at the moment (seriously). Knocking them out of the FA should be a major confidence boost. There’s nobody left in that trophy after that, though I’m not counting my chickens.

  49. Sorry to say this guys but I am ashamed to be an Arsenal Fan today.
    1- Why didnt AW bring on Gibbs for Diaby when we were 1-1 and RVP were Red carded? He knew that Diaby wasnt nothing than a Day walker on that pitch.We really missed Song, Diaby can never do Song’s Job and Denilson either, we need somebody else to do it but those two guys cant just do it.
    2- Arshavin for Rosicky should have been much earlier
    I fuckn hated to see Arsenal letting their hand down at 85th mn like fuckn LOOSERS, and LIL Jack was the only one fighting for the ball. If I were his teamate, I would have been really ashamed to go to the dressing room with him, seeing that young guy doing everything and realising that I didnt even do enough, niot even a try to catch the ball from Barca’s players foot. ITS A BIG SHAME for the REST, FUCK THEM.!!!!
    – I cant blame our 4 full back much as They really fought hard like Jack Wilshere. The rest to me was rubish especially Rosicky and Diaby.

  50. Never thought I would see the day that Wenger would park the bus. That’s what he did tonight and it didn’t work.

    Although to be fair until the first goal, we looked pretty comfortable defensively. Koscielny and Djorou were outstanding in the first half.

    You would have thought that up against a team whose two first choice centre backs were injured you would have shown more adventure. Still when its 10 v 12 it makes it even harder. Ref was a twat.

  51. Thanks, for bringing that up Terry, Luiz et al.. 4 yellow cards a red and a penalty? Like somehow the “officiating” played no part. Or did I just imagine that?
    Either I need a frontal lobotomy or a bottle in front of me.
    Does anyone know a good neurosurgeon? (preferably from the West Midlands)
    Two competitions down, two to go.
    Chins-up mates.

  52. Strange comments on the blog thus far.

    It’s fairly simple: we defended and looked to hit them on the break in the first half. We struggled to find the out-ball but got the defending right and only let the goal in when possession was conceded cheaply.

    In the second we scored early, but the task was made difficult by van Persie’s sending off. They deserved to win and their dominance showed against 10.

    Having said that: it wasn’t men against boys, nor were we a disgrace. If anything, we were as organised and disciplined as I have ever seen before we went down to 10. We play great football but Barca is a class above and it was somehow heartening to see us pull off an alternative style so effectively.

    If anything summed up where we are as a team it was Bendtner’s late miss. At these levels a substitute has to be ready to decide the game with his virtual first touch and he wasn’t able to do it. It’s nothing personal, but these are the fine margins that demonstrate the difference between a good team — ie. us — and a great, confident one — ie. them.

    We’re on our way though and there aren’t many teams who, over two legs, will give Barca such a fright. We only lost 4-3 after all.

  53. It’s a strange day we’re just trying to cope.
    No crime in that,certainly no malice.
    your not going to go “Busaca” on us are ya?

  54. Can”t say I’m proud but neither am I ashamed. It was a strange match. We WERE outclassed and outplayed but were very much in it until Bendtner’s miss. If he had scored it would have been one for the ages. Beating Barcelona at home in a CL quarter-final with only 10 men. And we nearly did it.

    Yes, RvP’s sending off will be the big whining/talking point, but the first yellow was definitely down to him, and after your first card all bets are off in this sport. You can be sent off for anything. This isn’t news and we should be beyond any outrage. Clearly the better team won.

    So for me, no reason to hang our heads today. Barca showed why they are the world’s top club and having beaten us I hope they go all the way. They deserve it. As for us, what a difference a couple of weeks make. In February we were in all four competitions and now we’re down to two very manageable challenges. We still need to beat Man U twice in both competitions but we have a much more realistic chance at the league and the F.A. cup then we ever did in the Champions League.

    As ever, COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!


  55. i’d like to be optimistic, but it’s a little tough right now. out of 2 competitions pretty quickly. cesc was NOT ready for this game and shouldn’t have played. sure it was a gamble, but he was so obviously not fit from the get go. will he be struggling for ManUre now? probably. i love jack wilshire more every game. what a beast of a little man. hope he’s a career arsenal man.

    so i do have doubts for the weekend now. man u are injured as well, but they do know how to win. we are not there yet. would love to be proven wrong, but afradi to get my hopes up just to have them crushed again. oh well.

  56. Hard to agree, and I dont know where were on our way to, exactly Andy.
    Lets not forget it was carelessness that landed us with the Barce tie in the first place, we should be topping our group and meeting a raggle taggle roma outfit, now were out at the same stage to the same team basically in the same manner.
    I understand you saying were improving and getting there but its really hard to guage things, were second to a Utd team doing everything in its power to lose the League and you have players like Nasri and Diaby saying theyd love to play for Barcelona when the fans are being told to be patient and give these guys time to mature? What so we suffer till they learn their trade and force moves or refuse contracts to sign for other teams and the process restarts again with more youngsters?
    All Arsenal fans will be deflated by tonights performance, we lacked belief and were toothless, saying otherwise is wrong, Barce were never fearful, they knew they could score and had it not been for Almunia and their own over elaboration it could have been a severe beating, they scored our goal,we didnt have a shot on target or off really, they had no recognised CBs and we couldnt hurt them, for 75mins in our own pitch they destroyed us aswel and we were, if were honest, undeserved winners of that tie. This is the benchmark, a mixture of youth development AND heavy investment in quality, and they are reaping the benefits. You could not say any Arsenal player there tonight would make that Barce team….our best attackers do not have the desire or work ethic of Pedro, Villa and Messi to win the ball back for their side and that is a fundamental which comes before any other attribute Guirdiola is interested in. Our full backs cannot cross the ball or hold a defensive line.
    Its ok to look ahead and enjoy the rest of the season but I really dont kow how much weve learned from last season or how much we have improved. If there was one very good team in the PL it would be won by now….I mean we could still win it with a woeful home record, if Utd beat us out of the Fa cup it will really hurt and talk of silverware will have to be put on hold again.
    But I must confess with Wilsheres and Fabregas’s in this team its not hard to be able to enjoy them for what they are, great players,silverware would be a bonus at this stage.

  57. After a very disappointing, embarrassing, and frustrating day, there is much to be said about the negatives. Which are obvious. I loved the van Persie interview after the match. And I totally agree with “jet,” Wilshire is the greatest! He seemed to be the only one that still wanted it in the last 10 minutes of the match. His pass to Bendtner which should have seen us on to the next round was beautiful. The ref was absolutely horrendous. It is just such a shame we have to deal with such incompetent officials so often. With his decisions, and the skits put on by the Barcelona players after each time they were touched, it added up to making me go insane. Then if you add on what looked like poor effort by our own players, it just sent me over the top.

    But I feel very confident about the FA cup match with Man United, at the very least I see us setting up a replay at the Emirates and knocking them out then! We have to stay focused, and being out of UCL makes it easier to focus on the EPL, and FA cup. We deserve 1 trophy this year. We missed up the easiest one so far, being the Carling Cup, and we were just knocked out of the most difficult, but barely.

  58. Shambo – usually I disagree with you but I think your point about the situation leading us being drawn Barca is really important. We should have topped our group.

    While I thought Diaby and Rosicky were not really up for (actually, Cesc as well now that I think of it), the thing I got from the game was that the team looked tired. We’ve played a lot of games in 2011 and lost only two……that’s pretty good.

    Lets hope United beat Marseilles. The more matches they have, the better.

  59. Don’t really mind losing but we did not have a shot on target for 94mins. Maybe 1 shot if you count Bendtner miss.

    To me the biggest dissapointment is our Captain, he couldn’t be bothered. I’ve never in my life as a supporter put down Cesc but yesterday showed something that made me feel really uneasy.

    Seems like only Nasri and Wilshere bothered to play, Jack mostly. Don’t think we should use the mature thing anymore, the players are old, Kos is 25 he dosen’t need to hide behind Wenger.

  60. It’s hard not to have that depressing feeling that things could all unravel again as it did last year and the year before that and .. you get my drift.

    I just don’t think I could take being dumped out of the FA Cup on the weekend on top of the Carling Cup and now this. I hope Wenger plays his strongest possible side because too many of our second stringers are showing that they are not up to it. I have been one of those defending these players but my loyalty and patience is being stretched to the limit. Time to deliver!

  61. Obviously, Captain Jack (should be captain sooner than later, me thinks!), and the back three (I don’t count Clichy) played very well. I thought that these players were excellent. They way they dealt with incessant waves of Barcelona pressure was heroic, at times. Also, Almunia was awesome, not only in his shot blocks, but also his willingness to sacrifice his body and throw himself around the way he did. He was excellent.

    My ire is reserved for Bendtner. Yes, he was only on the pitch for a few minutes. Yes, he does not play regularly. BUT BUT BUT, he was at the Camp Nou, in a massive tournament, on one of the biggest stages on the planet with a gem of an opportunity to see of Barca (what a brilliant pass from Captain Jack), and he absolutely blew it. I’m not against confident or even arrogant players. CR7 doesn’t offend me because he gets the job done. On the other hand, Bendtner is just awful. He’s an average striker, and a far worse professional athlete.

  62. There’s no point in me complaining, or suggesting coaching tips to Le Professeur. Even though RvP’s second yellow was rubbish, I feel that even with Robin we would have lost.

    Barca were the better team over two legs; simple of that. They fully deserve their victory.

    Positives :

    * No injuries.
    * Stellar performance from Almunia – will Arsene return him to the #1 jersey?
    * Losing 4-3 on aggregate to the best football side of the past twenty to forty years.

    This will now allow us to focus on the FA Cup and EPL.

  63. Hmmm really do not know what to say, firstly we should have never been facing barca, we should have easily topped our group and played a depleted roma side, whose coach seems to keep their best player on the bench (totti) in such a crucial game.

    Fabregas i really love you as a player but i am sorry we need another captn, by the time this season end’s no matter what the results arsenal will have to know they need to stop blaming the refs and always know decisions are gonna go against them. We need somebody more vocal on the pitch, ready to fight, tells the players to calm down and conc after we have just scored a goal, give a thumbs up to a player whose just put in a brilliant tackle.

    he was totally lost today i am sorry, i really do not carry abt his hammy within 15 mins because he went on to play upto 80 mins in the game. He dint even get knocked, we seriously need players like these but of steel not of glass.

    I for one am very disappointed today, i usually am not like this and always see a light at the end of every loss, i have supported arsenal for about 13 years now, been there seen the invincible s to not wining for the next 6 years, but every season i would still get behind the team and still will.. We are very close to achieving greatness and quite frankly these set of players need and deserve a trophy, this is the best season to do it, because utd will get their team fixed next season, i am sure of that, its all in arsenal hands now the EPL trophy 10 games remain, we win all 10 we win..

    Our fans and players really need this..

  64. I couldn’t watch this match, I mean I didn’t want to, ’cause I had expected just those things you are commenting, I am getting angry by reading it, and I tried to avoid that, I knew before the match I will become sucked*** it’s that part of football that’s hard to accept 👿

  65. I’m writing this because I’m anticipating the fall out and I’m worried atleast with most fans of most clubs it’ll be a s**t one for Arsenal. I just want to offer a clear and calm response because I’m certain others will choose not to.

    1) Barcelona were phenomenal. Their passing, pressing and movement as always was stunning. But they are not purists and perfectionists. Just very good. They dive, manipulate the referee and play act as cynically and as much as any other team. Abidal’s choke attempt on RVP was testament enough I feel that it’s about time we stopped treating them like they’re all as nice and decent as Messi.

    2) The referee’s decisions were often appalling but of course the RVP sending off was the worst of his decisions. This doesn’t mean he was anti- arsenal. It doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy. Yes he refereed the last CL final Barcelona won and yes he ignored many Barcelona fouls and incidents. But it doesn’t mean he favoured them or hated us or that anyone’s out to get us. I wish it did. Then we could say “Oh yeah we lost because they cheated.” No we didn’t. We lost because we were unlucky.

    3) We were unlucky against Sunderland, we were unlucky against Brum (It was unlucky that the one mistake Wojciech has made in ages cost us so much) and we were unlucky against Barcelona. It sucks and there’s nothing you can do to make it feel better. Blaming the referee doesn’t make it any better.

    4) The loss of Van Persie is no excuse. It’s the reason we lost. The players were patient and protective, just like we were in the first leg when everyone creamed themselves. Our tactics were spot on and adapted to Barca’s home threat. Anyone suggesting the loss of a player early in the second half does not change a game entirely is a god damn hypocrite. The punishment was made so it makes the team suffer.

    I just hope this means our focus on two trophies is greater and we can make things happen this year. I’m tired of feeling unlucky. But I’m even more tired of people saying this team isn’t good enough.

    After last night I was proud as hell to be a Gunner. But disappointed at how often bad luck has ruined things for us.

  66. How can any one of us utter the sentence ‘We deserve To Win’ after such a terrible display? We played like chickens. They were far better in terms of class. For me, there is more to football then just winning. I simply don’t understand any individual who enjoys watching their 11 men behind the ball, sneaking an ‘own goal’ victory and walking tall, speaking highly about the team they support. Winning is one thing, but deserving to win is a total different thing altogether.

    We didn’t deserve to win, they were far better then us all round. We were merely lucky to sneak a victory on our turf (pls bare in mind that we only played good football in the last 20 minutes of that game) Arsenal needs a new manager. AW is not cut out any longer. Thats the sad truth.

  67. gunnernomore – so you’re really done with arsenal because they lost last night? is that what the name implies? sure they outplayed us last night, and for the 1st half last match. but why did arsenal come back in the last match? the amount of pressing from barca wore them out. i think similar COULD have happened last night until we lost a man. but, the way the game did go, i agree that we were very much second best.

    about wenger… i couldn’t agree less. while we all want trophies a different manager would not have won us the game last night. barca and guardiola can beat anyone this year. but at what cost for them? they win on the field but their administration and finances are horrible. look what AW has done wtih limited funds after the new stadium. look how well-off financially we are now. look at the talent developing. we had a 19 year old who shone against barca last night, that kid continues to be a revelation and i dare say nobody else but AW and arsenal can produce that. no manager gets his tactics right every time, and with the injuries to TW, Cesc, and RVP (i know the last 2 played but were nowhere near 100%) the tactics we did play were not AW’s first choice.

    the sad truth is the number of non-believing arsenal “fans” who want to blame the manager for anything wrong this year. while you are upset with those who blame the ref (and i agree he didn’t help us, but is not the lone reason for defeat) there are many of us that are tired of AW being blamed for everything. I will repeat… there is nobody who could stand in place of Arsene Wenger and do what he has done to build this club. it does suck to wait another year for CL glory and who know what will happen in the FA cup this weekend (i think draw or lose), but the league title is a very real possibility and if we win it, it will be more than any of us expected at the beginning of the year.

    i am heartbroken over the way the last few weeks have gone in the cup competitions for us. but the future is still bright for this side. so much talent AND the best manager in place to develop it into a winning side. you can walk off if you’d like. have fun watching ManUre and Chelscum collapse, or join the throng of “we’re as good as arsenal” spuds as you watch them come up short year after year. the future really is bright for the gooners. i’ll still with arsenal AND AW.

  68. @ Andrew

    that’s spot on. How often have we played someone off the park only to lose to a last minute goal, and been criticised for it? The possession and shots on target statistics are never held up as examples of us ‘deserving’ to win then. Of course, the difference is we didn’t win in the end, but we played to a plan, defended very well, and were ahead in the tie when any chance of us building an attack was taken away by a stupid bit of officiating. Even then we did carve out a chance which Bendtner should have put away. The criticism stemming from ‘parking the bus’ is bizarre. As you say, that we could so effectively change our game plan is something to be happy about. Also, I would like to mention, Wenger has never upheld attacking football as some sort of principle. He likes it but he says its the most effective way to win for us. In this case, he decided that the most effective way to win was to catch a tiring Barca on the break, late . I still think it would have worked, but the red card meant we’ll never know.

  69. We put up a unique fight last night. I am and will always remain a proud Arsenal fan.

  70. Most of d post’s here chastising d team performance r shameful to say d least, this is a barcelona team dat we all agree is the best we have ever witnessed. That said our defending yesterday prior to the red card (which was just an abomination to say the least) was resilient and encouraging from an arsenal team that isn’t renowned for its defending! Their pressing game made us unable to turn our little possesion into attacking threat but kudos to d team for being disciplined defensively! I must tell u its takes a lot mentally to chase d ball all game long after being used to having possession week in week out.
    That being said the referee was only too happy to blow his whistle everytime an arsenal player got too close to the opposition. He’ll be alright. Let’s pick ourselves up aand get ready for saturday, we r still bang in 2 competitions!
    We r in this for the long haul.

  71. I just watched a record of the whole match, not so bad as I felt it during the game when I switched on to it one time, and you can’t really blame the referee, of course the second yellow for van Persie was a bit too harsh and unappropriate for such a game, but I think van Persie has stuck in his mind from the first incident, van Persie was too uncontrolled when this thing happend with Wilshere and afterwards the immediate foul for the first yellow, his behaviour was too intemperate and then he didn’t hear the offside whistle, well, the ref did not believe him, I can’t judge it but his temper was a bit too much and then you get punished, but I don’t think the ref blew the whole time in one direction , so one have to accept that it was again one mistake too much from the Arsenal………. 😎

  72. The Accountability Factor

    When Bendtner mis-trapped the pass from Wilshire it just typified our season. We have failed to take every opportunity handed to us this season:
    1. Not winning our champions league group.
    2. Failing to kill off second division opponents in cup games thereby piling up games on our physically weak team.
    3. Falling to capitalize on MAU dropping points.
    4. And the worst of all failing to beat BRUMS in a cup game we should have won had we had any ambition on challenging for the big cups. If we can’t pass the small test how can we be
    expected to pass the big ones?
    The list can go on about or lack of opportunism.

    There is an excuse epidemic at this club and it was bought here by the Manager. That’s all were good at, making excuses. Vanpersie got the first yellow card for a silly foul, who’s fault is that?
    Who’s fault is it that Bendtner can’t trap to save his life (5 seasons now)?
    I know!!! Blame the ref, sun , pitch, and the plane ride. Only excuses.

    When Diaby got sent off at Newcastle and we threw away a 4 goal lead most fans sympathized
    with him because of his injury problems BUT the fact is he should have controlled his emotions for the benefit of the team. More excuses.
    The list can go on, we Know.

    The fact is we have problems in every facet of our game and there not being addressed, that’s the worrying thing.
    Any good team would have 4 strikers because of the number of games played, 2 of them would have to be very good and 2 @ 65 to 70 %. The gap between Vanpersie and Bendtner/Chamakah
    is miles apart. This needs to be addresses Particularly since Vanpersie in injury prone. This is wengers fault Plain and simple.

    And please STOP SAYING WE ARE YOUNG!!! Most of these players are young in age BUT in terms of football experience they are very old so age should not be an issue.

    The fact is at Arsenal there is an Accountability crisis NO ONE IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
    When Diaby gets sent off for his own carelessness, and continues to play slowly as if he is in his bedroom every game and gets the chance to returned to the side as soon as his ban was done, Who is accountable?

    When Koscielny failed to deal with a routine long ball that cost us a cup, Who is Accountable?

    When Arshavin And Rosicky play lack luster games consistently and still get playing time regularly.

    When Sagna & Clichy can’t cross the ball well for God Knows how long, Who is Accountable?

    When Almunia a mistake prone goal keeper is now our #1, Who is Accountable?

    When Chamakah chooses to pass then to shoot when he is in a goal scoring position, Who is Accountable?

    And i repeat When Bendtner fails to be able to do the basic like trapping which may i remind you all he has been guilty of for a long time now, Who the hell is Accountable?
    I Know: The balls that they make now are hard to trap (Excuses)

    Until Arsenal start holding people Accountable we will always fall short, and it must start at the top.
    The manager as i said in my last post has made mistakes that a baby would not make in the last 5 seasons, time will not permit me to mention them BUT Wenger should be one of the first to be held Accounatble.

    If this does not happen then why should the players improve, they get paid and if they play rubbish 3 out of 4 games they will still play next week no big thing.
    So in other word when better can’t be done let the worst continue.

    MAU this weekend: By the way on all the blogs the fans are questioning Sir Alex refusing to talk top the media because they want a valid reason why they were so poor against the pool. Some even are asking ” Who does he think he is” if he goes just 2 seasons with out a trophy he gone for sure.

    Hope we win this weekend………………….

  73. Billi, I got up at 0500 and watched the game on the club’s official website volume off.
    I admit to being a little hung but there aren’t to many gooners who didn’t find some solace in the flowing bowl. The ref was trash. The task, hard enough to begin with was made nigh impossible by poor officiating. Period. Yes, Robin was petulant but the referee is there precisely to exhibit reason and rationality. 2nd red on a late struck offside ball in a roaring stadium? THAT is either subterfuge or plain fucking idiocy and I care little which you choose. When games are poorly officiated players very often feel as if they have to take matter into their own hands or there will be no justice.( no it usually doesn’t help) This team has seen Eduardo’s leg broken(which for me is THE seminal event in this current group of players collective experience) Ramsey’s leg broken and attempts at Diaby and Sagna. No Fucking More. After Alves scissored Jack (where was the ref?) it was on.
    I prefer that we stand up, kick- back, and take our bookings than be good boys and take the kickings. As for Cesc haters,Wenger haters and the lot Get thee fucking hither.
    Find some other team to (support?) where it’s OK to not just disagree with but publicly trash the captain and the manager.(Try that shit in Manchester and you’ll be short a couple of chiclets quick) It was a loss and a visceral harpooning. But time and wins will eventually heal even this and yes, the loss to the Brums.
    PS @ Gruggy, we not only lost but the surf sucks, hope it’s better in you neck-O’-the-woods.

  74. @shambo how you doing mate, sorry about the result mate but i must say i placed a bet for your boys to loose 4-1. i have been reading your contributions for so long now that the results show you know exactly what you are talking about when you speak from the head rather than the heart like MOST of the others bloggers. There is such a large gap of class between the two teams its unbelieveable. Arsnl are not a defending side, their best form of defence is attack because normally when arsenal have the ball the other team cant score. Unfortunately Arsenal never had the ball even with 11 or 12 players on the pitch. I could not understand how often the team gave the ball away. Barca did not give them a chance to make more than three passes. Not one shot on target in 90 minutes, not one shot. Where have you ever seen that at that level? Not one shot. Something needs to change soon or Young Jack will begin to look tired and pissed of like your best player over the past few years Cesc Fab’s. Nevertheless i still believe with better players for the system that was played Arsenal could have some how hung on. But sometimes it takes money.
    Keep it real mate and up de ammers!

  75. Sorry to say the truth. This team will win nothing till they show the commitment of birmingham in carling cup. Even when the birmingham players tired and injured they never looked like to give up.This team is gifted technically ,but mentally not ready to fight till the end.Truly i expected them to put a spirited fight for the last minute goal but they have decided to lose after van persie’s sent off. Van Persie has himself to blame rather than referee.On an important game he threw himself out easily.I agree his emotion towards Wilshere but i expected a reply back in terms of speed in the attack or a goal rather than unsporting behaviour.

    We required pace in our attack. which never happened for the entire match.

    Poor Wilshere ,the lone soul which fought till the end for a goal.

  76. @ Shambo, Volley_gun,
    Yes, your right the team is not mentally tough enough. It’s not going to get it from the coach who is football ideologue who stresses technical ability over and above martial ardor. So we have a technically gifted side that is found wanting when grit and spit are called for.
    My question for you guys is what as supporters can we do?
    Berate the team? Quit on it? Keep “dreaming” and hope for something or someone to bring the lacking warrior ethic. (personally I think Song,Wilshere ,RVP and Eboue actually have it ) I’m stumped, but I keep dreaming and rooting because if I don’t want my squad to quit, and to do so myself would be nothing short of sheer fucking hypocrisy. What else can we do?

  77. Hey Ice,
    Hope all is good with you, I actually feel alot like Kel does but I cant muster the energy to get so emotional anymore, it serves no purpose, your either in the ‘positive camp’, who are content to row along as is and wait and see, next season and the one after that, or your in the frustrated ‘negative’ camp who know what is needed but are really have no control over the qualms they have and are ‘;not real fans’ when they lose it, even though their relaying facts and not making it up.
    This team didnt become a flop overnight, but I really dont think its as good as everyone would like to think it is either, the home form this year, the capitulation and nerves against Sunderland, Wigan, Newcastle, Birmingham and not least of all Spurs at home.
    The faltering in both Champs League and Fa cup against lesser opposition.
    The ever reliable injuries to the same players that the powers that be seem to think wont happen this season so no need to strengthen.
    The persistance with sub standard players, we all know who they are. We have half a dozen.
    The lack of competition in the squad……..Diaby plays whenever he is fit yet rarely justifies it.
    The blatant lack of a second gameplan or ability to change things up. We earned a free kick just inside our own half last night with 2 mins remaining………… And. Took. It. Short…..and dont tell me thats a loyalty to the style we play because its not, its moronic. We couldnt get past their defense all night yet, down to ten, everyman out on his feet and having only troubled them with an aerial ball into their box we elect to go short, its just crazy.
    All that said, and plenty more kept to myself, I can find satisfaction in following the team and manager, because I know this stuff, its the fans who cant see it or elect not to see it that will ultimately be frustrated. I know that we arent good enough, I also know Arsene Wenger doesnt care what the fans think and will persist with his obsession until he sees fit, he is a stubborn man.
    I honestly dont have the heart to get angry about it anymore.
    You used to have confidence as an Arsenal supporter but I just hope these days.
    I hope a bad Man Utd team dont batter us this weekend.
    I hope Schezny isnt out for too long.
    I hope 10 more Jack Wilsheres come through that academy because you cant teach a man how to have guts on a football field and thats what these boys lack that every other good team has…….no guts just excuses.

  78. @leftcoast @shambo, all you can do is keep supporting and one day (soon perhaps) the team will win something and everyone will say “i told you so” meanwhile not realising i told you so should have been said at least 4 times in the past 6 years!
    Shambo do you think something is starting to take shape in the Grant camp and do you think we can stay with the elite?

  79. This was one of the most one-sided games I have seen for many years. How Wenger thought he could get a result by his negative tactics beggars belief. Arsenal showed almost no attacking ambition. Wenger’s menopausal-inspired antics are becoming an embarrassment.

    Wenger got the result that he deserved. He fielded an 11-man defence in a team with no attacking ambition or creative flair, in the hope that he could defend a one-goal advantage with heavy tackles, time-wasting and kicking the creative Barcelona players.

    It is frustrating to be totally outplayed by a team with superior skills, particularly when they show their contempt for your team by playing the whole game at a walking pace, but there is no excuse for Wenger’s behavior. He became an acute embarrassment years ago when he developed his early-onset menopause and his deepening paranoia. His astonishing performance last night, dancing along the touch-line like a demented stick insect wearing a water-proof sleeping bag, was farcical. His bleating about the red card is the latest example of his dishonesty. Van Persie was as active in time wasting during the first half as any other member of his team, particularly after the feigned injury to Wilshire. His excuse for the time-wasting offence that led to his dismissal lacks all credibility. He, and every other player on both sides, heard and responded to every other blast from the referee’s whistle. I watched the incident again this morning and it was blatant time wasting.

    Arsenal lost, not because they were punished for unsporting behavior, but because they were totally outplayed in all aspects of the game by a superior and talented team. Whatever tactics were used, Arsenal could never have prevented Barcelona from winning this game, but they could have tried to make a game of it. Not attempting one shot on goal was appalling, especially in the second half when, as Wenger claimed, “the game opened up”. The violence shown by Van Persie to Alves that led to his first caution may well have been directly inspired by Wenger’s irrational antics. His paranoia is deepening, made worse by the magical glasses with which he views his team’s performances.

    Wenger is now the problem. His antics are clearly affecting his team, responsible for the constant sense of injustice that permeates his team which leads to the physical aggression of his players, the yellow cards they are awarded, and the constant crowding around the referee to dispute every decision.

    If Tottenham Hotspur qualify this evening then we will be presented with the next version of Wenger’s theory of the world-wide conspiracy against The Arsenal.

    The man is pathetic.

  80. I don’t know what to say. I am totally speechless after last night’s display.
    I don’t know what it was in regards to tactics of ARSENE WENGER.

    We were setup to defend the one goal lead in camp Nou or we just couldn’t get the ball.
    Not one shot on target to trouble Valdes.
    It will be good to hear your assessment Andrew on the match.
    However I still believe in this team and I do believe that if we beat MAN UNTD in the FA cup on Saturday we will go on to win the league.

    Lets not forget we have a BIGGER FISH TO FRY-So lets not GET OUR HEADS DOWN

  81. Could we won yesterday if…
    *RVP shut up his mouth and stay calm (Because the second yellow card was a revenge from the referee for the problems in the first time)
    *Szczesny play 90 minutes…
    *Cesc kick the ball to the Bernabeu in the last minutes of the first half…
    *B52 score the only real goal chance we generate on the game…
    *Rosisky dead and Arhavin play in his honour…
    *We play like Arsenal, not like a italian team????

    The answer it’s that we can “imagine” a different result but never know with precision of Nostradamus what could really happen.
    The truth it’s that we are out of UCL playing with bravery (4-3 in the Global) isn’t bad but we must be better for tomorrow….
    – Infect the team with Wilshire energy germ.
    – Recognize your mistakes and LEARN from them.
    – Stay possitive.
    – Sack the physical preparator, no more injuries just strong gunners.
    – Give Arsenal history lessons to football narrators OR push “MUTE” on your TV.

    Buy like a crazy arabian guy sounds like the best solution, but isn’t a real solution, we have the players, the manager, the fans but no energy (We don’t say “Mom I’m going to the store to reaload my energy buying batteries)
    Constructive criticism it’s always good, but several arsenal fans create a destructive atmosphere (Including me)…it’s like the end of the world if we don’t win a trophy this year….
    Remember we have two competions to still dreaming…the FA cup and the Premier League

  82. how many times are we going to:
    * see the same players injured/gaining fitness (after a few weeks on the treatment table)
    * make excuses for poor performances
    * blame it on the referee
    * watch our players make school boy mistakes that cost us games

    well I dont have solutions and thats why i’m not managing any team. i’m not sure how is Wenger going to sort out our problems but i wish he would stop whining and sort them out.
    Whether he goes out and spend money or promote from within its not important, just solve our problems. Credit to wilshire, the boy gives everything.

  83. Good point Dan! Barcelona are a fantastic team, but they are bunch of elitist, whinging prima donnas. I admire their football but am not sure I actually like them (except for Messi who I think is just exceptional and does not resort to play acting and gamesmanship). And they don’t need to get added help from the referees.

    I hated watching the game because we were made to look so second rate. The first leg was much more evenly contested. I don’t think we did ourselves justice by our tactics and performance on the night. In Oz we call it the ‘have a go’ mentality and it was lacking – we played with fear. no cojones.

    But it’s over, hopefully no further injuries and onto Old Trafford this weekend. I hope to see Aaron Ramsey on the pitch finally!

  84. @Leftcoast.

    Summer has officially ended here buddy, it’s all downhill from here 🙁

  85. Just seen a few pics of the wonderful neck grabbing by the barca player which has led me to write such a long post, please read it and bear with me i wont dissapoint :D.I have also seen a pic where Arshavin went head to head with iniesta, i wonder how all this was missed by the tv cameras, anyways if anything our players do not look is down , sorry or dejected after the loss, they feel like someone mentioned robbed, and are angry, trust me some of our arsenal players are very angry, i am actually shocked at nasri being charged by the FA (he was also irate abt the ref at the Sunderland game) but not v persie who infact called the ref a joke on television..

    So we have a few angry lads there, nasri, arshavin, wilshire, v persie ( Fabregas, oh well he should be angry with his own performance, and the tatics his boy hood club implemented to win), our entire back line from (Sagna, DJ, kosc, clichy) who put in such a good defensive performance only to be robbed… This thing anger might be a really good thing to inject some fuel and venom and come out like lions roaring in our next game. I feel utd are gonna feel that coming to them, they got no nani, and need to also prepare for Marseille so players will be rotated, so much that fergie considers arsenal a threat now..

    I remember the time of the invincibles arsenal were shot out of the CL by chelsea, and although remaining unbeaten in the league the pts gap btw chelsea and arsenal were not much, and our next opponent was liverpool, (a side which had players like Harry Kewell and in form owen, a side which played regular CL). There was a lot riding in that match, first half scoreline Liverpool 2 Arsenal 1, second half something happened in that dressing room, thats when Henry got possessed, final result Liverpool 2 Arsenal 4 (Hatrick by henry in which he made one of those amazing runs from def into attack and scared the entire shit out of liverpool)..

    Do we have players like that?? Sure we do, arsenal getting in the faces of barcelona players itself told us that, a team supposed to be a greater , better version of ourselves. thats what we want, this season something has changed (i do not know if it s because of the ref’s against us or whatever) we are bottom of the fair play table by being the dirtiest team in the EPL, now that i am yet to see, where are those players that got on the back of Van Nistelroy when he missed the penalty, where are those players when i heard in an interview by an ex- arsenal player (i think it was petit) who said at arsenal we do not start the fights we end the fights..

    This is what we need a fired up captn, where is the old fabregas who spat in the face of ballack for diving, who allegedly spat in the face of hull’s assistant manager, who took over the regins of viera the moment he left and had a storming season along side the likes of helb and flamini only for it to be destroyed by the challenge on Eduardo. We need that Fabergas who when played against Juventus against viera, actually came on to the pitch and showed him this how it is done wearing the no 4 shirt.. We need the v persie who led the fightback after being 2 goals and a man down against bolton to win 3-2. Do we have that yes we do..

    We have better players than those 2 mentioned above we got Arshavin, nasri and song, we got ramsey, jack, theo to play a freddie, we got a GK already which people are comparing to peter schmeichel, weather you like it or not we have a super backline, Kosc is a another wonder signing by Wenger..

    yes we have some dead wood in there the suspects being Rosicky, Diaby, Denilson and Bendtner. Rosicky will and in all probability leave, AW will tell him in the same nice way in which he told Eduardo, Denilson is pretty decent he can stay, Diaby is wengers pet he will stay, Bendtner is a tough one to call, for all his talk he might stay or wld leave. So bring on the replacements well thats for the summer to discuss in..

    Cheer up lads and lets hope the fire burns in these guys and we come out like lions and truly show the world “How tough we really are”.

  86. @ Aman

    Very Interesting post But do you really think Rosicky will leave on his own, Who the hell would risk buying him.
    The fact remains you get what you pay for , more than most.

    On a serious note:
    The big news is Almunia, commenting on Arsenal players lacking passion.
    I can’t believe this, a man who has cost us about 20 point in three years has the guts after a guess performance to commenting on this team.
    Wenger this is all your fault Almunia should have been gone from Arsenal since the summer, now we have a Keeper crisis.
    The next thing is both cesc and vanpersie, I hope they are both available for the next league game, because if not it would justify my point: Why risk them if they were not fit in a game we knew would be extremely difficult.
    I don’t get the logic they don’t play against sunderland But you play them against barc.
    Now it appears they have re-injured themselves as i feared, AND we lost.

    Wenger would you gamble with your personal belongings as you do with this club?

  87. It’s amazing what people what to kid themselves on. The situation this season is no different to the previous 5. Wenger is wedded to certain players and a way of playing that may look pretty when we are beating Orient 5-0 but always comes short when it matters. It is time to have a clear out of some of the squad and get in some proven experienced talent but you and I know he wont do it. On the radio this morning a football journo from the Guardian and full blown Gooner was saying Wenger needs to let some new blood into the coaching team but only wants low profile yes men – there was a discussion about poor Pat Rice. Apparently, Steve Bould is being kept out of the first team set up cos Wenger thinks he will challenge him too much. At the end of the day Wenger is being indulged by a Board who are taking us for a ride. We have the 4th highest wage bill in the PL yet Wenger is doing no more than the minimum expected with the vast resources at his disposal. Losing to Barca is always on the cards for us but losing to the likes of Birmingham is a disgrace. It’s interesting that Pep Guardiola said there is no pressure for AFC to win things. The form of the team is poor at the moment yet all Wenger can blame is ref decisions for our plight like he did after the Sunderland game as well. We have to hope Manure go off the rails big time to have a chance of winning something but when will Wenger and the Board really start the need to change?

  88. @Aman – Ur an idiot. A real idiot. What the fuck about the free signing who is not good enough to play? Ur just an idiot.

    Failed to take a single shot on goal… this not what i’ve been shouting about all along? How do you score when you do not have a single aim at goal whatsoever?
    When we win, I usually feel we could do better and yet all will be on me that we won and yet i’m criticizing the managers style. What say we all now? WHAT SAY WE NOW? Where’s BYO now and the fucking idiots who keep saying were the only team in four competitions? Does it matter how many competitions ur in or how you play each game? No fucking shots at all. RVP got sent off in the 2nd half, why was he even on the pitch? He couldn’t run in the 1st half and was supposed to be replaced immediately 2nd half started. I would have taken him out on 20mins when it was obvious he wouldn’t be up for it. We needed speed….Eboue in front or ANYONE with SPEED for goodness sakes.

    The defense was perfect, instead of this guy to attack, he brought in lame and unfit legs when running was an ABSOLUTE MUST. How the hell did we win the first leg? Song got out and we won cos we were playing 4 strikers(Nasri behind RVP, AA, B52).
    We did not have a lead to protect, we had a lead to extend…..why didn’t we extend it?
    I just got angry by Aman’s stupid post. Writing rubbish about Rosicky as if we do not see him play.

  89. @ GunnerBoss dude y are u harping about a free signing ?? And why would even mention chamakh when he had no part to play in either of the legs ? My point of writing that post was post barca game…

    I still do not get what are you harping about, we had a lead to extend ?? dude you are absolutely pathetic and thank god you arent the manager of the club, do you think any team, any fucking team in this god damn world would have looked to extend a lead against this barca team ? Real Madrid supposedly best team, best manager could smacked 5-0 at their place.. We lost by an overall agg of 1 goal… Now do not go on harping to me about their missed chances and overplaying and almunia’s heroic’s and weather we were lucky to get away with a penalty, save it, for someone else..

    Anyways no pt arguing with you that post was for a group of very special long dedicated arsenal fans who just needed a lift..












  92. @GunnerBoss – Dude, you’re on your last warning. Stop attacking other commenters and readers of the blog or else I will block you from commenting. No need for it. Show respect.

  93. @Chris M – I’m happy you have your own blog and everything, but please stop spamming this site. If you want to contribute leave a comment with your own thoughts, don’t just drop links to your articles. I don’t do it on your blog and you don’t need to do it on this one.

  94. I saw these neck attacks to van Persie and Nasri on Chris M’s website, thanks for that!
    actually the tv didn’t show these attacks, so I can understand the rage of them but………..despite some comments suggesting the Arsenal players should attack by themthelves I would rather be more clever, why didn’t they go down to the ground after the neck attack and wind in pain………maybe it is ridiculous but the Barca players would have done it. and probably the cards would have been distributed the other way round, it is your own chance, the way van Persie did it, punished the team, they have to be more clever with such provocations I think

  95. Hi Drew, Hi all,
    Wowsers!! some pretty savage in-fighting here.
    It would have been great to win but since we didn’t could we at least as gooners
    show some ACT RIGHT?
    There WILL be another game you know…come to think of it,this Saturday at Old (and getting older alllll the time) Trafford.(Leigh-Mallory?)
    Thinking of which,AW I know your probably busy sorting out our scraps and mood changes, but perhaps an FA cup preview will re-focus our attentions and by doing so keep us from killing each other. Hey,!!What the#*^? get your hands of my Fucking throat Pig-Dog!####@@!!!

  96. Aman,
    Nice post, objective when I didnt think you were, enjoyed reading it.
    I would like to hear more from you man, interesting thoughts.

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