Player Ratings: Arsenal v Barcelona

Arsenal 2 (Walcott 69, Fabregas pen 85)
Barcelona 2 (Ibrahimovic 46, 59)

Manuel Almunia – Should have stayed on his line for the opening goal of the match, however without him it could have been a lot worse. Realistically he kept us in the game, making a string of fine saves and keeping the likes of Ibrahimovic, Messi and Xavi at bay. Nothing he could do about the second goal. 7.5

Bacary Sagna – Really restricted performance from Sagna at right back. He’s a player that likes to bomb up the flanks during attacks but couldn’t do that as he was on the backfoot for almost the entire game. Considering how bombarded he was he did a decent job in defence, however he was incredibly subdued on the offensive front. 6

William Gallas – It was noticeable from the outset that he hasn’t played much football in recent weeks. He shouldn’t have played at all as he was obviously not ready. He was sluggish off the ball and was hesitant going in for challenges, and looked to be in great pain throughout. These conditions were not conducive to a good performance but it wasn’t really his fault. 4

Thomas Vermaelen – Worked hard all night to keep Barcelona at bay but ultimately struggled. He was bombarded with attack after attack and was constantly on the back foot. Ibrahimovic and co. ran rings around him for most of the match, and he had difficulty coping with Barca’s relentless forays forward. 5

Gael Clichy – There was a lot of hype before tonight’s fixture about how Clichy was going to handle Lionel Messi, and considering he was marking the best player on the planet, Clichy did a good job. Messi was dangerous in parts but wasn’t allowed to excel as he usually does. Clichy was also good offensively, providing extra support out wide. 6

Alex Song – Unconvincing performance from the Cameroonian. He’s normally the type of player that will marshall the midfield with authority and a terrier-like work rate, however he was extremely subdued today. He gave Barcelona too much respect and time on the ball, and let them dictate play. The same thing happened when he moved to the back. When on the ball his passing was precise and any tackles he did make were accurate. 5

Abou Diaby – Surprised he didn’t get booked earlier as his tackles were consistently shocking. He held the ball for far too long and didn’t offer any of his typical drive or penetration. He was guilty of mistakes that we thought he had overcome, and I think that the occasion may have got to him. 4

Cesc Fabregas – Like Diaby I think he succumbed to the pressure of the occasion, however I’m sure it was far bigger for him (captaining his side against his boyhood/former club etc.). Didn’t shine like he usually does and spent most of the match in the pocket of Keita. Credit where credit’s due, though, he did win and score the penalty that keeps us in the tie. Oh and he’s another player that is obviously unfit. 6

Samir Nasri – Like the rest of the forward-line he hardly got the ball as Barcelona dominated the encounter, however when he did he was one of the few players that looked capable of providing some sort of spark. Found some space down the left and got some good balls in, however nobody in a red shirt was on the end of them. 7.5

Nicklas Bendtner – Hardly ever got involved due to Barca’s domination and did miss a good headed chance, however when he did get amongst it he was pretty good. He held up the ball well and provided an outlet of support for the midfield. Always kept trying despite his isolation. 7

Andrey Arshavin – Hobbled off injured after less than half an hour and didn’t do enough in that time to justify a rating. N/A


Emmanuel Eboue – Didn’t do much during his tenure at right wing, mostly due to a lack of service. When he did get the ball he’d often give it off and never get it back, or be closed down immediately. Supported Theo well when he was moved to fullback and was solid defensively. 6.5

Denilson – Gave Barcelona too much respect in a position where he should have been nipping at there ankles. He stood too far off the likes of Xavi and Busquets and gave them an abundance of time on the ball which allowed the Spaniards to dominate in midfield. His passing was good, though, and his performance wasn’t riddled with mistakes. 5.5

Theo Walcott – Absolutely skinned Maxwell and scored a crucial goal just moments after his introduction. His pace caused trouble as soon as he was brought on, and he was the spark that Arsenal needed to re-ignite their Champions League hopes. He’s been quite effective as an impact player recently and should keep this up. 7.5


A detailed match review with injury news will follow in tomorrow’s post.

Have your say on Aidan’s player ratings by leaving a comment.



  1. it isn’t over till it’s over. If we put Theo next week on the pitch, it will be him that shoots us to the next round.
    To many players not at their best for this game.
    Cesc was not 100% fit and I think we should have kept him off the field and let him recover for the weekend.
    Arshavin injured again after a few minutes. So we almost with 9,5 players in the first half hour.
    Diaby was not like we know him so it was 9 on the pitch at times.
    Then Gallas again out…
    But in the first half Almunia played for 3 players on his own.
    I don’t know if the partnership Vermaelen – Song was working for 100 %. Some misunderstanding by both goals I think that would not have happened with Gallas or Campbell ? But it was the first time I think they really played together and then against Barcelona. Those things can happen against such a great team.
    Second half Denilson was great I found once he came in the game.
    Walcott had a great game and he will kill them at Nou Camp. The were scared to death after his first runs.
    Diaby was still missing and certainly in attack he was not as good as he can be. Cesc still not fit. So we played once again with some 9,5 players.
    Almunia looked unlucky with the first goal, I think it was a lack of concentration with only seconds played. Not at fault with the second goal.
    Bendtner was to isolated at times.
    Nasri was the player who will be our main player next week at Nou Camp. He will have to do it like against Porto.

    The maing thing I keep in mind is that if you can play with so many players not up to it and still get this result, we still can do it IF our players are up to it next week.
    Barcelona has lost a home game in the CL this season. Like against Rubin Kazan.

    And yes Barcelona was great and deserved to win but they didn’t.

  2. About the penalty.
    Cesc was standing in front of goal (6 meters out) and had a goal scoring chance.
    Puyol clamped (sorry really cant remember a better English word) his shooting leg. No doubt about the foul and penalty.
    The red card was the only solution for 2 reasons. Puyol was the last defender and a goal scoring opportunity. So the ref had no option to send him off.
    I think the ref had it spot on, in this situation.

    Cesc his yellow card : this is what I mean with you have to look at the second leg. Cesc kicks the ball with his right foot but with his other foot hits the player. Hard to take at that moment but correct.
    Arshavin yellow card was a bit light. But I can understand the thinking of the ref for not allowing that type of tackle and give a yellow.
    Eboue was late so could be given
    Diaby, I would have given it also.

    Must say that I think he could have given a few yellow cards more against Barcelona.

    For the rest the ref was strict against us and let some things go from Barcelona. He punished every little push or nudge from our players but on the other hand he allowed them to tackle and when our player lost possession after the tackle he let play go.

    But I think the ref is not to blame for our performance.

  3. Nice ratings Aidan.

    Personally I would have given Song and Clichy an extra point each and Denilson an extra couple. I thought he was as influential as Walcott in stemming the Barcelona tide and turning the game.

    I’m excited to see how he plays from the start in the Nou Camp, if he does start.

  4. Almunia was not at fault ,the defence left him on his own for both goal and he have to close down on Ibraoostrich .On most Premiership striker he would have save it but the swede have a superb technic and lob him

    Almunia deserve out thx would we be 5-0 half time : 9
    Sagna was alright but couldn’t t go forward :5
    Gallas start well but song have to take over and he done alright 7 (for song at CB)
    Vermaelem i think left us wide open (for the two goal) in back pushing to much forward 5
    Clichy has done a great game i think 7
    Diaby worst game this year by mile 3
    Narsi was the only midfield doing anything right at first half and the only creating anything
    Cesc his injury was not gone and his tackle brought it back and got soft yellow he will miss second match 5
    Bendy left too much alone and done an amazing job without any support : 7
    SUB: THEO once on ,the match was going totally the other way , him and Eboue brought pace and skill on the right leaving the poor Maxcell on the back foot: 9 for the combo who change the match
    Denilson was great and bring balance to our midfield :7

  5. cesc – out
    theo – in
    diaby, song, eboue in

    iniesta – out
    puyol – out
    pique – out

    Barca still have Messi but they have their 3rd and 4th string CBs (Marquez and Milito maybe?) at best. We’ll miss Cesc but I like our chances against their back line. We don’t have to play crazy-open attacking football to try to make up any goals. 1-0 will be good enough (which should give the kids a bit of confidence).

  6. Somehow I hope Fab will play again this season.
    But if he is out, I hope he misses the World Cup.
    We don’t need Cesc’s star growing any bigger in South
    Africa & attracting outlandish transfer offers. And heeds needs some time to Rest up for our big run again next season

  7. Let’s not beat around the bush. Almunia is not good enough at this level. Yes, he kept us in the game with a string of saves but that’s ONLY what we should expect from a goal keeper at a top premiership club. Those saves, therefore, shouldn’t allow us to forgive him his total lack of class which was highlighted by both goals (especially the first.) Ibrahimovic is the most over-priced and over-rated stiker in Europe. Humiliating to see him celebrate his two goals at our expense, at our home.

  8. Denilson was our best midfielder when he came on! no one else could pass 5 yards! he kept it simple and didnt lose the ball. diaby was shocking could do anything! the problem we have is the fact that we havent got great attacking full backs….in football these days it is crucial. they had wave after wave of attacks started by alves and maxwell! they always hogged the touchline and the midfielfders had that outlet availbale all the time. This out nasri and arshavin on the back foot and they constantly had to dash back 30-40 yards to catch up there full backs!

  9. Really dont know why Denilson was forgotten you where rating players.

    Almost every body in arsenal was not at his best. The players lost confidance. So it was abad day for us.

    But, lets prayer that, the return leg finds us when we are ready for the match.

  10. definitely too much respect, and therefore restricted performance by nearly all of them, you have to take your heart in your hands that’s all, out of this perspective a pretty good result, considering the away-goal rule it’s gonna be a mission impossible, cause I can’t believe they can keep a clean sheet in Barcelona and score just one, although the hope is dying at last, the youngsters have to jump over their shadow now, they have no excuses any more, just like Theo did and even Denilson took a sign of, but if they show such a respect at home how will they be intimidated by the atmosphere in Barcelona?, when will they learn that ❓

  11. I give credit to wenger for making strategic substitutions, i hope he wont make Walcot start in the next encounter at nuo camp. I have learnt that the time to kill Bacelona is in the last 15 minutes with high pace which Walcot should be made to do again in the next match.

  12. From 2-0 to 2-2 against one of the best team in the world we showed great character and desire.And the thing is that we r back in the tie.On first half we were not good.But the introduction of theo change the game ,and his pace is vital in the second leg.But we gave them so much space to work on.We should not do the same mistakes again on the 2nd leg.
    But next we look at the weekend game against wolves we have to win.All in all our lads deserve sso much credit to come back from 2 goals down.Some times iam really frustrated.But a win next week wil do it.Fabregas again shows that he is a soldier .He is a Legend.

  13. honestly, i think Barcelona deserved to win by a bigger margin. I agree totally that Almunia made a mistake and allowed tghe first goal, taken; however, if you look at the first half of play, it was him in all due respect who kept us in the game.

    there was no body, and i repeat nobody who seemed to be stopping the marauding Barca players fro reaching our goal.

    about the second leg, i admit we will be in a bad situation, honestly, i for one will still be holding my head up if we lose. Barca is a hard draw to get. what with Cesc missing the secong leg?

    i think it is possible but really hard!,

  14. Those rating are harsh on Denilson. Check the game again. He was excellent in midfield when he came on, ‘nipping at their ankles’ and giving them no time on the ball. Almost exactly the opposite of what you said, to be fair.

  15. So Manuel(que?) shouldn’t have come out to cover Ibrahimostrich for their first goal? Didn’t you see the second one where he stayed back? Come on there, he played well – in fact, very well. Now why didn’t the rest of the team arrive until the second half?

  16. Cmon now. This Anti-Denilson thing is now ridicilous. He was absolutely superb today. While Theo’s pace and energy destroyed Barcelona’s defence, Denilson’s passing and calmness on the ball lifted the whole team. He was the main reason why we dominated the last 20 minutes. I know he’s frustrating a lot of times, but today I saw that this kid will be a fantastic player for Arsenal. Definitely an 8-9 performance. It’s time the fans get behind the younger players and let em develop, instead of talking s..t and then eating their words when these players turn into world class players.

  17. You give Song a 5 and Clichy a 6?? First thing first, Clichy never, and never ever in the match contained Messi! It was Song’s hard word, he was very physical probably put the best show in defense!
    Clichy looked too weak for Alves let alone Messi! The only strong thread in the entire match was Song!
    This is Crap!

  18. All the Media Houses had written the Gooners off but they were all proved wrong. The boys deserve a pat on their back, but the urgency dislayed by Barca should have been contained and killed.

    Walcot & Rosiscky should have been introduced earlier in the game to match the speed in the offensive.

    All in all we are still in the race, the boys are now confident and I think the show is ours in Nou Camp.

    I for once thought Henry will pick the ball and cruise with it to the opposite direction, but i think he should have honored his words though it was nice to see him home again.

  19. they should give free kicks in front of the box to Denilson. he has proven already how officiant he is on free kick. he is very accurate.

  20. Not on ratings, Did you see Pat Rice when he returned to the dugout following half-time? Looks like he had either walked into a wall, or ‘someone’ had given him a smack!!
    AW has been in a ‘paddy’ all week………surely not!!!

  21. Let’s pray that cesc didn’t break any bone n is able 2 play again,since walkin out of da staduim with crutches,but luk like gallas is out 4 rest of season why is everything turnin so sour.

  22. You did well to follow the game at the speed it was played. I was there and I couldn’t. My neck still hurts and I was just sitting there. What must it have been like for Gael and Tom…

  23. The come back was really amazing, but I have to say we gave them too much space especiall Dani Alves. He was always running from his position right up to our danger zone to find clichy and all the acres of space to himself. Fact is no body gave us a chance ,but we are very much still in the mix. I must say though still the under dogs we are still capable of delivering an upset at the nou camp. but all the players have to raise their game as we have nothing to lose next week. Big up for last night but we need a much more spirited performance next week.

  24. My God, what a match. I personally believe it was the footballing feast of the decade. We were outplayed for most of the match but we stuck to our task…fought hard with grit and determination and came back strong. Lucky to get a draw at the end of the day… but two away goals might hit us bad. But still I see light at the end of the tunnel. I believe there is a chance. Barca will be without their two regular central defenders which might prompt them to defend deep with two blockers (Yaya and Keita) covering the two central defenders (Milito and Marquez). But we really need to push up the field to make a match of them. Can’t defend deep and expect to hit on counter.
    I agree with laninja when he says it was an eye-opener for us…made us realize that Fabregas is not even half as good as Xavi and Iniesta (available for the return leg )…forget comparing with world beaters like Messi, Kaka and Ronaldo.
    The way Barca played for 70 odd mins it was a lesson for our boys. They were not only moving fast with the ball, but their movements off the ball were breathtaking. They were not only creative to the core but were doing the dirty work of closing the opponent down equally well.
    We will fight hard in the return leg, even without Fabregas and Gallas. One Overmars, one Bergkamp and one Tony Adams would have been handy. Alumunia’s inconsistency continues…Sparks of brilliance followed by a howler. He wouldn’t have conceded the first goal if he had not moved off his line. For the second goal he was not even given a chance.
    Kudos to our players for showing 100% commitment on the field. They fully understood that this was one of those matches that could either build or ruin their career. People will talk about them in years to come if they do well in such kind of games. Players who stood out for me were Clichy, Song, Denilson and Vermaelen.
    Want to wish our team ALL THE BEST for the return leg…Just remember…give it your best…whatever be the result, we are always with you.

  25. Two reasons to be cheerful; 1) Barca cannot play better than that. 2) We cannot play worse. Bring on Camp Nou! Go for it Reds, Nothing to lose!

  26. I seem to be moving on to the little matter of Wolves this weekend. I have tried out the maths, and if United Win, we are in deep trouble. Amazingly, even if Chelsea win, we shall still be in the hunt as the table will look like this 71 (Asl) 72(MU) 74 (Che). If United Win and we win, the gap remains 4 points which becomes really challenging.

    The ideal scenario would be if they draw, then the table will look like this:
    71 (ASNL) 72(Chelsea) and 73 (United). How cool will that be?

    Unfortunately for us, we have to play 2 teams technically locked in a relegation battle (Wolves, Wigan) and 2 teams fighting for Europe (City and Spurs) and 2 teams that are just difficult to play against (Fulham and Blackburn)

    Chelsea have to play 1 title contender (MU); 2 teams locked in battle for 4th (Spurs, Liverpool); 2 teams technically in a survival battle (Bolton and Wigan) and finally a tough team to beat (Stoke)

    Finally, United has to play Chelsea (vying for the title); city and spurs fighting for 4th, Stoke and Blackburn (tough teams to break down) and finally Sunderland.

    The interesting aspect of this run in, is that each team has a stake in the run in. If its not the title, its 4th, if its not 4th, its relegation and if its not relegation, its survival. This makes it awesome fun for the neutral. But for us, its a time to grow some gray hair or loose it all. We need sanity and good mental health, otherwise the next 1.5 months will be DRAMA

    Am still standing with a surprise Title to the Emirates. This will be the sweetest ever!!!!

  27. Barca really has a total footbal mentality. Their offence was/is their best defence. That 1st 30min almost gave me a haert attack. Wenger didnt do a good job with his starting line-up. Soll should clearly have started, also eboue. But i’ll give it to the boys for sticking it to the man. Nice comeback. Hope we have a beter 2nd legg. Denilson should be worked into taking the free kicks. His got a nice long range shot, and mostly real accurate!

  28. Let me rate the Boss…

    Arsene- 3.5…because 1, he filled the selection with player who were not fit.
    2, the players were running all over the filled with out ball, and it looks like the boss was left with out plan….

    3, he is the cause for the justtifications any one could bring regarding the above 2 pionts…

    and Finally we luckY!!

  29. I agree with the Diaby rating, his first touch was woeful and he kept giving the ball away far too easily. Despite his great first half Almunia proved my point that his mistakes would come back to haunt us? I disagree with the assertion that he had no chance with the second goal. He went to ground rather than stay as big as possible until the last seconds. The rest of the team should be given more credit for their effort.

  30. I’m shocked to see why us fans are ‘happy’ with a draw. We got schooled in our own backyard, and we are happy? We get a draw but have given 2 away goals and we are happy? We see our medical team make big blunders that could have ended the season for 3 of our players and we are happy? We see Wenger never altered his tactics for a formidable opponent again, and we are happy?

    Personally, I am not happy, all I am interested in is reaching the next round, and that result doesn’t give us a strong chance, we need to score twice in the Camp Nou realistically to progress, and that is hoping we limit Barcelona who will probably click into higher gears and look to finish the game early before their Classico.

    Also why is Nasri rated so highly? The author says “Found some space down the left and got some good balls in, however nobody in a red shirt was on the end of them”. Why cross the ball if there is no one in the box? You never saw Alves or Maxwell cross if there were not targets in the box,because it is simply giving the ball away.

  31. We are a better team than barcelona in terms of mental strength and technical ability .I know most of you won’t accept this.But let’s face the fact.

    We played in fear and almost hypnotized by the beauty of their football until Walcott showed that Barca also fears when arsenal play their style.

  32. After witnessing the team’s performance…..i think its a little bit harsh to criticize Nasri…he was good.

  33. Fair player ratings. Rosicky should start or come earlier in the camp Nou. Diaby Diaby should have been substituted long before the end of first half.

    @Billi; I don’t believe it will be impossible mission if we do what we are supposed to do. Contain them and make the best use of our counter attacks. Barcelona is a good team, probably the best in the world so far, but Barcelona is not unbeatable.

  34. Agree with NewGonner. What’s all this fiesta? for a home draw? Ok the comeback was remarkable but once again we were exposed & were pretty much inferiors.
    Why AW doesn’t change his tactics when playing such a tough opponent? Look at what Pep said: “Barca never played away from home like this…”. It’s shame that it came at our expense.
    Now that Cesc, Shava & Gallas are almost out for the season, it takes a miracle to win either of the titles this season.
    Diaby way below par but don’t be harsh on Deni. He gave his best yesterday. We’ll see if he can maintain it.

  35. Very harsh! For me:
    Almunia 7.5
    Sagna 6
    Gallas 6.5
    Vermaelen 6
    Clichy 7
    Song 8
    Fabregas 6.5
    Diaby 5
    Arshavin 5
    Nasri 6.5
    Bendtner 6.5

    Eboue 6.5
    Denilson 7
    Walcott 7.5

  36. @senior citizen , yes I think you’re right, I just watched a quite good resumation of the game:

    the best video I could find, and they haven’t fought such bad as I felt it at first, I had a very bad stream to watch and I missed some parts of the match, but they created really chances, and it was a match at high space, maybe I missed the passing game of Arsenal that we are used to, I think there was few battle in the midfield, quite many long balls by Arsenal, and quite fast finish, a bit unusal and different to the other games I have seen in the PL, I think they looked much more minor as they really are, but the first half was really frightening and at half time you really felt it couldn’t last long until Barcelona would score, but if you see the situations in front of Barcelona’s goal than you can see that Arsenal was a thread too, first half they didn’t stop Barcelona from playing, if they play themselves they are a thread, in any case, sure they have a chance, Barcelona is woundable at the back, as Arsenal is, they have to attack a little bit more, first half, they couldn’t take a breath and therefore it seems as if they had no chance and were completely outplayed, second half told another thing but the impression stays ……… o.k. let’s hope a little bit further ………… 😉

  37. When i was watching the game, i felt ashamed for long periods.When it was 2-0 i didn’t care about the score i just wanted our boys to show that Barcelona aren’t all that. Then Walcott came on. My heart soared. He absolutely desroyed them, the defender couldn’t handle his pace, everytime he made a run, i thought there going to be a goal. I disagree with some that say he is an impact player. His pace doesn’t require defenders to be tired, he can probably outran anyone. Even when walcott is having a bad game, he still makes defenders wary, hesitation starts to creep in. Thats what we need, we need Barcelona to hesitate, we need to destroy their imperious confidence. We were outplayed but that is more to do with injuries, too much respect given and the fact that we didn’t expect that they would be so imposing.

    Also we played too deep, like lower teams play against us in prem. That was depressing to see. This allowed them to work the space to their liking, not a good idea when facing Barcelona. We weren’t destroyed lads(or lasses!!) we literally gave them the match. Next time we have to play players that are 100% fit and hungry. This is my line up for the next match.


    Eboue Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

    Nasri Song Denilson

    Walcott Eduardo Rosicky

    And another thing, i don’t think Diaby is a bad player, but this kind of game with tight spaces doesn’t suit him. The reason i chose Eduardo is because against Barceona we don’t need a player like Bendner, eduardo is quicker, better finshing and has more conntrol. That coupled with the fact that he hasn’t played for so long, and he’s one of my favourite players has made me choose him over Bendner.

    Oh God where is Van Persie? Sighs………………

  38. agree with ratings, although I think Eboue and not walcott was they key change, the starting 11 was not balanced and had too many creative players. When you are only going to have the ball 30% of the game you need players who are good at defending, last year Barcelona had loads of possession at Stanford Bridge but only hit the target once.

  39. New gunner must have made the best comment so far. I must say i don’t remember of any Champions league night when arsenal has ever played like that even when Manchester hammered us 3 at home we were dominant.We survived an embarrassment at home by the mercy of God.It was meticulous to equate both teams that we play entertaining football.We were out classed in every thing.Arsenal beat Madrid at their mighty best tactically by packing the midfield and surviving on quike counter attacks.I think Wenger learnt the lesson in his face that we are inferior and should have played like underdogs and made Barca admire us than our players giving them space and time to exhibit their skills. It is foolhardy for Wenger to even compare the two teams cause Barca cost us 3 players due to seriuos injuries in the name of beautiful football at our cost.I know we can force the game into extra at Nuo camp but the coach has all the answers for what we shall have achieved by May. Even stuttgart has played better than us against Barca! lets be serious there is nothing like saying we were playing the best team .its all down to 22 men playing. Unless Persie magically steps in our best chances seem to be comming next season when we get a sensible keeper,defender and a classy striker.Bendtner isn’t Arsenal standards, very slow and not aggresive.Rating Worst Arsenal display in Europe at Emirates apart from a few players.

  40. Don’t agree with your ratings I’m afraid, Aidan. @James I think called it better but I’d give an 8 to ‘Munia for pulling off a bunch of fantastic stops and I don’t think had much chance with either goal.
    Anyway it was a fantasticlly enjoyable game of football. ‘Footballisictly!’ I loved every minute – and it’s only half time!
    Guardiola (or whatever his name is) said it was the best Barca have played this season so I think we have to take that into consideration regarding their domination.

  41. I find it very difficult to fault any of the midfield because it just showed how far Arsenal are away from being amoung the best. Barca’s movement touch and passing were to difficult to stop last night. It was another level or different gravy of footy that i just dont think Wenger will ever spend the money to get to. The players did not have an off day, they just couldn’t get the ball from a superior passing team. It is clear to sea why there are the Euro Champs. Andrey was correct in what he said the other day. Manuel was shocking for the first goal, i remembered thinking when Ibrah was bearing in on goal, “where the hell is the keeper going”. In saying that he kept the team in it during the first 20min. The second was almost a copy of the first with world class finishing. You cant play open football against a team like that. Zonal marking is also the wrong ploye because by the time you realise a Barca player has been given the ball he has already passed it off to another team mate who is bearing down on your goal. Different type of footy. The introduction of Theo and Eboue changed the tide of the game a little but Baca did loose a man and defended what they had. Lets all hope against hope. Im sorry to say boys and girls of the emerates, it looks like another potless year. That same feeling in my gut of the past 4-5 years.

  42. Listen people, what you fail to see is that Barcelona did a job on us, like all other teams we play. They restricted our space never allowing us to do anything just like most teams we play, except last night they did thet’re job perfectly. I refuse to accept that Barcelona are better all round. Call me all you like but if Arsenal had a B plan, isntead of playing the same predictable way every time then i gurantee you this match would have been different. Arsene Wenger seems to me like he’s trying to make a team that doen’t rely on tactic. BIG MITAKE. If we did half the tactical job they did to us then we would have had a chance to win. Their tactical superiority plus the astonishing football they play should have killed us off yesterday. But no, there is a lttle something called belief, a raw flooding emotion that gives its wearer an absurd resilience that can stand against all odds. We were the defenition of that last night.

    I come back to this blog everyday, i rarely comment because i believe that it is better to say something valuable than to talk trash all day. So, after reading so much of this rubbish online, i believe and have come to the conclusion that Arsenalfcblog is my favourite Arsenal blog.

    But getting backm to the game, i would like to say this, it might sound absurd, but i think that had we had the amount of possesion that we so obviously gave to Barcelona, i think our gunners would have finished them off. Barcelona reeked of arrogance last night and that maybe to our advantage. After toying with us they thought, is this what the mighty Arsenal is all about? Is this what people were saying was going to be the match of the Decade? They must have laughed at us inside, i was furious, i want Arsenal to go to the San siro and knock them off their high perch. Like i said before, belief is something that Arsenal had over Barcelona last night. They beat us at everything, but the heart is a mighty thing.

    Remember , when there’s a will, there’s a way!!

  43. I do think in the next leg, we need to go all out attack, that means playing 2 strikers, a 4-3-1-2, Eboué-Campbell-Vermaelen-Clichy//Nasri-Song-Diaby-Rosicky-Vela-Bendtner.

    No 4-5-1 Wenger, we all know our 4-5-1 see’s us toothless, Vela has experience of playing in Spain and can win us freekicks and hopefully a penalty as he is good at diving, and play Rosicky central to find holes in their midfield.

    Wenger seriously needs to wake up and get a tactical coach.

  44. theicehammer, i know we were second rate, i know they demolished us at home. But think about it, were we at our best? The beat us at everything this time, but we were horrid. We played like a relegation threatened team against a big team. This wasn’t us.

    Answer me this, how can you deny that we converteda higher ratio of chances than they did, of all the chances they had they converted two, of all the chances we had we converted two. And dont’ tell me that any single person was to blame for them, football is a team game, you’re as good as your worst player. I also believe that the score doesn’t lie, if it was 2-2, then it is what it is. We were crocked with injuries and half fit players and no prolific striker, we played a near full strength Barcelona with a depleted team.

    I see and i believe, they were better, but i also know that it ain’t over till it’s over.

  45. theicehammer, you are the kind of person who sees a match, doens’t bother to thouroughly anlalyse it and goes and reads some rubbish websites. You come back here and talk as if you know what you’re saying. Your analasis is weak and second hand. So don’t come telling me what i watched or didn’t watch mate. I know what i’m talking while you hardly scratch the surface.

    There is always more to something than meets the eye.

    So you’re the one who looks, but doesn’t see what truly happened.

  46. Barca made Arsenal look average. Gifted a penalty that never was, regardless of what word you use in English!
    Stop hailing this as some kind of wunder display by Arsenal, it was nothing of the sort.
    But most importantly, Wenger made a very bad call in letting Fabregas play & get injured, probably out of the world cup, never mind rest of season. Arsenal wont win a thing without him, so he will probably be gone at end of season too.

    After what i saw last night, it’s an insult to even compare these 2 teams.

  47. What I noticed in both goals, is that Vermaelen was more worried about marking Messi than covering his position, that’s why Ibrahimovich was so alone when he ran to score both goals. Look at the replays and you will see that. It’s a shame for him but yesterday he was not the defender we used to see.

  48. have nothing much to say but, i don’t see anything in bendtner seriously, we a striker. well the ratings are not bad either. credit goes to the goal keeper. he kept us in the game. we are going to give barca a tough one…..

  49. I think Denilson had a beeter game than you give him credit for. He and Nasri can win it for us in Spain – along with a little assistance from Almunia and Theo! Keep the faith!! Barca ran out of puff and we took over then – 90 minutes not 60.

  50. @new gunner-agree completely wel said
    clichy had messi and alves running at him due to nasris laziness and to be fair he did very wel bombing forward and put a beauty of a cross right on bentdners head…watch the game again if you must i think he was our best outfield player,song was off pace fouling alot and got a stupid booking for not retreating after prob his 6th foulin the first half,then he was too deep for both barca goals when verm and co had pushed up,hes been brill all year but honestly he was poor last nite
    i cant believe nasri got a 7.5, he had a shot in the first half and i didnt see him after that,oh i did actually he was overplayin and passing the ball off the field when clichy bombed past him on numerous occasions,he and diaby wernt there at all last night,alot of you hav said alves tore us apart last nite,wel who was his direct opponent and how many times did he tackle him or track back????answer nasri and 0
    and then the goals……theos shot was central and valdes was poor,the other was a pen….@ arsenalthewengerway, if you want to point to that as better chance conversion then i applaud your optimism but the reality is they played us off the field last nite,partly becos their a better side but mostly becos we applied no pressure from bentdner,diaby,nasri,arsha,eboue and even cesc seemed to be just floating about in the first half….i used to think it was physicality that we lacked but after last nite i now know why wev got murdered by utd,chels and barca at home recently,its becos we allow teams to play their games with no respect for the threats they pose….rooney,drogba – wev never learned or altered our own tactics to negate their threats!! again this week the manager says messi will be free to play his game,admirable to the nuetrel but c’mon arsene youv got to be tactical at times and be prepared and we wernt last nite,he thought wed be allowed do our thing and barce miraculously wudnt apply thier normal level,again i must say i think its arrogance on the managers part and if tactical manouvres didnt work jose mourinho wudnt be such a genius and inter wudnt hav hammered chelsea the way they did……….when this manager comes to terms with this and respects EVERY oppositons respective threats whilst incorporating our normal game,then and only then will we be successful.
    if we somehow turn barca over next week inter will sit back and soak us up and murder us on the break becos their manager is a tactical genius and our manager will pick 11 and say ‘go do wot you do’…..sorry but ability will only get you so far…..samir nasri is testament to that,if he were as good as you all say hed be in that ageing,overated french squad

  51. This is the line-up I’d start off with next week:

    ——————-Almunia (better have 2 not 1 beastly half)
    Sagna—-Campbell (inevitable)—-Verminator—-Clichy
    ———–Denilson (or Diaby)——Nasri (stepping in for Cesc)
    ——-Walcott (Yes him!)—————–Rosicky————
    ——————————–B52 (for the hat-trick!)—————–

  52. Nick Bendtner attracts a lot of criticism from a lot of you but nobody seems to remember that he first set up Walcott’s goal with a great pass and secondly served the ball on a silver platter for Cesc so Puyol had to commit the penalty! Under extremely difficult conditions he did a great job! He should have put the header in the back of the net, I’ll agree to that, but Messi and Ibrahimowitz missed similar chances!

  53. well was the risk worth it wenger? cesc out for 6 weeks,gallas for 3 weeks,arshavin for 3weeks.hmmm… with regards to the barca game…at times it was if barca were playing with 15 men, their ball retention,movement, and control in the first 20 mins just blew us away,we were chasing shadows,we looked punch drunk and on the ropes,the biggest crime was the lack of urgency,we DIDNT close them down quick enough. cesc or gallas weren,t fit so they shouldn,t have started, major cockup by wenger as its hard enough playing barca with 11 fit players.arshavin went off,gallas broke down,so wenger switched song back into defence but what this game proved was song cant play at the back against top class opposition, he was caught out of position for both goals as was tv5 who was too busy marking messi.after an hour of complete torture we seemed to realise we were the home team had some good possession and caused them a few problems. the introduction of theo put us on the front foot we got the 1st goal and they were under pressure ,at last the real arsenal had turned up. considering the disruption the injuries caused,the amount of chances they had and the amount of possession barca had the lads did well to get anything out of the game.however if we start like that again in the nou camp we,ll get turned over and be on the end of a hiding, in all honesty i cant see us doing it purely because we dont defend as a unit and i see us conceding more goals than we score…..hope i,m wrong.

  54. reading through all of these comments i am seeing a lot of criticism of abou diaby. I do recognize that he lost his control and it was not his best gam but everyone has an off day. We cannot judge this player solely from this performance because he has been fantastic all season.

    Eboue for me did not do anything. It was like seeing him from a year ago. Great penetrating runs and then the final pass- terrible. I do hope he can recover from this performance against wolves and the return leg at the nou camp.

    I hope our boys can recover from this against wolves (why is it that we say barcelona when wolves is our next game). Reading the comments again i get a enormous feeling of negativity. I am fully aware that we have been overplayed and are at a disadvantage in the return leg but i fell there is a positive side. We were out played and down 2-0 but showed the character to come back to 2-2. This shows a resilience that we didn’t have before. I feel that we have a lot of positives, and negatives to take from the barcelona game.

  55. song was one of our best player he stopped them alot in midfeild and almunia and walcott did good

  56. 3 key players effectively out for the season. Does this latest set of injuries signal the end of our title bids?
    Once again the lack of a strong squad is to blame!

  57. This is exactly what happened last year , we got battered against man u first leg , almunia played well , gave us hope for the second, we got thrashed, 15 mins match done ,man u sat back hit goals on the counter , barca do not play like that but i’m not disappointed yet, hope ,belief and faith in the team’s still intact and after the spirit last night,this more than just a hope, barca’s great but they will give us chances unlike some of the other teams , i just hope we take em .

  58. We were totally played off the park yet somehow managed a draw. Ever the eternal optimist I am convinced we can still get through. Firstly, we were shit and I don’t think we will be as shit next time. And I don’t think Barca can play as well as that first half either. Nasri centre mid, Denilson and Song will provide a better balance. I reckon Denilson much better suited to the UCL than the frantic physical EPL games. Diaby was shown up to be the reverse. His control and passing were just not up to it. My team for the second leg would be:

    Almunia (let’s face it we are stuck with him for now)
    Eboue (better going forward than Sagna)
    Walcott (quick, took his goal well but his crosses are shite)
    Eduardo (or Rosicky if he is fit)

    Can’t afford any more injuries though. Arsh, Fab and Gallas out for the rest of the season. It’s been a bad year for injuries that’s fr sure.

  59. A couple things –

    First, I didn’t read all of the posts because there are just too many, but for the most part everyone seems to be spot on.

    Second, AW, your rating of Denilson is WAY off. I know you don’t like him, and we have all had issues with some of his performances over the past few seasons, but he played GREAT when he came on. He made some superb tackles and his passing was good too.

    Third, as a team we give all teams we play far too much space with which to work. They were all over us like white on rice from the jump, and we just didn’t seem to that in us.

    Lastly, why do all the best defensive teams do one thing (besides closing down players immediately) that we never seem to be able to do? When you are on a man with the ball or marking a man, if he receives the ball and then makes a pass, then you MUST stay with him. We always drift off of him towards the ball when there is already someone there to take the man with the ball. That leaves open the one-two pass game, which they killed us with the first 60 minutes of the game. It also draws more men to the ball as it starts a ripple effect. Everyone begins to chase the ball, creating situations where there are 3 and 4 men around the ball. That leaves other players wide open to rip us apart. That MUST be changed if we want to cope with the best teams in the world.

    Anyway, I am still optimistic as we are genuinely still in the tie. We can slot Eboue, Walcott, Rosicky, Eduardo, and/or Campbell into the squad next week to cover the injuries. I don’t think we will miss Arshavin and Gallas THAT much as Gallas hasn’t played in a while and Arshavin has been out of form for weeks now.

    Here’s to a good result next week…COME ON YOU GOONERS!!!

  60. on the rating on song..

    I think not diving at ball holders was AW’s tactical choice in some respect. I feel that it was a trade off to deprive them space around the box. (same goes to instructing nasri and arshavin to be diligent defending barca’s frank attacks, to
    prevent sagna and clichy being drawn out). yes, it gave them time, but had to do it, to prevent quick 1-2’s and closing breathing air for messi(which are far more dangerous weapons)

  61. all i gotta say is arsenal are in big trouble at the nou camp. Barcelona are too good at home and they caused big problems for arsenal at emirates. Imagine at nou camp!

  62. Was at this game

    please comment and rate the video clips i took!

    I managed to catch ibrahimovic’s goal and fab’s penalty

    Thanks and enjoy!

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