CL Liveblog: Arsenal – Barça

Thank you to Eklavya for running this. Treat him nicely, everyone. It launches a few minutes prior to kickoff. And remember: Visca el Barça!

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

138 Comments

  1. barca96
    March 31, 2010

    even if we lose, as long as it’s by one goal(never lost by more than one goal under pep) we can definitely score more in camp nou.

    yaya, ibra, pique and puyol are key players for me in this match.
    we need to be a bit more physical against arsenal.
    henry should only play in the return leg. he is too emotional for this match, typical French 😛

    • Helge
      March 31, 2010

      Really? We have never lost a competitive match under Pep with more than one goal? That’s an astonishing statistic I didn’t know about 🙂
      Visca Pep i Visca el Barça

    • Kxevin
      March 31, 2010

      I’m calling bullshit on that comment. Henry should play in this leg for two reasons:

      1. No Iniesta, so his ball control, particularly with his back to the defense, will be important.

      2. He has much to prove, and will be going all out to preserve his legacy in the eyes of Arsenal fans, as well as to prove to everyone that all talk of him not playing well because it’s Arsenal, is nonsense.

      Players are professionals, and they get fiery about matches. “Typical French?” What the hell does that mean? What other nationalities and ethnicities get the “typical” broad brushstrokes.

      As a moderator of this space, I object strongly to such appellations. As a user of this space, I have the same vehement objections. We have a responsibility to comport ourselves in a way that makes EVERYONE in this space comfortable. Smiley faces do not negate the effects of hateful comments.

      Stop it. Just stop it.

      • jordi™
        March 31, 2010

        Well technically preserving his legacy would be scoring an own goal and sending them through :D, but he or any professional would never do that.Hopefully he shows them he still has it and wasnt wrong to leave and play for us.

        If pedro starts, i think he’ll score anther crucial goal, but henry can as well.

      • Jim
        March 31, 2010

        I’m with kxevin on this. Henry is a top professional. He’s not going to want the Arsenal fans to see him less than he was.

        I also think he deserves the place ahead of Ibra because of his intelligence and movement but that’s just me.

        I do think the smiley is just teasing you though, Kxevin. It implies the author does not agree with the sentiments expressed. If i thought he meant that I’d agree absolutely with you. Not the best idea in the world as a smiley doesn’t excuse an unacceptable comment but we can get too PC about this.

  2. barca96
    March 31, 2010

    btw thanks Eklavya.
    where is isaiah and kxevin btw?

    • Kxevin
      March 31, 2010

      Kxevin is working his ass off. Not sure where Isaiah is. 😀

      • March 31, 2010

        Isaiah is going out with his Penya for a royal BROUHAHA (broumwahaha?).

        • inNYC
          March 31, 2010

          Barca. Arsenal. Gubmint. Taxes.

          I wrote it on my hand so I wouldn’t forget.

  3. vicsoc8
    March 31, 2010

    I’m hoping, like Isaiah, that we start with a Busi-Yaya-Xavi midfield. The reason for this is simple, Arsenal has trouble with strong, physical players and Yaya is more physical than Keita. I also like the option of having Keita on the bench as he would be able to provide more energy and an added impetuous that I just don’t think Yaya can provide from the bench.

    As for Henry, I can see him starting on the bench, simply because Pedro has been playing better than he has.

  4. Miguel
    March 31, 2010

    “Smiley faces do not negate the effects of hateful comments.”

    -shit!

  5. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    Yep pedro starting

    Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Maxwell, Xavi, Keita, Busquets, Messi, Ibrahimovic y Pedro.

    No yaya 😕

    • Kari
      March 31, 2010

      I guess Pep wants Yaya to focus all his mental powers from the bench 🙂

      I have to say that I agree with the Pedro! instead of Henry. Not (only) because of the ’emotional return’, but because we’ll need Pedro!’s non-stop energy. Given that Maxwell is playing, pressuring the players will be a huge task. I’m not saying that Henry can’t do it; I just prefer P! in that sense.

      Also, P! has been very well and he has a knack for scoring in important matches.

      • Kari
        March 31, 2010

        *pressuring the ARSENAL players and tracking back

      • jordi™
        March 31, 2010

        henry also doesnt combine well with maxwell since they rarely play together, but P! does.

  6. Helge
    March 31, 2010

    btw, isn’t it funny that it’s neither The Sun, Times, Guardian, Sky Sports etc. nor Sport, Mundo Deportivo that reports Cesc will play but Marca and AS??? They claim he passed a fitness test this morning in the Emirates Stadium. Are they really so much of an insider, more than the British (rainbow) press? Or do you think they made it up?

  7. Eklavya
    March 31, 2010

    There’s no line up in the official site so I’m not believing anything.

  8. Kari
    March 31, 2010

    Tim Stannard brilliant sums up what the CL means for us:

    *http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2010/03/31/why-messi-would-rip-his-leg-off-to-score-against-arsenal.aspx

    “That is the fiercest force of all that Arsenal will be facing on Wednesday night: the thought of world’s biggest p*ss-take in just under two months time.”

  9. ooga aga
    March 31, 2010

    the lineup isnt on official site so i styill dno0t bel;ieve…

  10. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy; Song, Cesc, Diaby; Nasri, Bendtner y Arshavin

  11. Kari
    March 31, 2010

    Jordi’s got it right. Official line-up: Barca

    Valdes
    Alves – Pique – Puyol – Maxwell
    Xavi – Busi – Keita
    Messi – Ibra – Pedro!

    Arsenal Line-up

    Almunia
    Sagna – Vermaelen – Gallas – Clichy
    Fabregas – Song – Diaby
    Nasri – Bendtner – Arshavin

    (Yeah! I got it right!)

    • Kari
      March 31, 2010

      This is from UEFA.com;

      *http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/matches/season=2010/live/index.html

  12. Helge
    March 31, 2010

    Will be a tough match! Hope at least for a draw.

  13. ooga aga
    March 31, 2010

    also noted: abidal NOT on the bench!!! neither is jonathan. so yaya is our only true midfielder on the bench!

  14. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    If we have another of our now standard slow starts in european away games, i might just lose it.

  15. Arvind
    March 31, 2010

    Yaya not starting. Sigh…i’ve got a bad feeling about this one. especially that arshavin chappie.

  16. Eklavya
    March 31, 2010

    I going to start the LiveBlog in ~5 mins.

  17. stowe
    March 31, 2010

    Almunia! wow, at least 6 saves in the first half. I love that we are wearing the yellow. we look like a swarm of bees out there chasing the ball. the pace of our game definitely slowed down after they had some decent possession around the 20th min. Looks like Fabregas will miss the next game. Already two injuries, i hope it’s nothing serious, especially for Gallas since he just came back. let’s hope for a great second half

  18. El Tel
    March 31, 2010

    It turned against us, but it was a great match to see/watch.

  19. vicsoc8
    March 31, 2010

    Tough end to the game. With that said, I would’ve taken a 2-2 draw before the game started if given the option.

    Here’s to hoping for a Yaya – Milito CB pairing next leg.

    • El Tel
      March 31, 2010

      Agreed. Abidal should contain Walcott better than Maxwell.

  20. Vj
    March 31, 2010

    And Pep should’ve subbed P! and Busi out..

  21. Jose
    March 31, 2010

    I’ll take the 2-2 draw, but we deserved better. Still, we’ve done better (2-2) against Arsenal than we did against Lyon, Chelsea, Bayern and Stuttgart (all 1-1)… So that’s something.

    No Pique or Puyol is unfortunate, but Abidal will be back and we’ve done well with Yaya at CB. They won’t have Fabregas. I feel confident going into the Camp Nou leg.

  22. Kari
    March 31, 2010

    Puyol red, Pique booked, 2-freaking-2. So pissed right now.

    Iniesta and Abidal will be back for the second leg.

    I want a demolition in the second leg.

  23. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    this is twice we’ve gotten shitty reds in london.With andres fit we’ll be ok.

  24. Ramzi
    March 31, 2010

    The players lost focus after scoring the second goal. That was stupid.
    Aside of that, good game.

    • Jose
      March 31, 2010

      True enough. I mean, I get it: you’re dominating a game, then you get a BS penalty called against you and your captain is red-carded. That game turned on its head at the (DUMB DUMB DUMB) blow of a whistle.

      But they really lost the thread at the end, and there’s no excuse for that.

  25. Jnice
    March 31, 2010

    Sigh… 2-2, not a bad result, but man did we deserve more. PK and red… riiiiight. Here’s hoping we crush them in the 2nd leg. And I know we tied, but we all know Barça opened some people’s eyes with the way we were moving the ball around for 70 minutes. I dare us to have 30% possession at home at half time. That would never, ever happen.

    • Liza
      March 31, 2010

      The possession was awesome in our favor, and that is definitely a plus to take away from this game. But still!! I am so disappointed.

      We better crush them at the Camp Nou.

  26. Cule24
    March 31, 2010

    I have to blame Guardi for this outcome. I can’t for the life of me understand why he is so hell bent on starting Busquet ahead of Yaya. Aresnal’s first goal that happened to turn the match around was all due to Busquet’s fck up.

  27. Ethan
    March 31, 2010

    match showed alot of promise for the rest of the season. too bad that learning we cant take our foot off the gas took such a huge cost to us. to lose a 2-0 lead with 20min left is unacceptable. With how we played this game today, that kind of turn around on us is the worst possible thing for our boys confidence. lets hope pep can help them out with that and we can slaughter Athletic and then get our confidence back in time for the return leg. hoping for abidal to be ready, bc that will save us, still having milito and alves will be great, but that other CB position is worrying with how fast they are. if we have the rest of the team ready and iniesta back, at the camp all should be well and we should have a great confidence boost for EE. a 2-2 away leg is a good result yes, but not for us, not today, not for how we played that game. we deserved a huge win today, that would have been HUGE for our team. instead we lost all the momentum, gave the game back, and showed that though we played like the team of last season during the first half, we can still be waited out, like most teams do this season if they cant get us from the early start, we are better than that and i hope that the first half is what is to come for the rest of the season. just bummed we showed such promise and then shot ourselves in the foot, i can only hope this doesnt have as big an effect on our team as i think it will. i

  28. Hilal
    March 31, 2010

    I would have taken a 2-2 draw before the game with pleasure but right now I feel like I got punched in the stomach. We should have won that game by 4 or 5 goals easy. Almunia is one of the worst keepers in the EPL, i watch Arsenal a lot and believe me when I say he is pretty awful. He made more good saves tonight then probably all season. Why does this always happen with keepers? They have the game of their lives against us!! It drives me insane. We outplayed and outclassed them for so long in the first half.

    Also what the fuck happened to the pressing after we scored the 2 goals. We went from being all over them to completely relaxing.

    So Marquez will have to partner Milito at the back next week huh? Well thats just a disaster waiting to happen. I hope Pep plays Yaya as CB alongside Milito.

    On the bright side….all the Ibra haters can EAT IT!!! 🙂

    • Kari
      March 31, 2010

      “He made more good saves tonight then probably all season. Why does this always happen with keepers? They have the game of their lives against us!”

      I know, right?! It’s really starting to annoy me. WTF?!

      • Larm
        April 1, 2010

        prolly cuz our shooting is predictable. most goals we score you can see coming from at least a play or two out.

  29. Bebop
    March 31, 2010

    Well… At least Puyol and Pique will be fit for sure in El Clasico 🙂

  30. barca96
    March 31, 2010

    pep got the substitutions wrong once again.
    he got too excited once again like against zaragoza when we were leading by 3-0.
    he took off pique-milito and put marquez in and we conceded 2.

    and now instead of putting yaya in he took off ibra and put in henry who wasn’t going to play or score.
    and busquets? 3 mistakes that lead to a counter attack and one goal? how many more costly mistakes can you make?

    for the 2nd leg, i hope it better be milito-yaya in cb.
    yaya>marquez.
    we play marquez= concede goals.

    btw, im sorry if i offended anyone regarding the “typical french comment”. what i meant was, french people are known to be very romantic and touching , i thought henry wouldnt be able to perform 100% because oh his love for the fans and club.
    i feel for the man, he got booed at every touch,ungrateful fans!

  31. March 31, 2010

    I don’t believe we gave up two goals in the last 20 minutes. Unacceptable. And Pep’s substitutions were puzzling to say the least. If you want to bring Henry on, fine, but make it for Pedro, not Ibra. And he did nothing to counter the Walcott move, when it was obvious to all he would inject some pace down the right flank and it needed a tactical change. Disappointing to say the least. I would’ve taken 2-2, but not without either CB for next week.

  32. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    Well i did say pep shouldve started only 1 of pique and puyol, now we’ve lost both.

  33. Līva
    March 31, 2010

    Awesome game and although it’s never very smart to let go a 2 goal advantage (and terribly annoying as well), it’s still 2 goals scored at their stadium. If Barca at home can play the way they did at the start of the first half and actually convert their chances (yes, Ibra, despite your 2 goals, I’m talking about you), then it should be ok. 🙂
    Busquets, by the way, should have been subbed off even before the first Arsenal goal happened. He loses the ball somewhere in midfield, and as a result Walcott scores seconds later. Arsenal started to look a lot better after that goal.
    And the red card and penalty – ooookkkk… At least it should be much more fun on Tuesday.

  34. Eklavya
    March 31, 2010

    Oh and expect people to behave as if Arsenal won 3-0 or something…

    • barca96
      March 31, 2010

      the thing is, we controlled the match and once we are up by 2 it looked as if we stopped playing. all the good work for 70mins for nothing. and those misses in the 1st half were really costly.
      we really need a deadly goal scorer like villa next season.

    • Jose
      March 31, 2010

      Well it was a remarkable and glorious comeback that is the vintage English spirit!!!

      Or some other stupid nonsense some of their fans actually believe.

    • Ethan
      March 31, 2010

      thats what will be annoying eklavya. arsenal are not in the same class as barca, that was proven. lets not egg on the retard arsenal fans that show up here now and act as if they didnt watch the same game we did. they got owned, simple as that, but we beat ourselves, really was unfortunate. but positives, they will be without players wenger risked as well.

  35. cliveee
    March 31, 2010

    feeling very yucky right now. we only have ourselves to blame for this situation. leading 2 goals, getting complacent and careless, let in one of them, let in another from the spot.
    I’d say even if the penalty wasn’t called, we had to be playing very badly to let the ball come to our door.

    gotta say Wenger proved his class as a Gunner manager for so many years and made all the correct decisions, especially second half. he ordered players to press us more and caused us to play faster passing, which we were able to. A sub of Walcott for Nasri looked plain, but it was smart and bold because nasri is in such red hot form. and it resulted a goal.
    whereas, i think, we made the bad subs. subbed Ibra out because he already scored 2 and we were still kinda leading, is still within reach, but keeping pedro on the pitch in the craziest 2-2 moment and call our biggest gun messi back to sideline is really beyond me. not understand the least bit,because that was the most important moment and very likely the moment in which messi has the biggest desire to attack arsenal’s goal. his face tells u how unhappy he was when we was walking out the pitch, yea?

    I don’t wanna hear any bullshit about Ibra not being the right player for us any more. period.

    • barca96
      March 31, 2010

      why? didnt ibra missed chances in the 1st half that could’ve sealed the tie?
      yes i admit he probably his best match so far, but up until mid-march he sucked big time.

      • adal
        March 31, 2010

        so did Messi. With your logic, is Messi not the right player??

      • jordi™
        March 31, 2010

        Wow do you have some kind of agenda against ibra or something?

    • cliveee
      March 31, 2010

      tell me who didn’t miss in the first half? ibra created far more chances than he missed. take a good look at the play where xavi missed that shot in front of only alumnia. ibra out-muscled the defender and played a dummy to let the ball roll straight to xavi to set him up on one on one which the latter missed. maybe we should swap xavi for someone too.

      • cliveee
        March 31, 2010

        i cannot stop misspelling almunia as alumnia.

  36. Roja_N
    March 31, 2010

    im really sorry but im pi**ed off. That was the worst 25 minutes ive ever seen from the blaugrana…and its a shame cos we had the tie wrapped up at 0-2. I dont know what the hell happened, that we suddenly stopped playing and let them walk all over us towards the end. I dont even want to debate the penalty. If we’d just kept posession like last year this tie was sealed….its like we just forgot how to play. Im pi**ed and i hate that we’ve given arsenal a chance even though i know we are still well on our way to qualifying. I really hope pep lays into the lads that let the complacency get the better of them. This was OUR game…OUR tie and we messed it up….i dont feel good about this.

    • cliveee
      March 31, 2010

      don’t worry, we are still thru. they wont beat us, not at home. we are clearly in a level above them. we only have to be careful. with abidal and iniesta back, plus yaya. i dont think we can lose to anyone at home. we will have to count on milito, i am so glad we have him back. he is the best winter “signing”.

  37. cliveee
    March 31, 2010

    really dont wanna blame the ref either, he has been very consistent and made all the correct/reasonable decisions. If he decided Puyol made a illegal contact with Fabregas, the red card would have been legit. But he only had 2 seconds to make the decision, no replays. just 2 seconds and 2 eyes. It was a case that Fabregas successfully deceived the ref by exaggerating the contact. That sums up what he learned in the EPL and it makes me even dont want him back to the Camp Nou more.

    • Colby
      March 31, 2010

      I completely agree. I still like Busacca more than 99% of refs. It was a harsh (and in my 100% biased opinion, incorrect) call, but he had no option but to give Puyol the red if he calls the foul. It’s not Busacca’s fault that Fabregas tricked him. And just for that, lets make Fabregas stay in England for HIS WHOLE CAREER.

  38. barca96
    March 31, 2010

    i hate to say it, but rm shows better fighting spirit(minus lyon) than us this season. they came back from a goal down a couple of times.

    • jordi™
      March 31, 2010

      yes like vs Alcorcón and lyon.We should have spirit like them.

      • barca96
        March 31, 2010

        hahaha
        no but seriously, they’ve shown a lot of fighting spirit whereas we turn off after leading.

      • Jnice
        March 31, 2010

        And what does ‘spirit’ have to with this game anyway? We were in front, Arsenal was the one who had to show spirit. We needed to show FOCUS and we failed miserably at that.

    • adal
      March 31, 2010

      so did we several times also, what is your point??

  39. majatt
    March 31, 2010

    The substitutions were confusing but we didn’t put away the ball we didn’t deserve better.

    There is no way Walcott should’ve gone unanswered, Toure in for Busquets or Kieta sitting all the way back. Puyol on the left and Milito in…SOMETHING. Walcott just came in and ran wild.

    Thankfully Abidal will be back and hopefully Toure plays with Milito.

  40. Kari
    March 31, 2010

    Well, I’ve calm down a bit. TBH, I still don’t know if I’m pissed or just really disappointed that after dominating them, the score is 2-2. I’m leaning to the latter.

    There are a lot of positives to take out of this match, despite the score (HA! I sound like we lost 😀 ). Well, actually, one of the positives is the score. We’ve got two away goals. Even if Arsenal score in Camp Nou, no way in heck are they not going to concede.

    -They’ll have to do so ithout Fabregas. Well, after this game, I don’t think he’d want come back to Barcelona too soon (okay, not really) anyway. Disappointed about the penalty, and what looked like a dive. To be fair to Cesc, he didn’t ask for one, and there’s no way in heck that he’s going to pass up the opportunity to score and get his team back in it. Still, I’m not happy about it.

    -Abidal will hopefully be back for the second leg. No way Walcott outpaces him like Maxwell. 1st Arsenal goal shows how much we missed Abi.

    -Messi was “quiet”, but that’s because he was facilitating movement and doing a lot of work off the ball. He was also playing in the midfield. Still, expect him to be disappointed with his play, and tear it up in the second leg.

    -Iniesta will be back. Enough said.

    -Because of the score, we’ll be focused for the second leg and not so complacent. If we play for the full 90 and not just 68 minutes, our defense will be irrelevant…is what I’d like to say. Hopefully, that comes to fruition.

    -The score really flatters Arsenal….Still, this really did live up to the hype. Cracking match.

    • cliveee
      March 31, 2010

      the second last point is the most comforting to me. and i agree. the barca of this season needs a bit of urgency and this scoreline will keep us alert and focus to kill this tie off.

    • Ethan
      March 31, 2010

      Cesc would have asked for one had the ref not blinked twice before pulling the card out and pointing to the spot, rash decision by the ref, puyol stood there and cesc pulled his leg back and kicked into him. and IMHO this match did not live up to any of the hype at all. IT was a disappointing match for arsenal, wenger made huge gambles that backfired and they showed how far they are from playing our game the way we do. they were outclassed and this really should have been an easy victory for us against a side that is inferior to us in every single way. we gave this tie to them, they didnt earn it. lets hope we can finish them off next week in style, the way we should have this game.

    • Aeneas
      March 31, 2010

      I agree with most of what you said.

      – My primary concern after the first 20′ of the first half was a missing link between the defense and midfield in our offensive transition. I think if we roll with a Busi-Yaya ‘pseudo double-pivot’ like we experimented with once before this season we will be fine.

      – I know that traditionally it is difficult to understand Keita’s roll in a match without watching the match a couple times, but I was not liking what I saw from him. Well, specifically what I didn’t see.

      – Messi had to come into the midfield to help Xavi who IMO was not getting the support he requires laterally. If we get some Xaviniesta in the second leg that will certainly change (and change my idea of Busi-Yaya).

      Objectively a good result, but we definitely felt the early missed chances.

  41. Helge
    March 31, 2010

    Wow, I think everybody here is voting for a Yaya-Milito CB pairing 🙂

    I hope Pep hears it. The first 20 minutes were completely out of this world. I cannot remember a better performance this season.

    We should still be positive about this match. A 2-2 draw away is a good result, what bothers me is the absence of Puyi and Piqué for the 2nd leg – but on the other hand, Cesc will definitely be missing and maybe also Gallas and Arshavin. Iniesta and Abidal will be back. Abidal being back means Walcott being far less of a threat. Iniesta being back might mean even more midfield domination. We will win this, I’d give us 80% to advance!

    • adal
      March 31, 2010

      Are you sure Iniesta will be back? I thought he’s sidelined for 2 weeks.

      • Helge
        March 31, 2010

        Oh yeah… 🙁

        Damn it, I actually knew that he will only be back for el Clasico, dunno why I thought for a moment he’d return earlier.

    • aku
      March 31, 2010

      Agree with you mate.. what worries me is the absence of Pique and Puyol. I personally think 2-2 is a good result. But i still don’t get why Pep need to sub Ibra instead of Pedro.

  42. majatt
    March 31, 2010

    I also didn’t expect arsenal to pick up so many yellow cards for professional fouls.

    • barca96
      March 31, 2010

      arsenal fans are claiming that cesc shouldn;t have been booked.lol

      • majatt
        March 31, 2010

        Arsenal fans can claim whatever they want, the decision stands. Not only that Arshavin and Fabregas injured…I think they just shipped the Prem to get a 2-2 @ home.

        • Ethan
          March 31, 2010

          how i agree so much with that comment. Wenger screwed up royally. i believe the tie is still over with the players they lost(yes we lost pique and puyol, but A. not to injury. B. we have players to back them up, they dont.) Arsene just gave the premier away and CL away bc he felt like risking injured players, something he said he would never do. great job guys. keep having tons of fun in london Cesc. we dont need u. and i hope our presidential candidates saw that tonite.

          • majatt
            March 31, 2010

            and it’s almost painful, I wanted them to win the EPL so badly. Just to show fiscal responsibility and attractive play could win that title.

            Still, you get what you play for.

      • Helge
        March 31, 2010

        Arsenal fans claimed they will dominate possession against us (at least few of them) 😀

        • barca96
          March 31, 2010

          lol.
          70-30 in the 1st half.
          sick!!!!

        • majatt
          March 31, 2010

          LOL, I remember seeing that. As if! Take your chances against Barca and you might win but you simply can’t take the midfield and by extension possession.

  43. y2k156
    March 31, 2010

    After being really p***ed off for a while, i am now calmer. Its not much about the result as 2-2 on away leg if quite ok but the fact that we messed it up and that is not good. Subs were really not good today but then you win some you lose some. Henry was utterly useless and we could have better used Jeffren today.

    I also felt that sometimes our players, Ibra and Pedro in perticular made wrong calls on final pass.

    I did call before the match that ref was best in world. Now am eating humble pie. The chap is good and had a good game but missed a penalty on Messi and gave a penalty which was not a definite one to Arsenal.

    On great positive side, we played really good in first half. If we speak about artistic merit, then we showed who is the best right now. That makes me happy.

    Messi was really involved to begin with but somehow faded as the game went on.

    Its all to play for in return leg.

  44. Vj
    March 31, 2010

    Calm down ppl.. 2-2 ain’t bad, it’s good in a sense that we got caught out of focus and still are in a better position.. Pep should root out the f’in complacency if we do this type of shit @ home, we’re out, as simple as that.. But its the Camp Nou and I’m confident we won’t concede 2 goals as Abidal would be back and Yaya would grace us with his mental fortitude.. That said, Busi needs a kick in the rear and P! shouldn’t start. Period.

    We should’ve buried this game in the first 20 mins but it goes to show that you can’t take the foot off the pedal in the CL.. Utd found that out yesterday and so did EE against Lyon..

    Very happy that Ibra’s got his confidence back and once Messi regains his touch, we’re all set.. Xavi was magisterial out there.. Hopefully we get the job done next week..

  45. Kari
    March 31, 2010

    If you want to see delusional, read some of the comments by some Arsenal fans here (especially sujay7pires and BPires…is it the “Pires” in thier name that caused delusion). They actually have the gall to complain about the referee.

    *http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/mar/31/arsenal-barcelona-champions-league-match-report?showallcomments=true#comment-51

    handedtheirarse pretty much sums up the comments with this gem:

    “Unbelievably, we have a group of Arsenal fans here who seem to be of the opinion the were HARD DONE BY. Delusional”

    • arse
      March 31, 2010

      Probably Spuds fans. They like pretending to be our fans and talk shite like that. That’s the closest they’ll get to Champions League football after all.

      Good football from you guys today. Barca did to us what we used to do to teams a few seasons back and I haven’t seen us dominated at home like that for a long time. Chelsea and United might spank us but they never dominate and play football like you did today. Yes we got very lucky but we had two unfit players and two forced substitutions but showed great resilience and I’m proud of that.

      Anyway good luck against Real Madrid. I hope you win the league. Cheers!

      • Kari
        March 31, 2010

        Good to know!

        Thanks for the compliments and respect for being so humble despite the name, arse! 😀

        I agree that your fightback was impressive. Arshavin and Gallas’ injuries, not to mention Fabregas’, were unlucky.

        Still, I wish you guys luck in the PL!

  46. Jim
    March 31, 2010

    Looking back on it now we can’t be too disappointed. The game was all about us. Our first half display was excellent but we stopped the pressing after the second goal. Walcott’s introduction only made the difference because of Busi’s unexpected lost possession in midfield. That always kills us because we don’t expect it and our full backs are caught too far up. Same will happen in the second leg unless Maxwell/ Abidal get their starting positioning right. We could use Abidal’s pace but he hasn’t played for ages and don’t think he’ll be as quick as Walcott in a straight run.

    Big plusses for us were first of all the goals for Ibra. Didn’t think he had a good first half but he took his goals well and that can’t do his confidence any harm. Hope Song is playing CB in the next leg as well !

    Definitely the right sub for me as Ibra doesn’t chase much and we had the momentum against us by then. The other big plus was Xavi’s performance. They can’t be looking forward to the second leg if Iniesta can make it back in time.

  47. Shobo
    March 31, 2010

    As an Arsenal fan I freely admit that we were outclassed in the first half and for much of the second. Frankly though, I think that’s because our players appeared star struck more than because of a lack of ability. For many of our younger players, Fabregas, Bendtner, Song, Denilson, Walcott, Diaby (who are all under 23) this was the biggest match of their professional careers, and it showed.

    I don’t watch Barca often, but I’ve seen enough of you to know that the extreme pressing game you played the first hour or so isn’t usual. It was the pressing game and quick passing that meant Arsenal couldn’t get it in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the tables turned in that regard when we play at the Camp Nou, I’m not saying we’ll dominate possession, but I think this first tie will serve to be a bit of an eye opener for our players.

    On the penalty. I’m surprised that there’s so much debate about it, because while Puyol didn’t put in a tackle, his physical interaction with a player, without touching the ball, stopped a clear goal scoring opportunity. It wasn’t a typical penalty in the sense that there was no tackle involved, but it was still an infringement that took away a goal scoring opportunity.

    On loosing Fabregas: Apparently it’s confirmed as a broken leg, it appears (at least based on what I’ve read here today) that Barca fans don’t really rate Fabregas, or at least feel the team doesn’t need him. I can understand that given your wealth of mid-field riches, but as he proved tonight, Fabregas brings more than just ability, he’s a real leader, and he’s picked us up many times during the season. The fact that he completed the match, and was still running around (with a broken leg) should tell you why Gunners love him so much.

    Anyway, in closing it was a great match, an amazing education from Barca, but I feel we’re still in it, and our team is pretty young, it’s easy to dismiss us as “not being on the same level”, but I believe what we lack is consistency, and that generally comes with age. Consider that when the whistle blew today, the only outfield players on the Arsenal side over 22 were Thomas Vermaelen (24) and Gael Clichy (24).

    Lastly, I have to say before the match I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly and civil the Barca fans seemed, a huge difference from Manu, Chelsea fans. That’s eroded somewhat given the result, but it’s still great to be able to come onto a rivals site and have a civil discussion.

    • Sam
      March 31, 2010

      Good post. I think a large number of the Barca fans on here (myself included) have a soft spot for Arsenal – more than just a soft spot in my case. I don’t think it was a penalty, and at the same time I don’t think Cesc’s tackle was worth a yellow. He did get the ball.

      On the whole though, it was a good game, and it’s always good to have civil discussions with fans of the other club as well. I do think Busacca had a bad game, and that while some of the calls went against Arsenal early on, I don’t believe any of them had as big an impact as the penalty.

      I’m glad the tie is still competitive. And thanks for being civil while making some very good points. It’s not always the case when the Arsenal fans start flooding this blog sometimes….

    • March 31, 2010

      AND Almunia.

      Funny how the tune sounds different from the Gooner trumpet once the big brother shows em how it’s done.

      Well played by Walcott, but Abidal will be back to minimize Theo’s effectivity.

    • Jnice
      March 31, 2010

      The pressing we did tonight is usual. It’s something we do every game as much as the passing and what not.

  48. Shobo
    March 31, 2010

    Oh yes, I wanted to add that I think we’ve got players who can play in the hole for Fabregas at the Camp Nou, Rosicky, and Nasri are more than capable. What I believe will be a problem for us will be missing Diaby. He was pretty woeful tonight (struggles for consistency), but missing him means that with Song in the defence, we’re going to likely have to dip into our reserve squad for a midfielder (since Fabregas is suspended, and his usual replacement, Araron Ramsey had his leg broken a few weeks ago).

  49. Colby
    March 31, 2010

    (Bear with me if none of you have ever experienced this).
    That game reminded me of a can of Coke. The first few sips are oh-so-sweet. You think, “I love coke. I LOVE coke. Why don’t I drink it more often?” Then the middle of the can is average, but still very enjoyable, because the original burst of sweetness has faded and your taste buds are used to it. Then, the last 1/5th of the can is pretty much disgusting because all the syrup is at the bottom of the can and the coke has warmed up and lost its fizz. After finishing you think, “I thought this would be such a great can of coke, but now I kind of regret drinking it.”

    • March 31, 2010

      Someone on the Guardian blogs had a better one, comparing it to farting after having long-drawn out sex with a supermodel.

  50. fc
    March 31, 2010

    We have seen this so many times, haven’t we? Busi makes a wrong pass in own half and suddenly we are conceding goal. For me, he hasn’t earned his place for critical matches yet. No matter how awful Yayas offensive contribution is he brings calm in the defence. Anyway, we will go through at the end and I can already see Ibra tearing up Madrids defence in classico 😀

  51. Chris M (Arsenal Fan)
    March 31, 2010

    Now was that a freakin game or what. Im happy that i was able to watch this match today. Barca playing there best football and Arsenal showing that fight back spirit. Barca owned us the whole game, sad that we again have injuries but i really hope that the 2nd leg can be as good if not better then the 1st leg, hoping that Arsenal play there best this time so we can really have an amazing 2nd leg. Even though Arsenal played horrible im proud of them this game because having injuries to 3 KEY players in the same game and played very poorly, we still were able to come back from 2-0 and draw againts the best team in the world, so im proud of my team today. Amazing game Barca, today you showed why you are the best team in the world.

  52. lovelymofo
    March 31, 2010

    I’m not happy with the result, particularly in regards to that red card for Puyi. I could have handled the pentalty and the tie, but that red just felt harsh.

    There are positives tho. (1) Two aways goals, (2) we’ll hopefully get Iniesta & Abidal back, and (3) the team will feel the have a point to prove.

    I usually enjoy the liveblog, but the last few have become Ibra hate fests. That’s just not fun. Not saying our players should never be criticized, but it’s just a little overboard. You know, just putting that out there. Love the blog, love the team, but sometimes the commentary lessens my enjoyment of the matches and I end up just logging out.

    Anyway.

    ¡Visca Barça!

    • Jnice
      March 31, 2010

      Agreed about the hate fest in the liveblog. The Ibra hating at halftime was craaaaaazy.

    • vicsoc8
      March 31, 2010

      I skipped out during halftime. Saw some Ibra hating but man they looked stupid the way Ibra came out of the gates.

      • lovelymofo
        March 31, 2010

        Ha, yeah that was pretty funny.

    • jordi™
      March 31, 2010

      I agree, it was bad enough with the dicks at skysports but from our own fans is something else.I wonder how many more crucial goals ibra has to score for us .

  53. Alexinho
    March 31, 2010

    My two cents:

    -Xavi played the best game he’s played all year. I couldn’t take my eyes off him when the team was at their high-flying best.

    -Barca is a better team than Arsenal, even more so than I really expected.

    -Maybe Barca took their foot off the gas, but Arsenal fought as hard as I’ve ever seen them fight to get into the match for 90 minutes, and it finally paid dividends after the hour mark. It was sad, I was set for a vintage Barca win, from one of the best performances I’ve seen from them, almost definitely the best all year (except for Messi I suppose), and then my Arsenal pulled off the trick. I’m very, very proud of them for an all-game effort. But at the same time, my heart is a little broken.

    -I remember that someone said, after the draw was announced that “Seriously, I think we’re going to destroy them” or something like that. What now? Arsenal are not to be taken lightly. Frankly, I think Barca’ll still roll them at home, but don’t be surprised if the Marquez/Milito pairing results in a go-ahead goal for them. They’ve looked good before with Fabregas out, they just slot in Nasri and duke it out.

    -Speaking of Nasri, did anybody take a moment to watch his effort? When Arsenal was at its lowest, he was the only glimmer of hope.

    -Bit disappointed that Messi wasn’t more involved (read: dominant)in the game, and Henry too.

    -Isaiah nailed that prediction didn’t he…

    -Holy crap was Xavi excellent. Where has he been all season? We aren’t talking about a dominant Barca without him getting every third or fourth touch of the ball. Oh I said that right? Jeezus.

    • Jnice
      March 31, 2010

      I mean we didn’t destroy them score-wise, but I mean for all this talk about the football being similar and what not, I thought we destroyed them football-wise. I said a couple of times that I didn’t think we played anything alike, and to me, this game solidified that. Arsenal aren’t to be taken lightly, but if we have our finishing boots on, that game is over by half.

  54. Kari
    March 31, 2010

    Just want to say that I know my above posts seem a little arrogant and might be belittling Arsenal a bit. Sorry about that, Arsenal fans.

    The thing is, as much as you’re buoyed and proud of your team’s performance tonight (given the circumstances), I’m just as disappointed and irritated. It’ll calm down by tomorrow.

    Thanks to arse, Shobo, and Charlie M for being humble and civil here! Always a pleasure for sensible fans to come by, especially so soon after the game. Cheers!

  55. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    I still dont know how one getds a penalty and red for kicking the opposition defender.We’ve been going about it all along guys, tell BANGS and Leo to kick the defenders and we’ll get pk’s again.

  56. Evil that men do
    March 31, 2010

    Sergi does it again with his stupid 1 touch passing which resulted in the turn over and goal he had an excellent game up till that point but it doesn’t matter stupid mistakes like that are costly,

    I honestly sensed it was coming I was saying replace Keita who practically was INVISBLE the entire game!!!
    Yaya has shown he can boss the midfield better then most so why not put him on.

    Henry was pathetic didn’t even show any effort.

    Ibra goals were excellent he should be more consistent though with his finishing which was pretty poor in the first half.

  57. Evil that men do
    March 31, 2010

    Heres hoping Abidal is fit for the second leg, the best 11 for me would be:
    Valdes
    Alves Yaya Toure Milito Abidal/Maxwell
    Sergie
    Xavi Iniesta
    Messi Ibra Pedro

  58. Evil that men do
    March 31, 2010

    I have to blame Guardi for this outcome. I can’t for the life of me understand why he is so hell bent on starting Busquet ahead of Yaya. Aresnal’s first goal that happened to turn the match around was all due to Busquet’s fck up.

    I co sign 100 % but I’d replace Keita instead of Sergi for Yaya, it really pisses me off to see such a fine player on the bench like this.

  59. if today was any indication, we will come out smelling like roses after arsenal have to visit us.

  60. waleed
    March 31, 2010

    Tomorrow, after you all will calm down, you’ll realize how great was this away draw actually 0-0 would’ve been good, 1-1 very good, 2-2 is priceless! loosing Puyol and Pique shouldn’t be a problem!
    can you imagine the kids we faced tonight walking into the Camp Nou?? I really feel sorry for them. don’t mistake me! I really like, respect, and even adore Arsenal, but they literally have no chance! I wish they have, had another opponent.

    I’ve never seen ,and most probably wont see, a champions league side dominating an away game and creating endless chances the way we did tonight! that was insane!

    and believe me the last 20 min will guarantee another demolition in Camp Nou, they wont walk away with it.

    hats off to Winger, he read our weakest point and made his strike brilliantly, and unfortunately, Pep failed to respond quickly.

  61. Jnice
    March 31, 2010

    Apparently: Barcelona made 533 completed passes and Arsenal only 265. Wow.

  62. fc
    March 31, 2010

    Here’s the breaking news guys. Ibra disaster has scored 20 goals = (15 liga + 4 cl + 1 copa) so far. I suppose he is a FLOP! 😀

    • lovelymofo
      March 31, 2010

      Totally. Ibra flops with style.

      Can’t wait till next year when he’s clicking with the team on all cylinders and is out to prove a point after not being able to participate in the World Cup. 😀

    • Luna
      March 31, 2010

      wow maybe we just misunderstand what folks mean by flop,lol 😉

  63. jordi™
    March 31, 2010

    honestly i think the return leg will be just like when we played inter at home.We got a 0-0 away and their fans acted like it was a victory, and we didnt even outplay them like we did today.We don’t even need the game of our lives to qualify.0-0, 1-1, or any win sends us through.It would be worse if we had played like this at home,only tied 2-2, we would be under much more pressure.What are the odds on ,if we win ,hearing the usual bullshit about the opposition “not turning up”? I don’t think any of their players have had the experience of 98000 fans whistling their every touch, so that will play in our favor.

    • Colby
      March 31, 2010

      As an Arsenal fan said above, “For many of our younger players, Fabregas, Bendtner, Song, Denilson, Walcott, Diaby (who are all under 23) this was the biggest match of their professional careers, and it showed.”

      There is no reason to suggest that it will not show again when we return to the Camp Nou, which will again be the biggest match of their professional careers.

      That having been said, we should be extremely wary. If a better Arsenal side turns up next week (which I think they will find hard to do because they will be without Fabrgegas, and maybe Arshavin and Gallas, and because a large part of the reason they played poorly is because we played well) we could very easily get knocked out. Just ask United what a bad deflection and a bit of lackadaisical defending can do to you.

      Yes, we wiped the floor with Arsenal for most of this game (and to me proved that we are on a different level). However, they also showed that we can be better, even a lot better, and they can still get a couple of goals (and anyone who says we were not a lot better is wrong (and yes I know pep said so)). So basically, this was a long rant when I could have just said: Remember how fickle the champions league is.

      • Kari
        March 31, 2010

        Contrary to what some people think, Arsenal didn’t play bad or with ‘fear’. They just didn’t have the ball, and thus were forced to defend, which isn’t their strong suit. Unless they can keep the ball longer than we can, ie. outplay our midfield, I don’t think the second leg will be much different.

        Also, it’s not just Arsenal that will learn lessons. Like Colby said, we will too.

        We know that without the ball, we’re not very good. Arsenal are worse.

      • jordi™
        March 31, 2010

        Yes, it will be a bitter pill if we do go out, i still have just barely gotten over being knocked out the copa in the manner that we did.

  64. Larm
    April 1, 2010

    im sorry if this haws been mentioned above. but does anybody think we are possibly the worst counter-attacking team? i mean we seem to rush the ball to our front player and then instead of run up field with the ball they look for a drop. we always loose the plot on a counter attack at the crucial moment, and because of that if a touch isn’t perfect it results in the team loosing their cool.

    that being said, hell yeah for ibra, 5 goals in the last 3 games in all competitions. so wegner better check himself before he wrecks himself.

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