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!

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.

138 comments

  1. 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 😛

    1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. that is amazing. i love it. so bizarre. is that a special Madagascan (i didn’t even know that was a word) sense of humor?

    5. 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. 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.

  3. Yep pedro starting

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

    No yaya 😕

    1. 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.

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

  4. 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?

  5. 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.”

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

  7. 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!)

    1. This is from UEFA.com;

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

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

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

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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!!! 🙂

    1. “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?!

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

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

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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”.

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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.

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

    2. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  30. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

    5. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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..

  34. 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”

    1. 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!

    2. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

    1. 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….

    2. 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.

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

  37. 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).

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