CL Liveblog: Arsenal-Barça

It’s on now, folks. Kari is here with an exeception liveblog that come straight from the depths of her cule heart. Fill up yer cups and enjoy the spectacle. There are no prisoners today and no time for thinking about the words that come out of your mouth: The Emirates is about to get hijacked, y’all!

By Isaiah

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


  1. two hand balls. by arsenal. in their box. affecting the play. no calls.

    still, how does messi miss that chip in the first half. HE NEVER MISSES THOSE.

  2. Wow can’t believe people are calling us arsenal-lite after this result!!!! Can’t wait to take out my revenge next 2wks!!

    1. jajaja, don’t even bother reading any other websites. There will be a cloud of smug encompassing the futbol internets until the return leg.

  3. I really wish I could make you all feel better but don’t know how. You guys really sound depressed. We still have the second leg to play and hopefully we can get passed that. I think we shouldn’t be too harsh on the boys, i know the second half was disappointing but really these guys have made us so happy this season that I think I can let this one slide. Pity it happened in the knockout stage.

    Let’s all look foward to the return leg and support the boys even more now cos they’re really gonna need us. The BritPress is gonna have a field day tomorrow with all the “proof that la liga is shit” stories. So chin up, God knows how the team feels right now.

    P.S Jnice, don’t pay attention to the rags we know how good this team is and we believe in it. Just think of how much they’ve made you happy this season

    Forca Barca!

    1. “Just think of how much they’ve made you happy this season”

      your comment make me wanna cry, literally…

      I mean, it’s so sad they had such a great season in La Liga, breaking 16 consecutives winning record, manita after manita…
      and then suddenly they have a bad 20 minutes or so in Europe,
      that can cost us a precious trophy…

      you can have a bad match in Liga and still win the Liga,
      but you cannot have a bad match in UCL… 🙁

  4. And the worst of it it was so unncecessary, so uncalled for. That must have some kind of consequences. We can not present our colours and our club like that. I really hope Pep has some harsh words for everybody (with exception of Xavi, Busi and Abidal) and we see some kind of reaction in the next games. That was totally unworthy of FC Barcelona.

    1. I think you are being a bit harsh on them. I know that today was bad but I believe the players always go out and give their best unless it’s a match with no relevance. I hope they are able to deal with the pressure in the next games and not self-distruct.

  5. First of all this isn’t over by a long way. Honestly if I had to stake my mortgage on which side would go through it wouldn’t take me long to decide on Barca. We had this game under control. Even though we were strangely satisfied with trying to take the sting out of the game – always dangerous – there was no feeling that they could come back for me. I could not believe Valdes got beaten at his near post in that way. Just awful. Once that happened the second was no surprise.

    Xavi was amazing but what was wrong with Iniesta?

    Of the defence I thought only Abidal played to form although Maxwell was not as bad as the knee jerk reactions would seem to suggest. I’d remind people that Walcott was taken off and that Maxwell wasn’t at fault for either goal. However, he was again sloppy in possession and deserves the same criticism coming the way of Alves, Pique and Busi. When I say Abidal played to form I’m still not excusing him either at the first goal. RVP is his man as the move develops. He can’t just let him drift across behind Pique who doesn’t even look as if he knows he’s there and then try and play him offside when he has the pace to come across and cut out the threat.

    For the second Keita switched off completely.

    FWIW, I thought it was a really bad signal to send to replace Villa with a midfielder.

  6. Ok guys lets not get all doom and gloom, we really didnt play that badly. You have to credit Arsenal who played with a lot of heart and determination and who didnt give up. Away games in knockout stages of CL are tough, there is a reason why we have not won a single one, not even in the treble winning season. 2-1 is not that bad a result, better than them winning 1-0. We have our away goal.

    Also, and I dont mean this as an excuse, but luck was on their side and that does make a difference in the CL. We got lucky beating chelsea when we won the CL, Inter got lucky beating us last year and Arsenal got lucky tonight. If Messi has his shooting boots on this game is all over before half time. If the linesman gets one out of 3 poor decisions correct then it is 2-2 instead of 2-1. Not to mention their first goal, which was the biggest fluke ever and completely changed the momentum of the game.

    The only thing that dissapoints me is that that we seemed to be content with the 1-0, which isnt really our style and maybe Pep was trying to show a more cautious approach away from home in the CL, which i can understand, but still I think we should do what we do best, which is kill off opponents.

    I was watching the game with a Chelsea fan and believe me he has no love for Barca, in fact he was supporting Arsenal, but he still felt we were hard done by.

    The worst part of this is now we have to wait 3 weeks to play the 2nd leg and I live in LONDON. I know about half a dozen Arsenal fans and they are going to be soooo smug for the next 3 weeks. That is really gona piss me off!!

  7. I think for alot of people its hard to swallow because reality has been on hold for the better part of 3 years.

    Messi’s rate of finishing is beyond insane so when he performs like a human being its terrible. This wasn’t a bad game but I think complacency did us some harm.

    Pep needs to go for it more in away games in Europe, Kieta and Adriano are his typical subs (from my memory) in this sort of game. Is it prudent? At times but Arsenal are not to be underestimated.

    I somewhat expect a repeat of last year with Messi going ape shit and breaking them over his knee but I guess I’ve lost touch with reality as well.

  8. I think you’re all being a bit hard on the team, though. There were long stretches of time when we were in complete control, pressing hard and making opportunities. We had some bad luck with Messi’s big miss and then the disallowed goal. As others have noted, Xavi and Busquets were both excellent, Abidal was his usual monster self, and Alves was good, if not at his best.

    Pep’s big mistake was subbing out Villa. He wasn’t absolutely brilliant, but he was good, and he was at least awake, unlike Messi. Substituting a midfielder for a striker sent a bad message to the other team and took the bite out of our attack. Then Iniesta came off for another (mostly) defensive player. Arsenal saw that Pep was content to play for the 1-0 and stepped up their game. That pissed me off because that is not how we play. We attack. Always. Remember, Pep?

    And that is what Arsenal did. Attacked. They were relentless and determined. They wanted it more than we did. And they got it.

    But in March they will be in our house. The last time we had them over, Messi scored four goals. And I guarantee he will be in the mood for revenge!

    1. Absolutly agree, and the strange thing is the Pep repeated the same mistake like last year when he took off Ibra.

  9. Why I’m confident the team will play better in the second leg, I don’t want the players to participate in that Remuntada campaign on the newspapers again. That was embarassing last time against Inter.

  10. I never expected this. Pedro, once again, had a bad game against Arsenal? Well, he’s gonna get revenge in the 2nd leg.

  11. totally off topic…

    I’m at office today, with no make up in my face, no concentration/focus on my job…
    my cellphone ran out of battery for hours and I don’t even care to charge it back…

    and I’m very irritating this morning…
    my co-workers probably hate me today…

    the worst thing is I’m very pessimistic at this moment…
    I think that EPIC FAIL “Remontada Campaign” thing against Inter gave me a bad bad trauma…

    I hate Hlebbuary…:D

    1. Super defensive teams like Chelsea/Inter couldn’t hold Barca from scoring. We will go most likely go through. Somehow I’m more worried about the liga matches in between.

    2. that’s another thing that make me badly depressed at this moment…

      I’m terrified for the next La Liga match, I’m really sorry for being negative,
      but that’s just how I feel right now…

      these boys look tired, I think mentally and physically exhausted…
      they need to get fresh so bad…

      I will be very happy if I’m wrong….

    3. Usually Barca responds pretty well after a loss. If I am not mistaken that has been the trend for last 2/3 years. After the Bilbao game there is a one week gap. That should help.

    4. Haha. I can’t even wear contact lens today as I only had 2 hours of sleep and after the match ended, I jsut couldn’t sleep. My eyes would burn if I attempt to put on my contact lenses 😆

      THe fans just gotta do what they did when we played EE. That would be enough.

    5. we need all Cules in Camp Nou to give 100% support and create a very very hostile atmosphere…

      at least that can help to distract opponent’s mentality…

  12. How is Barca going to respond against Bilbao this Sunday? Pedro, Messi could use some rest but I don’t think that will happen against in form Bilbao. In 3 weeks time Barca plays 4 liga matches, and none of the matches are going to be easy. But, if there is one team that can rise to the challenge it’s BARCA. Lets hope players forget about Arsenal quickly and bench players raise their game asap.

  13. @ooga aga:
    Messi’s miss wasn’t that bad. The gk( can’t pronounce nor spell his name) closed the angle pretty well.
    The only way to go for Messi was for him to chip over his shoulder which he did but then of course, the goal is covered. Not a bad miss.

    However, Messi did once or twice went solo when he had a dozen Arsenal players in front of him when there is some one free in the box.
    DOn’t understand why he gave up running the 2nd part of 2nd half.

    If I remember correctly, we always suffer when we defend a lead. Always because like you said, that is not part of our game.
    If Pep really wanted to defend the lead properly, put sMasch in!! Not Keita or Adriano.

    Iniesta wasn’t that bad either. Both he and Messi dozed off in the last 20mins.

    @Jim: Maxwell wasn’t at fault for both the goals but he was poor all night. I don’t understand, he looks disinterested in playing for us. He doesn’t hustle. I mean, if I get a chance to play for the best team in the world, I would play like it’s my last day but Maxwell always seemed so casual. And I hardly see him chasing the ball back after losing it.

    For hte 2nd goal, he was nowhere to be seen. He was jogging back to the penalty area. Same thing happened on an Arsenal counter in the 1st half. He was just jogging behind the Arsenal player instead of challenging for the ball.

    Manita comeback definitely!

    1. I agree with you, Maxwell isn’t really helping these days. If Milito were as good as Marquez of last year Barca could do a better job in defense.

      Whoever Barca gets as left-back or center-back in summer should have some pace. Too many players involved in possession game high up the pitch will always be vulnerable to quick counter attacks. One Abidal can’t do it all.

    2. Did you see where he was though, barca96? He was almost up at their box, chased the man he was marking who got the ball to close him down but a couple of quick passes later it was approaching our box. Keita should have been covering for him but went to sleep. I’m not saying he had a good game – he didn’t- but neither did four or five others. Just looking for some fairness here 🙂

  14. Why do people mention the Iniesta sub as way important… I mean, sure, he’s a great player (although he wasn’t that great today) but the sub was almost at the end… it didn’t affect the result that much… Villa’s sub, on other hand, did… although, we shouldn’t miss Arsenal’s sub as well.

  15. Iniesta was poor throughout this match. Not only this in the last one also. This is the second match in a row where he had a bad night and our midfield struggled. I thought we paid the price for a bit of laid back attitude in teh second half. We had the game in our hands but never saw any proper pressing in the second half. Arsenal players performed really well.

  16. As a side note: of course, I hate the loss, but I’d rather lose against a team that plays to attack us and uses pressure (Arsenal) than lose against a team that just sits deep (Inter).

    1. BUt if we lose against a team like Inter, we can say that we lost because they parked the bus :p

  17. Just got done rewatching the game with hubby. Had to do it with a poker face because I didn’t want to give away the result to him. So I watched more objectively.

    -Messi was off, and for a couple periods of time he was walking, but to his credit, upon second viewing, he did try to kick it back into turbo. He wasn’t awful. He wasn’t bad. He was just off and acting like a human. One gets very tired when one tries to play 3 different positions for 60 minutes.
    -Pique was not as awful as I thought, but there were some bad moments. Defenders can’t have bad moments because it leads to goals.
    -Maxwell was not very good today, but neither was he horrible. None of the goals were his fault and he quite possibly saved one but offensively attacks came to him in order to die.
    -Xavi was pretty awesome.
    -Alves played well, but even he can’t be two places at once.
    – P!! some good, some bad, some headless chicken
    -VV definately at fault for first goal, out of position/ not covering near post (THAT was one heck of a goal)
    -Villa, I enjoyed watching him play today, very involved, tracked back nice goal
    -Busi strong game overall but still some bad Busi moments(I don’t care if you think you’re fouled. Don’t waste time trying to call the game. get up and get the ball back (this means you too P!!))
    -Abidal saved our butts many times but I thought he could have done better with Arshavin’s goal.
    -Iniesta was very “on” in the first half. The second, not so much.
    -Pep, dude, if your gonna protect a 0-1 lead, might your consider a destroyer like Mascherano??? and Adriano? really?

    For a neutral, this game was awesone. Good game Barca. Good game Arsenal. Hubby was like “oh. I can see why you like to watch Arsenal” and I was like “oh, shut up”.

    Btw, why are we talking about wanting Cesc. What about Willshere? ;-D

    1. IF we lose/draw in Camp Nou,

      he’s going to be like :

      “wow, my current team is better than Barcelona… why would I want to go there, anyway? I want trophies… Daddy wenger, I’m staying here…”

      Cesc nonsense-transfer saga will be dead,
      so let’s tap Wilshere instead… 😀

  18. hey guyss:D
    what a game. like the old saying, a game of two halves, first half being brilliant, second was self destruction mode:S
    but guys one thing i do not like is bashing MESSI, he had a bad game, but you guys have to consider the level that he is playing in, first of all he is carrying the team on his shoulders, this is not xavi’s or puyol’s team, this is meesi’s team, and he is our leader. The man is bound to be wasteful during some time in a season.we cant keep on expecting him to put in every god damn chance he gets, hes going to miss some now and then. If he was half as wasteful as some of our other players, then we would really be having a hard time… Just dont bash him please…
    Villa was good…
    VV, well its his peridiodical mistake
    pique, was good but pissed he got a yellow
    alves, we need him really bad,
    Xavi, GOD, nuff said
    iniesta, where were you
    pedro, look at above comment
    villa, was good
    pep, weird subs..
    im looking forward to the next game, if we score first, then it might be a whitewash, 😀
    so march 8th

  19. it’s not a new thing that we lose against a brilliant defensive team…
    most of the time, we struggle against opponent like Chelsea/Inter/Bilbao, etc, etc…

    but when we lose against opponent that play the same style like us,
    then people can easily say :

    “apparently, Arsenal play total football better than Barcelona…”
    “apparently, Barcelona is Arsenal-lite, not otherwise”

    Imagine we must live that statement for –I don’t know how long- if we fail to get through the next round…

    1. people can say a lot of things… if we lose against Inter then people say “playing defensive and sit back is the way to do”…

      thing is… I find it less painful to lose a game against Arsenal or Valencia… than to lose against a team that just parks the bus… at least it’s better for football in general…

    2. I find it more painful actually,

      cause I genuinely believe Barcelona play a better total football than any other team in this world…

      but now we lost against opponent that people always mentioned as “Barça-wannabe” or “Barça-lite” or whatever they called it…

  20. @ Blitzen—Do the rest of us have to suffer regular Hlebbings as part of your penance? Don’t make me go back to that Shakira avatar!

    1. Shakira for all of hlebuary???? Ugh! But if we get a manita before the month ends my avatar changes!

  21. Guardiola:

    “I am upset that we lost the game, but there is still the second leg to turn things around. I don’t know how far we’ll get, but we’ll be ourselves”, said Guardiola in his post-match press conference, where he said time and again that he has no intention of changing his team’s style.

    To end he said “allow me to have faith in my players. They have achieved too much in a short space of time for me not to have faith in them”.

    I have faith in them too. 😀

    1. “I don’t know how far we’ll get, but we’ll be ourselves”
      “allow me to have faith in my players.”

      please do, Pep… please have faith and be ourselves… 😀

      subtitute a forward with a midfielder when we only lead 1 goal (while the game is still far away from finish) is not ourselves…

      I miss my real Barça, the mighty Barça who tore EE for 90 minutes…

  22. i just woke up from my blackout. we didn’t lose did we? i’m having these horrible flashes of an arshavin goal. i must be losing it.

  23. anyone who thinks Pique didn’t have a bad match rewatch it. on the second goal not only does he play Nasri onside, he is just standing there shielding VV (who was playing so, so well untill RVP’s goal)

    And look who is slowly jogging into the box. If he’s sprinting to cover, Alves will cut that ball out. But he’s not, what the hell happened. were they that tired that even ALVES didn’t sprint?

    1. re-watch it? I don’t think I am gonna be able to torture myself…

      at least not today… 😀

    2. Both he and Abidal played RVP on-side for the 1st goal too.

      The players did look tired in the last 20mins. They really did.
      I noticed that. Cmon, we are not used to this speed..
      Imagine when we meet Man U or Chelsea…

  24. We’ll sell Barcelona Cesc this summer as long as John Cryer agrees to restrain himself from approaching Wilshere until 2023 : )

  25. Guardiola should have taken off Pedro and brought in either Bojan or Afellay or even thiago. Pedro was having a ridiculously off night. The biggest problem was Messi switching off himself in the second half. Xavi was trying to find him in many occasion, but he was least interested. We did the same mistake last season – sit back and relax. This time around the punishment was a bit harsher. Now we have to play a script perfect matcxh at the Camp Nou.

    Jack Wilshire played really well, but I would like to see how he cope with the pressure at the Camp Nou.

  26. I didn’t think too much of Arsenal’s home record in the CL (no losses against opposition from outside England), but both last and this year, we squandered leads to ultimately tie and lose, respectively.

    Couple that with our rather dismal away record in CL ties, and maybe this result isn’t that surprising from a purely statistical point of view.

    Despite being a goal down, I think we have what it takes to progress to the QF at the Camp Nou. Playing at home on that huge pitch, with the support of thousands of home fans should help to some degree to stabilize our player’s mentality and bring out their best form.

    1. I’m going into total isolation mode and not going to read anything (except this site and barcastuff) until our home leg.

  27. gems from the four four two liveblog today:

    Tim Stannard – Arsenal v Barcelona: “Messi’s iffy luck in England continues. Yet to score a goal there. Including against Stoke.”

    Tim Stannard – Arsenal v Barcelona: “Arsene Wenger pictured on the bench looking like he’s going through a particularly bad phase of rehab.”

    -before arsenal went up, obviously.

    Tim Stannard – Arsenal v Barcelona: “Still contemplating who will go through between Arsenal and Barcelona. It even took a trip to the ‘special room’ to ponder. Too early to call. Let’s see how Barça’s form goes over the next couple of weeks.”

  28. Full faith that we win handily in the return leg guys, but cudos to Arsenal for taking the game to us. I did not like pep going defensive bringing Keiteeeee on with only a 1 goal cushin.

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