Barcelona – Arsenal Second Leg Liveblog

If you’re like me and you feel like you’re going to burst from the emotions leading up to this game, never fear, the liveblog is here! This is the perfect place to laugh, to cry, to scream, to yell “I love you all,” or to otherwise express your emotions (while following the rules of course).

I have class until 15 minutes after the game begins, so unless my extreme ninja skills can somehow get me out early, Kari is going to be getting the ball rolling.

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336 Comments

  1. soccermomof4
    March 8, 2011

    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Alves Busquets Abidal Maxwell – Xavi Mascherano Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa #fcblive

    • soccermomof4
      March 8, 2011

      No Adriano, Pep didn’t listen to us Euler 🙁

      Oh well, in Pep We Trust!

      • soccermomof4
        March 8, 2011

        Check that:
        Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Alves Busquets Abidal Adriano – Xavi Mascherano Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa #fcblive

        The twitter changed!

    • Whatever
      March 8, 2011

      I don’t know why you have Maxwell there, but Adriano is playing, and that’s official.

        • soccermomof4
          March 8, 2011

          I don’t know how it happened because all I did was cut and paste. Artur caught it on the old thread like 1/2 minute later and it was different. Oh well, I’m happy, we get to see what Adriano can do!

  2. March 8, 2011

    I’m shaking and I’ve already got knots in my stomach. Oh gawd… #justatypicaldaybeforeabigmatch

  3. Mila
    March 8, 2011

    Van Persie starts for the gooners…

    So much for not playing mind games, Arsene! 🙂

    We’ll play them off the park anyway and do it with Van Persie and Cesc on the pitch!

    Visca Barcelona!!!

  4. Roz
    March 8, 2011

    Where is Outer and his 300 quotes in caps! I demand it!

    • Para
      March 8, 2011

      Because I (obviously) haven’t watched that movie enough, and I’m all for the greenness of the earth, I shall reuse:

      “THIS. IS. BARCA!!!!!”

  5. Jnice
    March 8, 2011

    Enjoy the LiveBlog, people. I can’t join because in matches like this one, I can hardly type.

    • Mila
      March 8, 2011

      I’m with you on this one, Jnice, I’ll be lurking, yelling and if we are 5:0 up, I’ll join in with margaritas and cosmopolitans 🙂

  6. blitzen
    March 8, 2011

    Barcelona bench: Pinto, Milito, Maxwell, Keita, Thiago, Afellay, Bojan

    Thiago made the bench!!!!! 😀

    Jeffren didn’t. 🙁 Not that I’m surprised.

      • March 8, 2011

        Tw Jeffren: “It will be another time! We just continue. Go team!!!” [barcastuff]

  7. March 8, 2011

    We haven’t had a proper remuntada before so let’s get this done! *blares Ja Som Campions*

  8. Diego
    March 8, 2011

    I’m Shaking as Usual. I’ll not join the Liveblog.

  9. Artur
    March 8, 2011

    Due to living in Canada and game being on TSN2 (Darts on TSN1, pathetic) I need a great stream… with English commentaries, hope ATDHE will have one

    • March 8, 2011

      My Canadian brutha! I have TSN2 but I know how pissed you are. They aren’t even replaying it, so if I miss it, that means I’ll have to download. Gawd. I should really send them and Sportsnet hate mail. I’m still mad at sh*t they pulled last time when they didn’t even broadcast the game.

  10. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    I was relatively calm all day (Not counting nightmares about this game last night) Now i’m a wreck.Just glad itll be over one way or another after today :(. Cold shakes FFS!

  11. soccermomof4
    March 8, 2011

    In, about 20 minutes, I have a 1 hour drive home ahead of me. Not sure how I’m going to make it. A football game shouldn’t be this important to anyone, I need my head examined —a veces, no estoy bien en la cabeza— ;-D

  12. March 8, 2011

    I am extremely surprised that Rosicky is playing. He’s a shell of his former self and has been in poor form this season.

    But Wenger seems to trust him.

    He’s just not very good.

    Pep is making his first adjustment playing Adriano on the left. I was expecting that as width and dynamism off the flank were missing last match and sorely needed.

    Good to see out of Pep.

      • Mila
        March 8, 2011

        Love this word 🙂

        REMUNATDA, REMUNTADA, REMUNATDA *chanting and dancing the victory dance*

        • Mila
          March 8, 2011

          All the nerves and dancing making me forget to spell check 🙂

  13. Eklavya
    March 8, 2011

    I don’t think I’ll make it alive to the LiveBlog.

  14. March 8, 2011

    Remember guys, no matter how much you want to and what shiznit goes on it the game:

    No swearing

    I’ll give you warning(s), titled as “Yellow Cards”, but keep it at a low please. I’ll be shaking like the rest of you, eyes glued to the screen, so I can’t be on you all the time. Self-moderation!

    • Eklavya
      March 8, 2011

      Good luck, Kari! I hosted the 2-2 vs Arsenal LiveBlog last season and after Puyol got a red and the penalty happened everything went crazy.

      • March 8, 2011

        Thanks! I’ll try my best. Because that’s always enough.

    • Diego
      March 8, 2011

      Don’t hand out any yellows in the first couple of minutes or it’ll go out of control and we end the blog with 10 men.

      • March 8, 2011

        Do I look English to you? If someone commits two yellow card offenses, it’s a “Welcome to Spain, b*tch” for them.

        😀

  15. jnelson
    March 8, 2011

    I’d feel so much better if we had Joe Cole in our squad. Ok ok, just playin. I’ve got on my treble jersey with el Cant del Barca in it and a pizza on the way. Gametime! Visca el Barca!

  16. Josep
    March 8, 2011

    I just hope if we concede a PK that Rosicky takes it.

  17. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 8, 2011

    I feel very ill…

    I seriously wanna throw up from nervousness… Oh, God, have mercy…

    Outeeeeerrr, where’s your 300 quotes?! I need it, now!!

  18. blitzen
    March 8, 2011

    Tw Jeffren: “It will be another time! We just continue. Go team!!!”

    Awww. I am really beginning to heart him.

    • Eklavya
      March 8, 2011

      On the other hand THIAGO or AFELLAY might be officially presented TO THE WORLD.

  19. Josep
    March 8, 2011

    I hope for the sake of humanity we win. And all my co-workers.

    5-1
    Messi (2), Villa, Adriano finally with a shot, and BOJAN
    Fabregas

  20. Diego
    March 8, 2011

    I hope Jeffren doesn’t get injured from sitting in the Stands.

  21. March 8, 2011

    Last thing to remember:

    Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

    I’ve heard that if you do not do this, you may die.

    • Eklavya
      March 8, 2011

      Seriously, I had a stomach after during the first 15 mins of the 1st leg because I wasn’t breathing…

  22. Eklavya
    March 8, 2011

    Tot Units Fem Força. Together we are strong.

  23. jnelson
    March 8, 2011

    Since Outer is missing, here’s a 300 quote:
    There will be no glory in your _defeat_. I will erase even the memory of _Arsenal_ from the histories!!!!

    • jnelson
      March 8, 2011

      Eh that one was weak. How about this one?:
      “_ARSENAL_ COWARDS!”

  24. Josep
    March 8, 2011

    We need to not only score first, but the first 2. At 2-0, we’re through on aggregate but if they score we’re still not out. 1-0 is a scary score because the next goal determines everything. 2-0 is a safety net.

  25. March 8, 2011

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    Sorry, just had to get that out. LiveBlog starts in a bit. Get cho’ links ready!

    • Whatever
      March 8, 2011

      Massimo Busacca. We’ve known for a few days.

    • Josep
      March 8, 2011

      same guy from last year’s 2-2. and the 08 final

      • Eklavya
        March 8, 2011

        He’s the best ref at the moment in the world!

        • Vj
          March 8, 2011

          Coz he’s Swiss?

          He’ll get to officiate in all the finals cause you know you’re not gonna make any 😛

  26. Eklavya
    March 8, 2011

    VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. March 8, 2011

    vicsoc is going to run the LiveBlog in the end. Still behave people! Now imma go eat some brownies. Adios.

    • vicsoc
      March 8, 2011

      You’re always welcome to come and help me double team the liveblog, it’s going to be one of those days.

      On that note, ninja skills successful! Let’s hope that bodes well.

      • March 8, 2011

        I’ll try and pop in, but I’ll be so glued to the screen, I might end up being useless

  28. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 8, 2011

    breathe in.breathe out.

    breathe in.breathe out.

    breathe in.breathe out.

  29. Josep
    March 8, 2011

    why have no one mentioned that kosc and djorou <<<< abidal and busquets

    they talk about our susceptible backline when theres is worse

    • March 8, 2011

      Djourou has played quite well, and Kosielny has improved boatloads. Of course, I’d still take Abidal-Busi over them, but they’re only bad if we can take advantage.

      • soccermomof4
        March 8, 2011

        I don’t have manita ingredients but I have everything to make sangria. Hubby and I are watching the game again tonight (I missed first 30 or so, he missed the whole first half) and we are so drinking!
        *hands Blitzen a virtual sangria even though she never made me a virtual manita*

  30. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 8, 2011

    I wont be calm unless we scored 3 goals… Can we??

  31. March 8, 2011

    ARGGGGSHSHSHSGSJSDGASIETASEKDADDGMDA!

    Euler got his Adriano wish. My brain is about to implode. See everyone later.

  32. majatt
    March 8, 2011

    Tot el camp, és un clam, (The entire field is a clamour,)
    som la gent blaugrana, (we are the blue and red people,)
    tant se val d’on venim, (no matter where we come from,)
    si del sud o del nord, (be it south or north,)
    ara estem d’acord, estem d’acord, (now we all agree, we all agree,)
    una bandera ens agermana. (a flag unites us in brotherhood.)
    Blaugrana al vent, (Blue and red with the wind,)
    un crit valent, (a brave cry,)
    tenim un nom, el sap tothom: (we have a name everyone knows:)
    Barça!, Barça!, Barça! (Barça!, Barça!, Barça!)

    Jugadors, seguidors, (Players, supporters,)
    tot units fem força. (all together we are strong.)
    Són molts anys plens d’afanys, (Many years full of zeal,)
    són molts gols que hem cridat, (many goals we have screamed,)
    i s’ha demostrat, s’ha demostrat, (and it’s proven, it’s proven,)
    que mai ningú no ens podrà tòrcer. (no one will ever beat us.)
    Blaugrana al vent, (Blue and red with the wind,)
    un crit valent, (a brave cry,)
    tenim un nom, el sap tothom: (we have a name everyone knows:)

    Barça!, Barça!, Barça! (Barça!, Barça!, Barça!)

  33. Jackieboy
    March 8, 2011

    can’t get on LB, but madre dios! what a goal!

  34. Chandler
    March 8, 2011

    Howdy yall, just me the Arsenal Fan again. You are playing well and if you win and we do not score in thelast 10 enjoy it. We played you very well. RVP should be on the field I want our best against yours and the red was a total joke. So no matter what happens you have porved;
    1. you can beat us when you have an extra man exp. CL final and maybe this eve)
    2. You can make us look a joke when you play our second string.
    3. Great game I am just bitter ( I want our best against yours) it will still be yalls probably but I’d like to see it.
    Congrats Barca we are out so………….. finish the fucking job and stand stand up JocaBonita. Win it our just beat the only other team that could stop HACKS from taking the CL home.

    • Chandler
      March 8, 2011

      The torch is yours wipe out ugly football. You deserve but damn I would like it to finish with the same # ofplayers as when it started. We (Arsenal-Barca) do not get that only 1 time have we finshed a game with 11 each and no future suspensions.
      Take it home, take it all.
      I will be on your side until the CL is done. It is not about Spain or England it is about the Game “Let us play it as we worthy to play it”

  35. mardia
    March 8, 2011

    I can’t even jump and down, I’m too drained from all the stress and tension of that match. Dear God.

    Most of the focus is going to be on the van Persie red card, but we shouldn’t ignore that we thoroughly outplayed Arsenal on that pitch.

    • jnelson
      March 8, 2011

      I hope people don’t forget Busi gave them a goal to go along with their 0 goals and 0 shots. They were absent the entire match until we took our foot off the gas after repeated fails at goal. Oh well, there’s also Messi’s disallowed goal from the first leg and two handballs. Add that to a no call for a penalty on Messi and I don’t see how arguing about the red card is even possible.

      • jnelson
        March 8, 2011

        *0 shots on goal, 0 goals (not including an own goal)

  36. Roz
    March 8, 2011

    That was tight people. Alumnia brilliant. Barca just a bit more brilliant. Quarters he we come!

    • Artur
      March 8, 2011

      WOW thanks! posted that on my friend’s FB profiles who are saying Arsenal were the better team, ya right lol!

  37. Chandler
    March 8, 2011

    Congrats! You deserve it and you Won. Barca played some sublime stuff and I have no problem with you winning you 11 were better than our 10. I mean look at the facts, whenever we have even players on the field we win or are winning examples (CL until Lehmann gone we win) (same tonight 1-1 we win) Your house Ade.

    OK ENOUGH OF THAT LIKE I SAID I AM BITTER.
    YOU WON YOU DESERVED IT. My god and the chant @Majatt that was awsome. Please Please finish the job.

    Congrats and Screw your selfs,
    Love Chandler

    • March 8, 2011

      0 shots and 0 shots on goal. We even had to score a goal for you.

      I think that’s why you lost.

      But to come here after such a painful defeat… I salute you. I’d have been even more bitter if I were you, Chandler. Respect.

    • March 8, 2011

      Cheers. Thanks for stopping by. Your team was terrific over both legs.

    • Vj
      March 8, 2011

      Your team can win the PL.. Its time your lot finishes the job instead of telling the whole world so..

      Again the numbers complaint! Are we whining that we had to play with an entirely makeshift defense for the nth number of time?

      Winners find a way, losers find excuses..

      • Chandler
        March 8, 2011

        Agreed, I just want it all there best against best. I respect your club, your football, “your way”. You won congrats, but makeshift. Come on you are great team with a complete great squad. I feel we are also and no complaints about who we had out there. Noe should you. It was a great phucking game period. The best team won. Your lot needs to go take of the CL. We’ll take our league and see ya again next year.

        Great Game I’d love to say go fuck yourself but well…..
        Go phuck yourself…. with love
        Chandler

  38. jnelson
    March 8, 2011

    I am so happy we are through, but that was AWFUL. That was the worst finishing I think I have ever seen. [Explitive], [Explitive], [Explitive]. We should have ripped them apart after RVP was sent off. Instead, we have to listen to moaning for the next year. Great. At least it’s better than losing like we almost did. Watching the game at about the 80th minute I was telling myself that we were going to throw the game away. Missing that many chances had to cost us. If it wasn’t for sMasch…This is supposed to be a great day!

  39. March 8, 2011

    I’m so drained. Right now, I’m literally shaking. That was the longest 4 minutes of my life. Holy moly mackerel Busi. WHAT A GOALAZO. The second goal was just amazing. This is why I support Barca.

    Honestly, I don’t care what anyone says. I agree van Persie shouldn’t have been booked for kicking the ball away, but that was his SECOND yellow and he only has himself to blame for the petulance of the first. If you have to many reffing desisions go your way (our first leg, Birmingham) karma will strike back.

    But who cares about that. REMUNTADA AND WHAT A REMUNTADAAAAAA!!!! Wouldn’t be us if we didn’t let that horrible last chance for Bendtner. Thank god for sMasch.

    And speaking of sMasch. What a game. Actually make that the entire team.

    Gosh, I’m not even speaking straight. I end with:

    I love you, Barca~! PARA SIEMPRE!

  40. March 8, 2011

    Arsenal pushed Barcelona very hard. Credit to them. They are a much better team than they were last season.

    The reputation they get pinned with in England for being soft or mentally weak is nonsense.

    It was a very strange game. But make no mistake about it. Barcelona dominated this match. They played Arsenal off the pitch the first half.

    Over and over Arsene Wegner and Arsenal talk about how they deserve to win games because they played better than the opposition. Even in games they lose they often say they “deserved” to win.

    Barcelona absolutely deserved to win this game.

    Many, many arsenal players could have been sent off in this match for Arsenal. And that was a function of how Arsenal decided to defend. They were unable to retain any meaningful possession and were forced to chase. And they tried to chase physically.

    And when you do that you are always at risk for going down players.

    • March 8, 2011

      Arsenal fans can be happy. Their team really did push us. Very dangerous on the counter–our defense made of DMs and LBs really did tell at times. Arsenal’s goal should have never happened.

      I was afraid we’d shoot ourselves in the foot again, but Mascherano, I’d go to Barcelona to kiss you for that last intervention. I was 10000000% wrong about you. What a match from you. We owe a huge part of our qualification to that last ditch tackle.

      And yes, we totally deserved to win this match. And we did, showing our character after an own goal by scoring that beau-tiful second.

      I’m really, and honestly shaking right now. WHAT A MATCH. This is what being a football fan and a cule means. Incredible. I’m never been on such an emotional roller coaster. Holy crap.

  41. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    Kos shouldve had 2 reds so who cares.

    We win baby.

  42. soccermomof4
    March 8, 2011

    1. Thank you Lord!

    2. Oh, are we in for complaints now! see point 3

    3. vP’s 2nd yellow was not deserved, on the other hand his foul for the card in the first half was Soooooooo stupid. Maybe it makes up for Messi not getting a PK in the first half.

    4. Poor Busi, I can’t blame him because he’s playing out of position.

    5. Tomorrow I can go back to liking Arsenal

    6. Hugs to all the cules

  43. Jose
    March 8, 2011

    WEEEEEE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN!!!!!! WE DESERVED TO WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNN!!!!!

    TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT EL CAMP!!!!
    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES UN CLAM!!!!

    • Eklavya
      March 8, 2011

      VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • March 8, 2011

      TOTS UNITS FEM FORCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! BARCAAAAAAA BARCAAAAA BARCAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

      I LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

  44. Jnice
    March 8, 2011

    K, I’m happy we won.

    But I’m kind of pissed of we played around like that instead of ending the game with the 4 goal.

    What in the world were we doing? It’s almost as if we wanted to throw the match.

    • jnelson
      March 8, 2011

      ^This totally sums up my opinion. Kinda blows

      • blitzen
        March 8, 2011

        Jeez guys, can’t you just be happy and celebrate for 5 freaking minutes? 2 years ago you would have been thrilled with how we played!

      • Chandler
        March 8, 2011

        Arsenal….. That is shit, you played very well, we lost. We are at least the best team you have played in your league. Hell id take your league any day. I am following yall (yall= your lot) and hoping you take it. Do not be flippant or a dick-head you won and deserved it, but last years CL at your house is not the norm. Enjoy it revel in it but do not be condesending.

        • Chandler
          March 8, 2011

          then again enjoy hell if we had won, I am sure I ……. I’ll leave it there

          good night God bless, I I toast the health of our teams and this wonderful way of life

  45. Artur
    March 8, 2011

    I would like to take this moment and thank Mascherano for being amazing throughout the whole match and stealing a crucial ball from behind off of Bendtner at the end.

    I sincerely hope to see more of Adriano and Mascherano

    • soccermomof4
      March 8, 2011

      That tackle where Mashe hurt himself, the one that saved the game for us, was worth ANYTHING we paid for him this summer.

  46. Jose
    March 8, 2011

    That being said, Arsenal is soooo much better than last year. Better team, better scoreline, same result.

    As for ref decisions: we should have been at least 2-2 coming into the Camp Nou. Arsenal has no right to complain about refereeing decisions when such a massive one went for them in the first leg.

    Maybe Wenger would have been better served preparing his team for this match instead of playing injured-not-injured mind games with Nasri (1st leg) and RVP (2nd leg).

    • jnelson
      March 8, 2011

      True, maybe even understated, but the English press doesn’t care. For a whole year we are going to be hearing about how Arsenal was robbed. …..I wish we could play them NBA Playoff style. Best of 7. Actually, I wish we could swap all our Liga games and play Champions League teams in Best of 5s and 7s. That would be cool.

      • March 8, 2011

        BritPress can kiss my Canadian arse. Where were they when we had a goal disallowed, when Song was supposed to be sent off, the non-call on Messi that should have been a penalty, Koscielny not being given a second yellow for the P!! penalty…

        Not to mention the fact Alumnia needed to make 10 saves (or more) to keep them in the game. Not to mention they had 0 shots and 0 shots on target. Not to mention if we finished our chances this scoreline would be in the double digits.

        Arsenal robbed? Hardly.

        • jnelson
          March 8, 2011

          HAHA and they can kiss my American arse. I wouldn’t care what they thought, but unfortunately there are so many innocent people duped into reading their columns and “headlines” and believing their mounds of slanderous filth. I feel the same about all the pour souls who go to Marca.

          • jnelson
            March 8, 2011

            and AS *you know, the art institute

          • Vj
            March 8, 2011

            So that’s why they’re named Arse-nal..

    • Chandler
      March 8, 2011

      Arsenal Fan; Agreed and where the phuck did that Liverpool stump-jumper learn to play. Masch was immense.
      As an Arsenal fan we have a player kinda of like Masch (great or dismal) or maybe you all love him and think he has it and I am wrong. I am really just mesmerized with his game today.

      No complaints if you have an “Arsenal Fan” yelling they were robbed, well that is not my ilk. You were very good (Go Figure) we played well and lost.

      Well Barca folks I have enjoyed it, and I am in no way OK with the result is sucks, it hurts, and it will be remembered. The result was deserved. Good night, take it home. I will not be trolling or bothering yall (do not know what a troll is minus the bridge ones) I just liked the thought and ideas of some of the posters pre-match and post, but I must return to my lot. I love them tons but pampers and tissue will be needed.
      Last post until yall finish the job.
      Fuck ya Love YA
      Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal

  47. March 8, 2011

    Kxevin and Isaiah have an INCREDIBLE match waiting for them.

    This is why football is the world’s sport. Incredible. Just incredible. I experienced unbelievable joy (Messi’s goal), crushing depression (OG), hope and joyous anger/passion (Xavi’s GOLAZO, AZO, AZO.) And finally, Messi’s penalty which he should have had

    This match should have been all over way way way way way way way way way way way sooner than it had. We need to finish our chances and Dani’s inheritance of Iniesta’ forcefield…but I just don’t give a damn right now.

    BARCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! *BEASTLY ROAR* This is why I’m a cule!

  48. Artur
    March 8, 2011

    Man of the match guys?

    Mine is Dani Alves … no words can describe his relentless forward runs and numerous steals off of Nasri! Really deserved a goal today.

    Team as a whole was amazing though!

  49. Humphrey Bogart
    March 8, 2011

    I am so over the moon. Regarding the red card: If the referee thinks he can hear Pedro whistle within the stadium, than RvP must hear too and then it is a yellow card for delibertly pushing the ball away. Anyway, in the first leg every decision was against us.

    And they had ZERO; NO; NJET; NADA; RIEN shoot on goal. So how can they think they would deserve to go through, that is beyound ridicolous.

  50. Goo
    March 8, 2011

    For people like me whose streams died just in time for the goals:

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTTSzT8-0bI
    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcK-MdF-jBk
    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JW9Nd-nvJI

  51. Jose
    March 8, 2011

    Apparently Wenger went ape-stircus in the tunnel. Wonder what happened there…

    • Vj
      March 8, 2011

      Wenger can only blame himself.. Playing Rosicky instead of Arshavin?

  52. Olufestus
    March 8, 2011

    I dont know what to write! HOLY CRAP

  53. jnelson
    March 8, 2011

    I think this says it all:

    Match Stats

    Barcelona Arsenal
    20(12) Shots (on Goal) 0(0)
    8 Fouls 19
    5 Corner Kicks 2
    8 Offsides 4
    76% Time of Possession 24%
    0 Yellow Cards 3
    0 Red Cards 1
    0 Saves 9

  54. March 8, 2011

    I’m so proud of our team. We’re on our worst form of the season, with a short squad, injuries, and suspensions. Mascherano and Adriano came through BIG TIME. Whenever I want to slander sMasch, I’ll always remember that last-ditch tackle on Bendtner and the injury as a result. TE AMO JEFECITO!! You are indeed a boss!

    • tutomate
      March 8, 2011

      They were both great today. Did you see sMach push Adrian out of the way when he was subbed?: He was like get off me you made me get injured.

    • soccermomof4
      March 8, 2011

      Barca DNA- itty bitty trophies between the base pairs, held there by stronger than normal hydrogen bonds

  55. tutomate
    March 8, 2011

    Such an awesome game. I’m so buzzed right now I can’t write too much but I saw the game at world sports cafe and it was awesome there was EE fan there it was so beautiful.

    • soccermomof4
      March 8, 2011

      was the EE fan rooting against us or against the EPL?

      • tutomate
        March 8, 2011

        Against us I was taunting him about the 5-0

  56. slynn71
    March 8, 2011

    I am still reeling over that match!! it was awesome!!!! Just awesome football!!!

  57. Josep
    March 8, 2011

    Amazing. Mascherano MOTM if not for his sturdy play but he saved it with that 1-on-1, great ball by Wilshere (who showed his punk attitude)
    Btw, prepare for the trolls.

    Points of contention.
    1. Diaby, foul. PK/FK on edge of the box.
    2. Koscielny right before that PK, if Messi goes down.
    3. RVP sent off was very harsh, but he doesn’t see that second yellow if he didn’t see the first. It was clearly for a number of dissent-related incidents. That didn’t effect the outcome though. He wasn’t tracking back, he was playing up top and not defending. Doesn’t affect us.
    4. How many PKs were we denied before finally getting one?
    5. Koscielny concedes a PK, but doesn’t get a yellow? If RVP doesn’t go off he should’ve and would’ve.
    6. Gooners before you complain think about what went against us. a) Messi’s goal wrongfully disallowed, b) AA handball c) Djorou handball on messi’s goal d) Messi PK.
    7. Arsenal had 0 shots. They didn’t deserve to advance at all. The worst part was we were one kick away from losing. luckily it was bendtner, I always pick on him. some gooners defend him. they won’t anymore.
    8. WE HAVE TO FINISH OFF MATCHES.
    9. idk what else to say guys. Masch wow. saved my season.
    10. JNICE GET THAT OCARINA OUT

    • Josep
      March 8, 2011

      Oh yeah and apparently the Arsenal players surrounded the ref in the tunnel post match.

    • jnelson
      March 8, 2011

      sMasch was great, but his long passing was just too off. Too many early drives were wasted by a way off pass (ditto for Adriano). Both were instrumental though, with sMasch’s tackling and Adriano’s runs and speed, but Dani was just HUGE. After a slow and off start, he was straight up Gangsta. MVP were all way too wasteful, despite Villa’s brilliant assists and Messi’s incisive runs. Iniesta and Xavi both had their moments. Abidal could very well be MOTM, too. How he isn’t in the top 4 DEFs in the world is beyond me. I think he is now our best.

  58. Diego
    March 8, 2011

    I’m trying to be happy but I can’t.

    We were too risky and wasteful which left me with a bitter taste at the end of the match rather than happiness.

    • soccermomof4
      March 8, 2011

      Diego be happy. We won despite not having CBs and not being in particularly good form this time of year. We outplayed them and they had ZERO shots. ZERO!

      • Diego
        March 8, 2011

        I’m of course happy we won.

        Just thinking about Alves’ ball and then Bendtner’s !!!

  59. Ryan
    March 8, 2011

    Messi now has 8 goals in the CL, joint lead and already matching his number from last year!

  60. March 8, 2011

    Barca played great.

    The squad’s lack of depth really concerns me.

    Winning 3-1 in the last 10 minutes of the match, Pep had no viable defensive players to add to the game after Keita was introduced.

    And even then – Keita was in the game forced to play out of position.

    Villa was horrible. And Pep didn’t really have another viable striker to turn to.

    It’s unfortunate. Barca are by far the best team in the world – but if they don’t win the treble their lack of depth will have been a major reason why

    • majatt
      March 8, 2011

      Valid point, Bojan needs to be better and if not he needs to be gone. Soriano would do better as a backup possibly. Affelay isn’t a bad option and when he is settled he will prob be a lot better.

  61. Kariyanna
    March 8, 2011

    WHAT A GAME!!!!! Arsenal really pushed us this Tie and hopefully we can move on stronger from this.

    Also will there be any Revista De La Liga tonight since 2day’s a UCL match day???

    • Vj
      March 8, 2011

      Still on course for Quadruple disappointment!

  62. Diego
    March 8, 2011

    This is how I feel about RvP’s Red Card.

    Abidal: “Van Persie red card decisive? Of course it had an influence but the players should stick to the rule too”

    He knew he was offside, He shot the ball hoping to waste time and thinking the ref won’t send him off for something simple as that.

    • March 8, 2011

      dont think that it was intentional. first of all there was 90,000+ screaming fans and they were insanely loud. plus it was 1-1 with Barca knocking on the door for another goal, they needed another goal. Also, there was literally one second in between the whistle and him kicking the ball. Kinda ridiculous call in my opinion and hard to say even if it was intentional it warranted a second yellow.

      • Kariyanna
        March 8, 2011

        I seriously doubt there was a 1 second margin in between the ref’s whistle and RVP shot. I swear I saw the Linesman Ref raised his flag as RVP touched the ball then the ref blew. In UEFA you always check the linesman’s flag since the rules are more stricter.

        Take the match against Kopenhagen for example. If that guy had check the flag before playing to the whistle he would’ve been on.

    • Roz
      March 8, 2011

      The time between the whistle and the kick was a second. I honestly he did not hear it. Guys we have every right to be ecstatic but we got some iffy calls in our favor.

      Nevertheless we did dominate. Thats a plus. We need to be less dependent on Messi or we will be in trouble.Visca Barca!

        • Humphrey Bogart
          March 8, 2011

          Yeah, but so did Arsenal in the first leg, when everything went against us.

  63. March 8, 2011

    I’m very happy to get through, but I hate for a game to be decided by flukes/weird calls/freak plays. I think Arsenal was planning on defending for 80 mins till we got tired and getting us on the counter, much like they almost did had Bendtner not had such a horrible touch. Yes, everyone is pointing to the 0 shots on goal by Arsenal but once Van Persie was wrongly carded for the second time, of course its going to be near impossible to get a shot off playing a man down with a back up goalkeeper. I just wish we could have beaten them the proper way, but football is never fair, and we should have been through to the CL finals last year if it weren’t for that stupid handball call on Yaya. So it goes. Sometimes the football gods smile, sometimes they don’t.

    We will never know what could have truly happened if they had not injured a goal keeper and went down a man, so there’s no point in recounting hypotheticals. All I want is for this team to start showing some continuity and prove in the next round and in Liga that we are truly the best team in the world. I hate that the press is going to bitch about all the wrong calls instead of the fact only one team came out to truly attack and play football – us.

    Let’s pray for Puyol to return soon and start showing the world our true class and talent!!! VAMOS

  64. Eklavya
    March 8, 2011

    Mascherano … sacrifices for the team!

    1st goals: freaking brillant! Oh man what football oh man I have a freaking headache god

    BUT the way we threw away chances….SHEESH man…

  65. March 8, 2011

    Arsenal may look like the only team in England that plays decent football, but what I saw today is a nasty nasty team that only has fouling and negative tactics in mind.

    4-0 still stand, thanks to the merciful Busquets

  66. K_legit
    March 8, 2011

    if we don’t finish off the chances we’re going to pay sooner or later..Imagine if Bendtner had scored *shudder*

  67. Vj
    March 8, 2011

    As if they did a lot when RvP was on the field..

    I love it when Gunners stick to BS in the face of reality..

  68. Nav
    March 8, 2011

    OMG I AM SO HAPPY

    GO BARCA

    F YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

    *passes out*

  69. soccermomof4
    March 8, 2011

    Sangria time, goodnight y’all!

  70. March 8, 2011

    Van Persie Red:

    I’ll say this again and again. The second yellow was undeserved IMO. I believe he didn’t hear the whistle over the whistling fans. But it was the SECOND yellow. He only has himself to blame for getting the first. If he hadn’t been so petulant he wouldn’t have got it. End of.

    Is the ref’s fault they couldn’t get out of their own half?
    Is it the ref’s fault they had 0 shots on goal? Is it the ref’s fault Wenger put in Rosicky and not Arshavin. If people want to cry “Chelsea” all over again, let them.

    They love their grapes sour in North London.

    I have no idea how they

    • K_legit
      March 8, 2011

      Preach sister!
      Plus I quoted you on a fb page if you don’t mind

    • barcapanda
      March 8, 2011

      I totally agree. The second yellow was a weird call, but he had been playing on the edge all night. I don’t think his attitude during the first yellow card helped, either. Strange (and yes, undeserved) as the call seemed, if RVP hadn’t set himself up for it, the whistle call would have basically been an irrelevant quirk in the game.

    • addi
      March 8, 2011

      Chelsea isn’t in North London if that’s what you are implying.

      I thought the 1st yellow was an example of extremely bad refereeing (my reasoning outlined in a comment somewhere below). Maybe I’m wrong, but your opinion strikes me as that of someone who hasn’t played a lot of competitive football. From someone who’s competed at one level or another since he was 8 yrs old let me assure you that 9 times out of 10, a good referee prevents the 1st yellow incident from even taking place.

      While making the ‘big money’ calls is arguably the skill of the referee, game management is the art of the referee. I thought the ref failed at both tonight. YMMV

      • March 8, 2011

        I have played competitive football, thank you very much, and if you have played as long as you’ve claimed, then you’d know better than anyone that is the time to keep your head and not do anything rash. Especially knowing the nature of the game (your RB was booked for throwing the ball away—all good teams adapt to the strictness of the refereeing).

        In any case, what was van Persie doing the last 55 minutes of the game, other than picking fights? Amassing 0 shots and not tracking back.

        Complaining about refereeing is the last thing Arsenal fan should do, because it implies that you’ve been hard done by the whole tie. Remind me what happened in the first leg?

        It seems that lots of fans are bitter and are focusing on the red because they have nothing else. Arsenal were well and truly outplayed.

        • addi
          March 8, 2011

          I thought it was pretty obvious that RVP had been instructed to stay up the pitch and attempt to provide an outlet.

          If you read Euler’s very good match preview you would have been reminded of how tirelessly he tracked and pressed from the front in the 1st leg. His play this evening was so wildly different from three weeks ago that I assumed AW had tasked him to play as a lone forward rather than the false-9 role he usually plays. Both our wide players tracked your fullbacks so deep that he simply couldn’t afford to drop deep as well, and if he did there would have been no-one there to exploit the space opened up by his movement anyway. It’s worth bearing in mind that last week he was still supposed to be out with a hamstring problem for a minimum of 3 weeks so it’s quite possible he was playing through injury too.

          Think of it this way, it is the Refs job to protect the players from reckless and dangerous challenges. Football’s a physical game and in high pressure environments emotions become frayed, the Ref has to know this and to manage the players on both sides to ensure matters don’t boil over.

          Imagine if after the confrontation around Jack, and the hands that he received to both his face and his throat, RVP had completely lost it. He could easily have ended up going in on Alves (or whoever it was) with a lunging studs-up challenge rather than a shoulder barge and possibly put the player in question in hospital.

          If this had happened, he would have been guilty of severe violent conduct and would have deserved both a red and a ban, but the referee ALSO would have been responsible for a potentially season ending injury because he had failed to manage the situation correctly.

          I’ve played under many good refs and many very, very poor ones. In my opinion this is the skill that separates the two.

          I’ve gotta say that I disagree very strongly with the idea that because Barca were the better team I have no right to an opinion on the standard of refereeing.

          • ooga aga
            March 9, 2011

            just want to say, RVP got the first yellow for palming alves’ face, some refs would even give a straight red for a hand to face like that…because it didnt entirely look like a mistake. he was in a rage and the ref gave a yellow to calm the f***er down. not saying he should have got a red but a yellow, made sense. and yup i grew up playing football since age 5. bye.

          • addi
            March 9, 2011

            I didn’t see the hand to the face the tv angle was bad (lol I sound like AW now huh?), I just saw him go in on Alves and the way he was charging around he definitely needed calming, I just thought the ref handled the whole situation so poorly.

            http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0gu58901ZRcHC/x610.jpg

            You’re right though… some refs would show a red card for a hand to the face.

          • Jim
            March 9, 2011

            Just gotta say that completely misses the point. You are responsible for your own conduct. Not the referee. It’s always a cheap shot to blame any referee for something a player does. End of.

  71. March 8, 2011

    Pedro needs to get back into form scoring goals.

    And Villa. What a disappointing game he played. He was very poor this game and it was a game that coming in everyone knew there was a good chance they would need 3 goals to ensure advancement.

  72. Nik
    March 8, 2011

    What a heart-attack of a match. I’m glad we won, but jeez. I don’t think my heart can stand much of those.

    Also, I don’t see how anyone can argue that van Persie didn’t deserve his first yellow. Second yellow was most definitely harsh and unwarranted, but he put himself in the position to get a harsh dismissal with a ridiculous and unwarranted push on Alves’ face.

  73. Roz
    March 8, 2011

    Arsenal did much better then EE. Got to give them that.

    • Jnice
      March 8, 2011

      Much better? They looked clueless to me. Defended better, but in terms of keeping possession and creating chances for themselves, they were as awful as we’ve seen in the Camp Nou.

      • March 8, 2011

        If we took our damned chances, you won’t be saying that Roz.

      • Noslehcimretep
        March 8, 2011

        at least EE managed some shots on goal. Or shots at all.

    • Kariyanna
      March 8, 2011

      Well in their general play I would say they did much better than EE in pushing us to our limits in both legs combine.

  74. K_legit
    March 8, 2011

    Adrianooooooooooooo
    he has totally won me over..great game from him..bt he did have that WTF moment when Wilshere dispossessed him and almost set up the anti-striker Bendtner

    • vicsoc
      March 8, 2011

      I asked this is the liveblog but…

      Has he finally settled in? Or is he just that much better on the left than on the right?

      Like it or not, this match was foreshadowing for Maxwell leaving the club this summer.

      • Vj
        March 8, 2011

        He really needs to cut down on mistakes if he’s to continue.. Looking at the current defender drought, we need every man we can get!

  75. March 8, 2011

    Oh, and welcome Kariyanna! We had an odd meeting before 😛 , but it’s nice to have you on BFB (you were innocent the whole time (I saw your email and you weren’t one of the two) and just got caught in the madness unfortunately).

    It’s always nice to have another female cule!

    • Vj
      March 8, 2011

      Good to know that all is well!!

      For posterity’s sake, what will happen to the other two?

    • Kariyanna
      March 8, 2011

      Oh,yes Kari welcome back!! Sorry for the misunderstandings earlier on! If it wasn’t for you replying to one of my comments on the Arsenal blog about the Toral situation I would’ve never found this site!

      Its a pleasure to see there are so many knowledgeable female cules here commenting so regularly! I learn so much by just reading all the comments here!!

  76. March 8, 2011

    Folks about the card – it’s true van Persie’s second card was strange.

    But this was the macro issue – Arsenal could not get the ball and they need to have to ball.

    They are not built to defend 75% of a match. They don’t sit deep and absorb pressure. They press. And they couldn’t defend effectively for that long.

    That’s why they had to play in such a risky fashion and so physically.

    The way the game was unfolding there was huge risk for them going down to 10 men the entire way.

    And van Persie’s sending off only prevented the ref from sending off other players.

    • March 8, 2011

      Egg-sactly. They can howl to the heavens about the second yellow, but they were outplayed completely THE WHOLE MATCH. That’s why the red is all they can focus on. Which is sad because they defended well and really pushed us. If they complain about the ref, the credibility and respect they earned with that defensive performance will be blown away IMO.

      • addi
        March 8, 2011

        I would disagree. While I acknowledge that FCB were the better side and deserved to win and progress based on their performance, I also thought the Ref was very poor throughout the game…

        Euler gives an accurate synopsis, and one which I would largely agree with. I posted my views (and congratulations) below and I think they are largely similar to his… if seen through red and white tinted glasses.

  77. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    They had zero shots.Zero.One busi goal doesnt mean they would get back in the game.W/E imjust buzzing we got a penalty in europe.Oh and qualifying was nice as well ;p

  78. Jnice
    March 8, 2011

    Kariyanna:

    Revista de La Liga 03-08-11

    NOTE: APPARENTLY THERE WILL BE A SECOND PART TO REVISTA TONIGHT WHICH WILL AIR AFTER THE POST MATCH OF BARCA V ARSENAL, I WILL ADD IT IF IT IS INDEED A SECOND PART…

    /http://hotfile.com/dl/109342401/09de3a0/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_08-03-11.avi.html

    /http://bitshare.com/files/b7tgo1cn/Revista-De-La-Liga—08-03-11.avi.html

    /http://www.filesonic.com/file/178952641/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_08-03-11.avi

    Credit to Pakman at fbtz.com

  79. Para
    March 8, 2011

    PEP IS MY FAY-VOU-RITE.

    (and then after that you guy).

    • Para
      March 8, 2011

      erm, guys, I mean. I may be a bit excited.

      (This is in relation to his comments on the Wenger re: the referee).

        • Para
          March 8, 2011

          According to barcastuff:
          Guardiola: “Wenger says referee killed game? In the first leg also a lot happened. Fact is we prevented them from giving 3 passes.”

          “I can understand Arsenal’s complaints. The rules are like that, but I understand it.

          “I can perfectly understand Wenger’s complaints. Frustrating red. If he after that wants to talk football, welcome.”

          Not sure what order they were originally in, but…

  80. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    And the red card had nothing to do with us so i wont care one jot.If it was like when Busi got Motta sent off OK, but van Persie’s stupidity on a yellow has nothing to do with Futbol Club Barcelona.

  81. Pyro
    March 8, 2011

    I really hope Masche is okay. The man is going NOWHERE

  82. March 8, 2011

    Also – Rosell is absolutely crazy if he doesn’t sign Dani Alves. Just plain raving dumb.

    His impact on games is ridiculous.

    For example, part of why Wenger didn’t start Arshavin was because of his concern with how Arshavin would defend Dani.

    He was a demon all game. Unplayable.

    • March 8, 2011

      He’s already crazy, Euler. And a right bastard too boot. 🙁

      That being said, I agree YAYA%

    • jordi™
      March 8, 2011

      So true, but we’ve been saying that for ages.If Dani’s final ball was a little more consistent, or he shot when through at goal occasionally, he would be even more unplayable, if that is even possible.

  83. Pyro
    March 8, 2011

    I really hope Masche is okay. The man is going NOWHERE this summer. He gave his everything for the team today. Adriano played really well until that mess up at the end, but I’ll give him some slack because he ran all game long. Ibi did well in the time he was on. Villa should have done better. Busquets, I hate it when you head the ball. If you have to clear it with your head at least head it the way it came not turn your neck. We switched goals at halftime buddy.

  84. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    Oh and el Jefecito is truly a General.Injuring himself so we dont crash out? Amazing.

  85. Diego
    March 8, 2011

    The way RvP shot the ball shows that he already heard the whistle, I don’t think he’ll be that careless with a 1v1 with them already on level which means one more goal we’ll have to score 4.

  86. Jnice
    March 8, 2011

    Guardiola: “Wenger m’ha dit que felicités a l’àrbitre.” via @LaTdP

    Guardiola: “Wenger told me to thank the referee.

    Classy.

    • K_legit
      March 8, 2011

      Pep would not reply..he’s too classy..I on other hand would have told Wenger to Suck It..DX style..

    • Chandler
      March 8, 2011

      That is Pep sprouting Shite if true. Arsene said thank the officials RVP was not on the field”:…… and think about you won an credit but Masch saved your ass. Deserved or not Bent scores we go on away goals, DONT BE A DICK.

      • Chandler
        March 8, 2011

        I do not think Pep said that or out of context. Wenger said thank the refs RVP is off. RVP has better GPG than anyone in the game this yaer so…..Fair I think…………………….NEVER HE SAY THANK REFS FOR GAME, READ HIS INTERVIEW

      • Jim
        March 9, 2011

        0 shots at goal and you’re still mouthing off?

    • mardia
      March 8, 2011

      If Wenger really said that, then I’ve just lost a ton of respect for him. UGH.

      (Not doubting it if Pep said he said it, but I want to be sure that Pep actually DID report that.)

  87. Nav
    March 8, 2011

    Hahahaha, even the Arsenal coach is a crybaby.

  88. March 8, 2011

    Guardiola: “Wenger says referee killed game? In the first leg also a lot happened. Fact is we prevented them from giving 3 passes.”

    Guardiola: “I can perfectly understand Wenger’s complaints. Frustrating red. If he after that wants to talk football, welcome.”

    Guardiola: “If you can prevent a great team like Arsenal from shooting on goal, it shows we played a great game.”

    From barcastuff.

    Some good points there

  89. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    Van Persie “He’s(the referee) been bad all evening, whistling against us. I don’t know why he’s here tonight”

    Oh the shock!Imagine that, He whistled against Arsenal players for infringing the laws of the game!Scandal!

    • addi
      March 8, 2011

      I think RVP’s point, or at least his feeling, is that the referee’s interpretation of the laws of the game was not always the same, and not always the same for both teams.

      • blitzen
        March 8, 2011

        Addi, do you truly, seriously think the game would have ended differently if RVP had not been sent off? I suspect the answer is no. Every single team in the history of football has had calls go against them, including Barcelona. True champions rise above it.

        • addi
          March 8, 2011

          Do I think it COULD have ended differently? definitely.

          The quote was RVP talking about how he felt the ref officiated the whole game, which I can understand, and to some extent I mirror his feelings.

          That, doesn’t mean I thought we wee the better team. I posted my views on that a little further down.

  90. Kariyanna
    March 8, 2011

    Lol I love Abidal!! He said he would love to face Lyon, meaning at the expense of Madrid..lolz!!!

  91. jordi™
    March 8, 2011

    Messi’s finish! Seriously it deserves its own post!

    • March 8, 2011

      I know. I was going to post Xavi’s golazo but I still can’t embed 🙁 🙁 It would be in link form and that doesn’t do any of our goals justice…

  92. Kariyanna
    March 8, 2011

    LOlz I am honestly waiting for Mourhino’s comment on how we get to play on Sunday this weekend while they have to play Atl. Madrid on Saturday the same week they play Lyon on Wednesday prior.

    • March 8, 2011

      Non issue, Kariyanna. (How about I be Kari and you be Anna? 😀 Jk, jk) Pathetico always roll down for them. Home and away. They could field their second string and still win. I’m not kidding. As long as Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Marcelo and Di(ve) Maria play…

  93. Pyro
    March 8, 2011

    LOL MouMou is bound to say that. AHHH I’m so glad that is over. CL matches make me so damn tense that is why they are so good. Ah

  94. March 8, 2011

    Almunia (Arsenal): “We have to admit it’s fair that Barça qualifies.”

    via barcastuff

  95. Vj
    March 8, 2011

    After blowing their own trumpet that they ‘beat’ us at our own game last time, I wonder what they feel about today’s performance.. I hope they think in the back of their mind that they could’ve played like in the 1st leg instead of parking the bus..

  96. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 8, 2011

    c’mon, guys… CHEER UP!!! (for cules who still feel not-really-happy)

    we’re not on our top form, we lost BOTH Puyol – Pique, we also LOST in the 1st leg against one of the best team in the world…

    but we made it through to the quarter final!!
    this is a massive result… let’s celebrate it!!
    yeaaaayyyy…!!

    Jugadors, seguidors, tots units fem força!!!
    Players, supporters, together we are strong!!!

    VISCA BARCELONA!!!

    • barca96
      March 8, 2011

      Still not off to work?!
      I need to get ready asap!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        March 8, 2011

        I am at work now… LOL…

        cause I work in front of computer, so I can spend some times here… 😛

  97. addi
    March 8, 2011

    Well, Congrats FCB.

    You were the better team, almost unplayable in the first half, and deserve to progress.

    It’s a shame about the referee, I thought he was extremely poor (which is really not what I wanted to have to say after the game). Not just the sending off mind, Diaby’s foul on the edge of the box on Messi (not given), the trip on Pedro inside the box (he doesn’t go down but it should still have been a pen IMO) to name but a few BIG decisions he got wrong.

    I didn’t like the way we defended, the preview post on this site gave a great analysis of what we did well 3 weeks ago, but tonight we seemed determined to attack the ball rather than maintain the defensive shape that served us so well at the Grove.

    We were physical and perhaps a little clumsy in the first half in the challenge but again I thought the poor Ref influenced the game through not affording us the same protection he gave to your players. Nasri in particular was muscled off the ball and onto the floor numerous times but on his first infringement he was straight in the book. It may seem like sour grapes, but a lot of those yellow cards picked up in the 1st half would not (or at least should not IMHO) be given in the EPL.

    RVPs 1st yellow, exemplified the referees poor game management. It is his job to make sure that tempers don’t boil over and he failed miserably to manage the incident when Jack was on the floor, leading to RVP to lose his temper, leading to an FCB player to grab him by the throat, leading to RVP becoming even more angry (understandably I might add) and eventually culminating in his barge after play had progressed. If the Ref manages the original situation properly he prevents the frayed tempers that lead to reprisals. This is, IMO the most fundamental difference between a good ref and a poor one.

    I know a lot will be made of the fact that we had 0 shots at goal, but bear in mind, we didn’t have to score to progress, at least not for all but 1min of the 1st half. In the 2nd we needed to get something and we did (they all count after all) before the ref decided to take us out of the game completely.

    I said in a comment in one of your other threads earlier today that I thought this Barca side are the best in the World, and I still do. You outplayed us, but it is very disappointing to go out of the competition in such a manner… still it was nice to hear the Barca fans start signing when you were 3 – 1 up ;).

    Enjoy your victory, and although I know a number of you are self-declared Arsenal haters (I’m sorry that does make me giggle), do this Gooner a favour and win the tournament now. If you let the Chavs or the Mancs take it I’ll never forgive ya.

    • mardia
      March 8, 2011

      Thanks for the gracious comment, addi. I don’t think anyone can argue that the refereeing in this game wasn’t questionable at BEST. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the red card get pulled out.

      And as a Liverpool fan, I sincerely hope you guys win the EPL. *wink*

      • addi
        March 8, 2011

        I think the fact that the memory of Sunday can bring a smile to my face even after tonight means that you did pretty good 🙂

        If Utd take the league this year… I seriously don’t know what I’ll do. It doesn’t even bear thinking about.

        • mardia
          March 8, 2011

          Honestly, if Arsenal can take heart from ANYTHING, it’s the game that Liverpool played on Sunday, because it proves that United’s midfield is basically…well, good grief, look at the scoreline. I won’t lie, we got some help from the fact that Ferdinand and Vidic were out, but if Arsenal can get themselves together, there is no reason they can’t get a result against the Mancs.

          Seriously. Please. BEAT THEM.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 8, 2011

      Addi, you’re a class gooner! Thanks a lot! 🙂

      but I have to remind you again, the referee at Emirates stadium wasn’t better either…
      disallowed onside goal and two handball-penalties not given…

      so yes, the referee for both legs made mistakes…
      and both teams get the ‘advantage’ from their mistakes… both teams…

      “do this Gooner a favour and win the tournament now. If you let the Chavs or the Mancs take it I’ll never forgive ya.”

      We hope so, Addi… we hope so… 😉

    • tutomate
      March 8, 2011

      Thanks mate. I don’t agree with you but I respect your classy post.

    • March 8, 2011

      I didn’t like the way we defended,

      Addi-

      Thanks for the comments. It was an odd match.

      I agree with your comment. I was surprised to see Arsenal change what they were doing.

      But I do think the method of pressing Arsenal used became thwarted by how fast and precisely barca circulated the ball across the pitch.

      Arsenal got caught in a kind of downward spiral. The ball moved to fast so you couldn’t close down the receiver the pass fast enough. That forced you to start trying to chase the ball and it went downhill from there.

      I also though Barca was more direct and made more direct movements with the ball to force Arsenal to make fast, difficult decisions.

      The other aspect to this was that Barca’s own pressing was much more energetic and more dyanmic. That allowed them to win the ball back very fast.

      I was surprised by how much of the ball Barca was able to retain. And it wasn’t just meandering possession like they had in leg one. It was directed and specific.

      The first half was the best they’ve played since the 5-0 Clasico win. They didn’t finish well – which is a testament to Arsenal’s defending – but I thought they played very well.

      By the way – the constant criticism that Arsenal needs better center backs and a goal keeper is really silly. Koscielny is quite good as is Djourou. If Arsenal could get a truly elite, world class CB sure they would benefit. Who wouldn’t. But those two are good back there.

      • addi
        March 8, 2011

        Absolutely no arguments from me here mate, it’s quite possible that the attempts to play the man on the ball arose purely out of desperation rather than any formal design, likely even.

        I thought the other massive difference in your game tonight was the attacking thrust provided by BOTH fullbacks, Adriano’s inclusion gave you attacking width down both flanks that served to pen both our wide players back extremely deep, often level with the back four.

        This forced us to try and play our way out of defence through the middle, the most congested area of the pitch, and the area in which you were of course ridiculously strong.

        Kos has had something of a baptism of fire this season, and took a lot of criticism (a couple of guys who sit near me at the Grove spent a solid month of home games around Sep/Nov hurling abuse at him and AW for signing him) but I thought he came through it brilliantly and has at least proved that he has the potential to be a very good CB. JD’s return from long-term injury also has exceeded all my expectations.

        I’m proud of them both even though they didn’t quite have enough on the night.

    • soccermomof4
      March 8, 2011

      Thanks Addi, You were a gracious and polite 🙂 visitor! I’m happy that Barca went through, I’m also happy that now I can go back to being an Arsenal fan and there will be no further conflicts of interest in my footy brain for at least a year. I like Arsenal, but Wenger… I hope we meet much later in the CL next year.

      • addi
        March 8, 2011

        Upgraded to ‘visitor’ am I? does this mean I can come out from under my bridge? 😉

        I hope you’ll forgive me if I say I sincerely hope that we don’t meet at all in next years CL, and instead you get knocked out by Bratislava Bolockstan and we go on to a quadruple winning season (retaining both the EPL and the FA Cup after winning them this season of course) 😛

        Ruh-roh, I think I’m back under the bridge again aren’t I 🙁

        • soccermomof4
          March 8, 2011

          We should write a fable- The Three Cule Goats Gruff !

          Just don’t wish upon us Rubin Kazan and the prayer bead coach. Those beads do us in (most times).

          Now go win the league and FA cup. I’ll be cheering for those along side(figuratively) you!

          • Noslehcimretep
            March 9, 2011

            Rubin Kazan really are our bogey team aren’t they.

            Last four results:
            2-0 (W), 1-1 (D), 0-0 (D), 1-2 (L)
            4 goals scored, 3 conceded.

            Compare that to our last four against EE:
            5-0 (W), 0-2 (W), 1-0 (W), 2-6 (W)
            14 goals scored, 2 conceded.

            and yes, that was incredibly satisfying to type.

    • justsayin
      March 8, 2011

      I too, appreciate your graciousness. You have a great team and should be proud, they played a well fought first leg. However, they didn’t seem to come and play this time out, instead taking a very defensive stance looking for the tie and extra time. Then, they either decided they would get us off the ball by sliding tackling (fouling) or they became so frustrated they resorted to dirty futbol. I think between all the fouls committed against Barca, the arguing with the Ref and a few time killing ploys the referee was exasperated by the time RvP received his 2nd yellow.

      • addi
        March 8, 2011

        That’s very possible too.

        At points the Barca players clearly thought we were trying to waste time and run the clock down, I’m more inclined to give the lads the benefit of the doubt (but then I would be wouldn’t I? lol) but it’s quite possible the Ref saw it as mounting gamesmanship from AFC.

        I think our building frustration was obvious but this ties into why I thought the ref was so poor. He should have realised that we were getting frustrated and should have taken steps to calm the atmosphere. It is his job to protect the players after all and when a team gets tired and frustrated and feel that they are playing against the opponents as well as the referee (as RVP clearly did by his post-match comments), they start to make reckless and dangerous challenges, and this is how career threatening injuries can occur.

        Thankfully nothing of the sort happened tonight but I’ve seen it and experienced it first-hand enough to recognise the warning signs, and I had hoped that any ref experienced enough to have earned his FIFA Badge would too.

        • justsayin
          March 8, 2011

          You’re absolutely right that the refs job is to protect the players from career ending fouls. The problem with many referees is that they don’t pull the yellow cards out early enough in the game to set the tone. This gives some teams the ok to play recklessly and in turn causes players to take matters into their own hands. It just gets ugly, like it did tonight.

          But if you want to fault the ref for not following the rules, I would point to the foul committed against Pedro by Koscielny. How is a penalty awarded and yet Koscielny doesn’t receive a yellow? Probably because he already had a yellow, forcing a red and having Arsenal play with 9, which the ref didn’t want to do … even though it would have been the right move.

          • addi
            March 9, 2011

            So we both think that the ref was extremely poor then? 😉

            In my post above I gave a couple of examples of penalties that should have been awarded to FCB which the ref got completely wrong. Diaby’s challenge on Messi could maybe be seen as just outside but how the ref failed to award a foul when he was right there (about 5 yards away) I have no idea.

            As it happens, I think the lack of red for Kos was probably one of the ref’s few good decisions. The Laws of the game state that a ‘clear goalscoring opportunity’ has to be denied in order for a red card to be awarded and in that case pedro’s touch was heavy and away from the goal-mouth (toward the bye-line). You’d have to say it would be very harsh to award a yellow for Kos’ lunge, it was a poor attempt but he undoubtedly tried to play the ball and the foul wasn’t dangerous or professional.

            If Pedro’s touch had been towards goal the foul would have been a straight red card, no need for a second yellow but in this (single) instance I think the ref got it right.

  98. blitzen
    March 8, 2011

    AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH WEEEEEEE WONNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

    *phew*

    Sorry, I just got home from my looooong commute, I left work with 15 minutes to play so I just now found out the final score!

    Will read all the comments and post more later, but I just had to pop in and share the joy! 😀 😀 😀

    OK, off to drink some beer, eat some food and then find a good download.

    Visca Barca, and I love you all!

    • blitzen
      March 8, 2011

      Oh, I forgot to add: ZERO SHOTS ON GOAL say what?!? That’s a disgrace! Even poor old Busi had to help them out and score one.

      Wah!

      • outerspacedout
        March 8, 2011

        Zero shots period. Which is astonishing. Not even a single shot OFF target.

  99. barca96
    March 8, 2011

    Not a threat at all.
    I was really surprised..

    It really should’ve been more than 5 goals if they didn’t try to be so cute 😆

    Arsenal can complain all they want but it wouldn’t have mattered if RVP wasnt sent off. He was the highest up the pitch. Its not like he would made any difference to our attack as he doesnt defend

  100. Barka
    March 8, 2011

    Both Messi and Xavi goals are works of art. And Mascherano, you are the hero tonight dude. That tackle is wroth 24 million alone. Wow.

    • barca96
      March 8, 2011

      He sacrificed for the team…
      If he didn’t then I would’ve taken a flight to Barcelona to kick the shit out of Alves for fooling around, twice in the box after being magical outside the box.

  101. barca96
    March 8, 2011

    Where is everyone?
    Why aren’t you guys online?
    I thought it’s evening in US..

    • Barka
      March 8, 2011

      It’s 7 PM here in Toronto.. I skipped class only to miss most of the 2nd half.Uggh. The last 15 minutes I watched was so nerve racking though. We reaaally need to put away those 1-on-1s in the future. We won’t have as many chances against defensive masters like Chelsea or Inter(if they qualify).

    • Jnice
      March 8, 2011

      I’m eating lol. Haven’t eaten all day due to nerves.

    • March 8, 2011

      I’m also eating and eyerolling over comments. Arsenal fans are acting as if red card changed the game. But it did you say? How? Where was van Persie, up against a cb pairing of a defensive midfield and a left back that never play together, the other 55 minutes off the game? Oh.

      How fans of a team who had 0 shots even when their CF was on the pitch and claim it changed the game is beyond me. They were screwed by an incompetent ref? The same one who ref the 2-2 last season and sent Puyol off while giving them a penalty. And what about the one in the first leg this year? Oh.

      I’m just going to enjoy our win. They can keep crying and eating their sour grapes.

      I’m enjoyinh our win

    • blitzen
      March 8, 2011

      I’m having a beer and waiting for my stomach to settle before cooking dinner. And downloading the match because I haven’t seen it yet!

      • soccermomof4
        March 8, 2011

        a beer to settle your stomach?

  102. March 8, 2011

    Mascherano was enormous this match. Thank goodness they were able to sign him.

    The thought of Oriol Romeu needing to fill in at DM, even if he were not hurt, would not have instilled confidence. Don’t think an 18 year old is making that tackle.

    And being forced to play Milito would not have been pretty.

    The club has cut it so close on depth.

    But they survived with 3/4 of their backline playing out of position, including a center back pairing that never plays together. And they did it against a team known for their attack.

    This is a truly special collection of players being led by one of the great managers in recent history.

  103. March 8, 2011

    Also – that tackle by Mash is a good example of the kind of skill set he has that would make him very interesting to try at CB. I’ve wanted Masch to be tried at CB all season. I think it would be his best position in the Barca system.

    In some ways Masch has many of the qualities you’d want as a player to fill in for Puyol. And those are qualities that La Masia products don’t often have.

    • barca96
      March 8, 2011

      And he has a good timing as well with his tackles.
      It is so easy to make a mistake with the kind of tackles that he does if he doesnt get the timing right.
      Pep should convert him into a CB.
      Im sorry to say but no Busi in midfield do hurt us.

      ps. Apologies for not getting you sarcasm.
      Didn’t expect you to kid around 😆
      You always seem so serious.

      Where is Luke?
      We just won and he still hasn’t reported in.

        • Noslehcimretep
          March 9, 2011

          I was reading some older posts and that occurred to me too, I miss his Bale gravatar…

    • c0rrine
      March 8, 2011

      masch played rightback for liverpool once and did a very steady job… really wish he was in defense instead of busi

  104. March 8, 2011

    If ever a tackle can be worth 25 million euros, that 86th minute one from Mascherano was it. Phew. I had a funny feeling when we horsing around and missing easy chances that Arsenal would get one last chance. I think everyone had that feeling. It would’ve been so cruel to go out that way.

    Anyway, happy now. Credit to Arsenal for a great tie — really challenged us and stretched us. Hope we have an easier tie next round!

  105. Lev
    March 8, 2011

    I’m gonna post my thoughts on the game in a sec, for now I just wanna say

    “You’ve got Fabregas, we’ve got shots on goal”

    which, btw, Kxevin, would be my AKA for the match 😉

    • Vj
      March 8, 2011

      You’ve got Fabregas? He’s not even ours yet and he’s assisting us already!!

      • barca96
        March 8, 2011

        I dunno but he couldnt handle the pressure playing in the stadium I guess. He didnt even bother to play.
        He did “a Henry” at the Emirates.

          • addi
            March 9, 2011

            He should never have played. He was injured, never got back to full fitness in time and tweaked his hamstring again early in the 1st half. He ended up playing through injury for more than an hr.

  106. March 8, 2011

    Pep has a problem now because how does he not start Mascherano from now on, after a game like that. He was everywhere, breaking up play, harassing, reading attacks, making last ditch tackles. All that without picking up a yellow. Simply outstanding.

    The whole team were outstanding today tbh. We played an incredible match, I know we were a little wastefull and we probably should have scored about 6 goals, but the way we dominated this game was remarkable. Every second of it, every inch of it, it was all ours. The way the players work so hard for each other is an example for every other team in the world. Everyone is working, everyone is closing, everyone is running. Villa may have not had the best night attacking wise, but he worked his ass off and Pedro! was like a crazy little devil. Arsenal must hate him more than anyone because everytime they got the ball in their end of the pitch he was there, kicking at their heels. Just incredible. Pep must be so proud as a coach to see how hard his players work for him.

    • March 8, 2011

      Very good point about Masch not even picking up a card.

      If there was ever a match in which a DM could pick up a card today was it given how cramped space was on the pitch.

      It’s true that Barca simply dominated the ball so didn’t need to defend that often but Masch was everywhere and played in complete control.

      Pedro was also amazing.

      If there’s any player in the world similar to Dani Alves it’s Pedro.

      Dani and Pedro have a similar style of play and almost play the same position in many ways.

      Though fortunately with P! no one needs to tell him or teach him how to shoot!

  107. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 8, 2011

    this is my chant of the day :

    You’ve got Cesc Fabregas – but he assisted us! 😀

  108. Para
    March 8, 2011

    I know he played for EE, but has anyone watched that film about Zidane? It’s available on BBC iplayer and I’m debating whether or not I should watch it or not bother.

    • blitzen
      March 8, 2011

      I haven’t seen, but I would definitely watch it. Zidane is one of the best players ever, even if he did play for RM. Love him.

      • Noslehcimretep
        March 9, 2011

        It is fantastic, as long as you know what to expect. It’s actually the first DVD I’ve ever purchased without having seen the film first, and I’m quite happy with it.
        Just don’t expect much in the way of dialog, the sum total is him telling the ref he should be ashamed of himself at one point, and then sharing a (mostly unheard) joke with [Grande] Ronaldo. Oh and calling for the ball about 50 times.

  109. blitzen
    March 8, 2011

    For your enjoyment and edification, here is a choice tidbit from the FourFourTwo LiveBlog. Their commentator (not Tim Stannard) had a slightly different view of Mascherano’s performance:

    It’s quite funny to see exactly how far from being on the same wavelength as his teammates Javier Mascherano is. I know all that fancy ‘passing’ stuff isn’t really his bag, but still…

    😛

    • barca96
      March 8, 2011

      To early to tell.
      If they played like they did today then yes
      but we always have trouble in the away matches.

  110. Josep
    March 8, 2011

    The game got pretty physical today. There were lots of arm shrugs and hard tackles, and Barca didn’t back down.

    I don’t know how Pep doesn’t start Adriano from now on. Maxwell is a late defensive sub. Mascherano was so massive, but still Busquets is our DM. Ah hopefully, Sevilla don’t ruin the parade.

  111. mei
    March 8, 2011

    What really bugs me is that some people have the nerve to talk about the referees and then some even if their play was sub par to say the least.
    I mean , try and take the time to think before you type.
    This was a two legged affair.
    Take into account the dubious calls we got against us in the first match , add to that the dubious calls we again got against us in this match , versus a play that the referee acted on ,in fact, by the book.
    Because , lets be clear on this one , you are not allowed to finish off a chance if the referee blows his whistle.
    You are not allowed to touch, kick away or try to shoot the ball on target after an offside call is made , PERIOD.
    Maybe he didnt hear it because of the shouting cules.
    But taking into account that this is the side that has been wasting time all night , and that this particular player was playing on the edge since the half hour mark, you are not gonna get the benefit of the doubt.
    Was the referee strict on this particular decision?
    Sure. But this was not an isolated incident .

  112. barca96
    March 8, 2011

    Euler, can you please make a post on how we beat Arsenal even though it was clogged in the middle.
    Or should I wait for the zonalmarking?
    I mean, if you have the time, you should do it.
    I would love to read your version.

    • March 8, 2011

      I will try my best to get up a review this week. It’s was a very interesting two matches tactically.

      If you didn’t see it, I did a fairly detailed tactical preview of the match earlier today. It was the post before this current one. A number of the issues that evolved in today’s match are analyzed in that post. It’s a good place to start.

      • barca96
        March 8, 2011

        Im sorry. I didn’t read it.
        It was posted when I was asleep and when I woke up I straight went to watch the match and now Im in this post.
        Will read it in the weekend.

  113. Lev
    March 8, 2011

    WE WON!!!!

    God I am so happy and I was so convinced Arsenal were going to score after us missing chance upon chance upon chance to put in no. 4

    This game was a lot tighter than it should have been, especially after RvP send off…

    A few quick points:
    Very harsh red card. I would have been furious had one of our players gotten sent off like that. Did the ref apply the rules of the game? Yes. Even though, what a shame.
    RvP is a twat – it is not the first time he gets a yellow for playing after the whistle.
    Having said that, as others have already pointed out, Barça had most of the big calls go against them in London. Even today Messi was denied a penalty.

    Arsenal was terrible. To know that they can kill us with away goals and not even manage a single shot over 90 minutes. Yikes. They embarrassed themselves.

    The first 30 minutes of the game they could not string together more than 3 passes, needed 3 yellow cards to hold us off, hardly crossed the half way line and did not have a single shot.

    And THEN they started playing worse.

    Idk how people can say that they had a good game. Euler, I don’t know how you can say that they played well and respecting your knowledge of the game I would be curious to finding out why.

    Btw I read all the comments on this thread and nobody said anything about the utterly awesome beauty of Messi’s goal – both Don Andres’ chip pass and his control in chipping it over Almunia and then put it in the net. Amazing.

    Speaking of which, it was good to see Iniesta have a good match for us – he has been off form for some time now. Xavi was also great. Dani Alves…pay the man already. Adriano has taken Maxwell’s place in the pecking order. And Masch…let’s just say that I really hope Pep figures out what do with him because I want him to retire a culé!

    Wilshere was good also. And EE is probably thinking about buying Almunia just to play him against us during the clasicos.

    • Josep
      March 8, 2011

      I think because 1. messi’s goal was so long ago 2. messi gonna mess

      Agreed Alves needs to be fucking paid. where would he be without those xavi passes though?

      • March 8, 2011

        Lev-

        My comments about Arsenal playing well were more in aggregate over both legs.

        Today – honestly I don’t even know if you can say they played badly because this was much more about Barca playing at a level that few, if any, teams in history could play at.

        I said this in the live blog and in my first comment in this thread. Barca simply played Arsenal off the pitch the first half.

        But that was more about how good Barca was than Arsenal being bad. This was the best Barca has played since El Clasico. It was nearly that level of brilliance.

        And Barca was brilliant both in attack and in defense. What really impressed me the first half was how dynamic and crushing the barca press was.

        Rinus Michels described pressing as the “hunt.” It was something done by the pack. Today we saw a perfect example of that. It relentless and vicious.

        Great teams possess the ball and control space when they don’t have the ball.

        Barca did both brilliantly. I don’t think there was a team in the world that could have played with them today.

        The only equalizer was Barca’s poor finishing and the repeated physical play Arsenal was forced to resort to just to keep up.

        Barca was dazzling.

        • Chandler
          March 8, 2011

          Arsenal….. Exactly it was a wonder. Two great teams out of their skin. I hate when some Barca fans keep saying “lucky it was not 6 ” Crap crap crap. It was a true pleasure to watch.
          AWsome awsome EPIC Match.
          Thisone will be viewed long after our bones go home.

    • mei
      March 8, 2011

      Its not clear if thats a smile or if he is just cringing his teeth because of his silly backheel.

    • Para
      March 8, 2011

      That link isn’t working for me, but I’ve seen replays and on the replays (though they are grainy), it looks like he’s grimacing more than grinning.

    • Kariyanna
      March 8, 2011

      Says 403 Forbidden when I click on it.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 8, 2011

      the link isnt working? sorry, it’s working in my computer…

      I haven’t seen the video, but people said Cesc was smiling (or cringing his teeth?) after Messi’s penalty…

      but it really looked like a smile in that pic, maybe Messi was just too cute, Idk…

      • barca96
        March 8, 2011

        Saw that pic too.
        It could be a smile or him grinning his teeth.
        Looked more like the latter as his eyes didn’t give an indication that he was smiling.

  114. mei
    March 8, 2011

    Also a funny fact , is that our best attacker on the field against arsenal , was the worst one in the other leg.
    Last year messi went missing in the away fixture.
    This year villa was our best attacker in the emirates and was close to nonexistant in the camp nou. I would skip the phrase close to if it werent for his good link up play -final pass in the second goal.

  115. Lev
    March 8, 2011

    Euler, thanks for your reply.

    I think I agree that we hadn’t played this well since the clasico, though it is hard to judge. We did play better in the clasico though. Were more clinical, for one.

    But that’s just it. Even in the clasico Madrid at least threatened us on a couple of occasions, they had some shots on goal in the 1st half.

    Arsenal didn’t even come close to threatening us throughout the whole game, until Bendtner’s chance off of an Adriano give-away (God bless you jefecito). I repeat they didn’t even come close.

    For a team of Arsenal’s quality, given at what is at stake, and given that they go into an away game after having won 2-1 at home with their main quality being to attack, and that by scoring 1 away goal we have to score 2…And even when RvP is off and they are with 10 men they know that if they get a 2nd goal we need to get 4. To not manage a single shot? Regardless of how good we played, this was an embarrassing display of the Gunners.

    • March 8, 2011

      Lev-

      It’s always a combination of one team playing well and the other team not as well.

      You make good points. Objectively speaking the stats that describe the game look very bad for Arsenal.

      Barca touched the ball 47 times in Arsenal’s goal area. That’s once every two minutes.

      Arsenal touched the ball 2 times in Barca’s goal area. That’s just really bad.

      But on the whole I think this is the kind of thing that can happen when two teams play similar tactical systems.

      For me the story of this match was Barca forcing Arsenal into a kind of “death spiral.”

      Arsenal needs the ball. They are not Inter or Chelsea. They cannot defend for 75% of the game.

      But Barca would not give them the ball. And when Arsenal did get it the Barca press suffocated their possession.

      So Arsenal had to chase. This made them tired. They chased they fouled. Fouling made it almost inevitable that they would go down a man and so on.

      Barca just put Arsenal in an awful position by squeezing the life out of what Arsenal needs to play the game.

      Also, Pep made wonderful tactical adjustments to counter exactly the things Arsenal was doing so well the first match. And the team executed them wonderfully.

      And once those adjustments were made it’s not like Arsenal had an extensive range of methods to play with Barca.

      Messi was amazing. Iniesta great. Xavi – phenomenal. Alves was just demonic. Adriano was so atheltic and skilled off the left edge. Masch was dominant in the middle. Abidal and Busi so strong in the middle.

      It’s just crushing, especially for a team that needs the ball.

      If it weren’t for Villa being so bad and Pedro playing well but not having his shooting boots on – the score would have been very ugly.

      But for me that’s how good barca is. They were devastating today.

      • Lev
        March 8, 2011

        You are right of course. Had Barça not been so good, Arsenal wouldn’t have sucked as bad.

        We played well 11 vs 11 but we didn’t create that many clear-cut chances. However once they were down to 10 men they were truly pathetic.

        • mei
          March 8, 2011

          Not many clear cut chances? I beg to differ.
          Villa missed what, 3 one on ones?
          Adriano had a shot off the woodwork , afellay had a one on one missed and messi missed a clear shot inside the box in good position , while alves shot wide in front of the keeper.

          • Lev
            March 8, 2011

            Read better mei, I was referring to the chances we created when they had 11 players. I counted Messi’s goal, Messi shot from inside the box in the 1st half and Villa’s 1 on 1 right after Busi’s o.g. Yes, 3 chances, but our dominance should have resulted in more opportunities up until that point.

            (Adriano’s shot off of the post was not a clear-cut chance imo)

          • mei
            March 8, 2011

            woops my bad . Its 4:15 over here anyway so Im kindoff excused :P.
            We were always gonna get more chances in the second half though ,after our boys tired them out!

    • Chandler
      March 8, 2011

      Come on… you have to give us that. That was pure home cooking. In the end would it have mattered???? Well a goal average every 57 minutes played by RVP if we go all matches this years it is like every 35 minutes SOOOOOOOOOOOO……………………. Yah might be something to ponder.

      • Lev
        March 8, 2011

        @chandler

        Nah bro, it is typical “I deed not see that” from Wenger.

        Let me tell you that yes, the decision was VERY harsh. And yes, it changed the game completely. We were already dominating the game, but your defense was holding up, somewhat. Once RvP was off you got caught in a hurricane without your umbrella.

        You (and Wenger) would have every right to be infuriated about it, were it not for Messi’s disallowed goal at the Emirates, Arshavin’s late handball in the 1st leg, the penalty that was not given in the 1st half tonight when they hacked MEssi right in front of the ref…

        When big decisions go against us (and yes, they do – regularly, also in the CL) Pep doesn’t even mention those things. However Wenger always complains, and when mistakes are made in his favor he never has the grace to admit it.

        Tonight he could have lamented fact that his team didn’t mention a single shot. That they gave up so many opportunities.

        But instead of admitting his cheese smells funny, he is all about the wHine! 😉

        • addi
          March 9, 2011

          We go to Old Trafford on Saturday to play Manure in the Cup (and to think I used the last Cup game on my season ticket for Leyton Orient, Gah!) then we are straight back to the league in which we are 3 points behind the leaders with a game in hand. There are a huge number of massively important games coming up for us.

          If you were AW, what would be more important. Gushing over a team from another league who knocked you out of the CL or trying to repair the squad morale after an extremely difficult game?

          By fostering a sense of injustice among the players he stands the best chance of receiving a positive reaction on Saturday, and I support any actions/comments on his part with that goal in mind.

          I don’t think it’s fair to say he never admits it when mistakes are made in his favour either. When asked if he thought a penalty (etc) was a bad decision he always answers truthfully, he just doesn’t dwell on it and why should he? He wants to talk about Arsenal Football Club, and when he talks about the officials it is in order to support his players (often deflecting anger on to himself in the process) and try to gain the best reaction possible from the team.

  116. Camero
    March 8, 2011

    Im still half in awe and half in shock with the way this game panned out. Still trying to figure out exactly what we were able to move the ball around so much easier compared with the first leg, where arsenal were stifling. A few things come to mind:

    1)Their backline was kept honest(relatively due to the initial barrage of through balls. This was sorely missed in the first leg.

    2)Direct mentality when in possession. In the first leg we had a keep ball mentality rather than exploit space mentality

    3)Iniesta back to being the best in the world as opposed to half a step behind everyone else.

    What I can’t figure out-I hope you can enlighten me Euler- is how Arsenal defended differently this time.

    Also why was our press so much more effective this time. I thought they played us in the first leg knocking the ball around our press making us look quite silly.

    • mei
      March 8, 2011

      Im no euler , but part of why they defended better is that our pressing was much more relentless and effective in this game.
      Thats partly why probably euler says thats its barca that had a great game and played them off the field.
      Pressing so convincingly forced them to stay in their own half, not threatening at all (0 shots) but helping them to stay compact in the same time. Of course against barca even a wasteful one too , this is almost always not going to end well.

    • March 8, 2011

      I think Mei summed up the Barca pressing well. Pressing is so much about space and energy.

      In the first leg a huge problem in the Barca press were Messi and Pedro. They just weren’t themselves defensively. In turn that meant they weren’t winning the ball as high up the pitch, had to chase more, etc.

      The major adjustment Barca made to the Arsenal press were the following:

      1. They better understood that Arsenal was pressing the player receiving the pass rather than the player with the ball.

      2. In turn they used much, much more variety in how the passed the ball and how they tried to direct play.

      3. Much better use of width making the field larger

      4. And perhaps most importantly – they circulated the ball much faster.

  117. Jnice
    March 8, 2011

    The Revista file might be out of sync. Here’s the fixed file version:

    /http://hotfile.com/dl/109385339/eb11c8e/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_08-03-11.avi.html

    /http://bitshare.com/files/7psvxi06/Revista-De-La-Liga—08-03-11.avi.html

    /http://www.filesonic.com/file/181003521/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_08-03-11.avi

    Now for the post match discussion by the Revista crew

    BARCELONA V. ARSENAL POST MATCH DISCUSSION BY REVISTA

    /http://hotfile.com/dl/109381031/3be5c42/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_Barca_v._Arsenal_Post_Match_Discussion_-_08-03-11.avi.html

    /http://bitshare.com/files/x6abe5l6/Revista-De-La-Liga—Barca-v.-Arsenal-Post-Match-Discussion—08-03-11.avi.html

    /http://www.filesonic.com/file/180770212/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_Barca_v._Arsenal_Post_Match_Discussion_-_08-03-11.avi

    Credit to Pakman at fbtz.com

  118. blaunero
    March 8, 2011

    Let’s not be overcome by the optimism bug. There’s still a long way to go, and if today’s match is anything to go by, that’s how most teams will play against us. Unlike Arsenal, however, they will be better equipped at catenaccio-style.
    One game at a times is the best we can do. We have a tough test vs Sevilla on Sunday.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 8, 2011

      man, we’re just happy…

      this is a ‘final’ without title, like Cruyff said…
      a very very tough match, with injury and suspension, against a great team, but we made it through…

      just let us be happy now… 😀

      • blaunero
        March 8, 2011

        I’ll gladly change my present momentary happiness for a hypothetical one in May. I too am happy we won and reached the quarters; but I do err on the side of caution, and my spiderman senses tell me that rejoicing too much now might bring bad karma in future. Let’s just take it one game at a time and hope for the best.

  119. March 8, 2011

    Lev-

    I should also say your point on Messi’s goal is a very good one.

    The beauty of that goal was just astounding. No other player in the world could have scored that goal.

    We do tend to take his ability almost as normal or as an expectation.

    But that’s the kind of goal that only the greats of the great could score. Pele, Cruyff, Maradona.

    Just wonderful.

    • Lev
      March 8, 2011

      I know. It was unbelievable. I dont think I have ever seen anything quite like it.

      • barca96
        March 8, 2011

        His touch was so soft its as if he didnt care that it was a KO stage of the tournament

        • Lev
          March 8, 2011

          from the Guardian’s Richard Williams:

          “The lethal simplicity of Iniesta’s pass and the delicious impudence of Lionel Messi’s scoop-and-dab finish – like a man placing a cherry on the top of an ice-cream sundae – represented a sudden outburst of everyday Barcelona brilliance…”

          • addi
            March 9, 2011

            That goal was ridiculous (note: I don’t know if it translates for everyone but in this sense I simply mean quite unbelievably good).

            I don’t suppose that Messi chap’s for sale is he? 😉

      • Sam M
        March 8, 2011

        Messi’s goal was indeed unbelievable–the speed of his intuition/movement/proprioception/body memory/thinking is mind boggling. Like all of the greats, he plays in a different time zone. On a semi-related note, have you ever read “Ajax is All About Attack” by Jim Shepard? Here’s an excerpt:

        “We talked about space in a practical way. How could you play for ninety minutes and remain strong? If you were the left back and you ran seventy meters up the wing, it wasn’t so good if you then had to run back to your starting position. If the midfielder took your place, it shortened the distances. Even then I could see that it was very Dutch to look for the simple solution. And to find the biggest thrill in the even simpler solution.

        Cruyff was the genius at this. Good players always found ways of receiving the ball in space, but Cruyff while playing saw where everyone should be, or go. He was three moves ahead, and the moves were all about shaping space. From above–from up in the press box–it was a lesson in architecture.

        When we spaced ourselves properly, it suddenly became very quiet. No noise. You heard only the wind. And the ball: the sound it made on the foot, the sound that made clear where it was going, how hard, how low, and how fast.

        Suddenly football was not about kicking one another’s legs anymore. Fans at our matches came away feeling they’d seen something they could see nowhere else on earth.”

  120. jaymin
    March 8, 2011

    this was deserved karmic justice for gunners laughing so hard at chelsea two years back.barca manufactures the magic, and they’re always given that bit o’ luck that talent needs to augment to triumph.

    • jordi™
      March 8, 2011

      Daniel alves.Legend.One of the Modmins have to do something with that in a post.

  121. Goo
    March 8, 2011

    Also, this via barcastuff, because he sums it up better than I can.

    Iniesta: “Everyone has its own side of the story. In the first game we were also badly treated by the referee but we decided not to comment.”

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