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.


  1. Kariyanna:

    Revista de La Liga 03-08-11





    Credit to Pakman at

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

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

    2. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.

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

    Guardiola: “Wenger told me to thank the referee.


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

    2. 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.

    3. 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

    4. 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.)

  8. 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

  9. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

    1. 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…

  11. 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.

    1. 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…

  12. 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

  13. 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..

  14. 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!!

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


    1. I am at work now… LOL…

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

  15. 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.

    1. 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*

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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… 😉

    5. I didn’t like the way we defended,


      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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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 🙁

    9. 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!

    10. 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.

    11. 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.

    12. 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.

    13. 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.

    14. 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.



    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!

    1. 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.


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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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).

    2. 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

    3. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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

  22. 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!

  23. 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 😉

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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!

  25. this is my chant of the day :

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

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  27. 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…


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

  28. 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.

  29. 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 .

  30. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  31. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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…

    4. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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)

    5. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. @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! 😉

    3. 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.

  34. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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




    Now for the post match discussion by the Revista crew





    Credit to Pakman at

  36. 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.

    1. 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… 😀

    2. 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.

  37. 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.

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

    2. 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…”

    3. 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? 😉

    4. 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.”

  38. 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.

  39. 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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