Arsenal v Barcelona Preview: With a team this strong I fancy our chances

Arsenal v Barcelona Preview: With a team this strong I fancy our chances

It’s Arsenal v Barcelona tonight and while you might think I’m stressed out about it, I’m not. I reckon we’re going to give them a hell of a game tonight and my goodness I’m going to enjoy it.

I analysed this fixture to death last season and in the end my words were virtually useless as Barcelona blew us away in the opening 30 minutes at The Emirates. That we came back from two goals down in the tie to lead 3-2 at one point was absolutely ridiculous really. Barcelona were superior to us in all aspects of the game and Lionel Messi’s four-goal haul eventually gave our opponents the aggregate score their performance deserved.

He's back!

This time around, with the exception of Bacary Sagna who will miss the game through suspension, we are at full-strength. Even bloody Samir Nasri managed to get up for the game. What a legend.

I seriously cannot remember the last time we went into such a big game with such a clean bill of health and it cannot be underestimated. I just look at our team — assuming that Nasri starts — and look at superb partnerships and combinations all over the pitch.

Up top Robin van Persie is fresh and full of goals, Theo Walcott is a player that scares the heeby-jeebies out of even Lionel Messi, Nasri has been our player of the season and Cesc Fabregas, well he’s just f*cking awesome.

In goals Wojciech Szczesny might be making his Champions League debut, but is anyone actually worried? He oozes confidence and the fact that everybody expects him to play well just reflects on the impact he has made on the team. Meanwhile Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny have formed an outstanding partnership in the middle while Alex Song and Jack Wilshere have done the same just in front of them.

It is a balanced team, far more balanced than we put out against Barcelona last season.

And while there’s no denying that Barcelona are a quality team, the best I have ever seen in my time watching the game, they are not invincible. They might have weapons to hurt us — Lionel Messi, Xavi, Pedro, David Villa — but in Walcott, van Persie, Fabregas and Nasri we have weapons to hurt them too.

It is anybody’s guess as to who wins the midfield battle but what might be more important is what happens on the flanks. It seems certain that Nasri will start but if he doesn’t, Dani Alves could take advantage of Andrey Arshavin’s occasional reluctance to track back and cover Gael Clichy. Similarly, Barcelona may see Sagna’s absence as a potential weakness of ours and use Pedro to target Emmanuel Eboue down the right.

Carles Puyol’s injury means that the pacy Eric Abidal will be moved into central defence, leaving Maxwell exposed on the left. After last season Walcott will surely be licking his lips. Meanwhile if Nasri or Arshavin begins the game well it might force Alves to change his mentality, a result that would surely allow us more control of the game.

It’s all ifs and buts at this stage but it all adds up to one simple conclusion: there is no conclusion. It will be down to who the best side is on the night but with our team fit and in fantastic form, I fancy us to give them a hell of a game.

This is a brilliant opportunity for our boys to show what they’ve got against a superb team. I’ve got flights booked to watch the return leg in Barcelona in a month’s time and if we manage to take a lead into that game, it would put us at a huge advantage.

Let the excitement build. Come on ARSENAL!

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal v Barcelona by leaving a comment.

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For other great pre-match reading check out Daryl van Horn’s tactical preview of the game for AFCB and a wonderful statistical analysis by Soccerlens.

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61 Responses to “Arsenal v Barcelona Preview: With a team this strong I fancy our chances”

  1. N7 Gooner
    February 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Good points well made – frankly it’s anyone’s guess but it’s going to be IMMENSE.

    Anyone else struggling to concentrate at all at work today????

    Come on you Gunners!

  2. dvsg
    February 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    I agree. We have a better chance against them than we did last year. And with no mad Jens to get himself sent off, i have high hopes for this game. Just hoping Eboue playes like we know he can and has no lapses of concentration today.

    N7, im struggling to concentrate too, keep checking newsnow to make sure RVP hasnt injured himself in a freak training accident or something!

    Not having a pop, but whats with the Barca colours on this blog logo?

  3. Stevo
    February 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I have been licking my chops for weeks regarding this powerhouse clash…. As much as I would love the Gunners to win, I expect we will be knocked out over the 2 legs… without wishing to sound negative. That said, we have the ability and players to beat them as well. The winning team will probably go on to win the tournament.

  4. leonardo De Mswati
    February 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    whether they like it or not we are going to fcuk them down today 1 nil is the game

  5. theicehammer
    February 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Sorry boy’s over the two games i cant see wenger’s lads being strong enough. There is just not enough quality in the team. I’m certain you will create during the game but it’s when you don’t have the ball that troubles me. Barca’s pressing and passing game is just far to good. I hope the luck of the Irish is with you especially after your neighbours up the road have shown you the way. You can’t afford to loose face……………CAN YOU NOW!

  6. nkdon
    February 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m reminded of a few lines from Roky 6 with this juggernaut of a match upon us:

    Duke: You know all there is to know about fighting, so there’s no sense us going down that same old road again. To beat this guy, you need speed – you don’t have it. And your knees can’t take the pounding, so hard running is out. And you got arthritis in your neck, and you’ve got calcium deposits on most of your joints, so sparring is out.
    Paulie: I had that problem.
    Duke: So, what we’ll be calling on is good ol’ fashion blunt force trauma. Horsepower. Heavy-duty, cast-iron, piledriving punches that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle his ancestors. Every time you hit him with a shot, it’s gotta feel like he tried kissing the express train. Yeah! Let’s start building some hurtin’ bombs!

  7. GoonerEris
    February 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    dvsg, that does deserve an answer. I expect a cracking game tonight; not the near one-sided game (at least, in the 1st half) last season at the Emirates.

  8. manasseh
    February 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    Even if Barcelona is invinsible, Arsenal will give them the toughest test of the season.

  9. mullo
    February 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    @nkdon: Thats awesome mate, im fired up now!!!!

    Lets rattle their ancestors lol!!

  10. badrinath
    February 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    @NK.

    Now that you’ve brought up Rocky 6 I’ve got another section of it in my head. Most of it can sum up Arsenal fairly well.

    “… It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time came for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.

    Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
    You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

    Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens” “…you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life…”

  11. Nicholas
    February 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    @ N7 Gooner – I took the day off, called in sick, let them deal without me, I had more important things to think about :)) I just wanna go back tomorrow, get up in front of everyone and shout HELL YEAH! and then slip quietly at my desk with a goddamn grin on my face all day long. We can do this, we can beat Barca, and like Andy says, there’s no conclusion, just a wonderful game and one of the reasons we love football.

  12. Filipino Dan
    February 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Not quite seeing total relevancy with the Rocky 6 stuff, but loving the quotes anyway!

    I accept that we are stronger than last year, but TV5 is a huge miss. I dont want to be negative but I just dont want to build hopes around a ‘clean bill of health’ either. It’s going to take hard work and determination but we can get a good result tonight, we all know it.

    I think it will be close and I cannot wait….

  13. voley_gun
    February 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Arsenal has to play like champions in this game. They can do it only by being clinical in the final third.Because barca are not the one to be afraid of continous attacks and be ready to give us possession .A clinical finish in the final third is the only route to success.

    Anyway hoping Arsenal to win 5-1 thrashing barca.

  14. hmmmm?
    February 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    My thoughts on the Arsenal lineup..
    Fabianski: superb but will be hard for him against fantastic David Villa
    Djourou: his fast but just not fast enough against Barca’s attack
    Kon: His superb and excellent
    Sagna: Very good but too slow when being counter-attacked
    Clichy: Very fast, not much things to say
    Wilshere: He was the most fantastic player in the pitch against Wolves but i don’t think he can do that against mighty Barca
    Song: He needs to be play more at the back often against Barcelona
    Nasri: I don’t think he can play the beautiful football he usually plays against Barca’s defence
    Walcott: He’s been given fantastic oppurtunity against Barca’s weakest spot in defence
    Cesc: Given pressure against his dream club??
    RVP: He will not be given space in barca’s central surely after been said as a big threat this year ( 7 games = 10 goals = 2011 )

  15. leftcoastgooner
    February 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Wowsers Trousers!!!
    Absolutely full-on wild scrap a-comin’ up. It’s 6 in the morning here and I already called in sick for the day. It’s so good to see the squad healthy for the most part and I think that for this reason alone we will be able to best judge who really is the better of the two “beautiful game” teams.
    My vote goes to the Arsenal and I think the longer the game goes on the better we will get.
    The important thing is not to give up more than one early goal or have someone sent off in the 1st half. Other than that I think we should be fine though predicting a score is right out.
    No matter what happens I my old JVC jersey on and I’m ready for the white knuckle sweats.
    @gruggy Surfs up here on a three days fetch,where are ya mate?

  16. omer
    February 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    this is what i called and FAB-TICLE…faboulous article!!!
    goosebumps man..!!!…lets do this..let do this!!!

  17. dheeraj
    February 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Andy
    Nice Article ..One point though
    I think both the coaches are spot on especially with the news coming out from both camps. Here are some of the statement coming from both camps
    – We should play with out fear – Fabregas
    – sczeney is not fazed by anything – Djourou
    – Kosciely saying something about messi…etc.., etc..,
    The statements coming out from Arsenal camp clearly reflects that wenger was successful in making sure thae ARSENAL ARE GOING WITH POSITIVE ATTITUDE ..which is very correct
    where as look for statements from Barcelona
    – Pep wary of Arsenal
    – Iniesta scared of gunners
    The statements coming out of barcelona camp clearly reflects that PEP was successful in making sure their team DOES NOT HAVE ANY COMPLACENCY FOR THE MATCH
    Now one of the statement coming out of barcelona camp is
    >>Theo Walcott is a player that scares the heeby-jeebies out of even Lionel Messi ( may not be exactly the same sentence )…My point here is….This is more of scripted by PEP than from the heart/mind of Leonel Messi…

    Reality is Barca is too strong for Arsenal..That is the truth

  18. mahulik
    February 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    thse are the games that should excite every arsenal fan out there.i’this is what it should be about the mighty arsenal v barca,well i’m buzzing inside.no one outside the arsenal gives us a chance but our history say’s other wise.like i said the other day it’s a bonus game for me & if arsenal could beat barca over these two games then the world is our oyster.give it everything guy’s & don’t have any regrets unlike last season when we showed them too much respect.can’t wait.let every arsenal fan on here be an arsenal supporter tonight cause this gooner is going to give everything in support of the arsenal tonight.i may not have a voice in the morning but who cares.c’mon the arsenal you can do it,our great history say’s that we can.

  19. theicehammer
    February 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    @shambo, Whats up my man. What’s your thoughts on tonight’s game. I expected to see vast words of wisdom of what you consider will appen. What do you think of my score as a prediction.
    Arsenal 1 – Barca 3. Expect to see a major injury from one of the Arsenal boys before half time.
    The eyes of the Yids are watching, You can’t afford to loose face tonight, if you do you should move to the Olympic stard de Stratford.
    Good luck Gunners its time to show your Arsenal.
    Up de ammers.

  20. shambogunner
    February 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    C’mon!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    weve nothing to lose so lets just enjoy it, if we can see an improvement in last years encounter then il be happy enough.

  21. theicehammer
    February 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Ok hopefully it will be another victory against the SPANISH ARMADA-THE BATTLE OF GRAVELINES IN 1588-ELIZABETH THE 1ST QUEEN OF ENGLAND-

  22. Angie
    February 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Go ARSENAL! I’m very excited and very happy cause this time around we have everything to win! we have to stay cool and defend very well! I CAN’t WAIT! 🙂 let’s do it!

  23. shambogunner
    February 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    @ice,
    dude, dont be predicting major injuries on our players, I think weve had enough of that the last few seasons.
    I just cant go along with your 3-1 prediction mate, they had an aerial and physical threat in Ibrahimovic last season and they used it well….this season we have fit Arshavin (he wasnt fit for that home tie last season and came off at half-time then missed the away game), we have a fit Van Persie who missed both games last season, we have a year older Jack Wilshere who did not feature last season, we have an excellent keeper in Schezny and we have no Sylvestre in the side, we have an in-form Walcott aswel as having the form player of the PL on our bench, Nasri. We also have the added motivation of how they beat us last season.
    My one worry is that Arsenal take the foot off the pedal, whether they go ahead or are in command of the game they always seem prone to lapses of concentration and find it hard to recover once punished, its imperitive we concede as little as possible, if you offered me a scoreless draw Id snap your hand off…..but we all know thats not going to happen so I guess I’l just have to settle for a 4-1 Arsenal win with a double from Walcott and Arshavin…….Pedro for the away side…..hows that for a prediction?

  24. zulu gooner
    February 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    great Blog. come on you beautiful team!!

  25. GunnerBoss
    February 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win this.
    Here’s to a 3-1 win

  26. leftcoastgooner
    February 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    At the half. we’re down but as you know it could be much worse. I’m afraid Song will have to come off he’s been a regular Gattuso this evening.
    The high line is killing us. I know this will piss off the “In Arsene We Trust” clique but why don/t we have a plan B. Hasn’t this happened enough for us to consider a contingency course of tactics?
    Cesc (bless his heart) is trying to do to much.
    Who will come in for Song, Rosicky?

  27. GunnerBoss
    February 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    1-0 at half-time.
    They are more drilled than we are…especially with attacking play.
    Both defenses are balanced, but we have not taken any of our chances so far.
    If we loose this, we will not progress.
    I really expected more, but…. Nasri’s not fit(Not full of running).
    Maybe AA should’ve started, afterall Barca are still utilizing that left side to attack.
    I would’ve swapped Walcott for Nasri when it was obvious what they were up to….but Wenger never changes tactics, does he?

  28. leftcoastgooner
    February 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Arshavin’s coming on w/22 minutes to play.
    This may be key.

  29. GunnerBoss
    February 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    We just have to win this
    We should score again

  30. leftcoastgooner
    February 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    I told you so.
    Check the time on my entries. heh, heh.
    Now for the white knuckle part. Can We Hold?

  31. GunnerBoss
    February 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    2-1 to the Arsenal…..one more to go

  32. voley_gun
    February 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    I frankly waited for one more but never mind we go an a 1 goal lead. thanks to arshavin and van persie for their clincial strike.The game really changed after arshavin substitution and the midfield of Fabregas,Nasri and Wilshere to cope up with Barca.

  33. Angie
    February 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    A M A Z I N G! JUST AMAZING! I’m so so proud! this was a beautiful game! with beautiful goals! I can only bow to you guys! chapeau! I’m speechless!

  34. rohit
    February 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    2-1 to Arsenal. Incedible result. Superb goals from RvP and Arsha. but i think both Djourou and kos were immense throughout the game and not to mention Wilshere. He was exceptional in the midfield filled with players like Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Busquets and Song. Theo’s performance must be an eye opener for his critics, he was exceptional both in attack and defense and I think with slightly better finishing and luck we might be 2-0 up within first 20 min. thanks to him. Bu pity that both goals came after his substitution. In next leg I am hoping a better performance from Cesc ( I mean he was good but what the hell he is capable of doing much much better than this. So fingers crossed).

    GUNNER FOR LIFE.

  35. maltagooner
    February 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    What a game! With this team and especially with this attitude, Arsenal proved that they can take on anybody. It will of course be different at Camp Neu but Barcelona will now have to expose themselves, and if our strikers are well focussed, you never know – we might even earn a draw. But whatever the aggregate result next time, this team made me proud. And believe me, there is room for improvement as not all players were in tip top shape, so let’s stay behind this team

  36. Albin
    February 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Fantastic victory!!!! I am so proud of our team tonite……. What a game…!! We finally made Barca eat dirt at the Emirates…. Cheers…!!!

  37. CRoatiangunner
    February 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    FUCKK YEAAAAAA
    OUR TEAM WAS AMAZINGGG JACK CESC VAN PERSIE EVERY SINGLE PLAYER GAVE 100 %
    FUCK YEAAAAAA

  38. Nicholas
    February 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    HELL YEAH!!!!!!! FINALLY! EXCEPTIONALLY DONE!

  39. retsub
    February 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    heroes every one of them, but a special word for Kos, thought he was immense. For all there pretty football i dont think Barca created that many chances

  40. Gruggy
    February 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    I think it’s time to follow through with my Андрей Аршавин tattoo – Nay, statue outside the front of my house.

    An absolutely euphoric game and result. I’ve never heard so much noise inside the Emirates than the reaction to AA’s goal, incredible.

  41. Darragh
    February 17, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Shows the a Cesc-Nasri-Wilshere combo is lethal!!

    What a match, best I’ve seen in ages.

    Reverse score of the champs league final!

  42. LaGunner
    February 17, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    Koscielny did very well, and Nasri and RVP came to life in the second half, but goodness, Wilshere was absolutely brilliant. This match will be an important chapter in the legend of Jack Wilshere. What a masterful performance by the youngster.

    Also, kudos for Wenger for defiantly standing by his support Arshavin. He’s played very well these last two weeks. I’m still buzzing from this match!

  43. Geocross
    February 17, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    The bests assists of Clichy came from his right foot… the ironies of life!!!

    Great victory!!! but at Nou Camp, we have to prove this wasn’t a coincidence!!

  44. shambogunner
    February 17, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    Fantastic result although they looked the far better team at times……I couldnt believe how little pressure we put on the ball at times and retreated toward our own goal after what happened last year, they really showed us how you should press in your opponents half, we couldnt even findmen from our throws!
    We rode our luck and the boys came up trumps in the end….Clichy even made amends for his lapse of concentration and ball watching to play villa on with his assist for RvP, remember he was also caught deep twice last year to play messi on, cmon Gael, bring the training ground stuff into your game dude….CONCENTRATE.
    Wilshere was phenomenal, against a midfield of World cup winners he covered every blade of grass and put his own stamp on the game, what an achievement for one so young to have the ability and believe to do that, man of the match by a country mile.
    Both central defenders were great but were exposed a little by Eboues carelessness at times, whilst I thought Nasri and Theo switched off at times giving them overlap after overlap.
    Just a quick word on Schezny, I thought he was excellent again, you cant explain how important and telling some of his saves were, even the first meesi chance where he stood up long enough to force the minute error in messis chip, he deserves alot od credit and were on a winer with him.
    Lets just enjoy this now, what a win…theres no doubt we can play better, but lets save that for when we go to their place.
    Well done boys

  45. Terry
    February 17, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    Best game of football I’ve seen for ages. Barca were fantastic for about half the game. We had fantastic spells. Wilshire has the potential to be as good as Inesta/Xavi. Second goal was sensational. Second leg will be a cracker – and if we can be still in contention for the EPL, in the quarters of the FA Cup, win the Carling Cup between now and then could the anti Wenger crowd stand up and head for the exits! Whatever happens from here on in I think we have proven that we are as good as anyone on the day and we should not fear anyone. We just beat the best team in the world and we did it by trying to play football, not parking a big bloody $500 million quid blue bus like some other team I could mention!

  46. leftcoastgooner
    February 17, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    Best results we had since we left Highbury.
    I have earnestly prayed for this day. Well, time to watch the replay again.
    Night all, remember Leyton Orient.

  47. California Gooner
    February 17, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Right on Terry, I agree 100 percent except… Wilshire was better than Xavi and Iniesta tonight.

  48. Aman
    February 17, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    Something happened in that dressing room at half time because arsenal came out like hungry lions in the second half, and beat barca at their own game, let me tell you that isnt easy.. and what else can i say about kosc where are those useless kosc bashers who thought he wasn’t good enough, this season he has kept drogba, rooney in his pocket and this time he has kept messi in his pocket, i was so right when i said this earlier that kosc is the best defender of the deck i have seen.

  49. delano
    February 17, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    This European night reminded me of the victory at Sansiro and Bernabue 2006.I personally thought Clichy had one of the best games tonight for the calculated pass to RVP. Eboue is the only player who didnt look so serious inwhat he was doing but that is excusable for now. Again with Persie on the pitch you always have a chance. He is reminding me of Henry’s days. What a shot from such an angle. Did anyone see the usual Fabregas we know. He better styles or else we begin doubting his loyalty again. Wilshere actually stole the show from him. Didnt the Ref seem relatively biased against arsenal. We better pray for a fovourable ref at the Nuo camp and the good thing is that Sergio Busquets wont play for his second yellow and if Puyol fails to recover in two weeks time due to old age then we shall slice their defense at will in Camp nuo.
    The game plan for the return leg is atleast now clear. We must use counter attacks as our weapon since our two goals came as a result of that and the truth is that Barca are our masters at passing the ball. We cant out play them at Campnuo but we need to progress to the next stage. The tactics we use then if our starting eleven is not changed but only bosted by Sagna and Song or even TV though not really needed will decide who progresses. It may be 2 to 2 or 3 to 2. Great European night.

  50. delano
    February 17, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Sorri it will be Gerard pique missing in action not Busqets.

  51. GunnerBoss
    February 17, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    I lost my freaking, f..ing voice…
    Wilshere is just MAD. Absolutely brilliant and amazing. Wow, what a boy.
    Walcott full of running, taking him off allowed Barca to feel there was no more SPEED threat on the right and that was where we got the second from.
    RVP personifies the deadliest of attacking threats there will ever be…I knew he would get one.
    Nasri was strong, he was key… even though not fully fit.
    AA is the master of accuracy…I just love that guy. What a finish.

    Funny, I often compared both teams from about two seasons ago and now? I think we are better than them. Nasri wasn’t even 100% for goodness sakes. THIS WAS NO FLUKE WIN.

    Lets see if we can do it over both legs…..who says we cant.

    RVP cancels out Villa
    Walcott takes out Messi
    Nasri/AA, far better than Pedro

    Song takes out Busquets
    Wilshere vs Xavi????
    Fabs takes out Iniesta

    Defense is well balanced for both sides

    What these guys do is keep the ball, try to score, keep the ball, try to score……..In other words, they dont let you play, because you cant get the ball.
    But let people remember this….we are always better away. We can BEAT them at Camp Nou, just a little more drilling in accurate passing, especially when going forward. We beat magreed away(Henry) and drew at home to knock them out some time ago. Who says we cant beat these guys home and away?

  52. ^_^GUNNER^_^
    February 17, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    A great result on a great night at the Emirates. This was NOT a fluke. YES, they had a goal ruled out, YES, they looked the better team on many occasions BUT we came back out of the tunnel after the half-time interval and fought like lions and EARNED the win. It was truly a majestic performance. Even though Pep Guardiola kept on praising Arsenal in the build-up to the match, I assume it was more of a ploy to encourage us to think that we can outpass them and outplay them. He thought that if he said such things, Arsenal will come out and play and in the process, make it easy for their passing game. It did not happen though and any Arsenal fan would have been happy seeing Pep’s face after the Arshavin goal, I loved it 🙂 .

    The most important thing, though is not to get carried away with the result. There is a second leg at the Nou Camp which is even harder and of course, the other competitions: Premier League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup. Next up is Leyton Orient: Time for Denilsons and Bendtners to take over and ensure progress to the next round.

    One more thing, @Aman: Koscielny kept Messi in his pocket this time? Really? Messi created their goal, scored one more goal that was ruled out and came close to scoring on atleast two other clear opportunities which he missed by inches. I agree with most of what you said: Koscielny defended very well against Drogba and Rooney and he was immensely influential in the game against Barca, but to say that he kept Messi in his pocket is unfair. Let us just take credit for what we have achieved.

    Come On You Gunners !!

  53. nkdon
    February 17, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    the media in this country are absolutely unbelievable.listening to taksport this morning and i cant believe the lack of credit we are getting from the so called experts.alan brazil had nigel winterburn on the phone today and i dont think brazil gave us one compliment in the entire interview.the only thing he talked about was how brilliant barca were,how they were unlucky with the ‘offside’ goal,how fit barca are and how hard a task it will be to finish the job.honestly you would think we had lost the game.this sort of attitude towards arsenal infuriates me.people talk about our lack of fight and whether we can play on the biggest stage…..so we go and beat the worlds best team and the media still cant give us any credit.sickening.

  54. Steve-O
    February 17, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Chelsea, Barca,… there’s two monkeys off the back. What a game!, but the best thing was coming from behind and holding them off in the last 10.
    Spot on Darragh, I agree totally. Each great Arsenal team has had a core group of great players that have lifted everyone around them. In the 90s it was the all England back line and keeper, in the 00s it was the 3 musketeers and now its Cesc, Nasri and Wilshere.
    Bring on the Nou Camp!

  55. Braveheart
    February 17, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Isn’t it fantastic when the heart wins out? Victoria concordia crescit.
    I guess my overall takeaway point would be that tonight was a vision of what we can be. Maybe we’re not there yet, and it won’t always be this good, of course. But all the problems Arsenal have had faded away last night, and for one perfect evening, everything fell into place, and Arsenal FC were the club we want it to be and what it is at our very best. Great atmosphere at the ground? Usually not, but it was tonight (see video below). Shaky goalkeeper? We’ve had that in the past, but Wojo is excellent and getting better, and had a good night. Blowing a late lead? It’s our bugaboo, but yesterday we’re the ones who came from behind and took the match. Mental weakness? Nope — we were absolutely fearless. I think we saw a glimpse of all of Wenger’s promises coming to fruition. Wenger steered us through a very tough financial period when we moved into the Emirates, and while we haven’t won any trophies there yet, we haven’t dropped out of the top 4, and have gone from one of England’s bigger sides to one of the biggest sides in all of Europe. You’ve heard me say it before, and I will say it again — Wenger has never gotten, and probably will never get, enough credit for what he’s done the last 6 years. That some fans actually have called for his job boggles my mind.

  56. billi
    February 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    I must admit I don’t like these highly emotional games, I suffered watching them running after this passing game by Barca, so incredible that’s it is so hard to stop them doing it, to get the ball from them and to build up your own game, I think they stealed the ball often but then lost it again because they couldn’t position themselves quick enough to do their own build up game, suffering watching, but after halftime they managed it quite better, I was so happy about that, and then even the goals came, of course it is fortune with it always, but during the opening 10 mins they had no fortune, they could have gone up at the start with more clinical finishing, old story, of course this ruled out off-side goal from Messi is a little black mark on the victory but at the whole, after the recent wrong decisions against Arsenal it’s more a consolation or equilibration, if you understand what I mean, 😉 ,
    what I really want to mention is that the match was relatively fair, I think Barcelony tend to fall very easily and maybe the oppositions tend to foul very easily because they are so quick, but I often had the impression it was’nt that fair , because they really fell toooooooooo easily and this time that wasn’t such obvious or such often, the yellow against Song? when that happened I thought well, the old same story, the old tactic, you aren’t allowed to touch them…. and Song really was handicaped after that card, I expected just the worst, but it stayed within the borders, no ridiculous penalty, no intimidating of the Arsenal players by too much whistling and falling down by Barcelona players, I think this aspect really stayed within the green area 😉

    I really wish them that they can underline this achievement at the Camp Nou, I think they created more chances than last year and they had not too much respect this time, especially Jack is to mention therefore and maybe Kos and Czczesney, the win is remarkable, when Shava scored I had to scream, finally he showed his old killing coolness, maybe it resulted of resignation than anything else, but promising he could become the old one, his comments after the game were great when he said he wasn’t determined at all to show something, he just waited for his chance and took it ❗ , I think it’s the right attitude, you can’t show something against that passing by Barca……, 😎

  57. Aman
    February 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    @ ^_^GUNNER^_^ _ -: dude come on for the first goal all the CB’s stepped up it was clichy (not pointing at mistakes) who played villa onside else no goal there again, disallowed goal, well you cant blame kosc for that it was save for chess which rebounded to pedro and that found messi cant expect much from kosc here as well. And what about the second half there came a time when messi looked disinterested or tired and hardly created anything.

    End of the day he is messi the worlds best player twice in a row, to keep him 0 is impossible. 😀

  58. jay-jay
    February 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Absolutely incredible, watching the game was painful yet thrilling. Fantastic game for the neutral. Wilshere and Koscielny were absolutely superb, our two best players. Wilshere; at 19 years old, jus won his first full international cap to play against Busquets, XAVI and INIESTA, he coped brilliantly, strong, flair, pace, he had it all and he was key for Arshavins goal too. Koscielny in the second half jus blocked everything, went one-on-one with Messi quite a few times and lost the ball only once, continually blocking, heading, clearing. That goal from Arsha is vital in so much more ways that one. Firstly, it got us the win, Secondly, it secured the fact we remain unbeaten by foreign opposition in this competition at the Emirates, Thirdly, Arshavin will take so much confidence from this after the last couple of sluggish months for him. Nasri gamble, worked. Fabregas was below par, yet still made his mark, Szczesny was once again superb (unlucky on the goal) and Van Persie scored in the most tightest angle to totally humiliate Valdes and kept up his form.

    If we got to the Nou Camp and we go out, then take ernormous credit for this performance. We beat Barcelona; ‘ the best team in the world’ and thats not easy to do. If we go through (whatever the agg score) then Europe will fear us and we can use that to our advantage. We play the same football as Barca, they are just better at it but if we knock them out, then technically we are better at it offensively and defensively. We have strongly improved from last year which maybe means the scoreline at Nou Camp will not be the same. A draw will be enough in Spain. Can we do it? Its a huge ask but beating Barcelona 2-1 in London was almost mission impossible and we suceeded. Be so proud of our players, for they will remember this night for the rest of their lives and so should we. Long Live Arsenal!!

  59. Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona
    February 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    WHAT A GAME. Last night made me wonder how we arent top of the Premier League….seriously. The football, energy and tactics last night were world beaters. Wilshere – Outstanding, Koscielny Outstanding! The whole team played incredible. Bring on the Nou Camp, Im confident we can knock out the best team in the world now !

  60. ^_^GUNNER^_^
    February 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    @Aman: You misinterpreted it. I never blamed Koscielny. In fact, I mentioned in my comment earlier that Koscielny was great in this game too. I just told that “Koscielny kept Messi in his pocket” is not fair.

    Cheers 🙂

  61. GunnerBoss
    February 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    @Braveheart- Wenger won the Coach of the decade

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