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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Team News: Arsenal v. Barcelona

The combination of the weekends disappointing result with the magnitude of tonight`s match has seen me take somewhat of a break from football over the past couple of days. I'm sure plenty of column inches have been filled with 'Cesc will play', 'Cesc won't play', 'Cesc has Barca DNA', blah blah blah. It's all too predictable. Well whatever the papers said, I can confirm that Fabregas is in the starting XI, along with William Gallas. Take a look for yourself.

Arsenal Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Fabregas, Arshavin, Nasri, Bendtner

You know what? Besides van Persie, that`s probably our best lineup.

Arsenal Bench: Fabianski, Eboue, Campbell, Denilson, Rosicky, Walcott, Eduardo

Barcelona Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Messi, Pedro, Ibrahimovic

Barcelona Bench: Pinto, Marquez, Bojan, Henry, Milito, Yaya Toure, Jeffren

Massimo Busacca is the head official for this match. The Swiss referee is one of UEFA`s top rated officials, and he managed the United v. Barca final in Rome last May.

Enjoy the match Gooners; let's hope it lives up to expectations.
Also, remember to bundle up, it`s cold in the N5!




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 31 2010

Time: 7:05PM

Your Comments

Good luck lads from Vital Chelsea!
PoshPete
Good line-up indeed, if Cesc and Gallas are (close to) 100%! We've also got the great subs Tomas and Booboo, albeit being a bit light on the defensive side on the bench. Is anyone else a tad worried about the left hand side and hoping Nasri will play there to help Clichy, with Arshavin on the right?
GoonerLou
I just hope Wenger isn't taking a risk with Cesc.
gronedrone
Special dispensation to drop to the bench for Cesc apparently.
julieloveshenry4ever
I hope he's OK, we really can't afford to lose him for the rest of the season.
Keplaz
Good luck, fellas. For the good of English football-(for this game at least) Up the Arsenal Without Sol Campbell!
DubaiSpur
Cesc starts Julie.
gunnerkid107
Well Cesc is leading them out. So much for the bench. Here goes.
julieloveshenry4ever
I have a healthy heart but even I am struggling with this...
GoonerLou
this is desperate stuff..
bowiecokemirror
This is embarrassing. I've keep banging on about it constantly, but here you see the difference: Barca constantly press and fight for the ball, we don't.
jaelle
We give them far too much space indeed Jaelle. Some more scary moments to come I can see. :S
GoonerLou
Big game Nerves. now that we have survived that onslaught. we should have a gome on our hands. song and sangna have been decent.
NeoGunner
Why oh why? Was Gallas rushed back?!??!??!?!!
GoonerLou
Nothing is going our way! Andrei and now gallas. cesc is half a player. we will be the happier for the nil nil half time score. Almunia man of the match so far for both teams.
NeoGunner
Who is that guy in our goal and what did he do with Manuel?
jaelle
OK, we gave them acres of space, chance after chance. We lost two great players to injury. Our keeper was the busiest man on the pitch (except the physio). Things can only get better from here. COME ON YOU LADS!!!
GoonerLou
Almunia: zero to hero?
Omogusii
Gallas was not rushed back, he's been fit all week. He gets injured in every game to be fair.
Tom14
I don't blame AW for taking a gamble on Gallas. You've seen how good the Barca attack is, we needed our strongest defensive lineup. However Gallas didn't look fully fit and has struggled. I think the two injuries could be a blessing in disguise and expect us to look stronger in the second half with Denilson and Eboue on the pitch.
bowiecokemirror
NEVER been more nervous. NEVER.
Tom14
That's it. I'm off. Can't be doing with this. Sick of the same old story :(
julieloveshenry4ever
That must be what it feels like for Bolton & Hull fans to watch their team play against us. I now see the reason they kick the ***** out of us ... it's out of embarassment. I've never seen our team dominated like that. It would be easy for the lads to say something like "we have to hold our hands up, they were the better team" ... I say f*** that, get back out there in the second half and do what they did to us. Hassle, harry, double team, give them no time. I think Cesc needs to come off for Rosicky. Put Sami in the middle and Tommy outwide. PS - The ref is a c*** and Manuel is playing ace.
Rocky7
they are so good
Dan_83
I was speechless for the first 20 minutes. They are not just the best footballing team in the world they are the best team in the world. The key to their domination has been their pressing. Arsenal players have more stamina and we can cope with this for another 20 minutes and hopefully they will get tired towards the end of the second half and we can pounce but we have used two subs already. Any defensive mistake or players done for pace or trickey in any area of the pitch will lead to a chance to Barcelona.
gronedrone
i mean... they are sooooo good!
Dan_83
I'd also like to thank Wenger for not bringing Sol Campbell on. I'd like to see my son grow up, but I would have died of a heart attack in the second half had he been on.
Rocky7
Get Thierry on in an Arsenal shirt QUICK.
julieloveshenry4ever
Wow. Trying to quit smoking and this game is NOT helping. They are very good, yes, but why are we struggling to keep 2 simple passes together? Diaby is being such a nob, he's given the ball away simply so many times, against a team passing this well we need to keep it when we have it? Gotta say welldone to Nasri, he's the only player who's looked dangerous going forward.
FuiKaka
Also, does this show that Almunia *****s up so much because he's out of the game so much usually? Maybe we need to let the oppenents have 10 shots at goal at the start of every game so he can always play like this?
FuiKaka
Don't bottle it guys make my 90 min spell as an Arsenal fan worthwhile.
ACLamp
Season over by 1st April, great. I thought we were better than this. I don't think I have the heart to watch the second half. Wolves will be loving this.
julieloveshenry4ever
FuiKaka, it shows that goalkeepers who have to make one save per game are never going to be praised as highly as average goalkeepers like Givenm who have to deal with this every week.
Tom14
I thought the exact same thing as Rocky, we finally received some of our own medicine. People forget that Barca had the same kind of possession against Chelsea with 10 men and against United in the final last season, there is no embarassement in being outplayed by a team as brilliant as Barca. I rather be outplayed than outBoltoned Apart from being mentally scared from last year and looking very nervous ,the boys out there have done me proud so far. Nasri in particular has looked impressive on the right. Cesc is clearly not fit and perhaps Rosicky would be a good replacement but we only got one sub left and Walcott's pace would be invaluable towards the end of the game when players get tired.
gronedrone
Tom14 - What's that got to do with how many silly and costly mistakes he makes?
FuiKaka
....like that posistioning for example?
FuiKaka
Almunia zero to hero and back to zero.
gunnerkid107
ALMUNIA IS SO *****
Dan_83
Why Almunia? Why?
Rocky7
Does this referee think a slide tackle is a foul??
FuiKaka
It's hard to be mad at him today because we'd already be out of it if it weren't for him ..... but he does appear to have s*** for brains.
Rocky7
Oh, ok, there's Manuel. Same guy. *sigh*
jaelle
True Rocky, he kept us in the game for a long time, but WHY does he do these things?
FuiKaka
Because he isn't a world class keeper. He had a world class performance in the first half, but there's a difference between a world class performance and world class performer.
Rocky7
This ref is a proper c***.
Rocky7
Howcome, when we dominate possesion, the referee is against us, and when we get dominated in possesion, the referee is against us?
FuiKaka
BTW, that pressing game they have? They don't get tired, they do it until the referee blows his whistle.
jaelle
AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH We're 5h!te in the first half yes, but we're also desperately unlucky - with injuries, ref decisions and Nik's attempts!!
GoonerLou
Because our boys don't react and fall to every foul, Fui.
jaelle
How come we play ***** in the first half, don't concede a goal, play much better in the second half, yet we're 1-0 down? I hate football.
Rocky7
I REALLY HATE FOOTBALL.
julieloveshenry4ever
How come when f***ers like Birmingham attempt a clearance and it hits the striker, it goes in the goal, but when we do it, it falls nicely to the keeper? I hate football.
Rocky7
*****KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK this STUPID referee!!!!!! How did Sagna foul then? He thinks this is ******** netball.
FuiKaka
Gameover.
Rocky7
*****, we need to start defending again. And assasinate that ref.
FuiKaka
Here's an idea Pep, why not bring on Henry to score past us, really break our hearts :(
Rocky7
For once, just once, I'd love to be proved wrong.
julieloveshenry4ever
I can't bear this anymore. Enuf.
jaelle
Just 1 goal and we're back in it! (We have to tell ourselves this.)
GoonerLou
Julie .... you're proved wrong on a weekly basis .... lol
Rocky7
For ***** sake. We're just making schoolboy errors against the best team in the world. Eboue losing it pointlessly, Sagna's average crossing. This is a bad display from our boys. Bedtner looks like he's not even interested in being on the pitch.
FuiKaka
OK, Barca are really that good. They indeed are the best team in the world. But this is NOT Arsenal we're watching. The passing is not our passing. Why do we get all starstruck seeing Messi & co?!?!
GoonerLou
Diaby has been diabolical in keeping the ball. The referee has been one of there btter players.
FuiKaka
Nasri off??????? He's been our best player??????
FuiKaka
Oh dear, Theo getting ready. Tomas doesn't get a chance to play then. Sigh, I don't know what to think anymore.
GoonerLou
Oh wait, it's Sagna. I do appologised. ESPN showed Nasri running off.
FuiKaka
The anticipatioin was fun anyway!
Sajit
Barca have outplayed you guys for long periods, rather like what Bayern did to ManU yesterday. Almunia - we've seen the nest & worst of him today. I had commented on the Birmingham-Arsenal thread earlier that you guys should get a better keeper, you'll better hope Arsene can see it finally. And i agree the Ref is giving you'll some grief by getting conned by those diving b-as-t-ard-s.
ZeeNut
Oh it's not Nasri, wrong catch, phew. He's one of our best players! But I thought Rosicky would be more useful with his experience, COMPOSURE (hugely lacking here!), keeping the ball and creating chances. I feel for him.
GoonerLou
THEO!!
bowiecokemirror
Game ..... not ..... over?
Rocky7
THEOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ....WTFHJFEHASJFASJFASJA S?????????EFJHSAF ...How do you beat Barcelona? An average player with lighting speed?
FuiKaka
Critical goal. And there's time on your side.
ZeeNut
Lou, if you watch La Liga regularly, we're reacting the way teams there react against Barca. // And as I type that, it's THEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
jaelle
***** Barcelona
Sajit
Please get two more, please.
julieloveshenry4ever
I know Jaelle! Rocky captured my sentiments in the first half exactly - I felt like I were a Bolton fan facing Arsenal, frustrated with the 28% possession, couldn't see a goal coming, but kept blaming the team for not pressing them hard enough.
GoonerLou
Brilliant from the Arsenal fans. Give Henry an awesome reception, then boo his first touch. That's the way to do it.
Rocky7
Thierry to score an own goal.
Sajit
Diaby has been awful in this game, slow and ponderous and constantly caught in posession
bowiecokemirror
How many of our 5 yellows were justified, you guys think?!
GoonerLou
I expect he will grab the qualiser tho (",)
bowiecokemirror
Even the linesman is a 6a5t@rd!!
GoonerLou
Certainly not all 5. The Refs always favour Barca. Maybe instructions from above (Platini) :-)
ZeeNut
Denilson's been pretty good.
jaelle
.........................................
Rocky7
Please score the penalty, please god let it go in
bowiecokemirror
...oh wow
FuiKaka
Not sure about the Red & penalty, but that rascal PUYOL had it coming.
ZeeNut
C'MON!!!!!!!!!! ******** GET IN !!!!!!!!!!!!!
FuiKaka
YES YES YES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YESYES YES
Rocky7
Cesc injured now? ...That'd be right.
FuiKaka
Un ....... ******** ........ belivable.
Rocky7
Serves that cheater Puyol right.
ZeeNut
Wow, some justice!! Oh dear, oh dear, Cesc limping. Sigh...
GoonerLou
Come off Cesc ... it's 10 against 10.
Rocky7
You gotta say, it could only be an Arsenal player injuring themselves taking a pentaly? Massive credit to Theo. He's been more damaging then anyone else has. Apart from maybe the ref on us ;)
FuiKaka
I'm going to have a frigging heart attack this night! Come on! And get the magic sponge out!
julieloveshenry4ever
Cesc unable to run properly but trying to, gamely.
ZeeNut
Haha Theo, passes to Cesc who can hardly walk.
FuiKaka
Lol .. just lol.
Rocky7
Good game Ref. Welldone.
FuiKaka
And once again Julie ...... never ceases to amaze me.
Rocky7
Wow, simply wow. You'll never see another match like it
gunnerkid107
Welldone Nasri, Welldone THro, Welldone Almunia ...erm ...i think? Diaby had an absolute shocker. Couldn't count on 2 hands how many times he gave the ball away pointlessly. Anyway. I'm gonna go back to bed.
FuiKaka
That'll give those cheating b-a-s-t-a-r-d-s something to think about next week. We can do this. 1-0 at Camp Nou. Come on boys!!!!
julieloveshenry4ever
Gotta say, what Cesc did tonight was legendary.
jaelle
Lets be honest, the tie is dead. But at least we didnt lose to Barca! So thats good. I just hope Arshavin, Gallas, Fabregas et al arent out for the season..
Sajit
why did Diaby cut his hair? He's back to *****e.
gunnerkid107
So: no Pique, Puyol or Cesc at the Camp Nou. My heart can't take much more of this.
jaelle
jaelle, in the sense?
Sajit
Tie is dead my arse. We got to the Nou Camp next week to face a side without it's first choice central defence. You saw what our boys did tonight ..... we got bitch slapped all over the park and they still couldn't beat us. For all their beautiful football it was two Bolton-esque punts up field. Our boys simply don't know when they're beat ..... and I ******** love them for it.
Rocky7
Arsenal!!! Arsenal!!! Arsenal!!! Arsenal!!!!
julieloveshenry4ever
Why the ***** can't we go to the Nou Camp and get a result?! COME ON ARSENAL!!!
gunnerkid107
Ok, the second goal wasn't quite a punt but it was just a ball over the top.
Rocky7
Tis is far from dead. Milito and Marquez are laughably bad.
TPowell
*Tie
TPowell
Almunia, Nasri, Theo and Clichy deserve tremendous credit tonight also ... ******** fantastic performances. Almunia might have *****ed up for their first goal, but he made sure we were still in a position to get back into this. Theo changed the game and Sami and Gael were just ******** work horses.
Rocky7
Spot on Rocky! Tie dead my ARSENAL!!!!! We can do this come on!!!
julieloveshenry4ever
Impressive stuff when you'd looked dead and buried in the first half. Conceding 2 away goals is not great, but on that evidence you shouldn't hold any fear going to the Camp Nou. Fabregas is a huge loss, but they've lost Puyol so it evens itself out. This result should give your team one hell of a lot of belief for the run in in the PL.
fifthcolumnblue
But we are also without Cesc, possibly Arshavin. Its NouCamp. United went there and held for a 0-0 draw...Chelsea , lost both times I think.
Sajit
also, we can't possibly play worse, right?!?!?! ;-)
TPowell
Fine Sajit, don't watch it then if you think its over.
TPowell
So no Puyol, no Cesc, no Pique in the next game? How about Diaby and Song?
GoonerLou
Just watching the replay of the penalty, and Cesc's reaction tells a massive story. We'd just fought back from two goals down and he's scored a pen against his old club, the club making Arsenal's lives hell with persistent speculation .... surely any player scoring that goal runs off celebrating doesnt he? No, Cesc goes gets the ball to go for the winner. Against f***ing Barcelona. This team has got stones the size of hippos.
Rocky7
What a great game! Tremendous fightback on your part.
Teddy_KGB
Tie isn't dead but it'll be scary to see what this Arsenal team will do against Mourinho's Inter.
jaelle
Sajit .... Cesc and Arshavin were both ***** tonight. Cesc may have scored the penner, but neither gave much towards the performance. We effectivly did it without them today, we can do it next week. We didn't even play remotely well but still drew with the Champions of Europe .... lol .... I wouldn't belive it if I hadnt watched it. We can beat ANYONE.
Rocky7
Oh and can I just say, I TURNED the match again. Yes! The old lucky charm works again ;-)
julieloveshenry4ever
Sajit, CHELSEA drew 0-0 okay. Good comeback for you. Positives are Pique and Puyol won't be there and Walcott. Negatives are no Fabregas and you are away.
ACLamp
TP, Ill be back :) but just being my usual pragmatic self.
Sajit
Sajit, in the sense that watching this Arsenal team keeps my heart doctor busy.
jaelle
Please eliminate Farca to keep England's pride then you can think about flopping.
ACLamp
Exactly TP, it can't be worse than the first half! What didn't kill you makes you stronger and all that. COME ON YOU GUNNERS! Their defence isn't unbeatable. And without Puyol and Pique, they ARE beatable!
GoonerLou
Hilarious post match analysis from Arseblog:
http://audioboo.fm/boos/111654-arsenal-2-2-barcelona-full-time
gunnerkid107
Surely we can take heart from the fact that Barca can't play much better than they did, and we can't play much worse. We can do this. I believe it.
Rocky7
Cesc shouldnt have started,didnt look fit,still he scored the pen and ruled Pique&Puyol out for 2nd leg
ajwb
Correctamundo! Couldn't beat us and we weren't playing as we can? The fear bubble has been popped. I have hope and I believe. Another San Siro like performance. Couldn't be prouder!
julieloveshenry4ever
haha sajit, I understand :)
TPowell
We can take Barcelona at the Nou Camp. We won at the San Siro and even at the Bernabeu. We are not a bad team on our travels and without Puyol and Pique, we can mash them up. Theo has to start and Denilson as well.
Keplaz
wouldn't surprise me at all if it's a repeat of the san siro. this arsenal team is fully capable of absolute genius, fight and grit --- that is, when it's not busy forgetting all about that. :-)
jaelle
I definitely choked up a bit as Thierry jogged onto the pitch. Wish he would have 'accidentally' tapped one in on the wrong goal.
gunnerkid107
For the first 25 mins we were utterly humiliated...Barca hounded, outclassed and wallopped us. This team is realy resilient though and this really was the ultimate example of that. The fact that a game which Barca should have won 5-1 or 4-0 ended 2-2. We are in with a fighting chance at Camp Nou and am sure that we wont ******foot around as much around Barca as we did in the first half.
Deltaforce
I can't tink about this game anymore .... I need a rest. Nighty night.
Rocky7
I'm feeling literally, physically exhausted as if I've played 90 minutes with nonstop running too. I also think I'm developing a heart problem.
GoonerLou
Great observation ajwb. Even in a game in which he was a passenger for most part, Cesc made a telling contribution. Us facing a makeshift centre back pair at Nou Camp while being even on goals is his gift to us. Hope we value that gift.
Deltaforce
Sagna,Song,Vermaelen,Clichy,Diaby(of this season),Denilson,Nasri,Walcott,Eboue,Bendtner... hmmm... good enough to beat Barca..hope so!
Sajit
What worries me is how many of our players looked like the walking wounded...
jaelle
Two words.........*****ing hell!!!!!!!!!!!
Armory
Punting the ball for both our goals?? What are u guys smokin? The buildup was good for the 1st one.decent for the 2nd.
agaterocks
No jaelle, you said "what cesc did today was legendary" - thats what I was asking you... in the sense.. ?
Sajit
Makes no difference that Puyol and Pique are out because the thing with this Barca team is that they're as vulnerable defensively as us but they just don't let you get near the back four, they keep possession ridiculously and then win it back high up. It's a masterful template. Note the difference in workrate between a Messi and Arshavin. Can't see us winning the return leg without the calming influence of Cesc. The only glimmer of hope is that, having been overawed, we can now come out of our shell and go for it. I thought Clichy and Cesc's spirit was amazing tonight.
Gooner_Vin
I understand Jaelle 100%, Cesc would rather nibble of his leg and throw it towards the goal if it meant scoring a goal for the Arsenal. Fabregas loves arsenal as much as we do. He was not top notch today, but were all 11 as die-hard today as Cesc, Barca would have been already making arrangements to pack their bags at half time, scared as hell of such crazy footballers. He would die on a pitch if it means winning the CL. That's why he is my favourite player ever.
Fabby69
Exactly right, Fabby. Cesc scored that penalty, grabbed the ball hobbling and immediately focused on getting his troops to resume playing and try to score another one. That kid's god massive cojones! :-D And he's a true blooded gunner!
jaelle
Abou diaby yet again was found out tonight.
garrincha1982
Man, I almost died tonight! And after 60mins, I thought we'd have to send the reserve team to spain and the first team to get counselling, because they were given a lesson. This must feel like a defeat to Barca. I'm sure it did something for our confidence, as we grew into the game the belief grew. We can beat them without Cesc, he wasn't on form today and gave the ball away a lot. And not having you first choice central defence unsettles any team, make no mistake. Riveting stuff!!
afri-gooner
Really because this is the 3rd big game in which he has completely been awful in,i mean what does he work on in training,the man couldn't pass,defend or position himself well enough to be of any help for the team but mostly for someone as massive as he is was being bullied of the ball especially defensively by busquets. Denilson really made a lot of good to your midfield because not only was he able to keep the ball and pass it simple,he also was positioning himself well enough to mark any players coming through the middle park and hurried the barca players the way diaby wasn't doing. I don't know if walcott starting would such a good idea because i definitely think that barca would have learned from this game that he is too quick for any of their players and will certainly be ready to combat his threat but if you were to concede early then introducing him would be obligatory. I hope arshavin is fit for the second leg because he is the only one who can link the attack a lot better than anyone on your team and please i hope arshavin plays as a striker or second striker because defending just isn't is forte. You definitely can take on barca as long as the players at the back defend and not make stupid mistakes like they did today.
garrincha1982
we have them too much respect. they were awesome today, but we made them look way better than what they really are. played too deep, too much space given in the centre, no composure in the central midfield are and surely we can only be better than this in spain. all of them need to watch a tape of this game and analyse themselves. i hope Arsene starts with Eboue and Walcott in spain, cuz without their two first choice centre backs, we are more than a match for them even without Cesc..
luckys_10
Who are you talking to garrincha1982? Did you anticipate that someone was going to defend Diaby, if you want I have been staunch defender of any Arsenal player apart from Silvestre and Traore.
gronedrone
diaby was crap today. not seen him play so bad for a while now. need a big game from him, and id start with Rosicky ahead of Arshavin even if Arsha is fit. we need to be patient and keep it tight at the start, not let barca have too much of the ball and i think rosicky will help the fullback a lot more than arsha, also Tomas owes us a big game now without Cesc. whatever happens here, it'll be one hell of a game!!
luckys_10
survival we did. next time we shoot to kill
Blunt G
A very interesting game. It seems to me that we saw a role reversal tonight, of sorts. Barcelona were technically the superior side, and yet Arsenal fought back and ground out an equaliser, which i feel they thoroughly deserved. Arsenal scrapped a point, if you like. And yet:how many times have we seen Arsenal come unstuck against a bunch of cloggers, who get... ahem... a rather dubious penalty? Have any of you stopped to consider the irony of that? I wonder what the Arsenal manager made of the penalty? I tell you what, based on his previous, if it had gone against him he would have been doing his ******** nut!!! So, for the forum to consider: Are you lucky cloggers, or brave warriors? I've no doubt you'll cast yourselves as brave warriors, but in the interests of balance and integrity, i feel very strongly that the inevitable rhetoric should be couched within its context etc. Your players were magnificent in defying the odds, they battled and fought as a way of coping with the deficit in class-and they deserve all the credit in the world. Do you not accept that this is what other teams do against you? Can you not understand why they get upset when you accuse of anti-football?
Tony Rocky Horror
I agree Lucky, but with the way this match has gone we should be in a better position next week. I thought Denilson also did well when he came on, and Eboue's industry was great to see. I won't miss Arshavin for this one. What a shame that we don't have Ramsey in Cesc's absence, especially as he can be so good through the middle. And van Persie...
afri-gooner
Dont think anyone here minds teams that play a hard fair game against Arsenal? Chelsea do it everytime we play them and we all accept what they do and how they do it. I didnt see any Arsenal players putting in knee high challenges tonight and nearly every time we fouled a Barca player we got a booking, if that happened in the premiership we would be playing against 9 men every week.
iceman10
We were well outplayed by Barca for large periods of the game but because we got lucky and got back into the tie it doesn't mean that we played anti-football. Other teams dont do this what we did to Barcelona did you see Messi repeatedly kicked and fouled to upset his rhythm? NO. The only reason we are in this tie is because Barcelona switched off and let us back into the game and also due to the fact that we never gave up but we didn't resort to any dodgy tactics to deal with Barca.
gronedrone
Tony, imo (and I know it's biased), in the last half hour we beat Barca at their own game. We hustled them off the ball, we passed well, the movement was good, we got into good positions and we played as a team. I think that's fantastic after the hammering we got in the first half, especially the first 20 minutes, and going a goal down after 30 sec's in the second half. That's glorious, and apart from some luck on the penalty, where did you see any "clogging"?
afri-gooner
doesent matter now whos missing, we have to play the players available so lets do the best we can with em. eboue and clichy were really good today. eboue looks really good at the back against a time so attacking as barca. their fullbacks are so average at defending we need to put them under a lot more pressure than what we did in this game. our lads have been given a footballing lesson by this great side tonite. on tuesday we'll find out how much have they learned from it..
luckys_10
Gronedrone, speaking of Messi: Did he not turn up tonight, or did we actually manage to keep him relatively quiet? Is that why he got subbed?
afri-gooner
Denilson was boss.
Tom14
I would actually play walcott on the left and eboue on the right as for me alves might a much better defender than maxwell but he is clumsier and always likely to be to physical for his own good which could bring him a early yellow card and then put him under pressure for the rest of the game but also because walcott running onto through balls would be able to just open his body and curl or shoot with his right foot and not his left . People might be happy with arshavin but he is a match winner in so many ways,because he can score but also create something out of nothing a bit like cesc but he has been unlucky with injuries and no one can question his cause for arsenal as he is played despite not being fully fit for a lot of this year, i would play him down the middle to not have him track back so much,you don't see barce waste messi on the wing anymore because he saves his energy to do some damage in the game. I love bendtner but damn his touch was so poor in the first half,he was one of the main reason why you were put in under so much pressure because the ball was sticking to him and marquez and milito are physical defenders who will be ready for him whereas arshavin movement and clever touches would make them more afraid of getting too close.
garrincha1982
Oh, and on another note, the first half performance from Barcelona was the most incredible thing i think i've seen for a long while. To come to play at the Emirates and move the ball around as if it were attached to a piece of string was beautful to watch. Anyone who was there was very priviledged to have seen that.
Tony Rocky Horror
If you watch the penalty again Puyol clearly, slyly and knowingly traps Cesc's right leg. Fair call by the ref but it probably wouldn't get called in the PL which tells you more about officiation in the PL. Plenty of cards dished out but while the tackle count was equal for both sides the foul count was only a little more against us than Barca. The fact that the ref was willing to card tackles that would be ignored in the PL shows the different refereeing standards in Europe. Yet there wasn't anything that could by English standards be deemed careless, reckless or using excessive force. This game goes to show that those claiming clamping down on reckless challenges would stop football being a contact sport are wrong.
Amos.
Cesc's leg broken now??
Will-i-am10
All I can say is we were lucky to escape real humiliation tonight. Barcelona didn't allow us to play for much of the first half and changed down to a lower gear after going 2-0 up. If we don't learn to close down teams as were were doing at the start of the season we'll be in for a right tonking in spain.
Wyn Mills
If you believe in momentum, it's all Arsenal's at the moment. Barca blew a two goal lead in a game they could have won in the first half if not for good goalkeeping and horrible finishing, they've lost their spiritual leader Puyol and other first choice centre back to cards, and I bet the charter flight back to Barcelona was pretty quiet tonight! Diaby rarely has two bad games in a row, Clichy, Nasri, and Denilson were massive tonight. We'll need to score two goal though, since the European refs always favour non-English teams in general, Barca in particular. No worries at this end.
elbondo
I am honestly gutted. News filtering in says Fabregas' season is over. How much more of this unfairness can we take?
Sajit
I don't think they can produce a first-half performance like that again. They are always good, but no team can play like that all the time. And we also can't do much worse in terms of misplaced passes etc. I hope this weekend's game will feel easy and comfortable for the team. They need to be able to re-establish their rythm and not tire themselves out too much. I hope there's no hangover...
afri-gooner
There was nothing even slightly dubious about that penalty, it was a nailed on, dead cert 100% penalty ... and subsequently, sending off. With regards to the "now you know how it feels" sentiment. I completely understand now how it feels to be supporters of other teams frustrated by Arsenal's awesome possession abilities. However, we did not "get a point" by clogging, kicking, intimidating and getting dodgy penalties, we got "a point" we did it by playing football, against a far superior team. A lesson to all perhaps? Yeah maybe not.
Rocky7
Wow, What a Game! If there had been a power-cut after 20mins, then this morning I wouldn't have been surprise by a 0:5 scoreline! Barcelona Played us off the pitch! I'm so Proud of The Arsenal the way they came back to 2:2! But totally Gutted to hear that Cesc maybe out for the rest of the Season for us and He may miss the World Cup! How can the Football Gods allow someone like Shawcross to go, whereas CESC won't!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hackneyval
Rocky, TRH is a media whore and we should probably ignore him. We did not play dirty, didn't do any tactical fouling, no high challenges and yet some part of the media is saying how we played like Bolton or Stoke last night. Bulls hit
Deltaforce
If anything Barca gave English football a lesson in how to play Arsenal without having to resort to wild tackles and crude challenges. I didnt see any of our players getting smashed around the park yet we were 2nd best for most of the night. Do you think 1 out of the likes of Allarydyce, Pulis etc will take this on board? f*'k off they will.
iceman10
Cesc scoring a pen with a broken leg? Nevermind, legendary status. Cesc has just been elevated to god-like status. Despite the crushing blow of that yellow card to rule him out of the Nou Camp game, he played his heart out for our team. Against Barca. If I hear one more idiot bang on that he's about to leave us for Catalonia, i am going to laugh in their face. THAT was committment last night of the highest order.
julieloveshenry4ever
Amusing thing was that the first Barca goal was a long ball played from their half (though with a fair amount of precision) and their second not greatly different whereas both ours were a result of good passing moves in and around their box. They were devastating in the first 20 minutes or so and had most of their shots on targets in that period. Were it not for some brilliant stops the game could have been over very quickly.
Amos.
"Do you not accept that this is what other teams do against you? Can you not understand why they get upset when you accuse of anti-football? " -- do you understand how utterly pompous and sanctimonious you sound? do you talk like this normally? do you view yourself as some kind of professorial scold whose moral duty it is to show gooners the errors of their ways? who is it that set you up at some kind of moral scold? why is it that you can't express yourself in a way that isn't scolding, lecturing from on high as some kind of judge and jury? do you honestly think that you'll get anyone here to listen to your pompous righteousness and say "oh yes tony, you're so right, tony, we're so chastened by your great moral judgment?" and do you go thru life talking to people like this normally? are you capable of just normal conversation?
jaelle
Fact is Arsenal came up against a team that played the space age version of the game your manager aspires to: and he was forced to revert to some simpler basics, such as getting the ball into wider areas with more speed, hitting the early cross, and pressurisng the back four. This eventually led to Puyol making a mistake which led to your equaliser. Actually, you reminded me very much of a Villa or an Everton in the way you went about your task-resourceful shall we say. And yet, if anyone dares to challenge you by playing this way, they are villified. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. So lets have enough of this myth perpetuation that the world is out to get Arsenal. Teams deploy the tactics that they have to in order to get the right result. I could go on to the referee (very favourable to you) Guardiola (did he accuse Wenger of playing long balls, i wonder?) and Wenger himself (was he angry at the peanlty i wonder...not likely, this one went his way.
Tony Rocky Horror
Jaelle, if you read back my statements you'll see i have roundly applauded your team. I have my faults like any human being. What i object to is the perpetuation if this idea that you must match Arsenal's philosophy aswell as keep up with the scoreline, and if you don't, they what you deserve is a slating, rather than a bit of common or garden respect: that's all.
Tony Rocky Horror
I wonder if the Barcelona news has a front page headline which reads 'football was cheated in London last night'!!!!
Tony Rocky Horror
Load of bollox that. Arrogant player-snatchers got the smirks wiped off their faces by late counter strike in London- more like.
julieloveshenry4ever
Tony, YOU ARE CREATING A STRAWMAN ARGUMENT, you're *****ing in the fkg wind, you're arguing from a completely ERRONEOUS position, but one you insist on clinging to. You've built up this media-created strawman stereotype in your head: Arsenal and all their supporters believe no team has a right to resort to tactics that can counter our passing game. It is YOU who refuses to understand that every single gooner on the planet understands that teams must do what they do to counter our passing game. It is YOU who insists on thinking that we all believe teams should just lie down and let us roll over. It is YOU who fail to make distinctions. YOU are working from an idea that doesn't exist, a media cliche that simply doesn't exist. That's why you'll get no one here to accept your stupid posts as in any way valid. And btw, WHEN DID WE RESORT TO LONG BALLS yesterday? Our first goal was the result of a great passing play--it was Barca's goals that came for good, precise longballs.
jaelle
Tony, when you stop arguing from cliches and stereotypes about us, we'll start to take you seriously.
jaelle
Jaelle, i can't be arsed to carry on bickering like this, i've made my point, and in doing so tried to be as fair and as even handed (and even extremely complimentary as it happens) as i can be. I'm not going to concede any more ground. You have your views and i have mine, and if we were face to face right now we'd be having a perfectly reasonble conversation no doubt, picking up on each others non-threatening, non-verbal signals etc, so i'm happy to leave it at that.
Tony Rocky Horror
Tony, honestly, what did you expect when you came on here? Yes, you've been complimentary up to a point but for the most part your posts have been all of one theme: trying to point out our "wrong thinking" about football (admittedly without using insults like so many do) and trying to convince us that our view of things is all wrong, that we're unfair and unjust. What YOU can't handle is that none of us accepts your stereotyped view of the way we think about opponents. As I said, your arguments begin from a cliched premise of our position -- so no one here will credit you for anything.
jaelle
ok
Tony Rocky Horror
 

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