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Does World's Best Team Really Need 12 Men?

I think it's safe to say that that was the expected result wasn't it?

I hoped that we could sneak through, but I always felt we didn't have enough to get through. The team to knock us out two seasons running is quite simply, in my opinion, the best team I've ever seen in my life.

With and without the ball, they are immense, all of their players are comfortable with the ball and work horses without it, was there any chance we could get the result we needed?

Well despite losing our keeper in the first half, and then suffering one of the most outrageous refereeing decisions I've ever seen, we surprisingly almost 'Nick'ed it right at the death when Jack Wilshere fed in Nicklas Bendtner. Sadly it was not to be and Bendtner's control let him down.

Our lads were thoroughly out played, we never got a look-in, but there will always be that niggling 'what-if' had van Persie had not have been sent off for for taking a shot on goal after the whistle had been blown.

Sky sports reported the timing between whistle and shot was a mere second. 1 second for Robin to hear an un-hearable whistle and stop himself from pulling the trigger. It just wasn't possible.

I don't want to come across as a whiner, I know I'm a whiner, but when you have Villa fans, Chelsea fans, and even Spurs fans coming to our site and saying we'd been ripped off then you know something is amiss.

I'm under no delusions that it's most likely we probably would still have lost, but when you see Nicklas Bendtner's chance right at the end, I look on in despair at what could have been if it were Robin van Persie in that position.

The only chance we've had to face Barcelona in a fair fight, whether it be down to injury or red cards (justified or otherwise) was three weeks ago, and we won. As I said, it probably wouldn't have been the same this time ..... but at least give us a fighting chance.

10 men against the 12 men of the best team in world? I'm proud we only lost on aggregate by one goal.




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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday March 8 2011

Time: 9:59PM

Your Comments

seconded, stupid ref crippled our attack but to be fair they were immense.
nakcuh
Indeed nakcuh. We were on the back foot all night. But we we all square up until RvP got sent off. How many times have we been slagged off by the media for ripping other sides to pieces and not winning .... Barcelona almost did the same tonight. We could have won it. Would it have been undeserved? Yes, completely, but we held on long enough here to be in with a chance. I'd prefer we'd have lost 4-0 than to have lost like this.
Rocky7
playing football with 12 men everytime makes you worlds best, obviously.
49ers
The referee made a rash decision, I don't think he had bad intent unlike Phil Dowd at Newcastle. Still proud of the boys though, and hopefully they'll bounce back at OT.
gronedrone
SKY w@nkfest is doing me in. When Chelsea and Inter defend as we did for 70 minutes there marvellous (Almunia made 1 save before the red card) when we do it were outplayed by some mythical gods. The game plan was go into the last 20 still in the tie the boys did that and but for a scandalous decision we would have had a great chance to win this tie. By the way Barca More than a club? Maybe back in the day when they were true to their traditions but this team of snide c*@ts? not a chancce.
iceman10
Well said. They don't need the 12 men.
HK_Gunner
They are the best team in the world 49, they didn't need any help in destroying us. Despite them having nearly all of the ball, they covered over 4000 metres more than we did. That's how hard they work, and they completely deserve their victory, I'm not arguing that. All I want is the chance to be able to do what other teams do to us now and again ..... grab and undeserved result.
Rocky7
The second yellow for VP was a bit harsh (for kicking the ball away), but in truth VP was damn stupid. He already was on a yellow that should have been a red, and the ref had warned him. I'm sure from the refs perspective, the VP act of kicking the ball was impudent and challenged his authority. VP really should have been more mature given the circumstances. Do the Gooners really think that all six yellow cards were purely a function of a biased ref? You can believe that if and only if you're not able to think dispassionately. Tough loss, but deserved, I'm afraid. No need to hang your heads, though.
spurs in brasil
How long would Fergie's media blackout last if Rooney had been sent off for the same offence?
ishman
S-I-B .... there was one single second between the whistle and Rob's shot. 95,000 people whistling at the same time .... how's he supposed to hear that and react in time?
Rocky7
It's the what if's that hurt the most
gunnerkid107
are you stupid? proud? they got dominated. 10 men, 12 men, 15 men, 25 men. You didn't touch the ball.
WhiteHartSpur
Sending off was ridiculous. BUT.... Zero attempts at goal and itís the refs fault you lost? The ref was ***** in more than that one decision, and in regards to both sides, when are you lot and especially your manager going to learn to show some class?
dangerousa
I fancy another go at them next year. UEFA officials can go **** themselves. At least we saw our team beat them at the Grove. Back to the Prem, COYGs!!!
julieloveshenry4ever
spursinbrasil I know as a spurs supporter you support two teams; Tottenham, and Arsenal's opponents but the first yellow for RVP was never a red card. He pushed Alves near the chest area and he Alves held his face to suggest he was hit in the face.
gronedrone
spud in brine the point is when there is only 1 sec between the whistle and the shot RvP had little chance to stop and even less chance of hearing the whistle it that cauldron.
Armory
WHS - Let's see how proud you are of your boys if you get through and face Barca. We lost by one goal against the best team I've ever seen. No shame in that.
Rocky7
Hats off to the boss: "Two groups of people will be unhappy about the result: those who love Arsenal, and those who love football."
GoonerLou
iceman, when teams visit the emirates and play that tactic to be in still in the game @70 minutes, you call them anti footballing you make me laugh, should of been all over in first half, and RVP didnt get a yellow for he bad tackle an ur defender should of got another yellow for hes tackle for peno but didnt.
123spurs
What are you spuds smoking? Did anyone here say that we were out because of the Ref? No- full acknowledgement of them in control BUT reducing us to 10 men in those circumstances- not a level playing field. 4-3 on aggregate- THAT'S NO TROUNCING up against probably the deadliest club side ever in football. Yes I am proud of my boys. You'd probably be out of it halfway through the first leg, so button it.
julieloveshenry4ever
show me one post where Ive said anything about anti football you silly ********.
iceman10
123 - That's anti-football because that's how they set up to play. We were forced to play that way, by a bunch of footballing evil geniuses.
Rocky7
In the first half, long before VP was ousted, Arsenic had possession only 38% of the time. Barca didn't need the ref to dominate the match. That being said, there's nothing to be ashamed of except the loss of self control at times. See you guys in North London in a few weeks.
spurs in brasil
julie it should of been a cricket score,
123spurs
Firstly, Well done to Barcellona. No question that the better team won, but to be denied the chance to challenge on a level playing field right to the end is the thing that's most galling. The ref did us no favours all night. Barcelona are a talented team, but they're also cute and know how to milk the ref. Every challenge by our lot pulled up by the ref whereas Barca were free to steam into our players and knock us to the ground. Awful officiating.
Wyn Mills
You thought the ref's mad to send RvP off? See what he did to some abusive fans in a Swiss cup game: http://www.20min.ch/dyim/2106e8/B.M600,1000/images/content/1/4/4/14466050/8/topelement.jpg
GoonerLou
What about the pen they should have had? This is denial, you were COMPLETELY out played and were lucky not to get thrashed if it wasn't for the keeper.
jackstan
The game plan was go into the last 20 still in the tie the boys..........but you done nothing in first half to suggest that, as wenger often goes by STATS. im off. COYS
123spurs
The best team won. There's little doubt about that but they didn't need the help they got. It would still have been a big ask with 11 men but the possession stats and the shots against stats were only ever helped by playing against 10 men for a third of the game. They were always going to dominate possession and shots for as they did against Inter last season. If we were to come out in front in this tie it would have needed things to go for us. It didn't but for all that you still have to admire the way they can play.
Amos.
Well if it had been YOU lot it would've been, 123. Don't come that with me- referee oiled the wheels as usual. And of course we should be proud. We beat them at the Grove.
julieloveshenry4ever
In reference to what Wenger said, I'm a massive football fan, and I have no problem with Arsenal losing. Because Barca were the better team by about 65, 000 miles.
Tony Rocky Horror
I admire the way they play certainly Amos but not the way they BEHAVE. For all their brilliance, they're dirty.
julieloveshenry4ever
Barca vs 11 men 2 goals in 160 minutes, Barca vs 10 men 2 goals in 20 minutes. Game changer.
iceman10
Is it so difficult to get the message that we're not complaining about the RESULT? lol In fact I'm surprised they didn't win by a bigger margin, such was their dominance and brilliance. Fair result completely. But when Arsenal dominate without winning, people say playing good football doesn't necessarily mean you have a divine right to win yada yada yada. We showed in the first leg that with justice and fit players, we beat them. It's just that we never had a chance to do so over 2 legs. I'm with Julie, I want to get them again next season, cos I truly feel we're ready to test ourselves against the best there is.
GoonerLou
Just seen the Rvp sending off again,and he did kinda miss hit the shot..maybe a miss with his chocolate leg or maybe he knew what he was doing.Still a yellow card is BS
ajwb
Nobody is disputing that Barcelona were by far the better team. If the purest footballing side from the premiership couldn't get close to them, they must be pretty damn special. Which is what made the decision to reduce us to 10 men on a whim ridiculous. Who wants Barca next?
Deltaforce
Are you still trolling around TRH? Your obsession with us us is very amusing. I don't go near your site because I consider you lot beneath my notice. How many points are you behind us AGAIN? Wonder what date St Totteringham's Day will fall on this year? Toddle off Tiny Tott...
julieloveshenry4ever
how do you no that you cant say that , forgot about game we came from from 4 down away to inter remember an jenas was sent off after about 30min an it ended 4-3,
123spurs
we may have just seen the first case of a player getting booked for being offside
49ers
We know the answer to the question 'Does the world's best team really need 12 men?' Now can you also tell me 'Does the world's best team really need to be sneaky with fouls and fall and roll around clutching their faces when they got hit in the chest etc.?'
GoonerLou
Well said Lou and Delta. No one is disputing the aggregate result just the officiating reducing us to 10 men at a crucial point.
julieloveshenry4ever
The Barca Arsenal comparisons should stop now, there's NO comparison. Maybe you should look over your shoulder julie because it looks like your team of bottlers are crumbling and getting injured, another season of ***** all!
jackstan
10 men at a crucial point? What exactly were u doing with 11 men with 9 men behind the ball? It wouldn't have made any difference, u were just *****, end of!
jackstan
Barca certainly know how to buy a foul but in a bizarre sort of way there's even a skill in that. As well as keeping possession they win possession back very well too. You have to admire the way they play. The confidence they get from only ever having to compete in a two horse race in their own league helps them to play with confidence of course. But we've shown we can beat them. Just need to do what we do a little better in the future. That will come.
Amos.
Yeah julie. But you're out and we're still in. Which means that technically you're the one tottering..out of the biggest cup competition in the world!!! Oh and did I mention, it's a year ending in one...and the final's at Wembley!!!! All together now........
Tony Rocky Horror
123, don't even COMPARE either of those two Milan sides to this Barca team. NOBODY has faced a deadlier club side than this EVER. One thing I can say for certain is that we'd wipe the the floor with the Milans. No shame in losing on aggregate to Messi and Co. In fact, we are able to say WE BEAT THEM.
julieloveshenry4ever
I think jackstan's trying to deflect some of the worries the chavs have about the way their season has crumbled on to other teams. Why not toddle off and try and cheer your own lot up jackstan. You're just trolling here.
Amos.
Hey,you guys shouldn't totally blame this on the referee,first half you had all your players and basically only RVP was inj their half.You couldn't string two passes together and they outplayed you.If not for Almunia's heroics today,this could easily have been 4 or 5 nil.having said that,the red card just goes to prove that UEFA hates English clubs.And i'll even go as far as saying Barca are their favourite club.The match against Chelsea at SB,I almost cried.Barca is a supernatural team yes,but no oppositionn team needs the added disadvantage of an obviously biased referee!I bet Chelsea gets Barca next or Spurs.They'll try and use Barca to clear out all the English opposition.Still,you guys didn't put up a fight and praising your defense is daft,you had two defensive layers of 4 men each and Villa still managed to miss so many chances.The Referee was biased but that wasn't Arsenal playing Arsenal football out there today
alex6
Straight-talking Robin in post-match interview: http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/robin-van-persie-after-barcelona-loss-8709336/
GoonerLou
juile who were the Current CL winners, i rest my case, and julie, you bearly got through the easist group stages so dont give false hopes saying you could beat milan an inter etc
123spurs
Look over our shoulder at WHO?! YOU?!!!!!! Ahahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa! You should be in stand-up mate. Just HOW are we crumbling in the League? We're sitting nicely, thank you. Last time I looked, you got SPANKED by Blackpool and Wolves gave you a right mauling which the ref had to save you from. Yes, aren't out of CL YET. Enjoy it while you can because YOU WON'T BE IN IT NEXT YEAR.
julieloveshenry4ever
Of course there's no guarantee we would have progressed with Robin still on the pitch, but the sending off totally killed it as a contest: getting a result with 10 men, against the best team in the world, is nigh impossible. It's gonna be difficult for Arsenal to achieve anything this season when we're consistently given ***** refs and outrageous decisions. We're due an awful lot of luck in this title run in. Somehow I can't see it. On a side note, anyone hear Tyler make some sly remark about Arsenal being "the worst to deal with injustice"? Fergie throwing a strop and refusing to talk to the media must have slipped his mind. You know, as it was all of two days ago. ****. Sky, referees and the Barca players who resort to cheating despite their brilliance. ***** em all. UTA.
super_gooner
Alex, Almunia made 1 save and we conceeded 1 goal before the red card, the defence and midfield did pretty well when we had 11 on the pitch. We didnt play well going forward but Barca are vunerable in the last quarter of games, weve proved that twice and the ref made sure they wouldnt be vunerable in the last quarter of this game.
iceman10
it was a game of 2 legs and you lost, thats like me saying we had more shot on goal but we still lost
123spurs
Give over 123, we raced out of the blocks in the first three games of the Group then got lazy. And yes I will say that about the Milans because we have ALREADY battered BOTH those teams in their own backyards. 5-1 and 2-0 respectively as I recall.
julieloveshenry4ever
123 I know you havent been in the CL for long but AC Milan and Inter Milan are two different teams and the team you beat is the former. Beat Inter and then we'll talk again. Btw we have beaten both these teams and quite comfortably at that.
Deltaforce
123, in a game of two legs we won 1. Can you say the same about this Barca team?
Deltaforce
Oh BEHAVE! We won one. They won one. They scored one more goal than us after Ref decided to send RVP off. Aggregate win.
julieloveshenry4ever
Why is it so difficult to stay on topic? Why does every single thread have to descend into a silly childish beside-the-point yelling match? We're not talking about the bloody result, it's fair given the teams' relative strengths. It's about the ref's performance.
GoonerLou
This needn't be a debate concerned with spuds looking to salve their inferiority complexes by basking in our defeats. They can be judged on their own achievements and failures. It doesn't have a place on this thread.
Amos.
...what was that about Chelski having the League wrapped up by December?!! That went well didn't it.
julieloveshenry4ever
I'd love to see how other teams wouldn't 'embarrass' themselves against the best team in the world. Look forward to it really.
GoonerLou
Wenger in post-match interview: http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/arsene-wenger-questions-referee-after-barca-loss-8709596/
GoonerLou
I expected us to challenge for the ball more than we did in midfield to be honest. I thought Cesc and Diaby were very poor tonight. Both wanted far more time on the ball than they were ever going to get. Cesc's mind is already playing at the Nou Camp next season and Diaby showed again that he has none of the 360 degree awareness that you need at top level. In speed of thought and movement we seemed to be playing in slow motion compared to Barcelona. Once more the only player who really rose to the occasion (apart from our excellent defence) was Mr Wilshire. He showed true grit tonight. I wish we could clone him!
Wyn Mills
Can't understand some of the comments here..Where was RVP being flagged offside? In Barca's half..what are Arsenal doing in barca's half that time? - Counter attacking them. What are the odds of another 4-5 RVP-Fab-Nasri counter-attacks in the second half from Arsenal would bring? Stop saying the result and stats won't change if RVP still on the field..To spuddies - we've knocked AC Milan out before in CL (Which we play every year).. get some respect and see ur teams go through before spilling bull***** here
MYGoon
Sorry, arsenal will win nothing with Wenger, totally inept under critical moment. Done nothing to protect his lead or protect his boys tactically when down to 10 men.
makkumwai
Boys.......... unlucky, and I'm saying this as a Spurs fan. That RvP sending off was utterly, utterly ridiculous. I think the best team most definitely won, as such little pressure on the ball made it too easy for Barca, but if that chance at the end had fallen to RvPs feet instead of Bendtner things could have been very different. There are regular terrible decisions but todays was truly something else.
oi.you.there
One question: what if we keep defending like this, plus the possession we have in the Prem, hmmm?
GoonerLou
Guardiola: "We deserved to win the tie with more than 4-3 but if Mascherano doesn't make that run to stop Bendtner, we're out."
iceman10
It's true that our midfield found it hard to deal with Barca tonight. They did in the first leg too. There's was an infinitely more experienced midfield than ours. Rosicky was the only one in midfield able to show the composure to get enough of his passes completed while passing at a decent rate. It was really a case of us holding out long enough to get enough possession in the latter stages of the game to create chances. We'll never know if we would have been able to do so as playing with 10 men leaves that question unanswerable. The best team won tonight but we know ourselves that the best team doesn't always win. It's events that decide games like these.
Amos.
a time of what ifs. outplayed - yes. but, with a lead on aggregate and a joke sending off, i feel sickened that barca go through via a ridiculous ref..... yet again. and now time for conspiracy theories.
jerrysand
I wouldn't recommend testing it in the PL Goonerlou. To defend like that we'd have to be under pressure like that.
Amos.
By 'like that' I don't mean the frequency of brilliant blocks, etc. But the way we conducted ourselves at the back, right place right time, good keeping, etc. Of course I don't want to see shot after shot against us, duh!
GoonerLou
Ah, Nicky B....you could have won it for us.
Wyn Mills
Just saw on twitter, funny how Guardiola said Wenger told him to congratulate the ref lol... And here, 'previous' of Massimo Busacca? http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/2011/03/massimo-busacca-referee-barcelona-arsenal/
GoonerLou
I find it amazing that the rare number of times we did actually venture into the Barca half we looked dangerous. This game was all about counter-attacking with precision, but we never managed to execute the right game plan often enough to make the difference. For all their possession Barcelona are a beatable team if the tactics are spot on. Their defence was there for the taking.
Wyn Mills
@Makkumwai: Arsenal will win nothing with Wenger? Excuse me- have you just dropped down from Planet Zog? Wenger has already delivered SEVEN major trophies to this club, an Unbeaten Season, not to mention year-on-year Champions League participation (including a Final where, surprise surprise, the UEFA ref red carded one of our players against Barca as well), and ALL under Financial Fair Play. Oh yes- what an "unsuccessful" manager!
julieloveshenry4ever
Scoring against Barca isn't the hardest task it's getting enough of the ball in order to score with it. For the tactics to have been spot on we'd have needed 11 men. We'll never know if we would have carved out and taken the one chance we needed no matter how much it would have been against the run of play but you can see that it was doable.
Amos.
Even with 11 men we were struggling a bit. I did, however, get the impression we were playing the long game, gambling on Barca slowing down...which to some extent they did. Unfortunetly by then we'd lost our main striker. It was a risky strategy by Wenger, but an understandable one. I just wish we had closed down a bit more and got in their faces. Easy to say as a viewer, I'm sure!
Wyn Mills
Listen - The trolls gotta eat, but if we don't feed them they'll curl up and die. No matter what would have happened they'd be here slagging us off one way or another, so just ignore them, it's just part of football. I've personally found the best way to cope with defeat is copius amounts of Stella and a double fried egg butty!
Rocky7
Great effort by your defence tonight, they were brilliant against a fabulous Barca. I thought the ref was terrible with that decision, very harsh indeed. But i thought you were poor in attack and in possession, probably the worst ive seen you this season
HuddersfieldYiddo
tough loss to swollow for the gooners. the epl again suffers the loss due to poor european officials. maybe spurs can repay the spanish giants next round
Miami Spur
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGF7hPSyKsg . Barcelona are almost always favoured by referees. That's life. Keep your chin up.
k.chelski
"maybe spurs can repay the spanish giants next round". That's as likely as Robbie Keane getting a PHD.
k.chelski
I haven't seen another team which rolls on their arses at the slightest of touches. All sissy poncy ****s they have in their team.
Eboue=GOD
I watched that game k.chelski and I was stunned by the ref. I have the utmost sympathy for the way you guys went out that season.
Eboue=GOD
That's probably the worst I've seen Arsenal keep possession in several years HY. Yes Fabregas and Diaby were very wasteful, but overall it's not really our fault. Barcelona are just as brilliant off the ball as they are on it.
gunnerkid107
jackstan is a self-proclaimed idiot, you might find it useful to ignore him. Yes Barca dominated possession. So what? Barca dominated Inter last year in the semis and still failed to win, so using possession or distance covered as stats to motivate turning a blind eye to the atrocious refereeing is pathetic grandstanding. The stats from last year when Mourinho's Inter beat Barca by piling men behind the ball was not that much worse than what Arsenal displayed today. Barca had an ungodly ball possession percentage and still lost to Inter. Up until the last 20 minutes to go, Arsenal was very much in the game even with 0 shots on goal. Arsenal would very well have gone on to lose the game but it was not given the chance to fight fair and square. As Drogba put it not too long ago, that was a fecking disgrace but people non-sympathetic to the Chelsea cause were too happy to gloat over the tragedy than realize it could have been them. The champions league is a farce. As someone above said, two groups of people were disappointed with the game today: Arsenal and their fans that never had the chance to fight fairly, and fans of the beautiful game. Anyone who cannot see the grotesque dis-figuration of the game by this referee's performance is in denial and I hope their team gets a dose of this abuse next until all fans of the game worldwide protest at this brazen and ugly side of the game.
essienic
I said it a couple of years ago and I'll say it again now, the official for that Chelsea-Barcelona match was the WORST I have seen in my lifetime. I still would be furious.
gunnerkid107
Good points essienic as always.
Deltaforce
I said yesterday that we needed a fair ref. That red card for Robin was utterly ridiculous. It's hard enough playing Barca with 11 men, but with 10 its nigh on impossible. The ref cheated us and i don't buy the Barca deserved their win lines. They had a massive help from the ref as in previous seasons. They are good enough to win without it. It wasn't even subtle. 2 minutes after we scored the ref sends one of our players off to change the balance. He would never have dared sending off a Messi or Ronaldo in that position.
Gael-Force
Barca are just not allowed to lose at home in the champions league. It just isn't right. It's amazing that Mourinho could do it, which is why it was so sweet to see (that and their bitterness in turning on the sprinklers). But still, even if they're dominating the game, the slightest discomfort and the ref just has to make doubly sure that they will win. Then everyone who doesn't even watch or know anything about football can sit back and watch and bow down in awe as Barca and their beautiful diving football go on to win the treble or quintuple or whatever the hell. The fact that they always have to make up for the losses they sustained away at the Nou Camp shows you. Outside of Spain, they get rolled over by Kiev, Copenhagen, Chelsea, Arsenal. No if we go through we'll probably end up facing them in the next round. Sigh.
BlueBanes
And pummelling Spanish teams (besides the likes of Real and Atletico Madrid/Valencia) 5 nil every week while Messi picks up his 50th goal isn't all that impressive since I reckon most of those Spanish sides wouldn't even survive in the championship.
BlueBanes
guys first let me just say tht u played very well,barca even without any help is formidible..but tht decision actually killed u people,u fought well over the 2 legs,no shame in getting beaten by geniuses such as messi,xavi etc...I feel tht the only way to beat barca is the mourinho way...get in their faces and just be their all day long,all this LEGEND of barca started with our match at the semi couple of years back...we know how and wht happened then...sometimes I wonder if tht day with a competent ref barca was defeated then would they have been the same team as now???? Honestly I dont really see them getting defeated this season in CL,sad but true..good luck for the rest of the season
kishaloy_nag_blue
ANyone here who thinks teams can go to the Nou Camp and dominate possession is a fool. The game plan was always to defend resolutely and hope Robin produces something special. After the sending-off, we should have just parked the bus.
Gael-Force
After the sending-off, we really should have made a mockery of the game, stayed tight in defense, hoofed the ball to the stands for 35 minutes and saving energy. We couldnt hold out for 35 minutes down to 10 men against this team. That was obvious to me.
Gael-Force
I don't think there's a single Arsenal fan who believes we deserved it, or that we were the better team. But that's irrelevant. What is relevant is that at the time RVP was sent off, no matter how rubbish we were, we were in the winning position, and a scoreless 2nd half meant going through on aggregate. No, we didn't deserve it, but how many times have we seen Arsenal dominate games only to get beaten by a negative-minded team's first and only shot on target? The most deserving team doesn't always win. We got screwed by one of the most ridiculous reffing decisions I've ever seen.
krismon1
As compelling as this season has been to watch both domestically and in Europe, there has been some truly shocking officiating. As was said, the ridiculous second yellow for Robin wasn't even subtle. Nobody is disputing the aggregate result performance-wise, but you ought to expect a level playing field from the Officials- no chance. If we'd been allowed to keep 11 men for the remaining time, we might've made it. As for Barca, brilliant players all but some of the dirtiest, sneakiest most disrespectful cretins in Sport. Those pictures of them throttling RVP and Nasri are a total disgrace and something should be made of that. Worst officiating I've seen in Europe since the night Chelsea were robbed at the Bridge by the same group of UEFA's favourite darlings.
julieloveshenry4ever
Let's not be bitter. Barcelona, on the balance of play, were well worth their win. They are far and away the most talented side in Europe. We came close to pulling off the result of the competition but ultimately we didn't put enough into the game to justify going through, all things including bad officiating considered. Guardiola (who I have a lot of respect for) was right. We hardly strung a decent sequence of passes together. People say: how can we take it to Barca without having the ball? I reply: the same way Barca came at us when we didn't have it. Close down the spaces. Do the simple things first. Wilshire implored his team mates to hunt in packs before the game, but I saw nothing of that last night. We are simply not a team who like to press and force errors. Our attitude is 'you play first and then its our turn', when it should be 'what are you doing with the ball? It's ours'. Until that attitude changes we won't realise the potential of this team. And until Wenger takes the matter of winning the group stages more seriously we will continue to mess up strategically in this competition.
Wyn Mills
Sorry Wyn but that is total crap. Since when did "justification" merit winning? There have been countless games where WE have tonked the opposition but didn't come away with the win only to be told, the only thing that really matters is the result. Well do us a favour and judge us all the same way then. The final result stands and the winners deserve to win because they pulled off the result. And if we hadn't had a disgraceful ref last night and had kept RVP on- if we'd made it over the line, we would've deserved it. Don't give me that rubbish about stats.
julieloveshenry4ever
...and that strategy you are criticizing Wenger for was working until the Ref got involved and it might have worked in the overall result-or might not have- if we'd kept 11 men on the pitch for the last 30 mins. But we'll never know that, will we. And we're not being bitter at Barca's win at all- it's the officiating we have the hump with!
julieloveshenry4ever
Spurs fan here. The answer to your question of course is no! Barca players strangled two of your players and their manager slapped Wilshere around the face! Nasri was scissor tackled from behind and they squared up to countless of your players. Not a single yellow or word of rebuke - and there are FIVE officials at these matches! Not sure how you can be time wasting just a few minutes into the 2nd half - so that yellow was a joke too. Barcelona looked to wind you up and they played the ref. Spoiled the game.
TShill7
There's nothing wrong with the attitude of the team. We didn't put much of a passing sequence together simply because we couldn't get the ball off them and when we did they were much better at getting it back. They have greater ability than we do and the confidence to use it honed in a two horse race of a league. Their's was a more mature and experienced midfield than ours as well as being pretty good. The belief, with some justification, was that we would get more of the ball in the second half. It still may not have been enough to win the match but we didn't have to win it to go through. No one can deny that the best team won or that Barca's skills are not to be admired. The only regret is that even if this leg wasn't winnable the tie was. You can find fault with our ability to do what Barca did but our attitude, even down to 10 men, was to keep going.
Amos.
Julie, understand your anger at the moment. I'm also seething at some of the game's injustices. But if you were to look at that game as a neutral you'd have to say Barcelona had the most chances and played the better football. At the end of the day they scored more goals too. Yes, we almost sneaked one at the end and I'd have been as ecstatic as the next man if B52 had buried that. But in the same way that we sometimes complain we don't get what we deserve when we dominate and draw/lose a match I think it would have been tough on Barca to have gone out like that. We defended brilliantly last night, but no way can you convince me we put up enough of an attacking display to merit the win. Yes the result matters in the end, but so does the way you get to it.
Wyn Mills
It was an OUTRAGEOUS decision. You might just have nicked it with RvP on, but no one will ever know that now. I am a Chelsea fan, but have no hesitation in saying that you guys really had the wrong end of the decisions yesterday .... i felt that Danny Alves should have had at least a few offside decisions go against him instead of all the marginal decisions going his way ... bad luck, guys.
ZeeNut
I have watched spurs batter teams in the last 2 seasons to then go and loose to a quick break or a lucky goal it happens so for anyone to say that the VP sending off in the game had no bearing on the result is an absolute load of shat, if you have the focal point for the breakaway you always have that chance of nicking one do you really think VP would of missed bendtners chance i think not massive commiserations from a spurs fan
jljyid
I think we need to be honest about our team's limitations and not embark on another referee bashing spree. Yes, he was awful and favoured Barca. What the hell do we expect in the Nou Camp with FIFA officials hovering in the shadows? Lots of ifs and buts. The truth is we could have been a bit more offensive last night rather than trying to protect a small lead. It didn't work. We got a fortunate goal from a set piece and sat back again. We got punished again. Our work rate was nowhere near our opponents, and at the end of the day that was the difference.
Wyn Mills
Prior to the red card Barca had 4 shots on target three of which were comfortably saved and 4 off target that didn't really threaten the goal. So despite all their dominance we were coping with them. Only after the sending off when they had 12 more attempts in the last 35 minutes+ 9 of which were on target did their superiority really manifest itself and the saves we had to make (kudos to Almunia by the way) look desperate. That we would have coped with them better than we did is a fair assumption even if it still may not have been enough to win the tie.
Amos.
I agree about the failure to award offside decisions. Some were not even marginal. Really bad officiating.
Wyn Mills
The sending off was 3 minutes after the goal Wyn! To say we sat back out of choice rather than necessity in defending a lead after RvP was sent off for taking a shot at their goal isn't being honest about our limitations.
Amos.
Amos, fair enough. But our little attacking spurt at the end proved to me we had enough gas in the tank and tactical awareness of Barca's defensive frailties to have mounted more attacking sprees than we did. After Wenger's pre-match talk about not going to the Nou Camp to defend a lead that is exactly what we tried to do.
Wyn Mills
I think that's a bit harsh on us Wyn. No one is disputing that they're the best in the world at what they do but we deserve a bit more credit for our performance in the whole tie. And it doesn't help anyone if the Ref is booking your players for nothing and blatantly ignoring physical assaults on at least two of our players, with no punishment whatsoever. Fair officiating is all we want. But English teams have no chance of that in Europe. At 1-1 WE were going through. At the Nou Camp UEFA weren't about to countenance that. And they weren't even subtle about it. I think we did well in this tie and came very close considering that no sod gave us a chance. We still beat them at home, that is my satisfaction. Let them have the CL and go back to their soft, two-horse league where they get everything their own way and everybody rolls over for them. We can get back to our BRILLIANTLY COMPETITIVE league where every 3 points is hard-earned. Our team have to play tough physical battles week-in, week-out and are sitting in a great position. I'll take the EPL over CL or La Liga any day.
julieloveshenry4ever
Not one shot on target all game . ( thats includes the 1st half when u had 11 men ) . dont let the red card cloud the fact that u were tottally outclassed again .
THFC-5-1
...and we're still having a very good season I think.
julieloveshenry4ever
I don't think we had much choice other than to defend in the first half. Any more than we did in the first leg at the Emirates. It wasn't through choice but other than Cesc's stupid mistake we did defend pretty well. Though we didn't put the ball in the net ourselves early in the second half it wouldn't have got there if we hadn't been attacking....and RvP wouldn't have been sent off if we weren't in an attacking position less than 3 minutes after scoring. We were always going to have to defend a lead but it's misleading to suggest we went there without any ambition at all. We'll never know how the second half would have panned out with 11 men but it's fair to assume that we would have been able to attack more than we did and they less.
Amos.
I'd also take the EPL over any other league any day of the week. The only thing more irritating than watching opponents rolling clutching faces trying to fool the ref is the ref being complicit in the whole pantomine. Don't get me wrong, I'm immensely proud of our lot and how much we battled, but I do think we need to be harsh on ourselves and concentrate on why we were second best, and also why we didn't take advantage of some obvious weaknesses in our opponents. Its the only way we'll improve in the long term.
Wyn Mills
Warning to Spurs -if you make the QFs watch the UEFA unwritten rules start to kick in: 1) No more than 2 English sides are allowed to make the last four- they must be "culled." 2) Any opposition team arriving at Camp Nou must not expect equal treatment in the eyes of the Match Officials. If there is any sign of a rebellion (oops sorry- upset), it must be put down forthwith. 3) Grabbing players from English teams around the throat is perfectly acceptable.
julieloveshenry4ever
We had more attacking intent in the first leg than we did last night. Walcott was badly missed. I thought Arshavin also made a difference when he came on.
Wyn Mills
Even the next morning I feel outraged by the sending off. The referee knows that RVP is on a yellow card, he knows that by sending him off it really changes the game. Itís a card that he doesnít have to give because itís not a bad challenge or something else that really merits it. So why does he give it? It stinks to me. If itís a marginal offside call that doesnít go your way, I can understand. But with a sending off, he really has to think before doing that because of the impact it has on the game. At the time, I was laughing at Chelseaís exit by Barca because of that refereeing display, but now understand how they felt, it was even worse. I know Iím a little bitter by the result, but based on their sneaky tackles, dives etc, I hope they donít win it. I hope Chelsea get them and I hope Chelsea win, Iíll definitely be supporting them. As for our display, I canít believe how badly they made us play. Weíre just not used to playing against teams that do that level of pressing.
Gooner_Vin
We were playing at home in the first leg and with 11 men for the whole game. Walcott was a miss but I'm not sure we would have started with him for the same reason we didn't start with Arshavin though there might have been more of a case for Theo. The game could have been over for us by half time if we'd started with AA.
Amos.
Wasn't suggesting AA start, just that he provided the additional outlet we were missing. More of a case for Theo staring, as you say. In the first leg we at least took the first 15 minutes to Barca.
Wyn Mills
Twice in three games we soaked up the pressure against Barcelona, hit them late on an got a result (one win, one draw). It's conciveable, even probable that we wouldn't have won last night with 11 men, yet the pattern of the game followed the other two almost identically (even down to not having many/any shots or possession till late in the game) ..... so to suggest that our main outlet and goalscorer getting sent off with a third of the game left to play (when we were winning the tie to boot) had no bearing on the game is complete and utter drivel. Trolls or morons ... I'll leave it up to the indivdual to decide.
Rocky7
PERSONALLY, WHO EVER DRAWS BARCA IN A 2 LEG MATCH IS DONE FOR BEFORE KICKING A BALL, I GREATLY SYMPATHISE WITH YOU ALL, ITS AN OUTRAGEOUS DECISION. IVE NEVER SEEN A TEAM SO FAVOURED BY OFFICIALS THAN BARCA-NICE TO SEE JULIE COMMENT ON THE UEFA UNWRITTEN RULEBOOK. I WAS GONNA MENTION MY FAVOURITE RULE OF ALL, NO TEAM WILL BE ALLOWED TO PROGRESS PAST A BARCA SIDE OVER 2 LEGS, AND ANY OFFICIAL OFFICIATING SUCH GAMES ARE TO DO WHAT EVER THEY CAN TO ENSURE THAT PLATINI'S BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD MAKE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND. DISGUSTING-AGAIN
SMOKIEJACK
TShill7 my friend you have got it in one. They should have been three players down. And with officials around the ground how did no one see the sly elbow against Ces? Wyn mat how can you say Guardiola (who I have a lot of respect for ). He denigrates Jack our team as a whole and you respect him; give me a break. I've got more respect for twitcher/red nose. I'm sorry, jlh4e I'm in your camp. I don't respect their team any more than I respect Diego Maradona; no matter how good you are if you have to win by cheating then in my book your crap; see TShill7 comments. Like others i shall be supporting Chelsea/Spuds and even Manure.
alwaysgunner
I'm not overly convinced you were up against 12-men guys. Yea he made 1 really bad decision in sending of RVP. At the same time though Koscielny on a yellow gave away a penalty and didn't recieve a 2nd yellow. Messi got hacked inside the box by Diaby and a penalty wasn't given. The ref didn't have a good game but it wasn't a bias game. Unlucky but this may be a blessing, more focus on the Premier League at our expense.
TheFamousNo7
TFN7 - Almost fair points, but I'm not entirely convinced. It was a penalty for sure, but not every penalty warrents a yellow card I think. The other one was definately a foul, don't know how the ref didn't give it, but it was border line inside or out, I still haven't seen an angle that confirms one way or the other. But how Robin van Persie can get a yellow for barely touching Alevz (it was silly, but he didn't hardly make contact) and then another for "time wasting", when Nasri got hacked from behind, then grabbed around the throat, also RvP getting grabbed around the throat with no reprisals at all, is beyond me. Barca don't need any help (unless they're playing Chelsea) yet they continually get it. It's very frustrating.
Rocky7
TFN7 do you think the ref would have sent Messi off for what RVP did?
iceman10
No Messi most probably wouldn't iceman i've already acknowledged it beign a poor decision but at the same time I don't think you had as hard a time as Chelsea and their 5 clear cut penaltes. Rocky, I was supporting you guys through and through and was unbelievably****ed off with the special treatment Alves got, oftenly referring to him as a "dirty Catalonian 8astard" (I know he's Brazilian not Spanish) throughout the game. I just don't think it was a bias refereeing performance though, just a 5hit one. There were many odd decisions made/not made throughout both legs for both teams.
TheFamousNo7
I'm late to this discussion per usual. Amazing how it's always spuds who come over here to gloat. For the zillionth time, NO ARSENAL FAN IS ARGUING WE DESERVED TO WIN. And to the spud lowlifes saying we were "outclassed" - well, gee, morons, tell me, exactly WHICH team on earth is NOT outclassed by Barca? You really think Spurs will do better than us? Inter eliminated Barca last year yet Inter were outclassed in both games, ffs! Many Arsenal fans didn't think we'd go thru anyway. I was one of the few who really thought we could get away with a draw and go thru. But most gooners I know just wanted this game out of the way so we could forget about the CL and focus on the domestic campaign because they didn't believe we'd go thru. NO GOONER today would be complaining if that game had been played in the same spirit as the one at the Grove. Yes, Barca were denied legit goals & penalties. We were lucky on a number of calls over both legs. The anger comes from the referee yesterday NOT ALLOWING OUR PLAYERS TO FKG PLAY EVEN WHEN THEY DID TRY. Watch the game again, the ref had every fighting Arsenal player on a yellow card. He forgave ALL Barca's bookable offenses and let Abidal go scot free for grabbing RVP by the neck. Plus Adriano also grabbed Nasri's neck in the same fashion right in front of the ref, also unbooked http://yfrog.com/h8hpkkvj . Pedro (a well known diver) got a soft penalty. Barca had a clear strategy: when they lose possession foul the player (the ref eagerly facilitated this tactic). Even the purported off-side call that led to RVP's sending-off was onside. Watch 39 mins in the 1st half the ref was sharing a water bottle with Barca players and laughing. The ref was totally in thrall to the Barca crowd.
jaelle
I dearly hope you spuds get to play Barca in the next round and see what it's like to play them at the Nou Camp.
jaelle
And what are the chances of one team not getting one yellow card after they commit foul after foul in a game while the other gets 5? Did it ever happen? Please tell me.
jaelle
Jaelle its no surprise Barca have failed to win an away Champions league knockout tie under Guardiola, they get away with murder at the Camp Nou and this intimidation tactic doesn't work away from home.
iceman10
even as a spurs fan, i have to say i was so f***ed off with the ref last night. i wanted spurs and arsenal to meet in the CL! there aren't many teams that aren't going to get dominated by barcelona but there's always a chance of a good move and a break. the ref completely destroyed the game, simple as that.
hk_yid
i hope we gat barca aswell jaelle not because we think we will beat them but isnt that what this CL is about playing against the best teams and the best players
jljyid
AG, Guardiola's comments about Jack were taken way out of context by the media. He made the comment about us not stringing 3 passes together (and let's be honest he wasn't far wrong) after Wenger had told him to thank the ref. I think he's a decent manager and was a fabulous player. Some of his players are cheating scumbags, but you can't tar everyone with the same brush.
Wyn Mills
Jaelle - good points as usual. That's another thing people don't notice. As good as it is, when Barca press and try to win the ball back, they also cross over the line into foul play by pushing players over and disrupting our game. As good as they are, and I used to really admire and like them, Barca have gone down in my estimation and I cannot stand them. I remember going there a few years ago to watch a game and their fans are so arrogant and believe they can have any player they want in the world. I have to say I also didn't like the way Cesc was friendly with them. It was a little bit too much I felt.
Gooner_Vin
Two match CL bans for AW and Nasri coming up - http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/mar/09/arsene-wenger-samir-nasri-charged
Deltaforce
Why has Nasri been charged?
Dberg
Dberg, apparently he said something bad to the ref. Vin, I've been more tolerant of Barca than most gooners. Been a fan of theirs for years, I love the city, came to admire and respect a lot about the club, have a lot of time for Pep--but even I have my limits. I have to say I'm also a little annoyed with Cesc if he can be so forgiving of their conduct. Martin Samuel's article on the game is a refreshing counter to so much of the punditry on it: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1364362/Martin-Samuel-Bungling-referee-Massimo-Busacca-makes-easier-Barcelona-masters.html
jaelle
Well Wyn I have listen to Guardiola's numerous times to see before i made the statement about denigrating Jack and unless its me that does not understand the English language;(which would have meant by now many many planes crashing into each other ex A.T.C.) he said there were many like Jack in his reserves who would not get a game in his first team or words to that effect. So me old mate he is a portentous, opinionated****. If you wish to follow such people; that my friend is your right.
alwaysgunner
at 1-1 arsenal were in a winning position, regardless of other stats, and i believe wengers plan was to soak the pressure and hit them late on
49ers
Good balanced piece from Martin Samuel. Interesting to note that he felt that Cesc's back heel at such a crucial point in the game 'beggared belief'. I know a few gooners who will have felt that to choose such a risky blind pass when we were so close to 0-0 at half time was more than suspicious given his allegiances. Though it does seem unbelievable I'm not sure it is that simple. It's the sort of pass he would make by rote in the PL. It's hard to switch instinct modes in such games but in some ways that maybe tells us that he is still a young player despite his experience.
Amos.
AG my take on this was that he was welcoming the emergence of someone like Wilshire, not denigrating. The english press translation goes thus: '"Wilshere is a top player. He has been a big surprise. I did not know him at the beginning of the season but he is an excellent player, not just Arsenal but also for the [English] national team. We have many players like him in our second team and it is very good news for football to have players like him." If we're getting upset about words like this, where Guardiola is talking about the future of Barcelona, then we're very touchy indeed.
Wyn Mills
And that could have worked 49ers, we saw in both our home matches against them they tend to wane towards the end - of course it may not have happened at Camp Nou but I guess we'll never know now.
Dberg
Wyn I heard his press conference not what the English press have written. He never even said half of those words, listen to what he actually said.
alwaysgunner
The VP sending off was harsh, but you need to put the whole game in context. Diaby gave away a a clear penalty in the 1st half, which was not given, Koscielny didn't get booked for the penalty, which would have resulted in him being sent off and Barca had a good goal disallowed in the 1st leg. Seems about even to me. For me the the blame lies with Nicholas "I could be the best striker in the world" Bendtner and ultimately your inability to win a very winnable group.
Paul - THFC Forever
alwaysgunner, you are wrong - Pep did NOT NOT say Wilshere would not get into Barca's first team, he never said that - tho you could argue he implied it. I don't think he did. He said Wilshere's an excellent player and that Barca have many players like that in their 2nd team. Pep did NOT disrespect Wilshere. However, what he did actually say (and I watched his press conference) was disrespectful about Arsenal in its implications. He said Arsenal can afford to play Jack in our 1st team because we are no pressured to win trophies like Barca are.
jaelle
Although i totally agree with Paul - THFC, that VP sending of was a disgrace and there was no going back from that. However the ref was bad for both sides
HuddersfieldYiddo
There is no pressure on Barca to win trophies in Spain - they'll always take it in turns with Real - yet they still can't give good young players any encouragement. Or is it more about keeping good young players away from other Spanish clubs?
Amos.
For everyone who is saying things evened themselves out(because of penalties not given etc), there is a difference between an offiside decision or trip not seen like we had against Sunderland too and for the ref to ruin the game because he has no understanding of the game. To send someone off that quickly. Even if he thought he was time wasting it would of been the first time RVP had done it and surely common sense should of kicked in and a word/last warning would of sufficed.
paul_ownz
HY and Paul, you are merely saying what some of us have already pointed out - that over the two legs we got some favorable calls too, Barca were denied a goal and at least 1 pen, etc. No one here's denying that. Do keep up. That's irrelevant to the point that's got us upset - and no one here is saying that Barca didn't deserve to go thru.
jaelle
jaelle, I think if you read my earlier conversation with Wyn I wrote he said there were many like Jack in his reserves who would not get a game in his first team or words to that effect. Please note the last four words. To say i am wrong seems to contradict the statement that i am wrong. Words to that effect implies that is what he meant to say. Those words statements are IMO denigrating and with regards to my team disrespectful. To use your words He said "Wilshere's an excellent player and that Barca have many players like that in their 2nd team". Why is there a need to say we have many players like that in our second team. If you can not understand the intended slur, then you must have very thick skin. Its like saying all our first team are the best in the world and in our second team we have excellent players who don't make the grade for the first team. But as i said to Wyn if you want follow hinm that my friend is your right. Wyn touchy after that game you bet i am touchy very touchy, a better word would be P...se off.
alwaysgunner
Exactly, Amos. I fail to see how Barca fans can be so smug about their team "competing" in a league with zero competition. As Vin pointed out, it's interesting how they struggle so much in CL away games without the Nou Camp crowd there to influence refs. I used to enjoy watching Barca every week, I don't anymore because it's the same old same old - the brilliance has actually become ordinary to me. I did catch the Gijon game a few wks ago and that was 1 of the few times it was interesting to watch Barca because they were struggling a lot against a tough battle from Gijon. But that's rare. I've come to the conclusion that this Barca team actually destroy the entire meaning of sport-it's all a foregone conclusion.
jaelle
"if you want follow hinm that my friend is your right" - really strange comment - just because I don't interpret Pep in the way you do I'm "following" him? Ok, whatever.
jaelle
And yes, alwaysgunner, you were wrong when you said that Pep said Wilshere couldn't get into Barca's first team - you wrote that like he actually came out and said that. That's what I understood from your comments. You can argue he implied it.
jaelle
jaelle got it now (note MOM at Arsenal was) Jack an excellent player, and Barca have a second team with many many players like that; who by implication cant get into the first team as they are in the second team. Yet we at Arsenal have people like Jack in our first team. Bloody hell now I get it. Hence my comment portentous, opinionated pr#$k
alwaysgunner
I told my wife just before the first kick that I expected Cesc to make a major mental mistake. He looked twitchy and nervous, hopping around and trying to act confident during the handshakes and cointoss. It is so difficult to make good decisions when you are really jazzed up like that. I wish I had been wrong.
smithdj74
jaelle your barca comment about how it is the same old same old is how i feel about them and the spanish national side too. people say how brilliant it is well it just becomes dull and boring watching one team continually dominate games with tippy tappy passing for 90mins wheres the blood and thunder the speed the excitement no its boring and slow. i will qualify that sometimes the goals scored are top quality but i just loose interest when the game is so one sided
jljyid
It does sound a bit churlish if we are now arguing that Barca aren't good to watch. They are superb and it's a delight to see them play the way they can. They really don't need all the help but other teams are capable of great moments too. Our second goal against them at the Emirates was every bit as good as anything they created. Despite their passing ability their success does largely rely on the brilliance of one player.
Amos.
jaelle your starting a fight with me when in fact I didnt start a fight with you; in fact your first statement you made when you came on I totally agreed with in general . My problem was you perhaps didnt understand what I had written, hence my object in pointing out to you the comment I made 'words to that effect'. By implication once again you said "I have a lot of time for Pep". All I am saying if you wish to follow, admire whatever good luck to you nothing more. I follow the England team that is my right.
alwaysgunner
amos i dont think i am being churlish i have no allegience to you guys at all and no reason to dislike barca other than what appears to be massive bias towards them from UEFA i just dont like the brand of football that they display now perhaps thats because i am spurs and i get excited at both ends of the pitch because we can score some quality goals but leak them like a broken siv, what ever it is one sided sporting events are dull not just football i am also sick of all the sycophantic comments about them has it ever occured that the players of barca hear all this dross and actually believe themselves to be some sort of untouchables and that is why they act with the whole cesc debacle.
jljyid
jaelle, the use of the comment 'words to that effect' means not verbatim.
alwaysgunner
I'd agree if the game gets too one sided and predictable then it's lost as a spectacle. Last nights game had the tantalising prospect that with everything that went against us (and for us) had Bendtner closed his eyes and hit the ball first time we might still have gone through. Barca are beatable. I take your point about the super-arrogance that's certainly their least attractive quality - but they are still great to watch - and nice to see them taken down a peg or two on occasions.
Amos.
After all that drama, Arsenal would have been through if they decided to keep Eduardo instead of Bendtner. Eduardo would have buried that chance at the end of the game.
torcida9
amos fair points, i hope we get them as it will go 1 of 2 ways either we will be totally destroyed (likely but we are in it to play these teams) or we will do what we did to inter at the lane and just slap them on the break (hopefully), i really want these guys to get turned over by a PL team now preferably mine but any would do. the arrogance, the media ass kissing and the fact that Xavi resembles a partially shaved ape that a child designed out of lego
jljyid
Hindsight is a wonderful thing torcida9.
Deltaforce
I didnít like the camera shot of the tunnel just before the players were coming out where Cesc was going down the Barcelona team hugging and kissing each one leaving the rest of the Arsenal team looking like a spare one at a wedding. So it was interesting to interpret the back-heel as anything but a mistake by Cesc. Surely not.
Sir Henry
Barcelona were awesome but at 1-1 with 11 players I'd have loved to have seen the real outcome of this game. The ref spoiled it completely, there was absolutely no need to send off Van Persie. The referee just reacted like a little Hitler and when HE confronted Wenger, it was the ref who was shouting--methinks he protested too much as if he knew he'd made a big error. It was just a shame the match concluded like it did---it was a fascinating game although there was no doubt that Fabregas shouldn't have played--he wasn't fit. No matter what, Arsenal did English football proud--now you HAVE to top Fergies reds--everyone hates them. Good luck from a Swansea fan.
Philto
alwaysgunner, I didn't mean to start a fight with you, little to fight over-just ignore my posts on this issue, they're just not important. I'll concede your clarifications. Just really really exhausted by being so furious all the time lately with officiating, and our team so often (usually at this time of the season) being ridiculed and trashed far and wide.
jaelle
jaelle peace we now have to show what we are made of. I still have two bets standing; I wait to see what will happen.
alwaysgunner
Empty vessels always make the most noise.
Deltaforce
disgraceful refereeing . We have been through the same and it didnt feel good not one bit. On top of that people coming up and boldly saying that it was well deserved made it even worse. Watched the game as a neutral but the bias of the ref was plain to see. One fault why did your manager play such a game. It was so uncharacteristic Arse to hit them on the counter and sit back and defend. One would think he would have had confidence in his players to play Farca at their own game after beating them at home. Anyways now u can concentrate on the PL!! lets see who stops whom at the PL!
blue_iceberg
The thing is, people are talking like it was just the red card. There were a plethora of very strange decisions in this game. At one point, the ref stopped the game for an Arsenal injury, he then restarted the game- before the physio had left the field, by rolling the ball about eight yards to his left and straight to Adriano's feet. He actually passed Barca the ball! Tell me where the rules say that's the way to restart a game? The failure to send Abidal off, the cynical tug back on Cesc which wasn't booked when Arsenal players had been booked for breathing- it was astonishing stuff. Not to say we would have beaten Barca with a fair and impartial ref, but we earned the chance to find out at least. For the talk of Barca's team lacking a bit of decorum and class- despite how stunningly good they are- I can tell you their supporters are no different.
Little Dutch
LD - tell us more re the Barca supporters.
Gooner_Vin
I noticed on the comparatively rare occasions that we attacked the crowd whistled loudly. I'm guessing this is particularly why RvP didn't hear the ref's whistle?
Wyn Mills
The more i think about it, the more Cescs tunnel affection does not sit well with me. For the captain to go and hug them all infront of his team mates before such a big game is quite poor.
paul_ownz
Barca go man for man all over the park when they don't have the ball. You have to pull them out of shape and have willing runners like they do. Arsenal didn't have that apart from JW really. RVP new the whislte had gone, he wouldn't have shot if he thought the ball was in play as he had time to bring it down and his reaction after the shot was of someone who knew it didn't matter. He should have known better, Barca scream and whine for freekicks, even from fair tackles, and that big a crowd will influence most ref's. Barca are without doubt the finest team ever and there's no shame in losing to them by the scoreline you did, hell if Bendtner had a better touch you might have stolen it at the end. I hope we (spurs) don't get them, don't think we'd stand up to that for an hour let alone two games, i have a feeling we've got two more games left in it this year but stranger things have happened.
Himwhatwhats
10 versus 12 it was. And Bussaca had an absolute fart game. No wonder why. His hair at the start of the game gave the appearance that he had been shocked.
Eboue=GOD
paul_ownz - I'm with you on that. By all means go and hug them afterwards, but before the game, you should be psyched and treat them as your enemy (in a non violent way that is). Even if it was your brother, you'd be the same. Perhaps we're being harsh because I still think Cesc is a determined winner for Arsenal, but you can't help sensing he wishes he was on the other side.
Gooner_Vin
How does everyone feel 2 days on? Now the anger with the ref is subsiding, I can't help feel bemused, and quite saddened really, by the extent to which we were outplayed. Was it our tactics? Or was it mental? I think it was the latter. One thing that didn't sit well with me was seeing Messi lose the ball and then chase back like mad to win it back and when Rosicky did the same he sauntered back watching his defence take care of the fact he miscontrolled it.
Gooner_Vin
Mentally I thought we stood up to the task pretty well. Other than Cesc's fatal backheel they had a lot of pressure in the first half but only 4 shots on target none of which were really that threatening. We were always going to have to endure the pressure before we could play ourselves but now we hear that Cesc was a passenger after just 15 mins with a recurrence of his hamstring injury - a case of the player putting himself before the team perhaps? After the sending off they had 9 shots on target when really any tactics we had went out of the window. It's easy (and convenient) to point to aspects such as mentality as an explanation for failure because they're always difficult to prove or disprove but in reality these games hinge on the events within them. Nothing to do with the mentality of the players at all. They all showed plenty of passion.
Amos.
Exactly. They had 4 shots on target before the sending off. A weak Villa shot when he was running with JD, a Alves freekick which injured Scezny, A Messi shot when he had Kos & Clichy lunge at him and comfortably into the arms of Almunia & the goal. So take away the goal and no real clear cut chance. If other games are to go by they would of tired in the last half hour, but the fact we had no outlet meant there wingbacks were sitting in our half for the rest of the match
paul_ownz
I'm talking more about the inability to deal with the pressure that Barca were putting on us that resulted in us hardly being able to put three or more passes together. Was that inability to deal with being pressured and finding another Arsenal player a tactical issue or mental issue?
Gooner_Vin
They are the best team in the world, one of the best club sides ever I suspect. (Certainly the best I've seen in 20 years or so of watching the game). We were ahead until we had to play away with ten men. To question tactics or mentality is insanity. It was a difficult task made impossible. When the taks was merely incredibly difficult, we dealt with it well and were leading the tie. But no side on earth could withstand Barca at the Nou Camp for 40 minutes with ten men.
Little Dutch
By and large we dealt with being pressured in the first half even if we didn't mount too many attacks ourselves. That was always going to be the pattern of the game. Although ours was an own goal we had to be attacking in order to create the situation when the goal was conceded. RvP wouldn't have been sent off if we weren't attacking again - 3 minutes after we'd scored. It was only after the sending off that we really failed to deal with the pressure. Tactically the game was over then even if mentally we continued to do what we could and still might have got the goal we needed to go through. No one can deny that Barca were the better team but whatever chance we did have to get something out of the game was undone by events within it - nothing whatsoever to do with mentality or tactics (unless Cesc mentally declaring himself fit for the game and us tactically taking his word for it had any bearing)
Amos.
LD - agreed; but surely we can reasonably ask that why in the first half did we not do better with the ball? Maybe my memory is blurred, but I seem to recall feeling exasperated by our inability to retain any sort of possession to get upfield and cause them any problems.
Gooner_Vin
Barca don't give you much chance to retain it! Fact was we lost the ball in areas that allowed us to keep our shape. If you formulate an attack against Barca, have five men forward and don't score or get the ball into the crowd, you're bang in trouble.
Little Dutch
Good point Vin - agree with LD & Amos, but the players' inability to keep the ball for more than what seemed a couple of seconds, miscontrolling, mis-passing all the time was clear, just seemed like they were totally incapable of handling Barca's ferocious pressure. (which is the case with most teams of course). BTW, a friend who was at the game tells me that the minute after Messi's penalty, the ballboys disappeared. Such a classy club. Bobby McMahon, my favorite pundit here in N. America, said the ref was very petty to book RVP-he said it looked like the ref was reacting petulantly, angry about something, and looked for any pretext to punish RVP. Also, I was delightfully surprised to see this analysis of Arsene's gameplan from this Man United supporter: http://soccerlens.com/arsenals-tactics-against-barcelona-deserve-praise-not-scorn/66572/
jaelle
We definitely didn't have a good day at the office in the passing department against Barca, our usual statistic of passing completion is is in the late 70's as a team but for this game it was the early 60's. The manic pressing of Barcelona seemed to throw our usual passing game off but as LD pointed out, we organised ourselves in decent defensive shape most of the time after we misplaced the ball.

Barcelona did press us hard when we were in possession at the Grove as well but our passing withstood that test. At home their pressing went up another huge notch - I have never seen that kind of pressing as we were subjected to ever. We did the next best thing and soaked up the pressure but the RVP sending off ended the soaking pressure up thing as a tactic entirely.
Deltaforce
We made the point about the ballboys. Their multiball tactics stopped when Barca took the lead, started when we scored and stopped again when it got to 3-1. Barca are basically a slightly more attractive footballing version of Chelsea. As for Barca covering mroe yards. Well yes, when you play neatly half a match with ten men and your central striker removed, the other side will cover more yards.
Little Dutch
The other thing that irked was Barca's refusal to give the ball back, yet their intimidation of the referee when we had a player injured. Almunia had a head injury and the ref told him to get up at one stage with play still going on.
Little Dutch
Alves little scissor action on Nasri. Yes he got the ball with his first foot, then swept the other one round to hurt him. Also when Alves got kicked on the bottom of his boot he held his shin and rolled around.
paul_ownz
All these things just make me dislike that club even more. I'm gutted that Messi plays for them because he's amazing. I'd even want Real Madrid to beat them now.
Gooner_Vin
Vin, it says something that a lot of people who can't stand either Mourinho or Real Madrid (incl. in Spain-Barca are not widely loved in Spain at all) cheer them on.
jaelle
Two more things: remember last year when Barca put on the sprinklers after Inter beat them and wanted to celebrate? Again, classy. Also, re the whole whistle/RVP thing: there was a big incident early in the CL campaign this season where Barca's 2nd choice keeper Pinto was banned for two matches because he blew a fake whistle to stop a goal from being scored (it worked). Every ref in the CL knows about that incident.
jaelle
While I admire their style of football, training philosophy and dedication to their craft, Barca are exceedingly petulant and arrogant. Real Madrid are hugely arrogant and have a galactico culture but are more tolerable than Barca from a non footballing perspective. Mourinho though takes the cake for me. The man is a megalomaniac and doesnt have one nice thing to say about anyone else in the trade. His tactics often border on the edge of whats accepted and allowed in the game and his loyalty is often available to the highest bidder. If he didn't manage Real one would probably support them against Barca.
Deltaforce
Funny you should make the Chelsea comparason LD. I did the same thing myself on Tuesday when we put the ball out for injury and they just gave us it back for a throw in near our corner flag and then marked up tightly. Scummy f*****.
Rocky7
Rocky - true, I'd forgotten about that incident. Frankly, they're a classless, arrogant bunch. Makes wonder about Guardiola's comments about Wilshere too now.
Gooner_Vin
apparently inter had 14% possession in the nou camp last year, and no shot on goal as well.
49ers
Good point 49ers. That fact was not mentioned at all in the after match analysis and the media coverage. Some opinion pieces did not even state the basic fact that Inter lost the Nou Camp game! They won on aggregate after some very dubious decisions at the San Siro.
Deltaforce
 

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