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5 Things We Learned From The Barca Game

5 Things We Learned From The Barca Game

Editors note: This article was written by a young man named Lewis Wright who is an Arsenal fan and aspiring sports journalist, who's going to be writing a weekly piece for us here at Vital Arsenal.

This article was due to go up yesterday morning however a 'slight technical hitch' meant it only just became available to be publish .... and still not to it's full potential.

So while it is a little late please make him feel welcome, and discuss the points you do, or do not agree with in the comments section below.


5 Things We Learned From The Barcelona Match:

Confidence isn`t Everything

Nicklas Bendtner certainly talks a good game. He has claimed that he will be 'amongst the best strikers in the world` within 5 years. He`s also stated on a number of occasions that he 'deserves to start every game.`

On a recent self confidence test he even outscored Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka and David Trezeguet. The test showed that 'When Bendtner misses a chance, he is always genuinely convinced that it wasn`t his fault.` It`s difficult to see who the Dane could blame for missing last night`s sitter.

He has pace, height, an excellent first touch and on occasion, an unnerving ability to finish, but if Bendtner wants to make it to the top work needs to be done on his mind not his game. His hat trick against Leyton Orient was appreciated, and superbly taken, but too many times, when he is given the chance to make a real difference, under real pressure, his usually pristine technique lets him down.

Unless he learns to accept that mistakes happen, and aren`t other people`s fault, it`s hard to see him ever making the Arsenal striker`s shirt his own.

The future of Arsenal is English

For all the pre match talk about Fabregas being back in the team, and Song being absent, the midfield held its own. Diaby was strong in the tackle and as effective in distribution as anyone else.

The moment Arsenal did create, such as the corner that led to the goal, came about when Nasri ran at the Barcelona defence with pace. Walcott would have provided an outlet; a straight route into Barcelona territory. His directness offers the team an alternative and a way of moving the ball at a speed no defender in world football can deal with.

If Guardiola has a B team full of Jack Wilsheres, as suggested, one wonders why the Barcelona B side sit 9 points off the play offs in the Segunda Division, having lost 8 times already. Thiago and Dos Santos may well be quality players, but they`re no Wilshere. At just 19 the midfielder ran the first game at The Emirates, outshining both Xavi and Iniesta. At The Nou Camp his game changed to be more defensive, but he was no less effective for it. He showed his tenacity, passion and willingness to run himself into the ground for the team.

Surely it`s a matter of when, not if Wilshere becomes club captain.

Sometimes Wenger can be adaptable

Much was made of the difference in possession, the difference in passes made, but for all their ball retention it took a Fabregas howler to allow Barcelona to score. Until that point, and indeed, until the red card, Barcelona probed but with no real incisiveness.

Arsenal looked solid and were able to adapt their game to accept there would be fewer chances early on, but to hold on for more quality ones later in the game.

Each time Arsenal have faced Barcelona in the last 2 seasons they have finished the game strongly, scoring goals late on in two of them. For all the fanfare about passing 5 yards sideways over and over, Arsenal are a much fitter and stronger side than Barcelona, and 11 vs 11, history shows they could have expected a much greater chance of holding on to the game and coming back later on. Would Van Persie have accepted the gift that Bendtner spurned? The stats would say yes.

The Referee Choked

Much of the fuss about Van Persie`s dismissal centres around whether he heard the whistle or not. It`s irrelevant. One second passed between the whistle and the shot. One second to react and counter an instinct to score.

The bitter irony is that the very reason that RVP couldn`t hear a whistle is the very same reason the decision was made; crowd noise.

Barcelona is not 'more than club,` it`s just another club

Guardiola crowed about a reserve side packed full of young world beaters. Yet at the last European U21 Championship, England beat Spain on route to the final.

The club`s Director of football Raul Sanllehi claimed he was 'shocked` by the transfer spending in England over the winter saying about Torres` move to Chelsea that 'Barcelona would not make that signing. We would not even consider it.` Barcelona had to borrow £125 million just to pay the team`s wages earlier last year, in the main due to the fact that in the last year only Real Madrid and Manchester City spent more than their 113 million Euros outlay. The year before it was 90 million, with the club spending 66 million Euros on Zlatan Ibrahimovich. He made 29 appearances for the Catalans before leaving to head back to Milan, on loan, for free.

The club claimed Arsenal were 'morally wrong` for using the Spanish League as a 'fishing pond`, and that clubs should choose local talent. Messi was 12 when he moved 6,000 miles to Barcelona, and in the fabled B team there are 'local` products of the youth academy from countries including Brazil, Canada, England and The Netherlands.

Xavi gave an interview to The Guardian where he professed to be a 'football romantic,` and that 'Some youth academies worry about winning, we worry about education.` That education saw Abidal and Valdes see fit to grab RVP round his throat. That education regularly see its players fall to the ground after little to minimal contact and then wave imaginary cards when a foul is given.

Next season the 'more than a club` will be sponsored by the Qatar Foundation, from a country where homosexuality is illegal, dissident bloggers are arrested and Amnesty International have released several warnings about human rights violations.

They may have lost last night, but Arsenal have no reason to believe that Barcelona are superior in anything other than results.

Article written by Lewis Wright

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Thursday March 10 2011
Time: 5:47PM


Plenty of good points there..keep it up Lewis!!
10/03/2011 18:02:00
Re the third point, I keep hearing people say that Arsene got his tactics wrong but I agree with you he got them perfectly right and if it were not for a moment of madness from our captain and a moment of sheer stupidy from the ref I think our boys handled them pretty well and as you said we te d to get stronger as the game goes on.
10/03/2011 18:07:00
The looked so one sided that i find it hard to believe we got anything other than pummel and we were forced onto the back foot, but it's happened a couple of times now and out of the the games we've played we got two positive results in the last 12 months against barca .... that leads me to believe that it could have been a tactic. But was it the right one? I guess we'll never know.
10/03/2011 18:10:00
Rocky I honestly feel that if we had played any other way they would have ripped us apart well before the sending off. The only really disappointment for me (apart from the result of course) was that we couldn't string more than three passes together. I found myself feeling furious when I saw us with possession and our players just standing around rather than looking for space so the player with the ball could have an outlet.
10/03/2011 18:16:00
Bendtner risks just the sort of criticism he gets by talking himself up so much (not that all that is published is what he's actually said) but his goal scoring based on appearances is actually pretty impressive. When you factor in that he's at an age in which TH14 pretty well only just started his goal scoring feats and RvP was still a player with his own shortcomings then his confidence won't be a handicap to him. He has plenty to work on and his failure to take the chance that came his way was costly as was Henry's chance against Barca in the 2006 final. Good stuff Lewis - hope to read a lot more.
10/03/2011 18:18:00
I cant stand barca, i a veeeery deep deep hate towards them, and i hate uefa even more, im so *****ed and mad, im lost for words. And when i read the article on daily mail which martin samuel made, watching those pictures, i was deeply disdurbed, i was ready to commit murder on these ********s. But back to this article, this article is good, eased me up a lil, good piece of work mate
10/03/2011 19:09:00
From the author: Thanks for comments, all appreciated. I'll address a couple: - It hurt to write what I did about Bendtner, and I really hope I'm wrong, but I do feel there has to shift in his mentality if he wants to be truly great. An acceptance that he is young and has lots to learn would be a good start. Barcelona had 2 shots on goal before the goal, and one of those was from 25 yards, hardly a battering. Glad to be writing for the site
10/03/2011 19:27:00
Your fifth point about Barcelona was a little bitter no?
10/03/2011 19:45:00
Bendtner... does not have pace. In fact he is the slowest among all Arsenal strikers. Vela included.
10/03/2011 19:49:00
well luis you have got 1st 4 points spot on,but the fifth one i gotta disagree,whats ur problem with qatar,homosexuals should shut up and keep their genitals in their pants while in qatar,its a muslim country and muslims have their own laws which are very good try to respect other countries and their religions as well like we muslims respect your religion.and now about the match,i must say i didnt expect that much dominance from barca.for goodness sake look at the stats.arsenal didnt have a shot on goal in 90 mins.what the hell is this?Chelsea went to camp nou and parked the bus but still had some shots on goal and on target as well,but what arsenal were doing?you were better than last year but u r still far behind barca's class thats why they won.and for van persie's red card,i do have sympathy for you it really killed the game.we suffered too against barca by mf ovrebo in ucl sf 09.But dont worry Blues will beat these catalans for you,so cheers arsenal mates and best of luck for the league and FA cup
10/03/2011 20:37:00
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