Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona – player ratings


For 70 minutes it looked quite good and there was certainly no lack of effort on the part of the players, but two goals from Lionel Messi leave us with a massive, almost impossible, task for the second leg.

Here’s how the players rated tonight.

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116 Comments on "Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona – player ratings"

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As much as I have lost respect for him, I think we missed Cesc Fabregas tonight. Nothing to do with Ozil, completely different player whom I adore. We simply don’t have a metronome in midfield without Cazorla and you only have to look at the game in 2011 to see the evidence of it. We were as Arsene said, so technically average tonight. In reality we reversed roles with Hull City and got done as soon as we tried to control the game. Concerning when you consider our ”spineless” teams that fared much better in the past, who at least played their own game at the grove.


Yes, this is exactly right. Instead we’re trying to play Aaron Ramsey in that position and the big drop off is evident in games like tonight. I know Arseblog has a soft spot for Ramsey and tries to big him up at every opportunity but he is just not technically good enough to play in the middle against quality opposition. He looks ok against Sunderland and Bournemouth, but his technical limitations show up every time we play a decent team. Frankly, the sooner AW admits defeat in his crusade to prove he can build a team around British players the better, Its embarrassing watching us roll out players like Walcott, Ramsey and the Ox and seriously thinking they can get the job done against the likes of Barcelona.

I Miss Arshavin

For the first 70 minutes, we were doing everything right until we decide to go the arsenal way: raise our defense line up and get caught up.

For about an hour, we had almost the same number of shots on target. So to me, we should just keep it going the way we were because a 0:0 draw would have strengthen faith and hope.

It would be crazy for anybody to think we can press Barca in their own 18 yard box the way the did for most part of the game. But for some weird reason we abandoned our game plan, came out of our shell and got punished.

The substitution though (Flamini for Coq) was a huge mistake our boss has made yet again. You don’t need a lens to see that Flamini in recent games is struggling.

2 nil>>> good performance (for 70 minutes) but very bad result.

Oooh aaah Ray Parlour!
Oooh aaah Ray Parlour!

I thought for an hour we worked magnificently as a team. I get if we want to be the best we have to eradicate those small defining moments of clumsiness that Ox, Mert and Giroud amongst others committed, BUT… This was Barca and to criticise any of them last night seems harsh. Ox may be lacking confidence, but he tried so hard and I love him for that, Mert had some fantastic little toe-in interventions to calmly poke the ball away and keep possession, I’m getting so tired of the abuse he gets from every commentator about being slow, it’s just a lazy verdict and they cream their pants over John Terry who is as fast as racist twat with a ticket touting dad, oh hold on?!? Anyway I completely digress, if we show that heart and nerve in the league it will be ours! I’d love us to show that focus and solidity against Spurs as they wouldn’t know what had hit them and we know that it works at City when we close them down like that.

It would have been lovely to have had Jack last night, with Santi too, who knows?…

I remain proud and full of hope. It’s going to rain Arsenal goals on the weekend!!!


I think we missed Cliff Bastin.

Prince Eboue

I think we missed Davor Suker tonight to be fair…


Probably why we all pine for Santi right now. Turn out of trouble and find the right pass.

Girouds' Hair Wax

I hate the cheating culture but the players need to be smarter in these games. Giroud could’ve thrown himself to the ground following Alba’s headbutt but instead stayed standing, the whole of the Barca team wouldn’t have. Playing the refs in these games is as important as playing the opposition.


As much as I wish I didn’t agree, I really do. I wish there was a system for retrospective action in these circumstances but it just doesn’t seem like it could be operable.

I really hate seeing any team rewarded for acting like cunts. Saying that, I’d rather see both teams perform on an equal playing field. So if that means we need to simulate then power to them. No sense in only one team exploiting that avenue.

alexis' shorts

I disagree, Giroud and Alexis are examples of players who respect all aspects of the game. They don’t play dirty games. They do their job and communicate to the ref their displeasure.

The human error in refereeing needs to be accounted for in some way, probably post game at this point. Alba’s actions didn’t warrant a red card – his hair barely goes up to Giroud’s chin. But the time Alexis was challenged enough for a whistle 3 times before losing the ball for a goal kick comes to mind – especially when Coq was called for a tug on Messi once he lost the advantage. And I’m calling this for a CL standpoint, not the PL standard where Stoke City games are called by the “no blood, no foul” idea


Each case is different. If Giroud goes down tonight after so little contact, he is as likely to get a yellow as he is to get Alba sent off. Personally I’d be happier if our players didn’t do that type of thing.

On the topic of gamesmanship I’d love to see refs automatically giving any player who holds up an imitation card after they have been given a free to be booked themselves. Whether it’s Alexis, Messi, Neymar or whoever, I don’t care. There is no place for it in the game, its absolute bullshit.


Too many times has Mertesacker diving in on the half way line led to breakaway goals!!


We didn’t get humiliated. We need to be more efficient on goal. In 2016 should flam really be on the field against Messi?

alexis' shorts

I’m sure his is not going to be a contract renewed this summer. I would rather resign Diaby.

Easy as JVC

I couldn’t agree more. There is no justification for us to still be in a position to need him for anything other than a as a domestic cup player. I don’t blame him, I really like the bloke, but he has no business being involved for us at this level. Barca let Xavi go for God’s sake, and he is still twice the player Flam has ever been. It just shows the difference in attitude between the very best sides and the very good sides.


Not a great performance by any means, but also not awful. Barcelona is tough to play against as we all know and the players gave a great effort I felt. Tough being asked to defend so much and get out of the style of game that everyone is most comfortable with.

Thought that Koscielny was great throughout the night, put forth such effort and although had a lapse on the play late in the half he was under pressure all night and stood up well (unfortunately that is going to make Barcelona want to buy him even more).

Offensively was tough for anyone to get much going with our trying to solely play on the counter which Barca defended well always keeping a defender deep playing a sweeper role. Needed to take our chances early (such as Chamberlin’s when all he need to do was a quick toe poke vs trying to pass it gently into the goal) and it was inevitable as we tired a bit and opened up the game some that Barca would get more chances and they did.

I would like to see Welbeck start up top in the next match vs them as he brought a spark coming in. Not the type of game in my opinion that is suited for Giroud as we need someone that is more mobile against them up top and can dribble out of pressure and get the ball upfield while keeping possession. Plus, we are going to have to press them more defensively to back into this thing. For all of Giroud’s positive traits he needs to look to shoot more when in position instead of trying the give and gos all the time. His shots on target pretty much seem to be headers and running onto balls for one touch finishes. He has a great shot off of the dribble or two touch, just would like to see him take it more.


Agree with starting Welbeck up front for the same reasons. What I also found interesting was how different this Barca side is to the Guardiola days, I don’t think they fight and hassle for ball as much and they’re more direct with their passing. I thought we had a bit more time on the ball then we were expecting and panicked a bit in possession when we really didn’t need to. The issue came when we were careless with passing or tried to dribble when there wasn’t the space to do so, triggering their lightning counter-attacks. The opportunity is there to attack them if we can stretch the play and attack quickly as we showed in the first half


Seriously, forget camp nou! Probably just send Iwobi, Jeff et all there.
Just focus on prem and fa cup, the competitions where we still have chance.

Lance Banner

Why can’t we shoot? Everyone looks like they have bricks for feet especially Ramsey and ox.

alexis' shorts

Yea, Ramsey is getting a lot of similar chances to his Welsh Jesus season, but they just aren’t going in the back of the net.

I believe he is over thinking things again, wanting to be Ramti Cazorla rather than the excellent decoy he was before. He holds up the ball well but is a bit slow to pass the ball forward to the open player. While he gets up and down the field well, it’s not so straight forward when he is carrying the ball. Santi is excellent at coming off a dribble and immediately hitting another player in stride. If the Coq could do that from his deeper role, we wouldn’t miss Cazorla’s midfield presence there. Or having a healthy Cazorla/Wilshere/Rosicky who can dribble the ball upfield.


So near, and yet so very far. This was a couple of deadly lapses in concentration and missed goal scoring chances away from being a really special night. Instead it was all too predictable. Can’t fault most of the performances though, or the desire. Build on that and with players coming back and it could still be a great season.


So deflating, but the outcome in these sort of games hinges upon single moments. I think we were doing reasonably well until the sucker punch that was the first goal. Let’s concenterate on the League now, because we really have enough quality to win it this season. The lack goals has been a worry, but I hope Welbeck’s return helps shake things up a bit. Looking forward to him stating against Man U on sunday.


We should have scored goals
Every opportunity to do just that and didn’t take the chances
Barcelona was calmer in front of goal an subsequently won the game

Another ” if only ” and ” what if” from Arsenal ( my team)


They really did show us how to counter attack 🙁
Maybe wenger should take coaching course at camp nou.


Sometimes, it’s a case of players making mistakes or not perfectly executing the managers plans.


It’d be great to have a squad of players who don’t make crucial mistakes at key moments in big games. And who can execute the manager’s plans correctly. Who would be responsible for assembling such a squad? Clue: it ain’t the fans.

alexis' shorts

Yea yea, our squad isn’t built from players hand picked from other top team’s first 11, but they are class and that is consoling to me. And I am more hopeful for the future with all positive changes in debts/assets considering that we have been able to bring in Ozil and Sanchez recently.

Even then, I would still say we have been the best team save for January where exhaustion really started kicking us. Even though our midfield pivot is still not in sync, the returning forward options and continued stability in defense should see us through if they stay focused.


George the Gooner

We should have taken Barca tonight. Coq guilty for the first. Disappointing. We got cocky after we had Barca on the ropes with too many players forward we got punished by ruthless efficiency. it could have been so different. Also that ref and general officiating was fucking diabolical.


Monreal the unsung hero was great today against Messi. Maybe should have been marking him in the 1st goal, but then Neymar would have been 1 on 1 with Cech. Honestly, overall the whole back 4, plus Ramsey and Coquelin defended well in the first half. The main problem today was not converting the chances we had. That’s been a problem for a while now.

George the Gooner

Why are we being moderated? Free speech please.


That’s not how free speech works. Commenting on this site is a privilege, not a right.

Double, double, double....
Double, double, double....

This would be the right time to get behind the lads upfront. Some big games coming up, the stadium emptying after the second went in will hardly help, lets not lose all belief from losing to arguably the best team in the world.


The single most frustrating thing about this game and this season in general is that so many of the problems we have faced have been entirely our own creation: going into this season with Flamini and Arteta as our cover for Coquelin was a mistake; bringing Alexis back too early has completely exhausted him, and; once again, injuries have totally decimated our squad throughout the season. So many of these issues (and loses like this) end up in Mertesacker’s pace being scapegoated. He’s slow, but he’s very reliable and blaming his pace is just lazy and ignorant.

That Barcelona team probably has the best front three of all time, but that doesn’t make me feel like they are any less susceptible to human error or capitulation. I didn’t expect us to win tonight but I feel totally aggrieved that we’re owed as fans – with the amount of money the club has – to see the glaring holes in our squad amended to give us a better chance. I just can’t disguise my total grief that so many of the problems that have plagued our squad for years now almost entirely through the manager/board’s negligence, reluctance to spend, or loyalty have resulted in yet another season where we are staring down the barrel of a Champions League exit. Not only that, but we lost crucial ground in the league because of these same issues through Coquelin, Santi and Sanchez’s injuries.

In truth, I slightly disdain what Arsene did in the interview. Where is his accountability? The players might have been technically average at times but the most technically inept thing I saw all night was Flamini’s kick on Messi. The most laughable thing about it was how totally predictable it was that he would end up doing something stupid just like that.


I have some views that different from blog. Giroud played some big role tonight. He is good i would dare to say both offensively and defensively. So that rating is harsh to him. Rating also harsh to per. He match messi and the fast lot with his anticipation and clearance. Though i will agree that pass to fla is played short. Also rating is too generous to Walcott. He is as good is as there. He should not even play tonight. He does not chase for all half chance balls when he have the pace and energy to do some. In fact it’s due to him not helping out Bellerin that resulted in the first goal. If Ox is still on, perharps we might not conceal that day maybe. Ox surpised me with his defensive setplay tonight. Miss a chanve that he should have score. But overall he is still good.

But really a shame for barca and lots. They are proven winners and yet now have proven actors. Shame on them.
And the ref too. He is as good as mike


You gave how many to per! Ffs what was he doing on the first goal and the second is equally his fault. He’s utter dog shit in big games, and yes per it’s going to be hard over there now, not helped by how wank you are!


It’s all well and god to say that Per should’ve put his foot through it in hindsight.. But so many of our counter attacks have come from our defenders trying to play the ball out. It seemed more like he overestimated how much time and space they had, and it proved costly.

Tom thumb

Let’s bounce back on Sunday, totally agree with starting welbeck too,he looks really sharp and giroud looks a bit tired lately.


I was wondering why did we start ox and giroud over theo, welbeck, Campbell…

Then it dawn upon me maybe, just maybe, wenger is rating the trio higher and was actually saving them for the weekend where we would go all out to win the league title……


I think it is because, at the moment, Ox (who fluffed his 2 big moments) is way ahead of Walcott who never came close to having any kind of moment of any kind, and Campbell who would be totally out of his depth against top opposition. Giroud offers an all round game. At least Giroud forced their keeper into a decent save tonight. Sanchez and Ozil didn’t. Don’t remember seeing Walcott within 25 yards of their goal.

Beef Supreme

While I am a Walcott and Campbell supporter, the combination of power and speed that Ox brings on the right was a better counter to Neymar, Iniesta, and Jordi Alba.


Mertesacker at fault for both goals. 3/10 IMO.

He didn’t play badly overall but why on earth is Mertesacker flying into and missing the ball on the halfway line 70 minutes into the game? It’s unforgivable and he does it in almost every big game we play. I don’t know what is wrong with him but it can’t go on. He costs us the game in 50% of our big games by getting caught up the pitch.

And then there’s the second goal too.

He’s obviously a top bloke but we can’t keep playing him if he’s going to continue to get caught on the halfway line in almost every single big game we play.

canizares's targarian locks
canizares's targarian locks

He retweeting sone banality of blogs twitter and is now impervious to criticism on this site. 100% agree though, the glaring weekness’s in his game are consistently exposed by top teams. Absolute nonsense he’s still a regular starter.


Bellerin – Quiet going forward but he was one of the tidier players in possession and gave Neymar his hardest game of the season.
Merts…I thought he was excellent bar the two mistakes…Which is the problem. The first mistake though you have to question why Mert was left isolated on the half way line vs that front 3…Where was Kos…Coquelin and Ramsey should have taken yellows in the build up…Front 4 disgracefully refused to battle and allowed Barca to clear easily beforehand as well.
Kos – a few laspses but was pretty good also
Monreal – got booked…But was exceptional..Althought they got there in the end this was the quietest MSN have been all season.
Coquelin – Didn’t do much wrong..Out of his depth a little technically in the middle of the park and passing a bit off..
Ramsey – Was our best player at different periods of the game but also was a factor why we never had genuine control of the game or made best use of the passing oppurtunities he got.
Ox/Walcott – Ox was our best and worse player at the same time..Creating mayhem only to fuck it all up. Theres a player in there somewhere waiting to emerge just isn’t happening…Walcott..Didn’t really notice him do anything right or wrong.
Ozil – Subdued and frustrated…He and the others just not on the same wave length today..A few dangerous cutbacks and one where he should have just shot.
Snachez..Worked hard…A few dribbles in the first half…But dire in the second..Gave it away constantly, refused to use Monreal who made several good overlapping runs..Every aspect of his game is just rusty.
Giroud–Thought he was decent until that Moment in the second half.
Welbeck – Thought he was bit more problematic for Barca to deal with..Has pace on the go unlike Giroud, and the strength and awarness to at least find a simple pass unlike Walcott.


Big fan of Ox generally, and I’ll excuse the shot because he was under a lot of time pressure there, but he really needed to do better with the crossing opportunity. Compare and contrast with Neymar’s assist, that’s the difference between being world class and an also-ran. Still, deserves more than a 4.5


Why the fuck is Flamini making the bench over Elneny? Seriously, how is no one asking this question? Such bullshit.


I had a major WTF moment when Flamini went in for the Coq.

I can't believe I signed up to BeIN to see this
I can't believe I signed up to BeIN to see this

Welbeck should have come on for the Ox instead of Theo. He looked so composed in possession and Özil would have found his head before long.


I commented on the Bournemouth match ratings, and I said that Welbz should start against Barca. my comment was so downvoted that it got hidden. Now everyone’s saying he should have started last night!


Walcott was by far our worst player. He was actually useless, as in he didn’t contribute in any way.

Giroud should have shot at goal and the Ox is bang average.

Will B Beck

10/10 for özil giving alves a piece a piece of his mind for being a diving cheat.

Kirk the 70s pin up

After 4 mins monreal got booked. We got a few cheap fouls. This game was played at non contact. Shit free kicks for both teams.

The reason will wilshere never be a xavi is solely down to playing with tackles flying in which is forbidden when they play. I think we are good for a scrap now (a fair one) but these kind of games suit barca.

By the time we play the second leg we will have battles at Salford, Edmonton and hull… barca can tip tap round some average joes and stay fit.

Nob this off. Play the second string over there and go all in for the league. Makes sense. Imagine getting brushed over there and kos and ozil get ruled out for the season!


I like how we are excusing Ox for his decision making in attack, because he put in a defensive shift, full of energy. Shouldn’t that be the main qualities of a fullback? Shouldn’t you have other qualities if you want to play as a winger? I don’t want to pick on him but he sums up our British core: lots of energy, no end-product, gets injured by himself due to bad decision making, and always full of “potential”.

QLD Reds

How the fuck does the ox, theo and flam get a start over Campbell, welbz and elneny? None of them can find a pass and are more likely to get in the way than bring about any attaching end product. The boss is looking more foolish with each game. Elneny is a passer, ozil and rambo need that outlet.


Thought the score for Giroud was harsh. He put in a strong shift defensively, and the header that was saved had a high degree of difficulty and he almost pulled it off. I’d still start him vs. United and put Welbeck and Campbell on the outside. Alexis is just hurting the side right now.


I sincerely hope Ozil refuses to sit with Flamini at lunch tomorrow.


We go out, first knock out round, season after season, due to missing chances and individual errors in defence. Basically, squad quality. Not quite good enough to match the best teams.

No arguments with Wenger starting Ox ahead of Walcott. Ox fluffed his 2 big moments (the soft shot and the break where he let himself get clobbered). Walcott never came close to looking like he might have a big moment to fluff. Sick of him hiding in games. Cannot believe we cannot find better or afford to sign it. Both belong on the bench.

If Coq didn’t have a problem then the manager made a massive mistake with that switch. He clearly doesn’t trust Eleny against strong opposition yet. Again, hard to believe a ready-to-go top-class signing hasn’t been available for three years.

Not saying we should be beating barca (we should’ve held them tonight though)



At this rate, I’ll rather Kristian Beilik as DM back up than Flamini. At least he can improve, unlike a peaked Flam.


How would Elnent help?

He is an imaginary upgrade

Flamini barely put a pass wrong last game

No mention of that

Elneny can still be out muscled on the ball compared to flamini

Can’t defend flamini for the mistimed challenge other than the fact that it was a weird sub and he wasn’t anywhere in the pace of the game yet.

It’s one of those unfortunate challenges that many players would have made to rectify the poor pass by Per.

Fact is we played a very good team and we needed to take our chances which we did not

Who the F*ck Are Sp*rs.
Who the F*ck Are Sp*rs.

Is that you, Mathieu? What were you thinking with that tackle, mate?

Dat Guy Welbz

I actually can’t believe the negativity about this game! We set out against the best club football team in the world with mostly no expectation. I take these positives from the game at least: the crowd were brilliant great atmosphere for once (and shame on those minority who left early) for 70 mins we executed a counter attacking gameplan almost flawlessly (if we just had of taken one chance). Remember Neymar and Suarez both missed chances that they should have scored so it can happen even the very best. I thought Giroud and Alexis absolutely worked their socks off and we defended brilliantly before the goal when we then lost our shape. Coquelin was poor, Walcott poor and Mertesacker should take the blame for Flaminis foul. We can now hopefully focus on bringing the title to the Emirates for the first time which would be an amazing achievement considering the unlimeted finances of Chelsea United and City. Onwards and upwards lads!

someone's something

All players were good defensively. Even Sanchez and Chamberlain went really deep tracking Alba and Alves.

But as good as our defending was our counter-attacks were Sunday League level really. Never really got the counter-attacks going in the first place and when we did Sanchez or Chamberlain would more often then not lose it, and if they didn’t we would squander the very few chances we managed to craft out.

We REALLY needed Cazorla in midfield today. He’s the player with the biggest potential to craft out counter-attacks from deep position. Recall Man City away, last season.

Hoosier Gunner

I for one am glad Giroud didn’t try to shoot himself

Little Mozart

The Ox was my main man tonight. He looked a threat every time he had the ball, and he put a good shift in defensively until he picked up that knock. I’m hoping it’s nothing more than a dead leg because he is starting to find some form.


Why didn’t he try to shoot himself?!

Because he’s not world class. NO WORLD CLASS STRIKER TRIES TO PASS THAT. Pathetic


I know its no shame losing 2-0 to this barca team but once again we stand little or no chance with players like giroud,walcott,mertesacker,flamini and most of all the manager.


The CL is gone as expected.
So lets shift our focus to premiere league.
We have to win it or we’ll lose ozil and / or Sanchez in the summer.


And we desperately need to strengthen in the same old positions … or keeping them is not going to get us any further than the same old fourth.


Well Petr cech was poor for the first goal must be said he made messi mind up for him… the idea that every one on one leads to a goal is nonsense its a goal keeping mistake u have to save them. A world class goal keeper should be saving 6-7 out of 10 one on ones also he had cover on the way. Arsene wenger sub for Coq was simply terrible im trying to be nice here but that was a disgrace everyone in the room with me sighed saying i hope he doesnt do something stupid now…. Anyway we are out of the champions league fact play a weakened team the next next leg and focus on the league


And 10/10 to Ozil for telling Alves to fuck himself loud enough that you could hear it on TV.


Monreal really messed up on that first goal. Had a great game until then but got sucked into the ball when Cech is well able to deal with it and left the single best player in the world with yards of space. Ball watching.


All that hard work collapsed with that mistake. Ozil looked exasperated at the defenders for such a poor error. My heart broke.


Shows just how far we are off the pace in Europe. In terms of performance and available players we’re far behind many teams. We would have to play perfectly to beat Barcelona. Sure we have the occasional rebound game against bayern or whoever but in general we can’t compete. It won’t change until the owners and manager puts real investment in the team. Starting ox in this match was a bad sign


For those wondering why Elneny didn’t play, he’s cup tied in Europe for the rest of the year. Such is the lot with midseason signings.


Comment: we are no where near the best teams. year after year same tragic movie played and we have to sit and watch it. we are in the UCL just to make up the number and make some money, thats it.

Another flambles...

A champions league game. Extremely important to minimize mistakes and take your chances — we were good. But not good enough in either aspects tonight.

Easy to be angry at Flamini, but conceding the first goal the way we did, and missing the chance where the keeper is lying down, defenders are strewn across the box, three of the four world’s best players are thirty yards away, and the ball is at your strong foot, on the ground, eight yards out. Missing that chance, though it sounds harsh, is just not good enough in this game.

Hoping we can bounce back against United and get some goalscoring form. Without that, any goal conceded is fatal and it is beginning to be a worry to me.


I really think Arsenal played a really good game against the best team in the world.
And when we were attacked by them, we put up a nice wall…until the first Messi goal. Great game to watch, and the best team won the game, clearly.
Anything can happen in three weeks, I just hope we can accomplish something over there, if not, im still an Arsenal fan.
However, offensively, we cannot afford to miss but we did and it cost us the game.


Was quite impressed with how well we kept our shape in the first 70 minutes, well disciplined..


On this season’s form Campbell > Theo > Ox. Not sure why Arsene continues to trust Ox in big matches when there’s been little to no reason provided by Ox. It’s shocking. I agree with 95% of Arsene’s decisions but frankly, I can’t come to grips with this one. There’s no question Ox has all the tools and the greater potential; however, potential doesn’t win you matches, form does. Campbell has been miles ahead of Ox in terms of consistency, work rate and intelligence in defensive areas.


Adding to the Campbell > Ox list: composure in the box, final pass, crossing, opening up the other team. Ox is faster but that’s it.


I agree on current form campbell has been better than the later two though of late he has come of the boil a bit. though i think wenger was right in his selection yesterday to counter neymar, iniesta and alba to put Ox in there rather than campbell especially on the counter when we are breaking quickly. we need fast wingers not playmakers like campbell im afraid