Report: Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona

251
Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona 2016

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Giroud

Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Flamini, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck

Arsenal battled valiantly against a brilliant Barcelona this evening, but two goals from Lionel Messi gave them a 2-0 win to take back to Spain for the return leg in three weeks time.

After the 0-0 draw with Hull in the FA Cup, there were lots of changes with Arsene Wenger selecting the same XI that beat Leicester 2-1 just 9 days ago.

Arsenal began brightly trying to put some pressure on the visitors, but a 6th minute yellow card for Nacho Monreal was a worry early on – especially as it seemed harsh, the Spaniard slipping as he made the challenge.

Aaron Ramsey showed some attacking intent early on, feeding Ozil and seeing a left footed shot blocked. The game then settled down into a lot of Barcelona possession, with Arsenal maintaining a defensive shape to deny them space.

Despite the fact they had most of the ball, Arsenal had the best chance in the 22nd minute. Nice work down the left saw the ball spread wide to Ozil. He pulled it back to Bellerin whose left footed shot was saved. The rebound fell to Oxlade-Chamberlain but his effort was tame, shooting straight at the keeper, he really should have scored.

It took until the 31st minute for Barcelona to have their first effort on goal, Lionel Messi heading a Neymar cross well over the bar. The Argentine tried a cute free kick when Koscielny was penalised for taking him down on the top of the D, but it was easily blocked when he tried to kick it under the wall.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had a great chance to deliver a ball as he broke down the right, but overhit it and ended up being clobbered by Mascherano, a collision which left him limping afterwards. Ramsey blocked a Messi shot, and in the final two minutes there was real danger from Barcelona as they had two great chances to score.

When Oxlade-Chamberlain ran away from a Ramsey pass, they came forward and it took a clearance from Monreal to prevent the goal. And with the 1 minute of injury time almost up, Alves got away from Alexis down the right to deliver a cross which found Suarez unmarked in front of goal after Koscielny switched off, but his header drifted just wide.

It had been pretty solid from Arsenal until then, but they’ll have been thankful they went in at the break with the scores level.

There were no changes from either side as the game began again, but that was a problem for Arsenal as Oxlade-Chamberlain clearly couldn’t continue. It left us a bit exposed down the right, and Barcelona took advantage creating a great chance for Neymar who found himself  one on one with Cech – but the keeper made a fantastic save with his legs to deny the Brazilian.

That saw Arsene Wenger make the necessary change with Theo Walcott coming on to replace the Ox. Great defending from Bellerin and Mertesacker helped prevent dangerous situations, and when Jordi Alba pretended Giroud had him, he got to his feet and put his head into the Frenchman’s face – without so much as a card from the referee. Had it been an Arsenal player, it would surely have been red.

The game was bubbling, with Alves next to feign injury, and when Arsenal came forward Giroud saw a header well saved by Ter Stegen in the 59th minute. Alexis had a shot blocked by Iniesta, then at the other end Mertesacker again made a huge block on Messi inside our box, before Suarez fizzed a shot just wide of the far post.

Giroud and Walcott found themselves on different wavelengths in their area, and as Arsenal prepared to make a change, they found themselves behind. Barcelona launched a seriously quick counter attack down their left, Neymar fed Messi, he cut inside then flashed the ball into the net to make it 0-1.

Arsene Wenger made his second change, bringing on Danny Welbeck for Olivier Giroud, but it was only the width of the post that kept the lead to just one when Suarez almost capped another scintillating break with a goal.

At the other end Welbeck’s nod down almost found Ramsey on the stretch but the tiniest touch from the defender put it too far ahead of him. Mathieu Flamini then replaced Francis Coquelin on 82 minutes, and within a minute he’d conceded a penalty with a foul on Messi. The Barcelona number 10 stepped up, sent Cech the wrong way, and made it 0-2.

It might have been worse only for Cech saving strongly from a Neymar header in injury time. Arsenal will have regrets, both in terms of the goals they conceded and the way they did that, and the chances that went begging – especially that Oxlade-Chamberlain one in the first half.

It’s an uphill task in the return leg in three weeks time, and Arsenal have to pick themselves up for a trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.

251 COMMENTS

    • Groundhog Day in the Champs League,
      out to the first top tier team we play

      Creditable performance but did anyone think we’d really do anything in this competition?

      Forget this pipedream, we’re not good enough, lets concentrate on winning that title and FA cup – We have all our players coming back to fitness and form, we can do it

      COYG

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        • Great constructive insights there, well done you…

          Turns out, Arsenal, the team we all love, are not quite as good as one of the best Barca teams ever to play. That’s hardly being negative, it’s just true; we are really are pretty good generally.

          Let’s push on, have a second leg to be proud of, and crack on in the League and FA Cup. COYG!

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    • Even Las Palmas got themselves a goal against Barcelona, just saying.

      We did not really take it to them, we were in a hurry when in possession heading nowhere most times.

      Its painful but expected.

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    • One nil and out. The usual shit glorious failure just like every year for the last five years (last 16 and out).

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    • We gave a good fight, proud of our boys.

      Not blaming Wenger here but perhaps maybe he could have just slightly thought differently about his subs tonight. Theo does not defend and Flamini against Barca is like a 3year old in an antique store…def gonna break some shit.

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      • I said to my mate as soon as Flamini came on, “he’s gonna concede a penalty now” and he did, so sorry folks it was my fault, I jinxed it.

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          • Sorry to say this but Flamini has really been been shit for us of late. The only good things he’s done in the last 6 months:scoring the double against the Spuds and trying to save the world!

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      • We did not deserve to win against Bayern. We made the most of the very very few chances we created, which some may call lucky. Tonight, though, we did not deserve to lose. Before the goal, we gave as good as we got, and before the Ox got injured, Barca were nowhere near our goal. I see progress, but we are nowhere near good enough to do something noteworthy in this competition.

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        • I’m more optimistic (slightly anyway!) – I saw a lot of good things from Arsenal tonight and for 70 minutes we equalled Barca, one of the best teams on the planet. The scoreline could easily have been 1-1 but for a silly penalty and a bad Ox miss – would you then be saying we’re “nowhere near good enough”?

          Overall, Barcelona had the edge, it’s obvious over the full 90 mins, but with a less twattish ref and a bit of luck going our way the result could’ve been a draw easily, which would then have left Barcelona clear favourites at home but surely slightly nervous, knowing that Arsenal would not be a push over. As it is of course we are somewhat cunted but you never know….we did beat Bayern at home

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          • As usual, blame the ref everytime we lose.
            It’s the ref’s fault that we missed our chances.
            It’s the ref’s fault Walcott is a waste of 140k
            It’s the ref’s fault Per decided to have a brain fart.
            Blame the ref.

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          • I agree that we’re getting better, just not that we’re good enough to do something in the CL. Just look at what you wrote: ‘…but with a less twattish ref and a bit of luck going our way the result could’ve been a draw easily, which would then have left Barcelona clear favourites at home but surely slightly nervous’

            Relying on luck and nervousness on their part just so that the playing field is a bit more equal is exactly what inferior teams hope for. We are one of the worst teams in the CL and we have been for some times. Stats kind of prove it. I’m not bashing the team though, I’m happy with what we’ve got and every time we win I’m a happy guy, but let’s not kid ourselves that we can do what we did to Bayern once (twice), to Real or Barca or even someone like Juventus and Atletico.

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      • Spot on – by my maths, that’s 9 games out of 38 games we have t scored in this season – shocking really

        At the risk of appearing knee jerk, there’s 10 players I would get shot of this summer…11 if I include Wilshere.

        Debuchy
        BFG
        Rosicky
        Arteta
        Ospina
        Walcott
        Ox
        Flamini
        Sanogo
        Campbell

        If we are lucky – very lucky – we got £50m across this lot. Time to bring 4 players who I think improve the current bunch, even though it might cost £200m to do it. And I think all of these are gettable

        Stones
        Kante
        Lukaku or Morati
        Grieszmann

        Thoughts/abuse welcomed

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        • Agree with all except BFG, Ox and maybe Campbell. Ospina is probably the best second choice you could ask for, but he’ll probably want to leave so yeah. Ox needs to knuckle down and work hard. It’s about time he fulfills his potential.

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    • Well, conceded 2 was still a great defensive effort considering the quality of their attacker. What do you expect?
      Now we should focus on Manu next weekend, fix our terrible goal scoring drought!

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  1. Love Wenger but why buy elneny and still play this headless chicken flamini. The worse player in the squad. Absolute torture watchin him play against Hull but against Barca??!! With our luck we’re gonna go out trailing just one goal and gonna kick ourselves for conceding that stupid fuckin pen.

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    • Wenger touched Flamini on the shoulder and told him to help get a goal…………for Barcelona.

      Tie over. Premier league and F.A cup focus, Wenger is a genius.

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      • Get over Wenger mate, we played the best team in the planet and gave a decent account of ourselves. Crappy finishing by the Ox and some bad luck in their penalty box was the difference between a decent and a poor result.

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      • the tactic from wenger was spot on till the 70 minute mark, we had a glorious chance, after that one more with giroud with and excellent chance, and before the goal I said ok lets now dig in and park the bus for 20 minutes and go for 0-0, and the opposite happened we started to attack like we were losing 0-2, what was that I think it was more down to the players abandoning the tactic the wenger gave instruction to attack and be caught on counter like that, i really didn’t understand that 70 minutes we were on par with barca anyone who thinks different is a moron, and we abandon the tactic attacking with full force and kos and mert caught on center with that high line against barca really the committed suicide. I really thought if we parked the bus the game would of finished 0-0.

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        • Exactly the same thing happenned v Bayern last time we face them in knockout round we equalise 1-1 at home then Kos goes charging up pitch leaving a huge gap at the back.

          I know Kos is a great defender but he does make some costly errors. Should have taken the Barca player out and got a yellow especially with Monreal, Bellerin and Mert out of the game.

          As for the second goal, the less said the better. There is a mentality issue with this team. Look at the Juve result they were 2 – 0 down to a vastly superior team and managed to get back to 2-2.

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          • I thin we were out of shape this time. Coq was between halfway line and their goal when Pique made the clearance. Per and Coq rushed up and failed to stop Neymar there which created a hole which Kos had to cover. Just thinking if Monreal couldve stayed with Messi as Bellerin was just a fraction behind Neymar.
            For me Wenger got the subs wrong.
            and for the second, Flamini happened
            Its very very disheartening to lose this way

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          • Coq was there to stop Neymar, with 2 others. He was not aggressive enuf … take the yellow and move on. the penalty was pure Per …. not purr, Per. We needed to sign a world class DM and world class striker last summer. still can win league and fa cup though. Nuff said.

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      • Classless and witless comment as usual. You are making a good case for yourself in not understanding the modern game, Arsene brought the modern game to England.

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    • Ox was good! His miss was bad, but he doubled up on Neymar effectively and his dribbling with the ball from our right back was very effective, and we missed that when Theo came on

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      • Ox just offers no end product. That miss was terrible and the scene where he sprints down the right and has 3 players clear in the box and ran into Mascherano. It’s just not good enough. I really like this boy but he’s in an age where he needs to start to deliver regularly. Hes got everything and a perfect role model in Alexis and a manager who’s shown a lot of faith in him. It’s up to him now.

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        • I thought Ox offered quite a bit more than Alexis, who kept trying the same move of cutting inside on Alves and losing the ball repeatedly. Plus, Alexis was shirking working back in the last 20 minutes, which led to a lot of dangerous breaks.

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      • Thought Ox had his most disciplined 45mins (or so) I can remember and was always lively looking for the ball and an outlet. Disappointed with how he took the chance and also heavy touch when he picked up the injury, I also thought Ramsey had a very good game, really worked hard and he has the ability to inject some pace and intnet into are game and did so on many occasions tonight, hope he can start putting the ball in the back of the net soon because someone needs to.

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        • I think Ramsey’s a great footballer with heaps of potential but sometimes he tries to be too complicated for the sake of it. Sad to see him twist and turn trying to shake off an opposing player only to end up running backwards and having to retreat. Not elegantly,either. I think he’d be better sometimes just simplifying his game a bit.

          The Ox played well but should have scored. Alexis had moments. Wasn’t a vintage performance from Mesut.Per did well, as did Hector.

          We pressed and harried, and had chances, but we got done by arguably the best team in the world. If we’d have gone one up, as we should have done, it could have been a different game. We just have to give it our all at the Nou Camp.

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  2. Solid first half, some excellent performances. Ox unlucky yet again, but I still believe there’s too much talent there and he’ll get there soon. 1-0 was probably fair considering we have forgotten how to score properly and Ozil and Alexis weren’t at their best.

    Flam though… Jesus. Best repeat his recent performance against Spurs soon, saving the world or not.

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    • For how much longer can his apparent ‘potential’ justify him starting games of this magnitude? Zero end product – even managed to injure himself in an incident in which he should have done far better.

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      • Fair call. Not sure how to fix the situation but I still think he’ll be a key player in coming years. U21s for a while? Don’t know.

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      • header i would be much more happy if he headed the ball like that maybe awkward bounce on something ? it was his leg bringing down the ball with depth touch like a striker trying to score.

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  3. Can we just discard Flamini now? He really should be nowhere near the squad for a game against such opposition. Why not have Iwobi on the bench instead? Alexis needs to learn to release the ball earlier. He can be really frustrating sometimes. I think we played well and deserved at least a draw… We’ll lose 3-2 on aggregate. Same thing every year.

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    • Nice dig at Walcott.. especially as no one is mentioning the most awful thing I’ve ever seen in football – giroud passing inside the 6yard box when he should’ve scored

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      • Giroud’s pass to no-one hurt, but at least he’s in the mix and trying to make stuff happen. Theo’s just incredibly anonymous at times and I think he knows it. Doesn’t look like he has any confidence. 100k a week just seems ridiculous in the extreme.

        I bet if we sold him to someone like the Mugsmashers he’d start banging them in for fun. I think that’s why Arsene puts up with him, that and the little spark of something we sadly see little of these days.

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    • I thought he did reasonably well, myself. Just because he’s usually poor doesn’t mean he has to be described as such all the time.

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    • I’m not so sure. Poor finishing let us down again tonight.

      Still, need to pick ourselves up, we’re not out of the league race yet – very much in it as a matter of fact, but we need to start taking scoring opportunities sharpish.

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  4. Alexis and Ramsey were piss poor. Flamini, not sure what he was doing there. Dat Guy needs to be starting.

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    • Neither Alexis nor Ramsey were piss poor in any way. Honestly can’t fathom why anyone would, or how they could think Ramsey was anything approaching poor today.

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      • Starting to get concerned about Alexis’form. Just not the same player since the injury. Love the guy, but can’t figure out what has happened.

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      • Ramsey was good & bad. Some excellent tackling, but very wasteful on numerous occasions. I’m so glad I’ve spent around £500 to get out there for the 2nd leg… All I hoped for was a chance of going through. Now we’ll need one of the all time great European nights to get a sniff of the next round.

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    • Were you watching the same game? Ramsey ran his heart out and Alexis tried every time he got the ball.

      Why not have a GI at Özil, the Ox or Giroud as well? You cannot doubt the team for effort. If the Arsenal chances had gone in, this may be a different proposition.

      I think some of you guys on here just want to knock people and have nothing constructive to say about anyone. Such negativity is poor and the team deserve better supporters.

      There is no disgrace to be beaten by a better team. I think we saw some very skilful forward play. Flamini’s foul was just unfortunate as he had not got into the speed of the game.

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      • Agreed the team gave everything and were excellent in the first half. But scoring is a huge problem for us. I think it’s down to AW’s inflexible approach. No shooting from outside the box. Passing around the box. Trying to poke the ball into the net from close range. Opposition teams are primed. They just need to block everything. Hull did it. Barca have a reputation for a slightly suspect defence. We had chances last night but they were able to repel us. We are so predictable in front of goal. When will we spring a surprise from a swift counter? I hate Chelsea but the way they attacked (an admittedly second string )City side in the FA Cup the other day was what cohesive attacking play is all about.

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  5. This might not go down well but back when our team was still comprised from an austere budget, and Barcelona were at their absolute peak under Guardiola, we played far better football against them. Several years on with a supposedly better team and squad and against a Barca that lack the same intensity they once had, we were barely capable of stringing a few passes together. I don’t care about losing so much if at least we played some decent football, but we were incapable of that. A lot of players found out tonight imo.

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    • Ramsey doesn’t possess that technical ability to play the football we used to. Wilshere, Cazorla and maybe even elneny from the few games I’ve seen him play seem to possess that ability but need to see more of him. Cazorla is a massive, massive miss. We need a ball playin midfielder on the right side cos Theo is not a winger. Chambo, he’s not ready for first team football for a club of our stature as much as I love the guy.

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      • Cazorla in the middle and Ramsey right is ideal for games against big sides. The problem is not that Ramsey doesn’t possess the technique. It’s that he lacks the easy pass option that Cazorla gets when Ramsey plays on the right. That’s he he has to go back to Monreal, Bellerin or try a risky forward pass

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    • Completely agree. Barca’s can be got at, defensively they looked weak yet we didn’t take our chances and we couldn’t string two passes together. I really hope we do not try and go for the second leg. We should rotate and focus on league and fa cup two realistic chances of silverware

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    • i know emotions are flowing right now and so i will be in the minority……but i think we played well tonight, consequently, i am not in the dumps as i normally am when arsenal loses……why?

      I am never sad when my team played well and lose. sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and move on. it is what it is. For me, arsene’s tacticts worked to a T tonight, which was why we were able to keep them pretty much quiet for 69 minutes. The strategy for the match, i am sure, was for us to catch them on the break with one of our quick counter attacking moves..and we had plenty of those chances tonight, but sadly, again, we were firing blanks. I don’t know what the stats are right now but if we had only manage to score, even one of those chances?……before they did…….it would have been a different game!. sadly, One can see the motivation drain out of the players once the second goal went in so late in the match and understandably so.

      So, if we can get our shooting boots working again, hopefully before the 2nd leg, and play the way we did today, its not impossible that we can win over there…although, i acknowledge, it will be a tough ask

      We all know our problem did not stem from this game though, it has been with us for a while now. I was one of those that staunchly believed we have more than enough fire power in the squad?. Sadly, for the first time,i am now in doubt and i must now admi wondering what our season could have been like, if only we have mannaged to buy that “clinical striker” that some think that we need?…Giroud worked his socks off tonight and i don’t have any shred of criticism for him whatsoever, but just maybe if we had such striker tonight, things could have been different?…..he dosent need to cost zillions you know, just clinical, so, for example, if we still had him on our books, Podolski could have been a good super sub tonight because, regardless of his faults, he is efficient in front of goal.

      Anyway, this is done….i take theresult on the chin and move on!……..my focus on ManU now and hopefully, we should be firing all guns by then?

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    • Didn’t have to bring him on though.

      Fuck knows what that substitution was about. I thought Coquelin still looked fairly fresh at that stage, whereas Sanchez looked (understandably) knackered.

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          • Flamini’s introduction was to protect the Coq. Remember we manure and the spuds to smash. In managers term it’s called fig leaf strategy in case you didn’t know

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        • I think Coquelin was on yellow from a previous game and Wenger thought Flamini could make it 10 minutes so we would be sure to have Coquelin for the return fixture. I thought it was smart, but unfortunately Flamini had other ideas.

          I personally believe the “Flamini is crap” narrative is completely overblown, he’s an average backup CDM, but that was a shockingly bad play.

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    • But for 70 minutes they were frustrated, you could see by how they celebrated how relieved they were that they broke through. I feared a thrashing that would derail the Club’s season but tonight just oozed of hard work and team spirit against a side that can frigging stroke a ball 30 yards foot to foot like nobody’s business! One or two dips in concentration let us all down. Really think they can step up and be counted this weekend, the team and fans deserve nothing less.

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  6. I had no expectations when we drew Barcelona. We made quite a number of chances and managed to rattle their cages a couple of times which was nice to see

    I can say though that Welbeck is looking to be a very useful weapon to have.

    Let’s just obliterate manchester united on sunday.

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  7. Pique out suspended. That means we can tear The Verminator a new one. No hard feelings towards him, but I’d like to see us score at least 5 with him in defence at the Nou Camp. Even if he doesn’t play I’d like to see us score 5.

    Oh, and fuck Alves. Nasty little cunt. One day he’ll get hurt for real then let’s see him roll around like a pussy.

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    • Did you hear him and Ozil having a bit of a coming together? Was funny to hear Alves saying ‘fuck you mang’ to Ozil before Mesut basically blew him a ‘fuck you’ kiss.

      Alves is OK, don’t get me wrong, he just looks and sounds like a tattooed Tony Montana after all the coke and when Michelle Pfeifer’s left him. Bloke looks like he’s had a hard life.

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  8. I was thinking about the classic commentator line “the chance just fell to to wrong player” about that Ox miss.

    But then I thought, which player would you want it to fall to right now? Ramsey? Alexis? Even Giroud hasn’t scored in ages.

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  9. We played well. I was calm. Created three clear cut chances but couldn’t put it in the net. No real complaints with the first goal. The second one is criminal and made me angry. Now I’m pissed off. Game over. At 0-1 we were in the tie. Ffs

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    • My only complaint with the first goal is that I felt Coquelin should’ve taken one for the team and just fouled Neymar. We don’t do enough of that cynical fouling and often bites us in the arse.

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          • It’s the CL. This is Barcelona. He would’ve got a red card for sure

            I can never get behind their achievements as a club because of how for over a decade they have been granted such impunity in this competition.

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          • Yes, it’s all a conspiracy, clearly. Nothing to do with them having some of the best players on the planet for the last 5/6 years.

            If you think that a foul on the half way line with 2 defenders between the ball and the goal could be given as a red card just because “they’re all out to get us” it says more about you, I’m afraid.

            All this based on one bad decision for which RVP should not have been sent off. Get over yourselves.

            Down vote all you like – it’s clear that’s the popular opinion.

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      • Or Mert, he had him back t gaol on the half way line, just push him over and we don’t concede. He was more at fault than Flamini for the penalty too, why pass to him there ffs…

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  10. Arsene finally fucking buys a player in January, even one that addresses a need. We get cover in DM… Yet he still insists on playing Flamini. For his hubris, Wenger kinda deserved that.

    We, as fans, did not.

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      • Which, fine. Get out 0-1 and give yourself a chance in the return leg, but don’t pull Coq to bring Flamini in. Take off an offensive player.

        For a smart man, Arsene seems really impervious to induction.

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        • When I saw Coquelin coming off I thought Arsene was doing something crazy like putting Campbell on for him (and was ready to chastise him for going too attacking when 0-1 wouldn’t have been bad).

          I didn’t for the life of me think Flamini was going to replace him – was it just me that didn’t understand that sub? I even thought it might be to rest Coquelin ahead of the Man U game – any ideas?

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          • Exactly what I was thinking.

            I thought it was going to be an attack minded player but ffs flamini? I still don’t get this substitution. Plus I do like Giroud but ffs he really needs to be stingy once in a while especially when you are right there infront of the post.

            Chamberlain really really needs to work on his end product.

            Man u up next I except nothing but a win with all the injury they have.

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        • I think some were surprised enough that he made a direct substitution rather than a positive change. Can you imagine the howls if he’d brought off Ozil for Flamini? Outrightly settling for a 1-0 defeat wouldn’t have gone down well but obviously hindsight changes everything.

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  11. No composure, and were far to star struck when we got any where near there goal, seen it before de ja vu….

    Please Flamini warm the bench and give high fives in the dug out just don’t ever tread on a football pitch again you clown.

    We did give it a go which I’m proud of thou.

    Come on boys just try believe you can score and you might just get a goal or two

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  12. I think all 11 players played particularly well in the first half, even Ox was switched on defensively. In the second, I was most disappointed with Mertesacker (he’s got a big role to play in causing both goals watch the replays closely) and Sanchez and Ozil; disappeared completely.

    Not too saddened, by I must admit I am frightened by our finishing (or lack thereof). We create more chances than before this season, but seem to have forgotten how to score.

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      • I would also say that podolski was a lethal finisher .
        He just did not fit into our team/ style .
        Rvp – complete asshole but a great player , when fit. He sure could finish.

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      • Finishing is an issue with all our attacking players at the moment (definitely not just Giroud.)

        For me he’s actually had a number of good efforts very well saved over the past few games and could’ve had a decent 2 or 3 goals in his past 3-4 games were it not for some very good goalkeeping. His efforts haven’t been particularly woeful, which is more than I can say for a number of our other attacking players.

        The biggest concern for me is how the absence of Cazorla has completely fucked us over as an effective team for the past 2 months or so. We don’t have any creative players in the squad who can replace what he does (they’re either injured i.e. Rosicky, Wilshere or too inconsistent i.e. Ox) and Ramsey is more of a bonus forward than a centre midfielder. Hopefully he’s back soon and plays a blinder ’til the end of the season!

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        • Nah, like someone said on another article, our attackers make these goal keepers look good.
          I agree on Santi…if Wenger is going to play Ramsey as a cm, he needs a ball playing DM alongside him. Now this would’ve been Arteta back in 11-12, but Wenger failed to replace him and instead offered him a new contract when it was obvious he was finished.

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          • Agree with you – all are guilty of not putting away chances they should have recently (including Giroud) just wouldn’t single him out as more culpable than Ramsey, Alexis, Ox or Walcott. I also feel he’s had more bad luck with his chances than the rest (who have all been guilty of more simple, painfully woeful execution.)

            Don’t get me wrong – always up for improving the team in any way – RVP was way better than Giroud and if anyone better than Giroud came in – I’m all smiles.

            Agreed 100% on the ball playing DM for Ramsey central to work – doesn’t seem we have anyone in the squad like this right now? Elneny is still a mystery – obviously wasn’t seen as a better option than Flamini to partner Ramsey, makes me wonder what ‘type’ he will turn out to be for us.

            Looking at our CM options for next season we clearly have a lot to sort out!

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  13. Only three positives today: Cech, Coq and Welbeck. We need to start scoring goals, and OX, Giroud and Walcott does not do that at the moment

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  14. We were absolutely fantastic for 70 mins we just needed some luck to help. Fair play to Barca best 3 players in the world up front. Dani Alvez is a lump of samonella.

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  15. Finishing was poor as usual.
    Arsenal lack killer instinct…today was another example. We did everything right in the first half but once again our poor finishing let us down.
    When you play against a team like barca, you’ve got to be very clinical. Unfortunately, we lack that with the options we have.
    Giroud needs to stop giving interviews before a big game. Everytime he gets interviewed and he talks big, he ends up doing something extremely stupid.
    Less talk and more action.

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  16. Ah look 2 nil against barca is no shameful thing. They are a at a different level to us. But we created chances that we need to put away. That’s a problem it needs to be addressed. Those who are not up to it need to be replaced / upgraded. Time to move on. There is a league to be won.

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  17. I’m really starting to worry about our lack of efficiency in front of goal. Barca are amazing, but tonight the difference between the two teams was that ruthlessness. We really do need to buy a striker in summer IMO.

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    • To be fair, they missed:

      A header from right in front of goal with just the keeper to beat (Suarez first half)
      A one-on-one with the keeper to beat (Neymar start of second)
      A near open-goal (Suarez after the first goal)

      They weren’t super-efficient themselves.

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  18. I like Giroud, but when you combine him with non-scoring attacking midfielders like Ox, Ramsey, and Ozil, it often makes for pretty grim viewing. Combine that with Sanchez being in toilet form, and it was always going to be uphill.

    Flamini, though. Hard working, passionate, etc., but shouldn’t be near the pitch at this level.

    Love Wenger, but it’s really hard to figure out what he was thinking this summer.

    Could do with a clearout end of season, I think. Too many players in their comfort zone who haven’t developed sufficiently.

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    • Couldn’t have said it better.
      This is obvious to anyone with half a brain. Truth is we simply do not have a consistent goal scorer in this team.

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  19. It’s okay to lose against Barcelona. It’s not okay to not score the chances we had. It’s not okay to concede two very avoidable goals. We better not have a mental breakdown after this defeat. Now that we are (almost) out of the CL and we can concentrate on the league. Keyword is “concentrate”. Stop fucking conceding foolish goals.

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  20. I am not really bothered about the CL; the epl is it for me.
    Welbeck has to start on Sunday; give Giroud a break. I hope Ox and Ramsey’s injuries are not bad. We’ll need them for the run in.

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  21. Flam should not have played again for the club. When he played every match in January, our midfield became very unsettled, he backs away from challenges in midfield, and whenever he runs forward to the box, we all scream “No!” inside. Hopefully today settles it for Arsene.

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  22. Was still a great night, difference at the end of the day was that Barcelona had a great goalscorer on their chances.. we had good players on ours. Good doesn’t beat Barca unfortunately, but still not a performance to be ashamed of.

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  23. so frustrating, like always in this competition we have no intelligence and nuance to play a two leg tie. All we had to do was set up tonight to not concede and then take the tie to the Noe camp and make Barcelona have to beat us. we do it for 60 odd minutes and next thing you know 70% of the team is in there half trying to score a goal. once again in the champions league we lack the intelligence to compete.

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      • Mate we basically did that for 60 minutes plus, we only conceded when we decided we wanted to take the game to them, yes fair point they are brilliant but you could see how we could have kept them at bay if we continued the way we started ( bringing walcott on in that regard didn’t help either in my opinion) .
        Intelligent play could have gotten us a good draw from this game, then the pressure is on barca to beat us in front of there own fans.
        we most probably would have been knocked out but its so vexing that once again we don’t give ourselves the chance to at least go the full 180 mins

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        • Yeah, we got sucked up field. It’s shit. But we’re Arsenal, not Van Gaal’s Man U. We try to score. I’d rather that than suck the football life out of a game. Fuck it, we had a go when we could and with a little bit more, it could have been different. You can’t go for two nil-nils against Barcelona.

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          • Splitting hairs here i know but surely keeping the first leg at least scoreless and then trying to nick something in Barcelona would have been a more intelligent play. Wenger himself alluded to that in his post game presser.
            Losing isn’t really the problem they are a better team than us to be honest, the problem is the obvious lack of intelligence we’ve seen year in year out in the champions league.
            In football being the better team isn’t what counts, its being the more intelligent that really makes you the best and sad as it may be to say, we are not up there in that respect

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  24. The injury to Ox killed us. Thought he and Ramsey were both exceptional, but Ox especially kept Neymar quiet and was our best outlet all game. His attitude was exemplary, and unfortunately it showed up Alexis’ defensive frailties on the opposite side. Overall, very good performance, but Barcelona are the best team in the world so not a disaster. Welbeck also looked good in his cameo, looking forward to his Hat-trick at the weekend

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    • Exceptional? like the sitter he missed and lack of concentration when he decided to play the ball forward instead of crossing to two wide open players and embarrassingly injuring himself in the process?

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      • I should probably clarify – he was exceptional in playing his role, which was to shut out Neymar with Bellerin and run with the ball on the counter attack. Yes the miss was poor, but it was a snapshot while he was falling – Suarez and Giroud both missed easier chances tonight. Yes he could have passed the ball, but if he is 2 inches quicker (and lets not ignore some extraordinarily brave defending from Mascherano) then he he is at the byline with two players to cut back for a tap in, which is a far easier pass for Ox and easier chance for giroud & Ramsey than if he’d passed it earlier. So yes, he took a heavy touch and scuffed a shot while falling, but that shouldn’t gloss over a very committed and hard working performance.

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          • But who has been clinical in the final third recently? It just seems strange to me to criticise Ox for not being clinical when nobody in our team has been, whereas at least Oxlade Chamberlain played very well in the other aspects of the game

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          • Can’t agree more people criticising the OX for not being clinical when the whole team finishing has quite frankly been s**t lately is silly. I thought he personally had a great game with bellerin and nullified the ever dangerous Neymar. Didn’t have a sniff until the OX came of. Theo was great going forward and worried their back-line but didn’t offer near the same amount of protection own tat right hand side exposes us. Flamini well no words what he was doing there. Mertesacker no words. Sanchez played ok worked hard but needs to release the ball quicker the same like the OX kept losing it. For 70mins we were matching I thought and played so very good football just need to be more clinical in goal we’ve lost that some-how need to find it for the run for the league. Personally in the next few games would start with welbeck up-front he looked good when he came on.

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  25. Same old shit.

    1. Why did we start with the out of form Ox? He missed a sitter then failed to cross to two on-goal players. Why did Campbell play no part in a game suited for him? And what was the point of bring on another waste of space in Walcott?

    2. Why were we pushing so hard at 0-0? We got done with the sucker punch yet again. A goal-less draw would have been a good result.

    3. Why did Cech go down so easily for the Messi goal? If he stayed on his feet he may haved saved it.

    4. Why didn’t Mert just thump that ball clear? It was his fault for the penalty.

    Yet again, we’re going out at the last 16. Sad.

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  26. P.S, who else saw almost our whole team line up on their penalty area and thought: ”oh shit” only to have that thought interrupted by Messi wanking it in?

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  27. Embarrassing the number of empty seats at the end. 180 minute match. De ja vu 3 years in a row. Groundhog Day anyone?

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  28. I’ve been saying this for ages but I truly struggle to see what Walcott, Ramsey and OX bring to the team???? Many people won’t agree but seriously if they weren’t British would they be playing so often? Can’t wait for Cazorla to get back Ramsey does not hold the midfield nor does he do anything when he bombs forward leaving a lot of space behind.

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  29. I fucking despise Flamini at the moment. He should not be in the 25 man squad, he would not make the squad at Hull, and we give him a run out in a match like this. I’d feel more confident if we played Elneny, he is not a retard with half a brain like Flamini obviously is.

    It was always a very long shot, but still, now we made a 2nd leg completely irrelevant, as there is no way we get anything out of it now.

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  30. The first goal was a quick breakaway but conceding the penalty was effing unnecessary! WTF was Flamini thinking? Oh yeah, he wasn’t!

    Which leaves us with a mountain to climb in the return leg yet again. Same old, same old…

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  31. I thought Ox, Ramsey, Coq, Kos, Cech, and Welbz all had stellar games. This game was more or less to see if we could show up against a team despite how poorly we’ve been playing this season. 1-0 would have been a fair result, all things considered………

    But I cannot abide this Flamini stuff. El Neny has CL and International experience. Truly, how far “out of his depth” could he have been? Aren’t these opportunities for players to step up? Not to shield them from? El Neny has got to be blooded at some point.

    Also, somebody please help me understand the Sanchez situation. He has been quite poor since his return from injury but I second guess myself when I think he should be sat. Maybe used as a sub? Didn’t Wenger bench him early on after his transfer to help him learn to not slow down our play as much?

    Overall I thought it was a gutsy performance, there was a job to do and pretty much everyone showed up.

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    • Definitely agree with you that Elneny needs more playing time… he’s not perfect right now but he is quite good and has shown promise and attacking intent while still managing to do his job properly. We really should be seeing more of him at this point.
      Concerning Sanchez, I really thought he should have gone off around the 70min mark or ideally before, like at halftime or something. He looked worn out, and it became very apparent that he simply hasn’t found his Form again. No sense in beating a dead horse in a game that requires a clean sheet, since he has been losing the ball alarmingly frequently. Get him out since he isn’t helping aND give him a break, and then put on a fresh set of legs in Campbell, who hasn’t been stellar but could bring something new to the game where Sanchez couldn’t.
      Honestly, until he truly finds his form, I don’t think he should be playing full games, especially since the next couple months are crucial to the title challenge and we really need a better goal difference

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  32. A fair result. We did play the best team in the world with the best tax dodgers, sorry strikers. We did well to get to 0-0 at half time.

    Some of their passing and movement was sublime. Every ball drops to a player’s feet. That rarely happens with us. It was only a matter of time before they got the breakthrough.

    They knew how we were set up defensively and teased us out and hit us on the counter attack. I think it was Per Mertesacker that caught up field trying to make a challenge when he should have ran back.

    Similar decision from him earlier in the season cost as well! He didn’t do any favours for Flamini with his clearance which lead to the penalty. Don’t know what’s going on with Sanchez right now. He’s on a real poor run of form.

    Overall there are positives we can take from the game and let’s take that to the Man U game!

    COYG!

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  33. Missed the game today due to work, and apparently that was a good thing. Really curious as to what happens at Camp Nou. I would just as soon have the U18 squad out there and save our strength for the league, or throw out the ‘B’ team that played vs. Hull. Hell, is there something in the rules that prevents us from sending the Arsenal Ladies squad out there?

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  34. Dissappointing? Yes.
    Disheartening? No.
    They had just 4 shots on target the whole game, we had 3. We created enough chances to hurt them as well. They began to tire after 65 minutes and we began pushing too many players forward.

    If anything, we come out of this game with our reputation enhanced. The way we beat Bayern and then nearly pulled off the same thing at home vs Barca (not a shot on target in the whole first half) should give us encouragement.
    Had it been United or Chelsea or Liverpool or City, they would’ve been completely destroyed tonight against this Barca side.

    We managed to keep them under control for 70 minutes. We weren’t chasing shadows like we did in 2010.

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    • I agree mate. Lots of positives and we could’ve got a much better result – I’m just very frustrated by Wenger’s substitutions (as always) which I rarely understand. We looked worse after Theo came on, and after Flamini came on…fuck me

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  35. In the first half, for about 30 minutes, I thought “well fuck me sideways, Ramsey is awesome”. Then he went full Ramsey and began running around like headless Ramsey again. No direction, no thought, no nothing. There’s a amazing player in there if he could just calm the fuck down. Stop trying to win the game all by himself, the same goes for Sanchez.

    No surprise that we lost. Barca are better all around and we don’t stand a chance in the return leg so fuck it. No more heroics. Rest the first team and send second string.

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  36. Flamini is brash, always out of position, slow and costing us. Time to move on.

    Can’t understand the refusal to play Joel, who works hard defensively, and and Elneny.

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  37. Ramsey has not been playing well for some time, same with flamini and AOC, I honestly dont know why they keep getting in the team sheet, ramseys case is quite excusable due to injuries but AOC’s and flamini’s aint, they dont just deserve it. Also, Giroud should stop.trying to be cute with the ball, he should beast up, he’s a striker not A freestyle footballer. anyways, coyg.

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    • He did have make a few poor passes but I really felt Ramsey was good today especially defensively.
      Also feel that you could make an argument that Mesut should have dropped deeper to help him out

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  38. More than flamini I feel Walcott was the wrong substitution.Campbell would have defended much better and he has the better passes and hold up play.

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  39. I wldnt blame them too much…d first goal happened cos arsenal were going out to attack barca and dey lost the ball in a dangerous position… IMO,arsenal shldnt have gone out too much to attack..a 0-0 scoreline wld ve been better in taking to d camp nou. anyway,let’s focus on d league

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  40. A few things.
    First off, Alba that sneaky little fuck should have been sent off.
    Again, Flamini has remarkably bad decision making skills and is a liability. I’d rather see Elneny on, or maybe my 12yo son, rather. Yeah Messi is quick, but Flam literally hacked away at his legs.
    I’m also very frustrated that people will just look at the scoreline and make assumptions, when for the most part, Arsenal actually played very decently. In fact, this game went pretty well when you consider that Barca is considered the best team in the world right now.
    Very glad to see Welbz play well, let’s hope he scores against United again! Sanchez on the other hand…. still struggling.
    And we need to hope and pray that players like the Ox, Ramsey, Walcott, and Sanchez find a bit of Form again and start helping Giroud out with the goals more often, because with the numbers of chances we created, all of them were pretty wasteful today.
    Despite knowing how unpredictable Arsenal can be, I think that on the away leg, it’s faintly possible that we could play well, perhaps even score. But I swear, if I see Flamini on the field again in Camp Nou…… even if Coquelin had both his legs chopped off, I expect to see Ramsey holding with Elneny or Chambers on or even Arsene fucking Wenger himself, because no more

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  41. The result reflects the difference between the teams, they have the quality to score, we don’t , as simple as that. The most scary is that we’ve seen this before and we’ll surely see it next year and the year after. I don’t think Arsene or a the next manager will ever get the money from the owners which will put us at level with the top European teams. Arsenal is business for those guys and I think they do the math which tell them the optimum profit is top 4 in PL and advance from group stage in CL. Then they buy players just good enough (and cheap enough) to accomplish that. The desire to win titles is overshadowed by the lust of earning money.

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  42. Lots of negative comments on the blog, personally thought we played pretty well. I thought Wengers tactics were right. We defended well for the most part. Might have been different if we’d scored the first goal. We were playing against the best team in the world and lost, no disgrace in that.

    Welbeck has come back looking really sharp – I think he should start at Old Trafford.

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  43. Arsene’s smile of desperation at the end summed it up.

    You don’t throw on an experienced CM and expect him to pull off something like that.

    Welbeck was the lone shining light amongst the subs in a match where we got the tactics, especially defending spot on, till that counter.

    And what happened to our beast, Alexis looked ragged out there, gave the ball away cheaply too often. And we seem to have forgotten how to convert chances completely.

    Another year in the round of 16, we continue to Arsenal it. It’s not even funny anymore, just plain sad.

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    • Alexis was slammed with at least two players every time he he received the ball. Barcelona knew we had two, proper, world class players on the team and tried to smother them. I think we’re two players away from making that tactic unsustainable.

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  44. I thought we did great. All I read on the way to the game was how Barca are the greatest team ever. Well they are better than us no surprise, but we aren’t far behind. All of our starting line up were warriors tonight and I’m proud of our boys. That ref is a cunt tho

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    • To be fair though, the ref had great control of a game that could’ve boiled over when Alba decided he wants a sniff of Giroud’s beard or when Alves decided he would like to be fouled by every player he comes across. I’m a big fan of sending players off for two footed challenges and those subtle headbutts. Coq was showing studs, Alves was showing studs, ref did well to tell them both to calm their tits and get on with it. I would’ve booked ’em both or sent ’em to the showers. Alba should’ve been booked at least. The rest was just really good officiating which shows the gulf in standard between refs in England and Europe. He let the game flow really well and stepped in when necessary.

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  45. Not gonna go into the negatives ’cause they are all too apparent to each one of us (there weren’t that many but those there were are fatal to success)

    Positives for me: Sanchez’s first half performance, Welbeck’s hunger and physicality looks like it will ruffle feathers, Kos’s leadership and desire to win and Coquelin and Cech for simply being.

    Shame we buggered it by conceding the second but hopefully we can stay on track in the League at OT on Sunday.

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  46. If we’re going to win any trophy this season, it’s going to be with the least number of goals of all time. From the looks of it.

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  47. I feel that Wenger has been given more time than others with a better cl record to turn things
    round has failed repeatedly.He bought the Egyptian but did not play him.
    I say thanks for the memories but its time to move on.I know it aint easy to play Barca
    but tactically the fm is 2nd rate compared to the top epl and cl managers.

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    • You’re talking out your arse. The ‘Egyptian’ is called Mohamed Elneny. And who, at the moment, are the top ‘EPL’ or ‘CL’ managers you speak of? Go on, give me a list of who you think would be better at Arsenal. Who would stick around when there was nothing to spend, having to sell your best players, rebuilding the squad, season after season, and still put in everything he has to the club. Tell me who that manager is and I’ll concede.

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  48. I thought no we handed them that win but I’m not too disappointed because the boys played very differently this time. They were a lot more mature and disciplined. I’m still all for the League and don’t care too much about the CL.

    Danny Welbeck is also looking very sharp and could propel us to the title.

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  49. Might be going against the grain here but I think Per has to take responsibility for the penalty. Why is he trying to play that pass on the edge of his own 18 yard box with the likes of Messi etc around. He should have been putting his foot right through it and clearing the danger. Flamini probably wasn’t expecting it and just tried to react to it. I also thought we gave the ball away far too easily tonight. Very rarely Barca had to win the ball off us, we just kept giving it to them. Some poor decision making in regards to passes too. Can’t fault the effort put in though and we kept Messi and Co. pretty quiet for most of the night. Just one flash of quality and a silly penalty made the difference though but those are the margins at this level.

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  50. I should add that it’s unfortunate that Ox has displaced Campbell in the starting line up. It doesn’t seem like the team is a meritocracy.

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  51. I dont think Flamini or anyone else for that matter would done better. Behind him was Messi and he couldn’t see him, In that situation Mert shouldn’t send that pass. It always one who sends pass who’s at fault.

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  52. Solid defensively, slow & ponderous in attack & panic striken in front of goal.

    Time to break the bank for a top striker & top right sided attacking midfielder.

    Too many average attackers in the team. Giroud, Walcott & campbell can leave in the summer. Ox needs to go out on loan. Ramsey needs to rediscover his 2013 form or leave.

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  53. The only person defeating Arsenal is Wenger. Flamini was our only replacement midfielder. We had chances but no one capable of putting the ball away, why? Because our stubborn manager will not but a WC striker. We could have won tonight, but Wenger didn’t think we could. Even the most beautiful but of steak you can buy has a sell by date..it’s time to leave Arsene.

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  54. Yes, Flamini has no business being on the pitch in a game of this magnitude. But that penalty is 100% (or maybe 90) Per’s fault.

    Why control the ball in your 6 yard box. Flam didn’t expect that and Messi was already closing in on him before he decided to whack the ball clear like the captain should have in the first place.

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  55. Coq has to make the foul on the touchline for the first goal, we were wide open. A little trip, stop the play regroup.

    Giroud very poor. Welbeck looked ten times better tonight. We do massively need a good striker.

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  56. we lost to a better team. there is no shame in that. I was really proud of the boys. They gave as much as they got.

    But….sod it, there is no ‘but.’ we lost because they were better.

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  57. I don’t think we played that badly we were just beaten by a better team but that’s what you pay for.

    Too many of our players are not good enough and some of them really have to be moved on for us to progress. The Ox had two big chances to make a different and didn’t take either and it’s cost us, he’s played over a 100 games for us now and we should expect better. Walcott is 26 and we still don’t know what position he plays in and there are still questions over Ramsey who’s 25, no one had any doubts where Thierry Henry played at 26 or Vieira at 25, what is the justification in keeping either?

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  58. We really have got to get rid of mertesacker and flamini asap.
    You can downvote me as much as you want..but for a club of Arsenal’s stature..to speak the fact..we need a very strong unit of players and not a bunch of mediocre players with two or three weak links here and there.
    The mentality of the players has got to change..they definitely are lacking the spirit.
    At this rate,if don’t improve..I think Ozil and Alexis must be starting to feel the heat to leave.

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  59. I know we had to play very conservatively and concede the ball to Barcelona, but as a fan of great football part of me was hoping we’d try and play with them and have it be an exciting game vs the snoozefest of sideways passes (much of the time), slow speed of play and our constantly turning the ball over by trying to counter. I do realize if we have done that then it could have been 5-1 or something (and it almost was as Barca blew some great opportunities).

    I watch Barcelona work as a unit when they lose the ball with 3-4 players immediately pressing together to win the ball back as they do so often. They don’t sit there with their hands up complaining about a bad pass, a non-call from the ref, etc.. as some of our players do. We also usually have one player pressing at a time which tires him out and frustrates him while nobody goes with him. I’d love to see us become more of a pressing team in the attacking half to win the ball back as I think when we sit back too much and let the ball come deep into our end we struggle to get a good flow to our game as teams have had success pressing us high and making it tough to get into our offense.

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  60. Decent performance and tactics today, though substitutions were poor. We played a better side and lost. Much better than the previous years’ pathetic folds at the same stage.

    Positives – Ramsey, Welbz, Coq and the defenders were OK
    Minuses – Ox, Wallcott, Flam

    I would love Wenger to have the self-awareness and confidence to play a youth team in the second leg, but I’d bet my house he won’t.

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  61. Arsenal actually played quite well I thought – especially considering our recent form – but we were simply outclassed. The match really highlighted the need for a more clinical finisher (or two) in the team. The chances were there – and we actually had more than they – but we just didn’t seize them. Out at the round of 16 again unfortunately. Let’s hope we can translate that into some progress in the domestic competitions.

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  62. If it was Fifa game, I would have spent the last ten minutes throwing in slide tackles and injuring the hell out of their players. I am evil.

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  63. The referee decided the result of that match before a ball was kicked. Pointless. Pointless. Pointless. Why have there been no investigations into European refereeing in the CL? Always bias towards the ‘favourites’.

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  64. I’d love to see bellerin utilise his pace more in attack and maybe try dribble passed a fee players.. He’s been so hesitant this season

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    • He simply can’t, because Mertesacker is just too slow, and he has to provide support at all times on that right side. Mertesacker was decent today but his lack of mobility is one of the reasons Arsenal cant press Barcelona the way they might have liked.

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  65. We were never going to beat Barcelona over two legs. Not with this team. Why we dont have a better team is discussion for another day, BUT…

    Does anyone know why we bought Elneny? …Anyone?

    Was there really no midfielder available at a reasonable price in all the world of football who is better than Mathieu Flamini?
    I find it very hard to believe, and once again its the little things, the small errors made by subpar players, that continue to cost us dearly.

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  66. Well, we could have won, or ended up drawing or concede only one goal. None of this happened. Just wasnt our day to be honest. Only thing I am worried now is we might lost Ox and Ramsey to injury…hope Mezut didnt start to think what if I play behind strikers who can capitalise…and defenders who can defend better

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  67. I dont have any problems with the performance. The team played defensively very tight and kept Barca at bay for 70 minutes. 1 mistake, we get caught short and they score, BUT lets be honest, if Barca dont win everything they play in this season with the from they are in, it will be a major flop.
    We had chances, Ox should of scored that chance he had early from the dot area, Girouds effort cleared off the line. Ramsey though, he isnt the welsh jesus anymore……..
    We can now focus on the league, forget about champs league, just play for some match fitness when we visit spain.

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  68. I think we have too many injury prone players and it is time to let certain ones go (arteta and rosicky) and get decent replacements; I think Wilshire has serious talent and we should keep him in the hope he shakes the injury tag; Theo and Ox should be subs which means getting someone of high quality on the right!!!

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  69. We didn’t take our chances, they did take ours.

    But what the fuck is Mertesacker doing for the first goal going to ground on the halfway line? Why is Mertesacker even ON the halfway line 70 minutes into a nil nil with the best team on the planet?

    How many times has he made that same mistake in big games?

    Obviously it is something he can’t work out of his system. He’s a fine defender for most games but in 50% of big games he makes a basic, basic positioning error like that. It can’t go on.

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    • He’s there because both Coquelin and Ramsey were both in advance of the ball so he has to close the gap. The blame should be placed on Coquelin and Ramsey being so high up the pitch.

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    • You are spot on! If he’s the great leader and communicator who demands his team mates respect why wasn’t he shouting them back in to position?

      He’s held us back for too long. Funny how flamini is the lightening rod for criticism but good god he’s culpable

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  70. Incidentally, if one thing is going to undo any hope of a title success this season it’s our acute inability to score goals at the moment. Giroud and Sanchez are terribly out of form, Walcott is Walcott, the Ox’ finishing is still shocking and Welbeck is useful but will never be prolific. I don’t know how we’re going to solve that before it’s too late. If we don’t, we can kiss goodbye to the title.

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  71. Feel Sorry for the Back Four..Kept the best forward line i have seen quiet for the most part..Were never really in trouble unless Sanchez gave it away for the umptenth time and we were countered quickly..Similar to the goal..Could have brought someone down and got close to all the decisive passes but not quite.
    Mertesacker was exceptional but no one will care because he got caught high once in the whole game because the midfiled and forwards were not doing their jobs and we paid for it. One mistake we concede and the defence will be blamed while the forwards were faffing about all night.
    Bizarre decision making from everyone going forward today..Dribbling, passing and shooting was way off in forward positions, individually and as an attacking unit everything was just poor, no composure on top of that. The difference between Ox’s miss and Messi’s goal. Or Giroud in acres has the chance to just curl one top corner or at worst play Walcott in, except he does something EVEN STUPIDER. and play it to air.
    The effort and commitment was there and it was a decent performance which makes all this even more annoying..They were there for the taking.
    I love Ramsey and his qualities, he is an excellent footballer but there is a gap between him and even Wilshere and Cazorla with the ball at his feet. But he is above them in terms of energy and his ability to be everywhere. Its a weird conundrum..Felt we missed them tonight but if they played and Ramsey didn’t we would also have missed something as equally important.

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  72. Reading these comments all to the tune of “Oh I dont care about the CL”
    We are the only supposed “big” club who has fans who don’t care about the most prestigious cup in league football. It is because everyone knows we are not good enough. Every other big team in the competition has a fighting chance to possibly win the CL. Not Arsenal though. We have been doomed from the start, and that is very very sad.

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  73. We knew this was a game where we were meant to take the few chances we got and we still blew it.
    More clinical finishing please.

    Coyg

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  74. I love Arsene’s faith in the players he has, but the right wing is our weak position at the moment. I’d hope to see people moving on in the summer. We have too many ‘alright’ players there.

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  75. Pffft… I’d respect Barca more if they weren’t a bunch of cry babies when they lose the ball.
    Alves and Jordi Alba are shockingly bad actors as well as massive twats…

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  76. Did well for 70ish minutes then threw it away. What was up with that substitution? Was the Coq injured!? Flamini is backup at best. A shame really. 0-0 wouldn’t have been a bad result.

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  77. Firstly, I thought Wenger got the game plan and initial selection spot on.

    Aside from the Suarez miss at the end of the first half, the first half we were reasonably solid and arguable should have been 1-0 up.

    Sadly, the injury to Ox meant a reshuffle, Theo did well enough causing some nervous moments for the Barca back line but unfortunately are strikers were not on the same wave length to make it count.

    Giroud’s layoff out right after Theo had cut inside was the first, the second being his rather poor pass inside the area. Agai st Barca we cannot afford to be so wasteful.

    It showed in the first 10 minutes of the second half before Ox went off just how well he and Bellerin had nullified the threat on the right, and we saw that while he was still on injured they were getting some joy.

    Their first goal, objectively, it one of those that we risked by pressing for the goal. And while the pundits will hail Messi it couldn’t have been easier – I recall Henry scoring from a quick free kick that led to a very similar breakaway against Valencia some years ago- it happens, we can be disappointed but we can move on from that.

    The second though, is inexcusable. A player of Flamini’s experience shouldn’t be so rash. I’ve been one to defend him during the easy bashing, but to gift Barca an easy second can only be described as full-idiot.

    2-0 I fear will be too much in the away leg.

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  78. Can’t defend Flamini on this but anyone who thinks Elneny could go s better job should watch the game more closely

    Last game, flamini hardly put a pass wrong and was solid protecting the back 4

    the fact is we have been beaten by a better teAm

    We needed to take our limited chances and we did not

    This whole world class striker is completely rubbish. Who could we have got?

    Falcao is reputedly world class. Costa is world class, neither are helping their teams cause

    We carved some chances but as mentioned repeatedly over recent games, we are just not finishing well enough. We are too hurried.

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  79. I used to get euphoric over UEFA nights in the early 2000’s. Work tomorrow? F that – I’ll have a beer. In fact, I’ll have a few before, during and after the game. Make some nice curry with the lady before the game starts, and God knows I’ve been blessed with football hating woman loving Arsenal to bits. My last three ex’s all wear and support Arsenal thanks to my rabbit love for ’em.

    The game starts on the telly with the UEFA song and I get all teary eyed watching the camera roll past my team. My good news in a world that seems to have gone to shit. For the next 90min+ I am immune to all worries. For the next 90min Arsenal can seduce me over and over.

    The game starts and the hair stands up on my arms. The missus and me, donning Arsenal shirts (hers bought a bit tight cos I am a simple man and love boobs) and scarfs drink our beer, scream, jump, gesture to the malaka ref. Win or loose I really enjoyed those nights.

    I really hope Arsene can make these guys believe in big nights like we used to before. The guys let us down last night, but I think mostly they let themselves down. 70min. We made it for 70min and then came crashing in.

    Arsenal (the club) – FIX THIS REPEATING NIGHTMARE.
    Yours truly,

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  80. I hate admitting that there’s a better team than arsenal but unfortunately, Barcelona are a better team, argubaly the best in the world.

    We matched them 95% of the game but made 2 mistakes and didn’t take our chances. That was all the difference.

    On a brighter note, I thought Welbeck looked really good when he came on…Giroud to seriously be looking over his shoulder now, he plays better when he’s under threat also.

    We’ll beat United if we put in a similar performance to last night, which is now the thing that matters.

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