FC Barcelona (h) Preview: Time To Step Out Of The Shadows

The Emirates hosts its biggest match involving a non-English team this evening as Barcelona swagger into town. Whatever you may think, to be reigning Champions at domestically and continentally is some achievement. Both of those are under serious threat, no matter what the Catalans may believe. Arsenal, we are told, has no chance of winning. Thankfully, football is not played in the numerous electronic and paper column inches that this match has commanded.

It is a chance for Arsenal to erase the memories of their big match encounters this season. Four times they have met Chelsea and Manchester United, on each occasion the results not going their way. This time, they face a side who play football in a similar manner. Wenger has been at pains to point out that the Arsenal style is more closely aligned with the total football of the Dutch in the 1970s than Barcelona. Presumably, he has yet to realise that football did not exist before Sky took over the broadcasting rights and people are not supposed to be able to relate to anything before then.

Much advice has been passed his way on the dangers this evening poses to his desire to win a European trophy. About how Messi is unplayable at the moment, Ibrahimovich will torment Vermaelen or Xavi will outpass the Arsenal midfield. Little credit is being given to the Arsenal players, even supporters are questioning how we can win such an encounter.

It is all rather reminiscent of the matches against Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan in recent seasons. How could the Arsenal sides in question win such matches. Quite simply, they kept clean sheets and scored. The first part of that equation could be the most important thing this evening. Denying Barcelona an away goal is crucial. It puts pressure on them to score at home – as would an Arsenal win this evening – and allows the prospect of Arsenal counter-attacking them successfully in the Camp Nou.

The defence received a boost in William Gallas’ return to the first team squad. Like Cesc, it is a decision that Wenger will make tomorrow and should not be considered a slight on Sol Campbell’s efforts in his absence. Quite simply, at this stage of their careers, Gallas is the superior player. The former England captain has done a good job covering for him whilst Gallas was injured; perhaps that will continue tonight with the only question mark being whether or not Gallas is match fit.

In midfield, Cesc would want to play even if it meant using a mobile life support machine to get him onto the pitch. That Wenger suggested it was currently 60:40 against the Spaniard being fit means that he will no doubt be there at kick-off, accompanying Diaby and Song in the centre of the pitch.

They are in some respects better suited to facing Barcelona than Manchester United’s quartet were last year in Rome. Arsenal win a lot of their possession through intercepting passes rather than diving in with rash challenges. Forcing the opposition to pass constantly when they have the ball increases the likelihood of a mistake. Barcelona may like to have the ball and use it but they are not infallible.

Key though will be Arsenal retaining possession and forcing the visitors back four into their own half. With full backs who like to attack, there will be space for the Arsenal front line and midfield to exploit. Thomas Vermaelen summed the situation up nicely:

You are aware of the qualities of the opponents, but you also know what your own strengths are.

Arsenal possesses enough quality in the playing personnel to force Barcelona onto the back foot. Much is being made of the determination Fabregas will have to do well against his former club; that should not be underestimated. However, perhaps two other players hold more of a key than the captain does. Andrey Arshavin likes the big games; his form is typical of the flair player. Infuriating at times, driving you to distraction but the moments when the Russian is focussed bring a joy to behold. Quick of mind and fleet of foot, this is an occasion for him to shine as he has done in the past. His goal threat means that the Barcelona right side will be fully occupied.

Similarly, the left must surely have problems awaiting them in the form of Samir Nasri. Whilst Theo Walcott has pace to burn, Nasri is in a rich vein of goalscoring form which must put him ahead of Walcott in the starting line-up. His spell in the centre of midfield appears to have done wonders for his confidence, the talent he undoubtedly has shining through in recent games. Given his age, adding consistency to his performances will surely enhance his reputation, benefitting himself and the team, a point acknowledged by Nasri in an interview given at the weekend.

Provided that fitness tests are passed, I would expect the line-up to be, (changes if Fabregas / Gallas do not pass their tests):

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas (Campbell), Vermaelen, Clichy; Fabregas (Nasri), Song, Diaby (Denilson); Nasri (Walcott), Bendtner, Arshavin

This is the night, the chance to prove themselves to the doubters – I did like Bergkamp’s description, ‘non-believers‘ – and to give themselves a good chance of progressing to the semi-finals. Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 31, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 591 Comments.

  1. Can’t wait for this one. Think Gallas and Cesc will both play.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Yogi!

    the previous was one of the best ever!

    Second! Let me read now…

  3. @FL re: your earlier query.

    yes there is an Arsenal Suporters club in Kenya


    In Nairobi West, go to Taidys. you will get details to the Arsenal club there

  4. Nasri’s ability to retain the ball, pass/dribble will be much needed. Nasri must start.

  5. kayonga benard

    we all awaiting the sexy much. nice time

  6. we are dearly awainting the electric sexy match, nice watching,

  7. Gallas for Sol is a major boost.Sol has done well but Gallas is a much superior player against top quality opposition.

    Its going to be a classic match

  8. Nobody in England thinks we can win. Nobody outside England (and English language media) thinks we can’t win. Amusing


  10. limestonegunner

    No one thinks we cannot win in absolute terms. Rather the punditocracy favors Barcelona, which is fair enough given their recent accomplishments. Don’t imagine that Barcelona are taking us lightly even if they are somewhat confident. We should be confident as well. We can give them problems and even if we don’t win but play well, we will be boosted in the league, I think.

    I wouldn’t start Cesc if he is not really fit; and Gallas has been off for quite some time and might not be as sharp as well. I would rest them for the return leg; I think we can stay with them at home. I’d start Nasri centrally and put Eboue on the wing instead of Walcott. He has pace and can cross and can press up high, something that maybe Barca isn’t really used to.

    It will be most interesting to see how our team plays in a tie where for long periods we don’t have the ball and need to be patient and determined. The top teams seem not to play possession ball against us and wait for the counter, so it will be a different experience. Similarly, Barca may not fancy playing a team that can keep the ball as well!

    Hoping for our best European performance since we destroyed Milan at the San Siro two years ago! COYG!

  11. anyone notice how well the chavs do with Anelka leading the line with no drog? Anelka has that dodgy temperment where he needs to be the leader or he is shite. but he is class when he is the main man though.

  12. Cesc has to start even if he is only 50% fit.He can sit out Wolves on saturday.

    To me the most important players tonight are our full back.And can Arshavin and Nasri give the full backs cover from Messi Henry Alves and Maxwell

    Try as i might to see us winning i can see Barca scoring that vital away goal

  13. Anelka who? 😦

  14. Damn the run-in to this season! I am unable to concentrate on work. I am mentally weak. I need help. I need to give up football altogether. COYR!!!!!

  15. I’m having a fever from just thinking about the game tonight.

  16. Christ, I am so bloody excited about tonight’s game. I am so glad we have managed to avoid English teams so far this term.

    I hope the Mancs get knocked out even if we fail to go through. I am fed up with the bullshit media surrounding them at the moment.

    It will be interesting to see how they fare without Rooney I bet it is nowhere near how we have without RVP and Big Nic!

    We are going to kick arse tonight!

  17. limestonegunner

    Robin VP,
    I’d love to see a fit Cesc play-we really do need him. But he doesn’t have the same effect on the game when he isn’t fully fit and why risk him (frankly I don’t understand why he didn’t come off after the knock in Birmingham–he wasn’t at his best after that) when we may survive tonight at home without him but will definitely need him and Gallas both fit for the all important second leg away.

  18. This is the big one, we have to play the best to be the best, I will be watching in Abu Dhabi and for me this is what football is all about. Bring on Barcelona, I am hoping this will be a vintage game of football.

  19. Mingus…

  20. I’d be in favor of dropping Denilson for Rosicky if he’s fit/not suspended…

  21. can.

    sydney gooner here.

    taken tom off work, getting up at 430am and down to cheers in the cbd for 530am for the game.

    hopefully some other oz gooner will be there, and maybe the odd barca fan too!

    tough game, but so good to see some positivity in a blog.

    praying cesc will be fit, and samir, diaby, song and clichy continue their run of improving form.

    how im going to get to sleep tonight I don’t know. waaaay too excited.

    come on arsenal!

  22. Arseman, that may be! But my brain is not in a good and fit state. It is distorted. It resembles a series of connecting pathways that try to go one way, but get lost in a fog of Arsenal-shaped neurons. I’m mentally weak! I can’t focus.

  23. Mingus….hahahaha….umm…thats quite a trippy but somehow accurate description of what im sure is going on in most of our heads today!

  24. Sweet revenge?….Our reserves smashed three past Brum yesterday!

    Barazite scored an absolutely brilliant goal!


  25. I would love to see Barazite involved in the first team next season. A quality player in the making.

  26. Flint McCullough

    Good stuff, YW.

    The team selection will certainly be interesting.

    I feel we need to be a bit more β€œcanny” than the home games against Chelsea & Utd.

    I don’t want to put a dampener on things but from experience games like these rarely live up to expectations. 0-0 would not be a disaster for us so we cannot afford to be totally gunge ho & neither can they.

    It should be a treat of quality football but that doesn’t necessarily mean lots of goals.

    I really hope AW is not tempted to play a less than fully fit Cesc & I don’t see how he can be. That could be a huge mistake & I actually feel that Nasri is in the sharper form at the moment, so having him playing centrally could be to our advantage.

    Same goes for Billy Boy- can he come straight in after weeks out to play Barca?

    Eboue is another form player, who I would want to see playing in tandem with Sagna, down the right flank. He is able to offer more defensive protection than Rosicky or Walcott, without weakening the attack.

    Arshavin is a problem. I think we have to play him because he has the potential to destroy any team but on the other hand you cannot afford less than 100% work rate in games like these. He has appeared disinterested of late & that needs to change.

    Lets hope that our boys can do us proud against great opponents & that the ref is up to it.

  27. 11/2 Abou Diaby Anytime Goalscorer, and same odds for Rosicky! Those are too good to ignore for me – in what should be end to end stuff. I’m taking a punt.

    Also, anyone think Arsenal.com are doing a stand-up job riling us up today? All this Birmingham ire is surely designed to get us all boiled up and vociferous. It’s certainly had that affect on me.

    Great write-up by the way Yogi, had the hairs on the back of my neck going.

  28. For tonight I’d favour the following lineup;

    Arshavin Bendtner Walcott

    Diaby Song Cesc/Nasri

    Clichy Vermaelen Gallas Eboue


    Bench: Nasri (or Merida), Fabianski, Campbell, Sagna, Rosicky, Eduardo, Denilson

  29. I would like us to play with the same intensity we had for the first few games of this season, where we fought for possession with incredible tenacity and intensity, whenever we didn’t have it. Especially in their half. We should take advantage of their slower play. 90 minutes of superfast passing and tackling back. 2-1 after 90 COYR!!

  30. Five reasons why i think we will beat Barca.

    1. They are cocky – You feel that they have this feeling that all they have to do is turn up. For that we can serve them Humble pie…
    2. We are good. Arsenal as a team is a very good side. If we focus on team play, we are better than what Barca can offer in team play. Man for Man they may have one or two individuals, but i think Arsenal is a VERY good team
    3. Personel – I believe we have the personell to counter all that Barca has to offer.
    4. Formation – We can Play in very many diverse and differnt formations. We can set up to defend and counter, or attack, or keep ball
    5. Arshavin & Eboue – these two players are very good at an “unlocking” job – of course we all are going to look at Eboue…
    6. We.Have.A.Point.To.Prove – Barca are already acknowledged as the best. they really don’t have to turn up to play this match.
    7. Wenger. He is Better than Pep.

  31. Very positive line-up, Ole. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if AW goes just as attacking. Fight fire with fire.

    Flint, you make lots of good points but I can’t see it being 0-0. I think we’ll see goals.

    Hold on to those standing nearest you tonight, ACLF – and if you suffer from any kind of heart condition, for God’s sake don’t try and be a hero. We’ll tell you all about it when the smoke clears…


  32. 1 loose cannon

    I feel Fabregas is deseperate to play. Anything less than a 100% fit Fabregas might have bad consequences with Spuds and the Barca 2nd leg still to come we could pay the price and lose him for more games. Lets hope thats not the case and we shall make it happen tonight. I do feel we’ve never fullfilled our pontential in europe and I think our turn will come and it could be this year. Wenger will enventually bring european glory no doubt. its a matter of time. A club like ours deserve that trophy.

  33. Okay that was seven. my bad..

  34. If Cesc and Gallas are fit:

    Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy;
    Fabregas, Song, Diaby;
    Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin;

    If Cesc and Gallas aren’t fit:

    Sagna, Song, Vermaelen, Clichy;
    Nasri, Denilson, Diaby;
    Eboue, Bendtner, Arshavin;


  36. Cant wait
    Im so bloody excited, ill soon shit myself
    this is going to play a big part in our GOLDEN ERA

    We fear no one

  37. drew10..lol

  38. Standing ovation for that man tonight

  39. Doctors warned today that Rooney’s injury could sideline him for three months
    oh happy day

  40. Imo Fabregas shouldn’t be played if he is less 100% fit, especially if there’s a risk of worsening his injury and loosing him for the 2nd leg and prem. Nasri should be able to deputize well enough in that position, given his form in recent games.

    Eboue should play RW with sagna behind him. Theo to come on as impact sub later on.

    Denilson should thrive in a game like this, so i’d play him, as well Song and Nasri in the midfield(assuming Cesc isn’t fully fit). Diaby to come in as sub.

  41. definately one for eboue tonight. I have a feeling he could make all the difference… walcott can have 20mins at the end maybe but any more than that is too much of a risk.

    Im confident Arshavin will show us his worth tonight. He needs to find his rthyim early on and maintain some consistancy. If he can’t motovate himself for this one then we know we have a problem. not worried tho – he will deliver.

    The rest of them just need to do what they are doing which says a lot about the strength of our team.

    considering Diaby still carries a knock rosicky hasn’t been mentioned much yet. could be a useful bit of experience in midfield should cesc need to come off?

    S – G – V – C
    eboue – cesc
    nasri – NB – Arsh

  42. Let’s hope Rooney is injured till the end of the season but is fit for the first game of the World Cup then gets injured after scoring a hat-trick in the final that will rule him out for the whole of next season too!

  43. Diaby has to start, he was by far the best player on the park on Sat and even outshined Cesc!

  44. Larry Mbaco – awesome video !

    but many mixed emotions watching it… :S

  45. Larry Mbaco


    what to tell him we want the money back for that last season

    but then his wife’s got all his money lol

  46. Come on you Gunners! I am absolutely wound up already…if your clock starts working properly drew10 please send me one too!

  47. Jeff, remember to use the breathing techniques we went through yesterday ok?, I dont want you to have a relapse

  48. So Cesc is one booking away form missing the second leg… is he worth the risk do you reckon?

  49. Looks like Rooney is out for around 4 weeks

  50. So you can guarantee he will be back in two as The Mancs use the same doctors as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4!

  51. If he dies, he dies

  52. zatlittlevoice says:”i see 4 goals. Wheza in zis gayme or in both gaymes!”

    I am with limestone & Flint (great to read from u) about not playing an unfit Fab4 and feel a very direct approach will be necessary tonite.

    Nasri on adrenaline is always a beautiful sight

    Arshavin will torment Alves just as Messi will do Clichy

    If Gallas is fit by all means play him but Sol will definitely help with Ibrahimovich

    The Diaby-Song vs Toure-Busquets midfield battle should be one for the ages

    Eboue MUST play! Maxwell or Abidal must feel his wrath!

    A lot is required of NickyB tonite. He is stronger than Pique but not as savvy as Puyol.

    I hope Marquez plays. He’s always good for a penalty as he’s lost his pace

    I foresee:


    (Fabianski, Walcott, Rosicky, Gallas, Traore, Denilson, Eduardo)



    (GK2, Pedro, Abidal, Milito, Bojan, Keita, Marquez)

    My heart palpitates in anticipation
    Hope it lives up to its expectation
    and ends
    ARSENAL 3 – Barcelona 1


  53. Great post again Yogi. thanks:

    It will be a great game. Agree that a clean sheet is very important. We might survive giving up 1 away goal but giving up more then one would be disaster. We kept 10 clean sheets in a row during the 2006 CL finals run with Senderos and Flamini on the left. WE CAN DO IT AGAIN AND STILL SCORE.

    Sagna/Eboue Campbell TV Clichy

    Cesc/Nasri Song Diaby

    Eboue/Nasri Bendtner Arshavin.

    I hope we do not leave Nasri or Eboue out. They are our best form players at the moment. Theo can be impact sub if needed. I suspect Cesc plays even with crutches.

  54. I havent felt this excited about a game since the Champs league final!!

  55. I haven’t been this excited since Judy Finnagan’s top fell off

  56. We are Arsenal we fear no one.

  57. ArsenalArseneArshavin

    Rooney out for 4 weeks

  58. Hi Yogi, Hi ACLFooters

    A few more hours to vote for your favorite Lineup here


    check out the pre-match team videos here


  59. Based on the training photos on the dot com – I’m assuming those in yellow bibs are starting, so:

    Diaby/Song/Cesc(or Nasri)
    Nasri(or Eboue)/Bendtner/Rosicky

    There was no Almunia in the photos at all, but he’s a certainty. Then it depends on Cesc’s fitness, how he and Nasri/Eboue will slot in)

    Arshavin was wearing a purple bib, so make of that what you will.

    It probably all means nothing.

  60. dsqd, The purple bib is the football equivalent of the Dunce hat

  61. Oh and there was no sign of Song in them photos either, Denilson was a yellow instead. But…surely not?

  62. dsqd love the posts, they started off sounding very sure of themselves then got a little less certain and by the end had totally given up hope of being right!!


  63. No one wants Denilson on their team except me? Doesn’t anyone else think his ability to keep possession will be better suited to this kind of game?

  64. Heh drew10…I’m cycling through those emotions right now.

    I wouldn’t mind Denilson starting, but not as a replacement for Song. In a way he could replace Cesc if he was unfit, but that would be a more cautious solution than moving Nasri back, and bringing in Eboue or Walcott up top. And I don’t think Arsene is minded to be cautious today.

  65. I would say Song has to play if Yaya is to negate his power. I am growing more confident as they day progresses.

    Hopefully Barca will think it will be a stroll like it was against Manure.

  66. You couldn’t really class Yaya’s game as physical. He doesn’t set out to bully anyone like you get in the premiership, so there’s no real need for an ‘anti-bully’ player.

  67. I’m with you Henristic, I think Denilson could be huge for us tonight.

    – – – – – – – – – Al – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Eboue – Gallas – Verms – Clichy
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – Song – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – Cesc – Denilson – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nasri – – – – – – – – – – – – – Diaby
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – Bendtner – – – – – – –

    That means leaving Arsha out. And Rosicky, and Walcott but I just think we would be too strong for them with Denilson, Song and Diaby all playing.

    Having said that, I’m sure Arshavin will start – and if he does he’ll play out of his skin and turn in one of his best performances for us.

    Nice headaches to have. Been too long since we’ve had such a healthy squad.

  68. He is big and powerful though

  69. BLOODY HELL IT IS ONLY 3.15 WTF?? Sill luckily i finish work at 3.30.

  70. What we need is someone who can break up play, basically by intercepting, and who can help keep possession in midfield.
    I read something on the Guardian about how Xavi and Iniesta rarely drop back into their own penalty box, leaving space for shooting opportunities just in front of their defence. Denilson is probably the most likely midfielder to shoot from distance that we have at the moment.

  71. According to Goal.com “Cesc took to the training pitch earlier today and trained without any discomfort. He is expected to appear in Wenger’s starting line-up for tonight’s match.”

    Where they got this news I don’t know but I hope it is true!

  72. I’d start Arshavin and rest Song. I’ll play

    – – – – – – – – – Al – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Gallas – Verms – Clichy
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – Denilson – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – Cesc(Nasri) – – Diaby – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Eboue (Rosicky)– – – – – – – – Arshavin
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – Bendtner – – – – – – –

  73. I just can’t see that you can leave Song out at the moment he is strong in Midfield but also in the air in defensive areas.

    If Gallas plays then we will need more height at set pieces.

  74. If you’re going to the Emirates, please cheer Thierry until he’s overcome with emotions… that he won’t be able to focus on scoring for Barca. πŸ™‚

  75. Well guys I am off now enjoy the game and roar yourselves horse tonight!!

    We will win!!

  76. ………….Arsenal…………….




  79. Seems it was all Wenger spin..

    Looking good for Cesc for tonight for #Arsenal. Don’t expect definite confirmation till later, but from what I’m hearing think he’s gonna make it – John Cross


    Wow, Im shaking already i am unbelievably nervous abt this. I just need to relax……come on arsnal.

  81. A win is great; a masterclass delivered to Barca would be a fantastic bonus.


  82. @ZAP LUKE..


    me tooo!!!


  83. I think Barca are most weary of arshavin. If a.a has a good game, we will win its as simple as that. On the big games, arshavin ALWAYS makes himself at least 2 or 3 good chances, we saw against manu home and away how many chances he made for himself, chelsea at home he was the only one really with a creative spark that day. Arshavin will be key tonight

  84. All I want is for us to play well.

  85. @OG

    All i want is for us to play well, and win, and give a master class in football

  86. I suppose they will play the long diagonal ball game against us again tonight the fukin slags.

  87. OG

    All I want is for us to play well… and WIN!

  88. Saw Rooney’s injury on replay and it looked inconsequential. I’m very surprised that he may be out for up to four weeks. A draw this week-end will be magnificent.

    Diaby, Song, Clichy and Cesc will be our most important players tonight. If we can stop the ball from getting to Messi and whoever is playing on the left tonight, we shall come away victorious.

  89. Fuck Barcelona, whatever happens tonight theyll still be cunts all of em (xcept henry)

  90. Come On Arsenal

  91. Zap you donut theres no call for that type of language

  92. Breaking News, according to Marca, Cesc will play. They wer the same ones that keep saying hes going to barca, so i dont trust them

  93. James dont you just dream for tottenham to have such a huge night in the champions league (or any night in the champions league)

    Arsenal are playing Barcelona, your mind cannot comprehend such huge occasions stick to watching highlights of a 2-0 win over portsmouth a.k.a the circus bye bye now

  94. Sorry Zap I was just getting a cup of Tea, what were you saying?

  95. Lasagne with your Tea J*mes?

  96. Come On You Gunners!

  97. I really think that United fans are deluded about how much they will suffer if they lose Rooney.

    They are actually saying United will be ok due to the Portsmouth match? There is no comparision to who they are about to face.

    Its simple United without Rooney are nowhere as good and that has been for a few years, ever moreso not that he is carrying the goal load, er and Own Goal that is!! Damn it, they still have a good chance!!!

  98. ..

  99. Any one know of a Blackberry app I can use to follow the game? I’m mobile today 😦

  100. Speaking of tea, my stomach has been unsettled since yesterday and some ginger tea is in order to help a brother out.

    Thanks James!!

  101. La-zaaan-ya!
    The Sp*rs have got the sh*ts
    And we’re all lov-ing it!

  102. I am here in the states and have to record the game while at work…I am just praying that no one in my office thiks that it will be cute to spoil the score for me before I get home…

  103. I’m taping the game too Viceologist, but I don’t think I can wait till I get there.

  104. I have to wait…I need to have a gin and tonic in hand and act like I am at the Emirates while sitting in my living room…that is the only way I can properly follow the Arsenal…lol.

  105. How will you be able to handle that Viceologist?

    nuff respek for that!!

  106. I have meetings throughout the day that distract me and help time go by faster…it is a bit like tantric sex…lol….a huge build up all day for the eventual climax of watching the best football in the world…

  107. I used to do that, but it was too much πŸ™‚

  108. ….Arsenal….

  109. Found this quite interesting. Arsenal is a great team and organization all the way around

  110. limestonegunner

    Cheers Aman for linking the guardian’s three coach guide to beat Barca. I think Berdyev of Rubin Kazan had the most analytically precise strategy, though the two other La Liga coaches offer wise counsel that pressure on their defense and constantly pressing after losing the ball is very interesting.

    The long shots from midfield point that Henristic makes as a case for Denilson on Berdyev’s advice has me somewhat convinced. If Cesc rests, then we could play a midfield of Song, Denilson and Nasri.

    Like Ole, I just hope we play well so that we are in the second leg and have confidence in the league.

    Still wondering what people think about the test of playing without the ball for long periods will be like for our team. But maybe we will dominate possession! It’s possible, but Barca plays differently than other big clubs try to against us–they wait for the counter while we keep a lot of possession.

  111. come on arsenal,tonight is the night.2/0 to the arsenal tonight,tv5 and cesc to score.i cant wait,come on

  112. Why is Alan Smith at the f*cking San Siro rather than TNHoF? Defies belief.

    Just took a punt on Abou to score tonight. Got a feeling…

  113. Vice I’m in a similar situation. Not watching the match until 7 pm in the states. My phone will be turned off after I catch the starting lineup. Thankfully I have plenty to do to prepare for my pilgrimage this weekend.. To the hollowed grounds each of our eyes will be fixed on tonight.


  114. Limpar I think diaby is one of the huuuge advantages we have over them. Song as well. Song diaby >>>>> toure busquets/keita

  115. Nasir Jones-Nasri

  116. come on the arsenal ….


  117. Arsenallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

  118. confirmed line up:


  119. he’s got the line-up 100% spot on.

  120. What a line-up.


  121. Gallas? thats a bug surprise to me.

  122. Yes that is a beautiful line up, balances with power, speed and great skill!!

  123. A bit behind tonight, Still, pasties are in the oven, ready about 7.45. Bottle of wine open and half empty already. Better open another, won’t be time later.

    What a night. What a team.

  124. limestonegunner

    Our strongest team if Cesc and Gallas are fully and match fit. COYG!

  125. Kaman Arsenal

  126. Let’s not forget that we will have some real firepower coming off the bench.

    Have we got a confirmed bench yet?

    Should be from the following 8 players: Fabianski, Eboue, Campbell, Traore, Denilson, Rosicky, Walcott, Eduardo

  127. Almunia
    Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Cliche
    Song Fabregas Diaby
    Nasri Bentdner Arshavin

    Alvez Puyol Maxwell Pique
    Xavi Busquets Keita
    Pedro Messi Ibrahimovic

  128. Emperor Gooner

    thats a strong strong line-up…come on lads!!!!!! lets bury em catalans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! come on ya reds!!!

  129. Almunia


  130. kamannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

    words cant describe the size of the occasion

  131. My butterflies have got butterflies! Come on you Gunners!

  132. Hoping for a lovely night.

    This will shut so many mouths up, the whole of the english media actually.

  133. Limpar Assist its probably for the best that Alan Smith is at the San Siro. His monotone droning is sleep inducing. We will probably have to enfure the even worse commentary of David Pleat.

    Isnt that just the best Arsenal football line up we could have hoped for.I think Cesc and Gallas were never going to let up an opportunity to compete against the pass masters even if the had to use superglue to patch themselves. Make us proud Arsenal. Its time for the real Arshavin to turn up 3 – 1 to the Arsenal. COYG!!!

  134. Can’t really ask for more than what I’ve got here. It’s 2:00 pm, sunny, nice cool breeze and beer in hand waiting for the game. Only down side is having to watch Warren Barton give his opinion on things he has no clue about.

  135. Kenny Sansom on Sky. Nice to hear a positive take on the game from an Arsenal fan, not like Pleat at all.

  136. “he’s got the line-up 100% spot on.”

    I think so too. My only worry is Gallas’ form.

  137. It’s raining in N5

  138. Gainsbourg69 Arsene would not be playing him unless he was confident he was up to it. Tonight is too important.

  139. limestonegunner

    Gainsbourg, would be nice to watch with other gooners, no? Sometimes I prefer it, other times am too worked up for even impolite company!

  140. What do you think Passenal? I can’t trust myself on this one. I can never see anything but an Arsenal win.

    Worst case, a defeat, wouldn’t bother me too much as long as it’s not by more than one goal.

  141. CBob – do you have a recipe for those pasties please? Miss the English comfort food here in the US sometimes.

    30 minutes to go….

  142. I like to watch my games alone. I can’t stand people talking or giving their stupid opinions while the game is on. Besides there aren’t many Arsenal supporters around my house. They all like Barca or Man United around here.

  143. Subs
    21 Fabianski, 27 Eboue, 31 Campbell, 07 Rosicky, 14 Walcott, 15 Denilson, 09 Eduardo

  144. limestonegunner

    This is a collective event, possibly history making. Virtual community can be a poor substitute. It is easy to ignore “stupid opinions” but hard to recreate the big cheers of fellow supporters. Like all diasporic gooners, wishing we were at the ground to cheer on THE ARSENAL!!!!

  145. If only I had fellow supporters near me. I would love to watch this game with a nice contingent of Arsenal supporters but that’s almost impossible. Therefore the virtual community is not a poor substitute at all. Where else can diasporic supporters have the opportunity to communicate with one another instantaneously? Not to mention that ACLF contains an interesting subset of Arsenal supporters (non-doomers) as well.

  146. Would love to see what the idiots on Fox Sports have to say about MU in the coming weeks now that Rooney is out.

  147. Good luck boys. See you at half time.

  148. I wish FoxSC had a facility to email comments in so we could tell Barton to F**k Off

  149. We got this!

  150. Well, MD. it depends on how big you like your pasties. I have been trying to make mine smaller, but it’s very difficult.

    For 4 small/medium pasties, try this:

    – 12 oz pastry, 8oz flour, 4 oz fat.
    – half pound of skirt
    – 2 medium onions
    – couple of spuds
    – half a small swede

    Cut beef into small chunks, slice spuds, not cube them, about 1 cm. Chop onion finely, Swede ditton spuds.

    Roll out pastry, then layer- not mix- in this order, spuds, onion, swede, meat and a sprinkling on onion to finish. Season each layer with S & P, don’t skimp on the pepper. A little butter on top. Fold pastry over and crimp on the side.

    Glaze if you want to.

    Into preheated oven at 220C for 15 minutes and then at 10 for another hour. Reduce for fan, obviously.

    Now that I have gone to this trouble, you have to make them! let me know how you get on.

    Good luck to you and to Arsenal.

  151. Thanks CBob I will certainly make some – my US family enjoy my roast beef dinner (we’re having this tonight), shepherd’s pie, beef stew and dumplings, beef and ale pie – or maybe they are just being polite?


  152. Hey bob, I never predict, I always hope we will win though. I just want the team to play their best game whatever happens and I’m gutted I’m not at Emirates tonight. I hate watching on TV!

  153. Emperor Gooner

    come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ya gooooooooooooooonerss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  154. Evening PaulN….hope uve got ur prophecies ready!

  155. I’m not breathing very well here.

  156. Amazing…let’s go!

  157. Cmon Arsenal!
    Cmon Arsenal!
    Cmon Arsenal!

  158. You and me both Passenal.

    I think tonight will be something special.

    Let’s go!

  159. Not very tall this Barca team – won’t go down well with British commentators

  160. Shaky start 😦

  161. So far there taking us to school, come on

  162. Why are they so scared all of a sudden?

  163. Crunching tackles are needed, there taking the piss

  164. fukin alamo

  165. Almunia saves us umpteen times

  166. could be our night chaps

  167. anyone still saying a word about Big Al?

  168. Almunia is a legend.WTF are the boys doing admiring Barcas pretty football. We need to get into their faces

  169. where is the midfield we are crap to be honest…


  171. atta boy arshavin!

  172. I can not watch but am following on line. Sounds terrible!! We are just tiring them out and frustrating them. LETS GO GUYS.

  173. Let’s have some belief. Come on!

  174. possession 29-71


  175. nw thtas better COME ON ARSENAL!!

  176. Nasriiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!

  177. Aluminium is KING!

  178. Cmon Arsenal!

  179. Bill


    chose one of the [EN] and MediaPlayer links

  180. Spanish play acting when tackled I see

  181. Arshavin limping…not a good sight

  182. We’ve only come to see Eboue!

  183. Arsh off already!!!!!! WTF

  184. Fabs asking Wenger to substitute Arsh quickly

  185. we look tentative!!!

  186. Fab should come deeper to get the ball… we cant rely on hoofs

  187. the pressing from barca is bordering on the insane.

  188. There ripping us a new arsehole

  189. dani alves dabbling in a little play acting too

  190. Weve started to kick them, you can almost see why teams have to do it

  191. You know what, for all of Barca’s possesion they still haven’t scored. Sounds like a familiar story…

  192. Their spacing is something else, they are playing brilliantly.

    but COME ON ARSENAL!!!

  193. Wow…some great skills from Bendtner!

  194. why barcelona arent up 2/3 nil is beyond me lucky us ^^

  195. Stupid foul, when we couldve got the ball!!

  196. We’ve got it in us….we’ve just have to dig deeper…COYG

  197. We are playing with the hand breaks on, its not that there are so much better. You can tell we are apprehensive!!

  198. Arseman my friend, lets will the boyz to glory!!!!

  199. Why the hell did Gallas start? thats a waste of a sub if you ask me.

    We shouldve stuck with Cambell!!!

  200. gallas hobbling….doesnt look good

  201. Gallas is prostesting against there possesion

  202. That was a desperate move from our manager!!

  203. Romni, what does that mean?






  205. PaulN….in the face of adversity…only arsenal can stand up to the challenge…we’ve done it all season…we’ll do it tonight…(cheesy…but true)

  206. So… Deni or Sol?

    I say Sol

  207. barca team play is so fluid they dont even think about it

  208. Fucking robbing bastard referee

  209. fabregas misses the next match….yellow for Fab for a perfectly clean tackle…wow

  210. Were trying to kick the shit out of them, gutted about fab

  211. Its true word but i think we respect them a bit too much!!



  213. That’s so cruel on Fab, useless ref

  214. Romni, get away!!!

  215. ohh that was stupid from Fabs…. from behind it’s a sure card

  216. barca are showing us how to close down yet we are standing off men just outside the box

    gonna miss song from midfield

  217. bara are a loada diving c*nts. Come on Arsenal

  218. Horrible refereeing….why am i not surprised?

  219. He followed through and tried to hurt him like teams do to us, gutted about his yellow.

    paul N, what are you talking about? Who are you?

  220. …..and exhale!!

  221. Wenger looks pissed..

  222. Nasri can take Fabs place, he is a star but I feel gutted for Cesc

  223. Nasri should take a shot, give the keeper something to think about.

    We started to get it together though.

    Lets do it in the second half!!

  224. Fuck off Romni.

  225. What a bunch of divers Barca are – Cesc booked for no good reason. Nasri has been our best player so far and Diaby is doing a Samson – he should have never cut his hair!

  226. No who are you is the question?

  227. Eboue and Denilson are the kind of players we need in this match.

  228. THhat was tough.

    Second half coming. A new start.

  229. COME ON ARSENAL!!!!

  230. Yes we need to get in their faces and work their defence. Every time we attack a dangerous ball is being launched into the Barca box. Their defence is crap. We are in the game because of Manuel. Hope the doubting f*ckers can appreciate what he gives the team. World class keeper.Too f*ckin right!!! Come on Arsenal. Get in their faces.

  231. Emperor Gooner

    thats ok..we’re always better in the 2nd half..now we’ll be settled..this has an arsenal victory written all over it..trust me!!

  232. Addendum – Almunia is our best player so far, Nasri is our best outfield player.

    We need to take a deep breath, calm down and keep possession of the ball for a few minutes at a time. Our players look nervous and they are giving too much respect to the opposition, backing off and letting them play. Still, they haven’t scored so far, the question is, can they keep this up for another 45 minutes? Let’s hope not and let’s hope we don’t lose any more players!

  233. Their defence is dodgy when they’re on the back foot. It’s probably counter-intuitive against a side like this, but perhaps we need to throw more players forward.

    Come on Arsenal!

  234. They are so damn good its scary, we need to keep kicking them and get stuck into them like cesc did

  235. This is how legends are made! No fear!

  236. They’ve had a lot of shots on goal but our chances have been just as dangerous. Nil, nil is a fair score at the moment.

    Shit yellow card on Fabregas. The tackle was as clean as could be. That cunt saying he tried to hurt Busquets is on a wind up. Fabregas didn’t even touch Busquets. He dove once he felt he’d lost the ball.

  237. Manu Almunia has been gigantic by the way.

  238. Thats the problem though, they shit there pants in that half, so glad arsenes got them in, he’ll calm them down

  239. Anfield spirit.



    BARCA 71%

    ARSENAL 29%




  241. I believe Theo could be the difference. I think his speed would neutralize Barcelona.

  242. 442 would probably work better against them. dont expect that but will be interesting to see what effect arsene in the break.

  243. Gainsbourgh, watch it again, he follows through with his back leg, why would I lie? i want us to win more then anybody, im just telling it like it is

  244. Fuck Anfield spirit.

  245. Kaman Wenger bitchslap the shit out of the lads

  246. zumbi fuck off to anfield if thats what you want

  247. why does Almunia keep punting the ball deep? Barca ends up with it virtually every time and we’re back defending. Why not work it forward from the back and at least make their forward line run around a little? We’re not playing some side like Stoke that can’t keep possession once they get the ball.

  248. He doesn’t follow through maliciously. How else do you want him to slide? He got the ball and the players momentum made contact with his leg. If he wanted to hurt him he’d have stomped on his ankle or his foot. Use your fucking head.

  249. G69,

    Liverpool did worse to us than BarΓ§a now… and we owned them in the second half… did you miss that game?

  250. This is like trying to play against 11 fully-developed Denilsons. Super Al in the first 15 minutes, superb reaction to the Brum mistake.

  251. KG because barca are putting pressure up front and there are no players open. It has nothing to do with Almunia. If we’d keep them busy oin their side of the pitch Almunia would have all the time in the world to bowl it out to the defenders.

  252. Everyone always says that when a teams getting battered ‘need to sit higher up the pitch’, if it was only that fucking easy

  253. almunia!



  254. What the fuck was almunia doing? fucking dickhead after all them saves




  256. Were so obvious today, so so obvious

  257. You’re a pretty low sort ENGLISH.

  258. P*ss of Dave, your side are already out you Sh*t troll

  259. What the fuck is the ref playing at?

  260. How could you Almunia after all your good work in the first half?

  261. you can see nasri get frustrated with our players. big difference between quality and international quality

  262. Aaditya, oh shut up it aint the ref dickhead, the only people who can change this is ourselves, come on !!!

  263. FUck my life this is fucking depressing

  264. This ref is dangerous

  265. Fucking referee is a cheat

  266. Fucking hell

  267. And yoiu can f*ck of ‘word’ you depressing little troll

  268. were lucky not to be fucking 5-0 down.

  269. This is the fucking home leg, we need a fucking win, poor poor header from that donkey bendtner

  270. Why cant they just keep the fucking ball for more then three seconds !!!!! so frustrating !!!!!!





  273. Zap what are you talking about you little dog?

  274. we are so fucked, but we just need a goal, gives us hope

  275. we look like Barca LITE tonight


    2 NIL ,BOYS


  277. Fucking pussy. 2-0 now.

  278. I dont fucking believe this,

    calm down zap i dont even know you

  279. What kind of defending was that?



  281. **sigh** all too easy for barca

  282. “we look like Barca LITE tonight”

    not even



  283. Play the simple ball you fucking idiots!!!!!!

  284. id disagree with md gunner if it wasn’t true. some people have standards tho

  285. whr is Fab .. is he on field??

  286. Cesc can leave this must be demoralising for our captain. Fuck this shit.

  287. Fab aint 100%

  288. Well, that’s that I guess. Damage limitation now?

    Even if we score three, they have two away goals, and playing them there will not be easier than the Emirates.

  289. Come on boyz!!!

  290. I always thought Ibrahimovich was shit, what the fuck has gone wrong this is so fucked up i feel sick

  291. we cant even get the ball … seriously OWNED.

  292. Zap we are better than this, its like we have stage fright or something.

  293. Nasri off???? wtf is going on?

  294. This game isn’t a fair reflection of where we’re at.

    We started cold, and just haven’t been able to get going.

  295. Seriously, I am feeling that Rosicky shouldve started today. He has that maturity to handle the big stage.

  296. sorry…sagna off..

  297. nice link up with eboue and walcott

  298. Every bloody thing seems to bounce into their keeper’s arms.

  299. come on Theo.All we need is one goal.

  300. YES!!!

  301. Why cross the ball in when no one is there?

  302. yes walcott!


  304. fucking theo!!!!!!!!

  305. inspiring!!!

  306. Great goal!!!

  307. get in .. common

  308. OMG…theo!!!

  309. So we’ve got an awa- I mean, a home goal!


  311. Theo. The new Thierry Henry

  312. yesssssssssssssss

    dont giv up…

  313. G4E, anything will be easier than tHis.

    Pull ur socks up boys, there is life!

  314. I really think we are still missing the leader…that PV4, Adams figure…maybe a Sol Campbell at a younger age.

    I think we are mentally so fragile and have the sh*ts in big games.

    We have all the ingredients for a good team, except that.

  315. ohhh fab

  316. I am sure Henry was like, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

  317. game the fuck on!

  318. yesssssssssssssss

    dont giv up…

  319. yes walcot about time

  320. henry is coming on….

  321. They are gettin tired now, dont forget we love the late goals!!



  322. i really hope denilsons ok…hes been immense..

  323. barca have worked hard all game the fb’s are tired,,,

    theo gotta keep going at em and the second will come..

    we cant give up

  324. We gotta stay focused and stop these little fouls

  325. Poor Diabys really looking out of it…wake up Diaby!

  326. Arseman you see that, they guy got the pass and let the ball roll out.

    United own goal comes to mind!!

  327. this ref is crap.

  328. Diaby you fucking dick!!!!

  329. Diaby needs to be subbed, no more huh?

  330. unfortunate Diaby has been off tonight

  331. Penalty and a red card for Puyol!

  332. There you go!!!

  333. Yesssssssssssssssss at f**cking last

  334. PENALTY!!!!!!!

  335. YESSSSS!!!!!!

  336. Which means both their center halves will miss the next game!

  337. 2-2?



  339. never say die

  340. nothing can stop us. fuck yeah!

  341. unbelievable

  342. born in Catalunya, bred at North London …. yessss

  343. millito and marques…ure on our hitlist

  344. 3-2, 3-2
    What did I say 3-2!!!
    I told you Zap, we are better than our showing!!!

  345. come on now sing your fucking hearts out for the lads

  346. Oh no, hope he is ok!!!

  347. whats wrong with fab?please no

  348. F*ck me….Come on you Gunners

  349. PaulN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  350. yeeeesssss
    now one more pls

  351. Keep your trap shut song your on a yellow

  352. My friend Arseman, I am meeting you here for every match, if you do go to the match that is!!!


  353. The joy of Cesc. Sending off seemed harsh but f*ck em

  354. think about us walking all over marquez and chygrynsky or whatever his name is for the next leg.


  356. barca look dead

  357. Fab is standing in with his team word


  359. One of the greatest games of all time?

  360. Fucking amazing game!

  361. Why didnt we go for goal just now? lump it upfield and maybe get a chance.

    Anyway, we have finally gotten respect from the footballing word, no doubt.

    NO other team couldve done this!!!

  362. Think of the centre back pairing we’ll be up against next week!

  363. What an absolutely fantastic game!

    The best team in the world played at their very best for 70 minutes or so. But still Arsenal came back and with Puyol and PiquΓ© missing from the next game, anything is possible.

  364. denilson had a good game … staying awake late at night paid off for me.

  365. Is the game over?

  366. Told you…if theres 1 team in the world who can come back its ARSENAL

  367. Hey where’d ENGLISh go?

  368. Pitty we didnt start with the confidence, we wouldve won this blasted game.

    Proud, I am so Proud!!!

  369. 0-1 @ Barca I say!!


  371. What a brilliant game…Fab shows us how its done.
    Onwards to Camp Nou

  372. Denilson was great!!!

  373. so do you reckon almunia scraped man of the match?

  374. Romni?


  375. Oh Big Al…you are a flawed genius

  376. Denilson…MOTM

  377. Its funny huh, the 3 players who get the most stick were amazing.

    Just saw the 1st goal!!! damn it!!!!

  378. Well. The game of our lives next week. My heart was on the floor in the first half.But OMG Theo, Almunia and Cesc stole the show. Im so happy for Theo. The emirates won us that penalty. We just have to make sure we learn from our game today.Win or lose I love this Arsenal

  379. On evidence. Arsene cocked it up. I swear to god I was calling for Sagna to be substituted. Thank goodness for Eboue and Theo. We need speed on the fucking wings. We had trouble keeping the ball and creating anything because we had Sagna on the right. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but he isn’t Manu Eboue.

    Believe it or not I’m not too worried about Cesc missing the second leg. As long as we’ve got pace and creativity on the wings, we should nick the second leg at Camp Nou.

  380. Was Arshavin actually injured when he went off – or was there another reason?

  381. That was tough. I just hope the players have something left for the next game.

  382. Romni go and fucking sit somewhere. You’re an absolute idiot.

  383. We had to go behind to play fearlessly. Great game. Idiotic commentory on ITV, had to mute to enjoy the game…right at the end the guy says like Cesc we hung in the game…what j*rks!



  385. Barce were good but I am telling you we made them look better than they are by being timid at the start of the match, as if we were waiting for some pretty move to come off.

    The next game will be different, we not only believe but know that we can play with them. They have seen nothing yet.

    Remember @ AC MILAN? They had never lost at home to an English team and who made history???
    None other but the Arsenal!!!!

    We will do it again, Barca will be terrified of losing and get it all wrong!!!

  386. Denilson was fantastic when he came on, he should definitely start the next game.

  387. Walcott ” I knew if things weren’t going so good..i’d be given a chance to show what I could do.” What a playa

  388. No Siva. We should’ve had this tie if we played our most creative elements. Sagna was shit on the right. We should’ve started with Eboue.

  389. Theo doubters go eat a bag of salty, poison dicks.

  390. “Barce were good but I am telling you we made them look better than they are by being timid at the start of the match, as if we were waiting for some pretty move to come off.”

    I agree with you again there, PaulN.

  391. What a fucking night. This squad has such massive, wheelbarrow filling balls. It really is up for grabs. Do they have a centre back left?
    Shows how far some players have come on. When Eboue came on for Arshavin I thought ‘Fine, that’s good’.
    Who doubted? Who lost faith? Who cares – we are still in it.

  392. No, real english chap, you didnt make a difference. Why dont you fuck off now eh? No space for you on an arsenal blog now you soft cunt. Pussy, you wernt pissing around on here when chelsea wernt doing so well were you?

  393. We were scared of them – at first…but we shook it off.

    I think our team just grew up. It was big games we feared but it looks like that’s changing.

  394. Cesc must have ice in his veins – scoring that penalty under those circumstances was just unbelievable. Even though he will not be there next week, his penalty kept us in it.

  395. Gainsbourg69, Sagna was good defensively, Eboue at RB is a more attacking formation & AW went for it when we were 2 goals behind.

    Paul N, yeah Barca were shocked by the ‘rope a dope’ tactic of Arsenal πŸ˜‰

  396. The substitutes – especially Denilson and Walcott – made a big difference today. Once Denilson came on, Barcelona’s dominance in midfield was over. Walcott was like a spur in the arse of our attack. He gave the whole team the confidence to play to their potential. We fully deserved the draw, and might have won if Fabregas had not picked upan injury. A performance to be proud of!

  397. Oh and lest we forget, the player without whom we would have died before the fight back could begin. Manuel Almunia. No one can question him now.

  398. This referee was f-ing horrid. If he’s in south Africa expect a poor tournament.

  399. Gooner4Life, it is a penalty because he obstructs Fab, it was accidental but it stopped a scoring opportunity and he didnt touch the ball. The ref had to make the call.

  400. Some piss poor attitudes on here tonight.

    Never give up. Our team didn’t tonight.

    Just remember that.

  401. PaulN…they just showed the penalty incident again…it does look an obvious penalty from the reverse angle…puyol trapped fabs right leg between his…

  402. please ignore my comment 8.59PM

  403. Diaby had a rare off night…watch out for him in the away leg…he’s a fighter…hes going to run rings around Barca

  404. Axis, yes our team did hit a new level in this amazing season.

    This could be the week when the wheels came of ManU challenge & we would show the world we are now the force we had the potential to be. Same time as I type this – another jerk in the ITV panel says if you thought this was tough for Arsenal it would be worse in Nou Camp!!

    Barca here we come…watch out!

  405. No Siva. Arsene will not get the line up wrong next time. Eboue starts with Theo on the right. Many of us were calling for speed on the wings since it was announced that we’d play Barcelona. That we were so soundly beaten before we got our proper wingers in the game is more than telling.

  406. Man, that Cesc yellow card was a fucking piss take.

    But then it looks like he might be injured anyway, so if we get through it could turn out to be handy that he’s got his suspension out the way.

  407. Lets beat Wolves 9 – 0 this weekend. We can still win the league with just a little luck.

  408. OOU…the referee was shit tonight…what did u expect?

  409. I guess it is not worse than playing well and not win. We didn’t play well, and didn’t lose. We’re still in it, but the odds are long for us to get through.

  410. What a fantastic game…this team has so much heart.

  411. Clichy had a great game! Back to his best. The team kept Messi so quite, he was sacrificed.

  412. I think the performance of the last 25 minutes will give tremendous confidence in our chase for the double.

  413. Siva, like Ali and Foreman huh? Ali took so me blows but wore Foremand down and knocked his butt out.

    Arsenal will do the same to Barca!!!

    Is this Arsenal team for real, how old are they and they are so resilient!!

    Tears in my eyes!!

  414. I agree consolsbob – I reviewed the comments after the game, some were unbelievable! The game is not over until it’s over and this Arsenal team never give up. Hopefully the players will have learned something significant tonight and we will see the benefit next week.

  415. I dont think we need to worry about cesc…seemed like he pulled a muscle…he’ll be alright!…if not…I bet Nasri is waiting to step up

  416. We gambled and almost lost, but who can really blame the coach?? We had Gallas, Arshavin, Diaby and Cesc who where short on fitness. In retrospect maybe we should have started Nasir in the middle. Nice game from Al, Song Denilson was marvelous and changed the game for us. Not Forgetting Teo and Clichy, who was left for dead by Samirs non-tracking back. Its amazing, but we played like we were scared; these players have to believe they can do it like the fans and the coach does.

  417. I was beginning to think it was like watching a purring cat playing with a half dead mouse at 0-2!

    Just shows that i know F*ck all about football!

    I should never doubt this team….

    C’mon Arsenal!

  418. I dont know, I just feel that Rosicky should be given a play, he will do it for us next week!!!

  419. “please ignore my comment 8.59PM”

    I sometimes wonder if you are schizophrenic zap. Maybe you should count to 10 before you post sometimes.

  420. The wonderful thing about this is that what our team may lack can be taught…the things we do have – heart, spirit, fight, “never-say-die”, and hunger…those are the things you can’t teach.

    This game is so encouraging…if this team can come back two goals on Barca…they can do anything.

    More importantly, if they believe they can come back two goals on Barca…then they truly can do anything.

  421. Emperor Gooner


    i love this clubbbbbbbbbbbb!!!!

    wenger is a genius..great subs in the face of complete adversity!!

    game f****** on !!!

  422. “Just shows that i know F*ck all about football!

    I should never doubt this team….”

    Exactly remi!

  423. And whatever happens, we can sure that Diaby will be better next week.






  426. I think the football God’s have finally come over to our side. We still need a little luck in the league and CL but lets get the double. What a game.

  427. Hey we can be frustrated, I was because we were not playing Arsenal football, but we are to never doubt that this team will fight back.

    I heard the clown Barton say we were not mentally strong over the weekend!!! is there a team in world football that has the mental strength of our youngsters?

    ARSENAL!!! Trust me this will feel like a loss to Barca, we drew and we were not even close to our best.

    Almunis is the man!!

  428. Diaby just lost it for a few minutes? I wonder what happened.

  429. I thought Nasri / Clichy and Denny when he came on were superb tonight!











  432. Wow. Just read some of these comments. A real shower of shit. Fortunately the crowd weren’t so soft.

    Cesc won the ball clearly – it was not a freekick, let alone a yellow card. Fucking terrible decision.

    Xavi is a little cheat and the referee gave Barca far too much protection in the first half, wilting under the gaze of their big stars. And the lino giving a freekick against Theo when Maxwell threw himself into him?! You have to ask yourself why he made that call. Fortunately the penalty was too blatant for Bruscetta not to give.

    Cesc, as Theo said, is an absolute soldier. He’s given us every chance of completing the comeback at their place.

    Song + Almunia Motm first half (the latter was heroic!) Denilson + Theo Motm 2nd half. Gael Clichy + Sammy Nasri Motm fullstop, what an incredible shift those two put in. Inspiring.

  433. well done dave.

  434. Gods be damned, Bill. We fought hand over fist for everything we got tonight. Luck has nothing to do with it.

  435. Not sure how Arshavin got injured.

  436. 1 loose cannon

    I thought the players were extremely nervous in the first 20 minutes and did not press them. There was so much space for Barcelona to knock the ball around. Fabregas was not fit and shouldn’t have played but I admire his desire to play with injury and won us the pen. Now as I predicted we might lose him for longer.
    The worst thing for me was the goals we conceded. Very soft. But once we scored you could see the confidence grew in the players. The last 30 mins we turned it on and we out played them.
    The plus thing is Pique and Puyol are out and we need to make the most of that. We have a chance.

    Did Messi play tonight?

  437. ‘Ello Dehve. How were Inter tonight?

  438. He got injured tackling Sergio after about 10 minutes.

  439. Yup like Ali & Foreman though not our intentional plan turned out that way…Barca caught completely off guard & couldn’t react. They thought they couldn’t continue to keep ball & leave with a clean sheet.

    I would be particularly interested in the possession statistics from the time we scored. They started missing passes & making mistakes after we scored.

    Gainsbourg69, agree with you that Barca couldn’t handle our pace.

  440. fancy us doing them over now without puyol n pique.

  441. No, I think Cesc was injured by Puyol’s challenge for the penalty – jarred his knee. We can afford to be without him on Saturday, which gives him ten days. I hope it’s enough.

  442. G69, is so correct about our pace, eboue and Walcott scared the crap out of them. Funny in the interview yesterday Benin (I think it is) said that if AA and Fab didnt play well that we were not good but he has been proven wrong I would say we are not a 2 man team in the least and we are still without RVP. Lets take Messi away from them and see what the deal is.


  443. Fabregas’ display despite his injury was really brave. This clearly shows his commitment towards Arsenal. I think his fighting spirit is unmatchable. Great stuff once again from our captain.




  445. 1 loose canon

    I’m sure I’ve seen him jumping trying to get out of Denilson’s pocket.

  446. 1 loose cannon

    Fabregas is suspended anyway for the second leg lets hope he will be fit for the Spuds.

  447. Nasri will fill in for fab in the return leg and you guys have to keep in mind we didnt have Arshavin for the game at all. We were dropping like flies but showed that this squad has depth in abundance.


  448. Yes, Cesc’s yellow card was completely wrong, maybe now with the injury not sure if it makes any difference.

    So many good performance by our players tonight, they would surely play with a lot more confidence in the away leg now, which could be key.

    Rosicky & Sol would be itching to play against Barca now & hopefully Arshavin’s injury isn’t serious either. Despite Gallas & Cesc’s injuries we would have a strong squad going Barca & hey the weekend game as well!

  449. Arshavin looked like he didn’t fancy it from the second the first whistle went! I wish Denilson had started, he was exactly what we needed. When he bulks up a bit it’s going to be like having two Songs.

  450. Proud of the lads for the comeback. Thinking that we should opt more for pace and passing in midfield next leg (Rosicky, Denilson) as opposed to the muscle (Song, Diaby). Song will probably have to play centre back anyway. Maybe next leg Barcelona will be more wary of our guys running down the sides? They were crowding midfield the whole match, taking it away from us, and thankfully we were able to break through with the help of Eboue and Theo. Anything can happen.

  451. Wait for the medics to have a look at Fabs. He could even start against Wolves, seeing as how he has now been robbed of a place in the return leg. Contemptible bastard of a referee.

  452. I listened to the commentary on ATVO and I was quite disappointed with their glee at Barcelona’s early play. I might as well have listened to ITV as that is what I would have expected from them.








  454. 1 loose cannon

    I don’t care what people say about Barcelona’s first 20 mins Yes they are a great side but we contributed to their dominance. We looked so frozen I couldn’t believe what was happening. we gave them far too much respect . I’m certain it will not be the same in the 2nd leg. We have learned. It will be their turn to feel nervous about conceding away goals especially with their main central defenders missing.

  455. It’s harsh to criticise Song as he wasn’t playing where he’s spent most of his time this season, but he wasn’t great in defence. I’d love to go for the reliable and experienced head of Sol in the intimidating atmosphere of the Nou Camp. Defensive pace didn’t come into it a great deal as Barca weren’t out to catch us on the break.

  456. Luke, he got injured when he tackled and fouled his man.

  457. Our possession improved dramatically when Eboue came in. After Theo entered the game we were just like they were in the first half. We were on top of them. That’s why I said Arsene cocked it up.

  458. Arshavin and Gallas – two calf strains and pretty long absences.

    Arshavin’s been kind of a passenger since the Porto game, but it’s still a big loss.

  459. What a game, seriously! I went from hell to heaven. Almunia (save for the error against Ibra for the first goal) has been massive this game and he has proven why he is good enough. Should we replace him with Victor Valdes? His mistake for Theo’s goal has been far worse. The team came back in a great fashion and too bad we couldn’t get a third one. I am so proud of our team…and with the weakened defense of Barca we might have an advantage in the next game.


  460. It seems that most arsenal fans treat Barca as if they they were our sister club, Pass which is fine when they are playing the likes of the chavs but today it was juwt embarrassing….

  461. Passenal, itv were fawning and gushing like good ‘uns. Any praise offered our way was done so very, very begrudgingly.

    I switched to 5Live only to find Alan Green playing the same tune: when Arsenal were attacking it was largely ignored, when we defend heroically – we’re hanging on for dear life. When they’ve got the ball they’re the footballing equivalent of an olive oil covered Adonis, and when they defend, the commentators start pulling eachother off over the incredible heart and energy and desire of the Catalans. It would be funny if it wasn’t so fucking crooked.

    Switched back to itv to hear the crowd sing.

  462. Arsene is becoming too much of a gambler. Shouldn’t have played Gallas, because of his long absence. The same thing happened, was Cesc was rushed back, and came on as a substitute against Everton. Now we’ve lost both Gallas and Ashavin, as well as Cesc. Not worth risking your best players, if you can’t trust the back up. Whats the point of keeping fucking Sol and Eboue/Theo/Rosicky. They showed they are good enough to play, and should have played instead of rushing the injured back, who contributed absolutely NIL, and would again spend time on the sidelines. That’s how you end up depleting your squad.

  463. I feel we can take them at the Camp Nou if we play offensively. If Arsene decides to be cautious we’ll get bounced out.

  464. OOU,

    Where did you hear about the Calf strains?

  465. Hi Ateeb,

    AW said it in the press conference. Not sure about Cesc though.

    OK, I?m going to go and pass out.

  466. I agree with Gainsbourg69. I don’t know why in the bigger matches Arsene has become TOO cautious with his team selection and tactics. Back in 2007/2008, we used to go all guns blazing at the opponents. The Fullbacks were always up the opponents pitch. But now somehow, we end up seeing 2 DM in Song and Denilson or play bit more defensively. That season showed, that we can take out the bigger teams by playing to our strengths, i.e ATTACK.

  467. I don’t like seeing him leave due to an injury, but Arshavin was crap while he was out there. That challenge that led to his injury was out of sheer frustration.
    I thought the decision to take off Sagna instead of Nasri was crucial. Eboue at RB caused Barca a lot of problems and combined with Theo our attack down the right side had them on the run. Nasri, on his form and with Cesc injured, could be more effective in the center than Cesc was today. Too bad Bendtner didn’t put away that header.









  469. OOU,

    It seems you almost passed out typing that last sentence. Haha.

  470. Bye, OOU. You fought the good fight.

    Gallas out for the season: http://nz.sports.yahoo.com/football/news/article/-/7009988/gallas-season-fit-world-cup-wenger

  471. EvilFiek, I think it was that Theo took the shot so quick he didnt have time to react. Yeh, I would say great quick strike from Theo!!

    What a game!!

  472. LA and Maria, it’s shocking, even our own have no faith or back us. The referee’s decision to book Cesc for that tackle is just unbelievable, but funnily enough it was Cesc who got Pique and Puyol booked/sent off tonight, so he got his revenge in early. He may not be there on the night, but together with his penalty, he may yet have a significant effect on the next leg. Maybe Barca will be inhibited and fearful of what we can do to them after we came back into the game tonight.

  473. Evilfiek, you don’t know a god damn thing about goalkeeping.

    Massive props to the lads for pulling this out of the gutter. They sucked it up, to use an American saying, and never gave in. Don’t forget no Puyols and no Pique for Barca next match and likely no Iniesta. Why Toure didn’t start I have no idea. Also the Grande Classico or whatever it is called is this weekend. Barca will be distracted and suffering for they will surely give their all.

    In my awful,uneducated, and frankly drunken opinion there is no way but up for Arsenal and no way but down for Barca. I can not fathom or remember a more nervous performance this year by the lads.

    Bottom line, there is all to play for and the tie is still open.

    Come on you Gunners!

    Or I could be wrong…

  474. Kansas,

    The whole team was crap bar Almunia, in the initial blows exchanged.

    I missed the last bit of the game, why was everyone having a go at Diaby? What did he do?

  475. @PIRESAHOLIC, judging by Arshavins recent form, am nt sure what difference he would have made. Besides he was carrying a knock already. We basically played with 4 unfit player which peharps explains why we were not pressing higher up the pitch. Barca actuallt worked hard without the ball denying us time and space as a team(unit), we may want to take a cue from them in that regard. I just feel not retrieving the ball well enough is why we have done badly in most high level games this season.

  476. Almunia did so well but as usual, he let a cheap goal in when he needlessly came out and gave an easy chance for Ibrahimovic’s first goal. Almunia can only take us that far. He always has a mistake in him. We need a new GK.

  477. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    What a game. I thought Fab’s yellow was an absolute joke. And what can you say about our subs? Denilson, Theo and Almunia just made a lot of people look pretty foolish. Credit to the boys for fighting to the last second.

  478. I don’t usually do this but… LOL @ Barbados!

  479. Coolsteve, I could not agree more. No pressing from the front three at all. Eboue was the only one I remember tracking back either. I could be wrong but I think that the 4-3-3 needs the top 3 working their asses off tracking back. I would only give Diaby stick because he let Alves bomb forward too often. It was like we were playing zone defense and Barva were picking us apart in the first half.

  480. Absolutely right, Passenal.

    Gris Gris, El Classico this weekend? Did not know that. Very interesting.

  481. We got fucking schooled, that was the home leg you morons

  482. Bradys right foot

    Were are the Denilson bashers the kid was different class when he came on? Were are the Theo bashers gave us a fighting chance for the second leg.

    Personally I would have started with Theo and Eboue on the right side their pace would have kept Barca deeper on that wing. Apart from that hats off to Barca they gave us a lesson in the first half.

    Cesc missing next week to be honest and I love the guy but Nasri can play in their and be just as good, I’d rather have a fit Nasri in their than a half fit Cesc. Willy is going to be a loss hopefully he can make it. If Arshavins injured Rosickys the man, Arshavins form unfortunately has been quite frankly terrible in the last month or so it could be a blessing.

    Im still staggered at watching the pressing game of Barca for the best part of an hour, they seriously work as hard if not harder than any other when not in possession, they make teams like Stoke look lazy. Credit to our lads though despite two bad goal we clawed our way back into the game and saw a lot more of the ball and looked dangerous for the last half hour. We have to be immense next week Theo and Eboue on the counterattack and job done lol.

  483. Well if it isn’t Romni & Michelle’s High School Reunion…

  484. Almunia played so well in the first half, it was such a shame he let himself down with that mistake early in the seccond half.

    I didn’t like Barca’s diving around everytime they were tackled and the referee fell for it everytime as well. But in the end “the boys” showed “the men” a thing or two.

  485. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    LA @ 11:12,


  486. My friend Eboue for the decisive goal in injury time at Nou Camp.

  487. AllAboutFCBarcelona(Bibin)

    What a match!!! We paid for taking the focus off the game in last minte and for that 4-2-3-1 formation Guardiola uses. That left too much space in flanks and credit to Walcott and Eboue, that they used it well.

    And for the Classico, it is not this week. Its next week after the second leg. Camp Nou is getting ready for the second leg, that will be adifferent atmosphere with 97000 fans supporting Barca.

  488. Ateeb, it’s easy to be wise after the fact, but Arsene had to make a judgement call and not all his calls came off, but Cesc got Pique and Puyol booked/sent off and scored a penalty, so maybe that wasn’t such a bad call after all. We have nothing to lose and all to play for next week so maybe Arsene will have no choice but to just go for it. I would have been very surprised if he had thrown caution to the wind tonight.

  489. I meant to say this the other day Limpar, but you make me laugh (out loud, but I can’t stand saying “lol”) more than anyone else on the internet. There was a gag about Almunia’s coach the other day that made me crease up every time I thought about it while I was at work.

  490. It’s no wonder Barcelona looked good for the first half hour: nobody went to tackle them. All the good things we did in that time were last ditch tackles or saves.

  491. Barca were good at pressing but that didn’t last all game. Pressing gets you tired. Maybe that’s why Arsenal scored two.

  492. Nasir Jones-Nasri

  493. Our players aren’t afraid of the camp gnu.

    Camp is rarely scary.

  494. Well played, Bibin. Good game. We will stuff you at the Nou Camp though, 97 squillion fans or not.

    Wise after the fact indeed, Passenal. As Billy Wilder said, hindsight’s 20/20. That’s one of the strongest starting line-ups we’ve had all season. If Theo and Eboue had started it would be ‘Should’ve played Bac and Nasri – Wenger’s too gung-ho’.

  495. Fabregas fears he has broken his leg. sky sports

  496. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Camp Nou better be getting ready. I hope your 3rd and 4th choice CB’s are getting ready, too. ; )

  497. 1 loose cannon

    I’ve watched the highlights apart from those frantic moments where they had about 3 clear cut chances and the 2 route 1 goals which Stoke would’ve been proud of there was nothing else, And I did not see Messi at all. 2nd Leg Barca will be causious and not commit too many men forward because its their turn to be nervous about conceding away goals, its still in the balance.

  498. It seems like this forum gets hijacked on game day by morons.

    Very proud of the boys tonight, and with a little luck we could have nailed them 3-2 at the end.

    I thought Arsene had the starting line-up just right, but we froze and they were simply outstanding in the first-half. In those first 15 minutes, I had the same feeling as when I saw Hatton fight Pacquaio in Vegas.

    Where I think Arsene did get it wrong was replacing Gallas with Denilson and moving Song back. I would like to have seen him show faith in Sol and keep Song in midfield where he has been such a force. Diaby had a poor night, and was affected by jitters and stage fright. Nasri was tremendous, but Cesc just couldn’t get int he game until the 2nd half. Denilson was superb when he came on, too.

    At the back, Sagna and Clichy were effective, while Eboue only started to contribute after Walcott came on and he moved to right-back.

    Almunia had arguably the greatest half an Arsenal keeper has had in a very long time, although his poor judgement in getting stranded for the first goal was a real body blow to us.

    Clichy looked confident going forward, but got caught out of position a couple of times defensively.

    For all their critics, Bendtner was instrumental in both our goals, and Theo just sealed his place in the England squad for South Africa. You just can’t leave a guy that dangerous at the end of games back home.

    By coming back from the dead, we increased our chances from 0% (after their 2nd) to about 30%.

    If I could have had one former player in the ground for this game, it would have been Hleb. We didn’t really have anyone to link play between the midfield and Bendtner, and it’s not Cesc’s strength to play that role.

    I wouldn’t read to much into Puyol and Pique being out. Barca did just fine last season with a makeshift back four, and the way they play it will ultimately be more a question of keeping them from scoring and trying to nab a late goal.

    The task ahead is no more difficult than playing most of the match with only 10 men, and you remember how close we came to winning in 2006.

    Expected Team for the 2nd Leg:





    Subs: Fabianski, Silvestre, Walcott, Rosicky, Eduardo, (+ two more!)

  499. It was a great match, Bibin. I’ll be curious to hear how you think the team will cope without Pique and Puyols at the back. I’m assuming Toure will drop back, but have you played without both first choice CBs this year?

  500. nolagunner…toure will not drop back…i have a feeling its going to be Milito and Marquez at the back

  501. milito has just returned form a lengthy layoff and marquez has definitely lost a yard of pace since last season…all in all…a good pairing but def. not as good as puyol/pique

  502. 1 loose cannon

    lagooner that crazy 15 minutes came from one terrible mistake from Arshavin he had the ball at his feet to kick it to row Z but instead he decided to take on about 3 Barca players in a very dangerous position then lost the ball and that was the beginning of all those shots that came afterwards. Barca pressed well tackled well but they could not sustain it for 90 minutes it is very tiring and Walcott made it even worst for them. He absolutely run them ragged. We can still do it.

  503. Guys the next game is Wolves πŸ™‚ We need to be Wolves first, then Barca.

  504. to beat

  505. I thought clichy did well defensively as Messi was not as dangerous as he can be. I’m just gutted that that donkey Ibrahimovic was made to look good due to two defensive mistakes.

  506. G4E…exactly:)

  507. After the first half, I thought I was ready for anything, but that 1st goal, so soon after the restart still left me hovering somewhere between despair and anguish.

    The despair thickened after Gallas’ substitution.

    So funny to see advice from The Real English Chap, who’s team failed to score against barca, on how to win a game of football.

    Yes, Maxwell and Theo had a date arranged by AW at some point this evening, but I thought the chance was lost with that injury to Gallas, hence the deepening doom. We saw the decision made on the touchline. A slight moment of hesitation? And then the call was made, on came TW14, and Eboue slotted back to RB, and it was Sagna who was sacrificed.

    What a night.

    Oh, & as observed above, Denilson changed the game. Didn’t he?

    He should’ve started in place of the injured, and now suspended Cesc!

    ; )

    Again, the CL crowd at THNOF were so much better IMO.

  508. Passenal, I could not disagree more with you re: your mistaken belief that Almunia was at fault for the second goal. The defender was too far off Ibra’s hip, he could either control and slot low near post or chip. The chip is by far the harder shot, the more skill shot. Almunia cut down the angle and forced Ibra into the harder shot by far. He is not at fault, whoever was marking Ibra is at fault because he gave him far too much time and space to do what he wanted.

  509. I’m not sure that Campbell would have made that big a difference as he is not the player he was. Whilst he is fine against the physical cloggers of the PL, he might have suffered against the champagne football of Barca. We needed the craft and industry of Denilson midfield and would have missed that if Song had stayed in the middle and Gallas had been replaced by Sol. Denilson has to play in the camp Nou and hopefully we will also see the real Diaby who had a night off tonight. We also have Rosicky or Nasri who can deputise for Cesc, whilst Eduardo or Vela can fill in on the left for Arshavin.

  510. Gris Gris, I agree the defender was also at fault initially for letting Ibrahimovic get into that position, but I still think Almunia got caught in no man’s land by coming off his line when he really had no chance of making a difference from there.

  511. Yeah man overall we can’t complain when its all set and done. Now what i’m worried about is Barca sitting back and absorbing our attacks at the Camp while striking us with the counter. That would really hurt. Line up for the next game should be:

    Sagna Campbell Verm Clichy

    Diaby Nasri

    Eboue Bendy Rosicky

    Wenger can pull off that Sagna, Eboue switcheroo and bring on Walcott 4 Sagna. Gutted Fabregas is going to miss the nexxt game though but since he’s injured he was a doubt to begin with. It’s going to be a good game and don’t write off a late goal to give us the lead and destroy Barca’s confidence.

  512. “Again, the CL crowd at THNOF were so much better IMO.”

    I agree Finsbury, we need more of that type of support. Even when we were 0 – 2 down, there was no drop in the intensity of the crowd noise. It probably helped the team not to let their heads drop.

  513. If you doubted Cesc was Arsenal through & through just listen to this.


    The bit about “I scored for Arsenal”, gave me shivers

  514. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Cesc is a f*cking legend. What a captain. Thanks for posting that. He didn’t say shit about Barca when he asked if it was extra special. I don’t care where Cesc was born, he’s Arsenal through and through.

  515. Nasir Jones Nasri,


    I have the original vinyl version!

    Top Man

  516. dupsffokcuf, I don’t doubt Cesc at all, but it’s always great to hear him speak. He really is Arsenal through and through despite where he started his career. It meant everything to him tonight to score that penalty for Arsenal to give us a chance in the next leg. I am gutted for him and the team that he is missing for the next game, but I sincerely believe we have options to replace him as we are not a one man team despite what outsiders may think.

  517. Happy 21st Sam and great stuff Sacha. You will not see a better game of football than that. You are stars.

    Fucking superb.

    Barca…well done. You almost made it. Not quite enough though.

    Next time Samir Nasri will be pulling the strings…and maybe a talisman will be on the bench.



















  519. Sam my Arsenal supporting son came over from Lund University to see the game and there is no doubt that Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Malmo will be happy with his goals.

    But not enough I am afraid….

    Samir Nasri’s team will prevail…with a little help from a forgotten hero.,

    Happy 21st Sam…what a fantastic game of football.


  520. ………………………….ARSENAL…………………………..

  521. Dave, we do not need or want your support so fuck off to a chav site.

  522. 1 loose cannon

    Wenger believes Walcott will be even better at nou camp because their pitch is bigger. I can see Walcott getting a hat trick over there. Their 2 most consistent defenders will be out and thats a bonus.

  523. The press and media have covered themselves in shit tonight. Arsenal will win the return leg.

  524. We made Barca look better because we were overawed in the early exchanges. I’m sure our comeback at the end will give us the confidence in the second leg to play our game and believe that we have a chance. It’s not over by any means. Barca may well be inhibited in the next game knowing that we are capable of scoring and that an early goal from us will have them on the back foot. Our player need to believe and play without the handbrake and we still have a chance.

  525. An excellent chance at that, Passenal, without their two central defenders.

  526. The new Arsenal Stadium came of age tonight

  527. Barca ‘The best team in the world’ came to town.

    Fucked it up.

    Because the long and the short of it is that over 180 minutes Arsenal are a better squad.

    Best squad I have ever seen.

  528. Just a win will do. And we will do it.


  529. Passenal,in my opinion I think it only looked like no mans land because Ibra lobbed him. If he had not done the chip but tried to slot home Almunia was well positioned to stop. Hindsight is always 20:20 and it was a great piece of skill by someone who has made a career of choking in the UCL. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Ibra is done for the CL now! Plus Almunia saved our bacon today. Without him it should have been 2-6 or worse.

  530. Not lucky REC.

    Cesc is smart. The ref was rubbish, we got a penalty. After the season we’ve had with ref’s, that can’t be called luck.

    No offence meant, I wasn’t cheering your defeat last year.
    But we got no sympathy on Saturday, what’s the difference? None, I think.
    Wasn’t ‘bragging’.

    Good luck against ManIOU.

    : )

  531. Barca’s squad are short…and that ladies and gentlemen is the point and has been for the entire season.

  532. Arsenal 2 Barcelona 1, next week. Apologies in advance to the Gnu Camp season ticket holders.

  533. However, I will sleep later this morning knowing that I have seen one of the great games. Truly great games of football.


  534. Funny really. The first half is what we usually do to teams. Dominate possession but not quite finish it off. Pundits and media have made it quite clear over the centuries that they fucking hate us us for it. Love Barcelona for it though. Cunts.

  535. Also funny how taking one night off work gives you so much space.

  536. All the tubby tattooed chaps of Wolverhampton are tucked up warm tonight. Sleeping soundly dreaming of victory on Saturday. Cock in one hand…golly in the other.

    Fuck em


  537. 1 loose cannon

    These are the headlines in Spain “A lot of charm and little malice” A fairy tale ended in a nightmare for Barca.
    Despite the Barca advantage they look at this game as a nightmare because we ended the game on a high and if we play like we did in the last 30 minutes in the second leg then we have every chance.

  538. Limpar:

    “Wise after the fact indeed, Passenal. As Billy Wilder said, hindsight’s 20/20. That’s one of the strongest starting line-ups we’ve had all season. If Theo and Eboue had started it would be β€˜Should’ve played Bac and Nasri – Wenger’s too gung-ho’.”

    Is foresight 20/20? Because many of us were calling for speed on the wings and we all saw first hand how the lack of it made us look tonight.

  539. ACLFers – Respect to the max. I am on a road trip with a dodgy cell phone with limited internet access. I am beside myself with pride for this of true Gunners, most of whom we have had to defend against an ignorant mob of ingrates. Some postings showed we really are not equal to the challenge. Believe in this team. They are great players. Let us be great supporters.

  540. Anyone who slags Almunia after this match should be shot. He had literally dozens (!) of point blank decisions to make, and he made them all correctly. Over the season, there’s lots to question…tonight he was a fucking GOD.

    The first and second goals were astonishingly similar. The first he played up and got chipped…the second he played back and got nailed. In both cases, Ibra had to make a high quality finish, and that’s what a good GK forces in those situations.

    The reason more GKs don’t force the chip in those situations, even when it’s the high percentage play, is because fucking dumbasses like people here claim he’s shit when he does it.

  541. G69 – I agree, on the face of it the starting line was our strongest team and in some ways we were cruelly robbed of two outstanding players while trying to hold back what is acknowledged as Europe’s strongest team. Thanks to Big Al and some luck (every one gets some luck in this game) we withstood the onslaught unscathed and all credit to Nasri and Clichy who continually worked down the left side to take the pressure off and by the second half could not be dealt with by Barca.
    The resolve of the team shone through after those two goals, the heads did not go down and we did not panic and we were the fitter and stronger team at the end as the visibly tired. The use of the subs was brilliant and Theo was clearly not being dealt with and gave us the chance to prise them open.
    Great night and great support at the Emirates. The only downer was some of the headless chickens on here and having to suffer that knobhead DAVE/REAL ENGLISH TWAT noticeably missing in action recently and still unable to figure out how to get out of caps lock. Never responds to hard questions but just wants to bully other people – what a d*ck.
    The return game is going to be immense but I think we have proven that we are still in the frame – no matter what the experts and doomers say

  542. 3-3 at the nou camp anyone?

  543. I think we can take it at Camp Nou. If we can nick a goal and hold them until they can’t run anymore, similar to what happened today, we will get through to the semis. I’m sure Arsene will make the changes necessary and we’ll see a completely different Arsenal. I’d go with a line up like this:


  544. I think Zola and Martinez are the only other managers in the league that Wenger has any significant rapport with. I’m not surprised that he gets along with Pep. He seems like a good guy.

  545. After watching the game, it wasn’t really this bad. Yes Barca had the first 20 minutes and Almunia stood up for them. Then the had the ball till the end of the half and didn’t translate that to anything.
    If Almunia & Clichy didn’t commit the mistake Barca could’ve started doubting themselves and got frustrated. The goal gave them the confidence and we made the second mistake.
    I really thing without committing these mistakes we would a fair chance of beating them. We still can. Reading the text comments on Euro sport made me think we were a hopeless case, we were not except for the first 20 minutes when we were afraid and not confident enough.
    We still have all to play for, but now it’s Wolves first.

    Love you Arsenal…yes we do.

  546. G4E

    Possible, but we will still be underdogs. I rate as 40-60.

    Barca is a great side, as acknowledged by Wenger. They outpassed us, and played at a high tempo to match any EPL side (Hleb’s assessment that we pass the ball quicker than Barca was off the mark).

  547. Luke, definitely it’s not going to be easy…but coming back after being 2-0 down to Barca is no easy feat by any means.

    May be it’s their fault to let us back in the game, but it was also our faults that let them go up 2-0.

    It will be hard, but not impossible…Of course it will be against all odds.

  548. whether we prevail at camp nou or not is no longer an issue, the tipping point has finally been reached, the team has discovered its soul.

    we can say this and that about barca, but they are the best team in the world. they gave us a football lesson. their attacking midfield is quite simply superb, and if you are timid, you are destroyed. and what happened. we came back from that. we learnt how you dominate that. we overcame.

    the sheer guts and spirit to be able to do this is worth more than anything, money, big names, an easy win, even trophies – believe it or not. it is priceless. cesc led the way. almunia showed why he is in goals. clichy was easily motm. and denilson, my my, a massive player discovered himself. dominated and changed the match. eboue, what skill. theo, words fail.

    it feels like defeat for them, it really does, they lost the control. it feels like a victory for us because that’s what it is. a really, really big victory in more ways than goals, points, match statistics.

    arsenal … your time is coming …

  549. G4E and ZP

    It’s a draw game at HT of a 2-leg quarterfinal. I’m sure that our handbrake will be off next week. It will be do or die on the pitch. We will need to draw on our store of physical and mental reserves to overcome the odds.

  550. ARSENAL!!!!

  551. No doubt this game is the defining moment for this Arsenal side – what they are about, who they are, what they have created at Arsenal.

    We won the psychological battle, the big battle, I would say the the real test, which not surprisingly is always first with yourselves, not ‘over’ opponents. Barca will be respectful at CNou, and even dare I say a little bit afraid in the recesses of their mind. Could the impossible happen. Oh yes it could, be afraid!

    There’s a reason why Barca strut, they’ve been there, done this, won that, overcome. But when you strut and get tripped up players you don’t rate (it is clear they rated Arsh, Cesc and Gallas only – two went off, the other played through injury), oh you look look so stupid.

    Nasri and Clichy were our best. Absolutely world class, big game mentality, but every player made a telling contribution. Diaby will want to make amends for a subdued and clumsy performance.

    If I were a Barca fan I would be not be over-confident. As an Arsenal supporter I am proud.

  552. Almunia, what a goalkeeper. Gotta love him, his saves in the 1st half were unbelievably good, some of them even the best keepers, cech, van der sar, buffon, casillas…they wouldnt make those saves. Am proud ta have him in my time.

    Lets not get caught up in Barcelona, Weve got wolves next.

    Thankfully wolves arent desperate for three points, theyre slightly clear of trouble but itll still be tough. With barca in mind, i would go with this team:

    Eboue Campbell Vermaelen Cliche
    Song Denilson Rosicky
    Walcott Bentdner Nasri

  553. Arsenalkabisa

    If the match would have gone on for just five more minitues… We would have won that damn game.

    Saying that in the first 20 minitues (even the first half) we were totaly out played, is an understatement.

    But When Theo came… oh mY. They Fucking shivered. They had no response to that…

    THEO> Legend.

    Based on yesterdays performance i would go for


    Eboue Campbell TV Clichy

    Nasri Song Denilson

    Theo Bendtner Rosicky…


    I think Eboue and Theo are our potent Right side! All that Pace, forces Barca to close the game. They cant close the game


  554. Guardiola called that first half the best 45 minutes Barça have played under him.

    Wot? Is that all you’ve got?! LOL

  555. It’s unbelievable that we’re still alive in this thing. Next week they’ll wonder if they’re playing against ghosts.

    It’s like one of those 90s slasher movies: teenagers think they’ve killed someone and try to dispose of the body – only the guy’s still alive, he’s coming for them and he’s super pissed off as well.

    “I know what you did last week, BarΓ§a.”

    I just hope we’ve got enough players left to field a team. And I’d be reluctant to play Theo from the start. His impact as a sub could be just as devastating next week.

  556. Zap

    No place for Eduardo on Saturday?

  557. yes, i guess he could start we’ll see.


  558. Let’s hope Cesc and AA are not out for too long…we’ve had enough bad injuries this is getting absurd

  559. Arsenalkabisa

    Even in movies, the good guy is always beaten in the first few scenes…


  560. Wow. What a night. The atmosphere and support inside the stadium last night was fantastic. The best yet.
    I’m loving the way this team fought back and never gave up.
    I’m still not sure how we are still breathing in this tie….but we are.

    Keep believing everyone.


  561. For me, that felt more like a win than a draw. We took a pounding in the first half, no question about that. Denilson turned it into a two-sided match; Walcott turned it into a one-sided match – in our favour. Once he got his goal, we looked favourites to win.

  562. Just got back from the match. (Well actually not, but it feels like it)…. Watched it in the 12 Pins in Finsbury Park and the place was Rocking! What a classic night. Praise has already been shared out where it’s due, in all the right places and in all the right amounts, but for me, extra special praise to Denilson. As has been said on here, he looked class. Effortless class and composure and technique and vision and intelligence. He had quite a good game, I think. Theo again proved that HE is the big game player. I think all talk of team selection is bollocks though. The gambles were gambles but based on what the alternatives were. And Barca tired which was a big factor in our second- half fight-back of course. But in the first half, weren’t they (Barca) amazing? Cesc…Legend. What a penalty. We can go through. No doubt about that.

  563. That’s right pz. A reverse of Saturday’s feelings.

    We’re just a win away now.

  564. The overriding quality of this Arsenal team is resilience. We’re extremely strong.

    Barca’s pressing game was fantastic. I haven’t seen a performance that good in the Euro thingy since Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan against Barcelona in 93. I also got to understand how our opponents feel when we pass them to death.

    Ultimately, Barcelona couldn’t keep up their pressing game & with a weapon like Theo, we could turn it around.

    Denilson showed what he is about. His simple distribution was key to us breaking Barca’s pressing game. The secret to breaking the pressing game is good distribution between the deep midfielders and the defenders.

    Song & Diaby hid in the first half, afraid of giving the ball away. So we had to go long, thus doing eaxctly what we didn’t want and giving the ball away. Wenger also perhaps got the tactics wrong by having us sit too deep. The goal was to ensure every Barca player was surrounded by 2,3 players.

    But this is such a resilient side. I think Chelsea or Man United would have lost by 3 or 4 nil last night. But we could come back.

    We also saw our limits; a lack of confidence to impose our own game against the best, and we couldn’t match Barca’s work rate.

    The atmosphere at the Ems was amazing last night. But then, if the crowd is not up for it when Barca comes calling…..

    In the end, we actually could have won it.

    Great evening, with another brilliant evening of football to come next week. This match lived up to it’s billing

  565. Without Almunia we would not even be in the tie.A 6-0 scoreline at HT and we couldnt have complained.Yes he was to blame for their 1st goal but Barca would have been out of sight but for him

    71% possesion in the 1st half shows who good Barca are.

  566. And the way Barcelona played in the first half will be an inspiration for our boys to raise their game to that level. It’s all part of their development to become the best ever. THe fact that PG said it was the best 45 mins they had played shows that they really raised their game last night. But couldn’t keep it up that intensity for the 90. Barca played the first 45 how I thought we would. But we know how to pace our game over 90 minutes…..(not excusing the nerves that we suffered early on.)

  567. I think we can all say the Barcelona really lived up to the hype.I have never seen a team play as well as they did in the 1st half not even the Invincibles

    Yes the prem is exciting but dont tell me Man Utd or Chelsea are better than Barca

    Am going to the Camp Nou next week.Will or lose it will be a fantastic experience

    And didnt TH14 get a great reception-Legend

  568. And as a nice “come-down” from the high-octane epic of last night, have a look at Barazite’s goal for the reserves 3-1 victory over Birmingham the other night. An emerging Pires. (ClichΓ© time I know, but true!)

  569. I was at the game last night so am just reading some of the comments made by so called Gooners during the game.And yes i mean you Zap.Slagging off the team during a game against the best team in the world.You really are clever arent you.

    As a fan you follow your team through think and thin not just the good times some of our fans are a disgrace.We were p[laying the best team in the world FFS not Wigan

  570. Was wondering about Barazite, Mingus.

    Do you think he might make the bench for a couple of Prem games considering all the injuries we’ve got now? He certainly looks in good nick at the moment.

  571. New Post just going up

  572. Why not? Especially if Arshavin is out. I guess Vela would be ahead of him, though.
    I think next season we’ll see him starting to get a few chances.

  573. YW, Thanks for the sign-post. I like to be last.

  574. This is why I said before the draws I hope we’d get Barcelona.

    It was a maginificent night of football. Everyone I’ve spoken to today says it was a brilliant game.

  575. β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”Al

    I agree.. we play this team and we will win…….
    The hardest part is over… we won’t be fearful of them again (majority of the first half).. We need to keep it simple and close them down and we will win the return leg. Bedtner and diaby took to long to make decisions in this match. EBOUE should now be given serious recognition for his footballing skils, speed and brain. and Walcott should stay as an impact sub, that is when he’s most effective… Role on Next Tues we can win this and shut all those foul mouth pundits up…

    Can You Handle THE TROOF

  576. I cant believe Arsenal manage to tie…..what an amazing game, so many chances….

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