Barcelona Preview: Dream Time

A routine blog preview was blown apart yesterday afternoon. Most of it still holds true but has been amended since it was completed at 11am yesterday morning.

Arsenal are on the cusp of greatness. Criminally underrated in their own media – once more a barrage of ‘chokers’ came on Sunday, notably from Andy Dunn in the vile News of the World – appreciation of the squad comes from abroad. If victory is achieved this evening or even progress made, in the eyes of the British media, Arsenal will not have won the tie, Barcelona will have thrown it away. Or have been robbed by an incorrect decision.

Against this backdrop, the absence of key players is feeding a feeling of doom, where bowels to water. For Alex Song, history repeats itself. Absent last season, once more he will not make an appearance in the Camp Nou. The biggest question is who replaces him in the centre of the triumverate; Abou Diaby, Denilson or an outside chance, Emmanuel Eboué?

The Ivorian is very much an outside choice; it would not be the first time he has played in the defensive midfield role but it is not suited to his maverick style of defending.

The choice is simple; Denilson will offer more in terms of ball retention whilst Diaby is capable of more thrusting runs, piercing the heart of the Barca defence. The fixture does not require the blood and thunder which is seen so frequently in domestic football; it will be an altogether more cerebral affair, one where the quickness of the mind will be as telling as the fleetness of foot.

Where will Arsène put his faith? My feeling is that Denilson will get the nod, perhaps he is viewed as more disciplined in the pursuit of the ball for that is going to be a major factor in any Arsenal success this evening.

Elsewhere, Arsène’s choices are very much made for him bar who leads the line. Nasri has been outstanding when playing a wider role this season, able to drift off of both flanks and Cesc’s return will enable the resumption of those duties. On the opposite side, the spaces of the Camp Nou will be filled with the scampering feet of Andrey Arshavin, whose recovery of form is coming at a welcome time.

As I mentioned yesterday, Nicklas Bendtner will lead the line. Unless of course, Arsène is pulling a stroke in which case, welcome back Robin and Alex. As unlikely as it seems…it is wishful thinking, the Dutchman though has returned to training which is good news, perhaps The Hawthorns is being pencilled in for his return?

And Arsène has the barefaced cheek to say that he doesn’t know how to play mind games. Who is he kidding. That van Persie is back is great news. That he is back so soon is somewhat worrying in that it has echoes of Thierry Henry returning to the side for the second leg against PSV in 2007 and frankly being a passenger in that performance.

If van Persie is genuinely fit – and properly fit – then put him in the starting line-up; if not, leave him on the bench. It is the latter which ought to hold sway, if commonsense plays anything in the decision. It won’t though; too much is at stake. Arsenal have to score this evening. Or keep a clean sheet; one or the other. A win would be fantastic and not impossible, despite media protestations to the contrary, Barcelona are not invincible no matter how good a side they are.

van Persie might be included from the start with Arsène taking the view that an hour of the Dutchman might quell some of the Catalans attacking instincts. Defensively they are weakened by the absence of Puyol and Pique but in Milito and Abidal they do not have raw recruits replacing them; these are two experienced internationals who know their trade.

It just seems more likely that van Persie will be brought on with half an hour to go or perhaps sooner if, God forbid, the situation requires. In that time, a world class striker is more than capable of wreaking havoc. And van Persie is World Class.

That said, the line-up I expect to start tonight is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy; Fàbregas, Denilson, Wilshere; Nasri, Bendtner (van Persie), Arshavin

History is apparently with Andrey Arshavin, Arsenal never having lost a European tie in which he has played. Whether that is true, I know not but it is the sort of fact which brings comfort.

It is better than knowing that a clean sheet has eluded Arsenal in an away Champions League match since 2009, a two-goal victory at Celtic Park. If you exclude qualifying rounds, then it was victory in the San Siro when AC Milan succumbed.

Only twice previously have Arsenal won a first leg, second round 2-1. On both occasions – 1979-80 and 1994-95 – Arsenal reached the final. Don’t worry about the losing both of those finals, we’ll find something else to overcome that.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 8, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 781 Comments.

  1. Pffft! Andy Dunn? What a hideous c*nt he is!

  2. A 1-1 draw tomorrow. Last minute Cesc penalty.

  3. I hope B-team player Jack scores during extra time.

  4. I think what most people, Andy Dunn in particular, keep forgetting is that we BEAT Barca 2-1!! yes we can do it again but what is more important is that we have already done it, this will get the monkey off the teams back. Before then we had never beaten Barca, EVER. It is amazing what happens to two teams when such a record is destroyed. On the one hand you have the team who has lost that psychological edge and now find they have to play a team who have no fear of them, respect yes but no fear. On the other hand you have the Arsenal. A team that all and sundry said could not beat Barca, where in fact Barca-lite, pretenders even. We did beat them. We beat them after going down 1-0. We beat them after all the nay-Sayers got to sit back for about 40 minutes or so and say ” See, I told you, not good enough, need a GK, CB,DM,Striker who does not get injured” Do you guys remember after you/I where done jumping up and down, screaming, spilling drinks over everyone within ten feet, the look of sheer disbelief and almost comical anger on the Doomers/Barca-lite shit-talkers as RVP scored a stunning equalizer, quickly followed by AA’s winner? I guess what I am saying is FUCKEM ALL, we did it once we can do it again. Just remember they said we could nit beat Real Madrid, but we did. They said we would be beaten at the San Siro, we where not, in fact we humiliated Milan that night. I do not for one second think we can humiliate Barca as they are much better but I do believe we can and will beat them. 3-2 to the Arsenal and my finances to take a nice upward swing in the process 🙂

  5. MarylandGooner

    I think Barca will try to press us hard and fast, trying to end the tie before halftime. We need to survive the early onslaught and then counterattack, a la JFW-Cesc-Nasri-Arshavin. If we get the goal, then I think we can win it. There’s enough quality in this team to do this, with Cesc back , if he’s close to fit.

    Maybe RVP as a 60′ sub for Bendy or Arshavin. Come on boys, you can do it!

  6. All I can say is well said Irish.

    RVP click>>>>>>click>>>>>>>>clickkkkkkkkk

    Still not sure if I will watch though.

  7. Must say though I don’t think Broke Back Barca are much better! A little more polished in their passing maybe nothing else…oh and there is that little lord of the rings extra to contend with *signs* what an unattractive team.

  8. Maria – You absolutely have to watch as if you don’t you will miss one of the great clssic matches and Arsenal wins of all time!!! Promise 🙂

  9. Limestonegunner

    Nice Nasri article. Here’s to him starting on the right and having a goal like his evisceration of Porto at Barca tomorrow/today!

  10. What is wrong.with Shottagunna by the way, nothing serious I hope!? Think an Arsenal win is just what the doctor ordered, get well soon buddy 🙂

  11. would be icing on the cake for me if we win but i think a score draw would do just fine.

  12. like people have stated before, if we can withstand their initial onslaught it should bode well for us

  13. this will probably sound crazy, but I’d like to see Arsene pull a surprise move and play Kieran Gibbs in front of Clichy on the left side. This would totally neutralize Alves and put our best left sided crosser in a position to whip some balls into the box toward either Bendtner or Chamakh so we can put Busquets to the test. Hold RVP if fit and AA in reserve for the last 20-25 minutes.

  14. Limestonegunner

    Yes, Shotta, Arsenal victory over Barca hopefully effects miracle cure!

    I never knew your violent language was a comedic commentary on the conditions of internet blogging! These revelations make me wish I had made it into your exclusive category of “skeptics”–are there gift memberships, door prizes? We are all anticipating your book on the subject of threatening-seeming language on football blogs almost as much as the Barcenal fixture at the Camp Nou.

    It was getting a little too cosy with people making their arguments without personal attacks there in yesterday’s post comments. Luckily Ole spiced things up a bit for a while, but even he ended up finding common ground and dropping the fight. Honestly, there was a real danger we might all just unite and concentrate on our collective desire to will our beloved Arsenal on to destroy Barcelona! We were missing your two-fisted contributions sorely.

    In all seriousness, Shotta, get better. ACLF just isn’t the same without your distinctive voice. And since I have had troubles in the past with my hands as well which caused difficulties for typing, I recommend, if this is a longer term injury/condition, investing in the dictation software “Dragon naturally speaking” by a company called Nuance (no, I am not making that up!) that has remarkably good voice recognition and interface with your browser and email programs.

    Of course, it might sound very strange to actually say aloud some of the things you write! (Sorry, I couldn’t help this last jest!)

  15. It will come down to how well we defend. They will have most of the ball and we have to stay organized and use our defense set up our fast counter attacks. That’s how they have been beaten in the past and that’s how we beat them. They will pressure us early and hard and if we concede early we are in trouble. This team has the defensive nous to cope. Should be a great game

  16. i’ve been preparing for a physics exam all weekend now i’m finally free to watch my gooners play. can’t wait to crush the hopes of the world and beat the”best” team ever twice. gunners to dominate the world for the next two years

  17. I’ll want SN to start out on the left and AA on the right. AW tried this in the first leg last year but barca were so quick out of the blocks that we didn’t get a chance to see if it would work. This will add some defensive responsibilities to SN, as he will need to track Alves. Moreover, AA had a good game when drifting to the right in the CC final, his lack of defensive ability will not be exploited on the right as I believe Sagna can cope with whatever threat Iniesta and Maxwell will pose.

    Whatever way Barca starts the match doesn’t scare me. We only need to stay tight and disciplined with the right attitude. With our attacking ability, we can nick a goal or two. Stay true to our footballing philosophy and we shall come out victorious.

    Be rest assured tonight gooners, WE SHALL NOT CHOKE!!!
    I love you Arsenal, come what may.

  18. Expecting a classic. Beating Barcelona at the Camp Nou isn’t easy and doing so can give one a high for months. The good thing is that nobody thinks the game will be easy. But it’s winnable and we will win!

  19. Just a quick observation about the Sunderland game that may or may not have been mentioned before. Am watching it again on FSC and I cannot help but notice Kos6 flying forward every 2 minutes. I am not talking about set pieces either, he is simply bombing forward. Have to say he has really good control too, looks very comfortable taking players on. The only reason I am mentioning it is because I was wondering if anyone else had noticed and if so, do you think it is a direct result of the Birmingham game? I mean if I can notice it surely Pep can too. And by that I mean if Kos6 is on a one-man mission to make amends for what he may feel to be his mistake at Wembley, it could end up being the opposite. I just hope AW has a talk with him before Barca as I think he is an excellent CB and is a very important part of our team.

  20. irishgray says:
    March 8, 2011 at 4:44 am

    I noticed it too, like twice when he linked up very well with AA but the return pass from AA wasn’t good enough. LK6 has good ball retention skills and it is an added advantage if he brings the ball calmly out of defence and sees a good pass or an opportunity to drive in. I honestly love CB’s doing this.
    It all comes down to the balance of the team, whenever he sees a chance of going forward and takes it, the onus falls on one of the central midfielders to drop back and cover meanwhile.
    I don’t think this is an after effect of the CC. His job is to defend, which he does well. If he has anything to prove (personally, I don’t think he does), he should do it by concentrating for 90 mins. He’s already proved to be money well spent.

  21. Very good post Yogi. I completely agree with what you say about this team (and our manager) both being criminally underrated by our own know-nothing media. I am quite confident about this match to be honest and it has nothing to do with not appreciating some of the awesome talent that Barca possess… I just feel that Barca are very vulnerable to the threats in our own team. If they don’t score early or if we settle early and get hold of the ball… and we can get hold of the ball against Barca, just watch the second half of the First leg if you doubt me… then I even believe that we may win.
    Having said all that one must concede that we are away at the Camp Nou and Barca do have the best player in the world in their team. If Messi were not playing I’d honestly have very little to fear but he is a wonderful talent. Barca can be got at if you are good enough and we showed how it can be done at the Grove and I believe that we’d show it again today.

    Where I disagree with Yogi is that I fully expect Chamakh to lead the line. Bendtner’s ball retention is simply not as good as Chamakh’s and whilst Bendtner’s work rate has improved significantly it is still not a match for Chamakh’s ability to defend from the front. I think that Chamakh showed enough when he came on against Sunderland that his form is almost back to where it was at the beginning of the season. Ultimately it is of course Wenger’s choice but I really fancy Chamakh to start and van P to come on later depending on how the game is going

    I truly expect us to advance to the next round… we are good enough to do it despite what the media in this country choose to spout.

  22. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Gack. Bill if you watched the game last time we conceded early and still won the game. Stop being so such a simpleton. We out played them the second half last game if you didn’t notice. Arsene will set out to attack like usual as he already pointed out and that’s what we will do. We need to score. We know you love your anti football and get pleasure from watching teams play defense but that’s not what this club is about and we’ll be going to Nou Camp to play football.

  23. Don’t worry Irish. I am confident that Kos will not be bombing forward against Barca. Sunderland is a different kettle of fish as we had to beat them, while tonight, we just need to draw.

  24. Well well well – apparently, the local Catalunya press are suggesting Arsenal are conniving and cheating bastards for misleading them about RVP.

    Arsene Wenger – how dare you crafty old bugger, how dare you?

    And if you read headlines like this (no guesses from where): “Barcelona v Arsenal: Gunners can claim greatness but may never recover from defeat” – you do wonder:

    Is it really Arsenal who won’t recover? The stakes are higher for Broke Back than they are for Arsenal – and the truth is we already showed the world that Barca’s vulnerabilities can be got at and very few people get the chance to expose them.

    They have so much more pressure than we do and RVP’s name even on the team sheet seems to give them jitters. I wonder why?

    I think if they actually play Biscuits in defence and Mascherano in midfield, it will play into our hands. Javier has always been in the Chuck Norris mould of destroyer type defensive players – but bless him – we have better ball players than him. His style of defensive destroying doesn’t guarantee Broke Back will retain the ball.

    And as for the nonsense of us “achieving greatness” – these are the same fuckers who will write about how Barca threw away the tie to a team of chokers. What hypocrisy.

    We’re already a great team and it’s only a matter of time before those blinded by the faecal matter that stops them from seeing the wood from the trees realise how inadequate they’ve been in appreciating what Arsenal has done and will continue to do.

    As Warren Buffet famously said: “It’s only when the tide has gone that we see those who have been swimming naked”.

    Soon enough, these punks will be exposed.

  25. @irishgray

    I was at the game on Saturday and I also noticed Kos bombing forward with the ball. I was urging our centre backs to push forward as every time they ran with the ball -space would suddenly open up -as Sunderland simply didn’t pick up on them. I thought Djourou could have followed Kos’s example.

    I have been impressed with Kos. Putting his mistakes aside, he is tactically intelligent and his range of passing and ability to read the game is impressive. He is a good tackler as well. He is young so I fully expect him to find his consistency and to work a bit more on his heading.

    I don’t think he will be bombing forward today like he did against Sunderland. Where Sunderland came to the Emirates simply to contain Arsenal -we both know that the Nou Camp this will not be the case.

  26. We are not expected to win tonight. No one is giving us much of a chance to beat the ‘bestest’ team in the world. If we lose, there will be a collective shrug of the shoulders and a ‘well that was to be expected’

    I think our manner and approach to the game, in the long term, will be more important than the result. A humiliation will throw us to the edge but a narrow defeat will, surprisingly, help us in the league. A victory -and suddenly the players will truly realise that the impossible is possible.

    Naturally, I believe that we are capable of winning tonight and I think that if we win -we will do it in style. It may not be possible to dominate the game as normally do when we have the ball. I think two things are key tonight:

    (1) I think our off ball work is key tonight. Our work rate needs to match the Barca’s players and the desire to track down everything -no matter how small -should be our focus for 90 minutes.
    (2) Our ability to retain the ball. We may not see a lot of posession tonight but when we do have the ball it is important that our players do not needlessly give it away.

    Arsene has always been good at persuading players that they can do better and tonight if they deliver -the glass ceiling will be broken- and the players will finally understand in their hearts that they can do what they preach.

    We love you Arsenal!

  27. i just got a little creative with this fuckyeahnouns site http://fuckyeahnouns.com/arshavin

  28. I don’t think that Arshavin should start. I respect that he is has tried hard to improve the defensive side of his game but no left back in the world would want him in front them during a game against Barca in the Nou Camp. He is a great player and putting him on the last 30 minutes when the ‘greatest ever’ team are tiring like old men with Megan Fox -it might be worth unleashing him then!

    I think Wenger’s starting line up might surprise us tonight.

  29. it is true arshavin has not lost a european game with us.
    he has played in thirteen games

  30. With a little faith, a little luck, a little Russian… we might just about survive against the best team in the world and manage a draw – which would be a glorious result!
    COYG!

  31. Something made me chuckle this morning just listening to the sports headlines.

    The story goes that Chelsea have sliced down the United lead to 9 points with a game in hand – ergo if they beat United at Old Trafford and they win their game in hand, they’re only 3 points behind United and well within the title hunt (though Man City might want to argue that they’ll let Chelsea walk over them).

    Which is OK – except no one mentions that err – there’s a small matter of Arsenal in the way. If their so called rules are normalized and if the so called games in hand were to apply, while Chelsea reduce the deficit of United to 3 points, Arsenal will have 9 points of clear daylight for Chelsea to catch and they’re fast running out of games.

    I think it is actually a true compliment to the Arsenal team for showing consistency this far down the road of this campaign. Despite what many would have us believe, we have slowly and quietly gone about the business of building that consistency and putting ourselves in the mix, and if you look at the past 28 games, we’ve actually defended better than Manure and conceded less goals in 17 out of the 28 games. Very few are even willing to point to the fact that United have conceded 3 goals more than Arsenal, and if it wasn’t for Fergie’s bitches bending over backwards and handing them 12 goals without reply, the goal difference would also be shouting a different story.

    The thing about the EPL is that no one can say that if you’re on top after 38 games, you don’t deserve to be there. 10 games to go and long may we perform as consistently as we have.

  32. I really do hope it is a boring 0-0 draw with few chances.

  33. Goonerandy, a score draw would be better, no? Especially if Denilson gets the goal for us…hehehe.

  34. Can’t concentrate on anything today, the day needs to get on with it and end.I am sure we will score and Barca will score,as long as they dont score two goals more than us we will be fine. A classic draw of 2-2 with us equalizing in the last min would be fantastic but better still would be us winning 3-2. My hope and prayer is we score first that way they will be forced to attack and leave us space to counter with the combination of Nasri Arshavin (two very pacey players ) Vanpersie (if he plays) and Fabrigas (with his perfect passes) then we will win, how i wish Walcott was available tonight.

    Yogi i like your line-up but am also torn between Bendtner starting or Chamakh good thing I’m not in charge of making such decisions. COYGs!!

  35. Arse Baggins,

    “I think Wenger’s starting line up might surprise us tonight.”

    I wholly agree. He stated that we have to play differently tonight and so I am circumspect on second guessing our starting eleven for this fixture. I think Yogi’s starting line up makes sense and do believe that Denilson might be the more secure option (as long as he ensures that he keeps between Messi and our goals). Discipline will be critical.

    I also like Goonzablazin’s suggestion of Gibbs starting on the left t neutralise Alves. However, I suspect this would make more sense if RvP does not start and Cham or B52 start with the aerial threat to benefit from his crosses.

    We can win tonight if our minds and efforts are right. I am as nervous as I can remember being before any match but really do believe the Irishgray’s optimism is spot on.

    COYG

  36. Darius – Heh, that would be just fine and dandy.

  37. BARCA RATTLED?

    It is interesting to read the statements that the barca players and guardiola has voiced in the press the last couple of days. They are starting to sound like arsenal which quite frankly, a good thing. There certainly seems to be something eating away at them.

    The fact that they are harping in the press almost trying to convince themselves that they are superior to us should encourage us, because if they truly were without doubt, they would not have to do this and instead prepare themselves silently to get the job done.

    This is what our current team do all the time regarding mental strength and toughness with every win we get, almost always to get unstuck when the reckoning moment arrives. The fact that we talk so much about it is in itself an indictment that we lack those very qualities. I do hope that we improve and move forward from that here in this defining period of the season.

    Mascherano and alves have already released contradictory statements about how barca intend to deal with us, with villa talking about their superiority from us. Xavi, of course, these days almost seems like a tottenham player considering his obsession with arsenal. Now this from guardiola, who seemed very calm and dignified in the pre match first leg press conference (full of praise for us). whatever it is, they certainly seem to have a lot of things on their mind to deal with “inferior” arsenal.

    Whether we will have the acumen and application to make them pay remains to be seen, but we have a chance. I personally believe that we will knock them out (unless denilson starts) but NOT win the competition. I expect koscielny to have a good game, because he is that kind of a defender, struggling with physical teams and thriving in matches like these where the ball rarely leaves the ground.

    And what a difference a good goalkeeper makes? Sczezvlhgty will need to be at the top of his game, and I think he will deliver. You gotta love this guy, he is a character and the team needs as many as possible.

    The lads will need to play the game of their lives but whatever happens, we will have a load of memories from this tie if nothing else. Lets hope they are beautiful ones.

    Cheers all!

  38. 0-0, 90% of the play in the centre circle will do just fine. I’m sure my heart rate will double every time Barcelona get near our box. Patient, controlled defending and good goalkeeping (I call Szcezsny standing up to Messi and not giving him anything to aim at good goalkeeping) will be required as well as carrying an attcking threat when we get the ball, retention of it for as long as possible by Fabregas, Wilshere and AN Other will be key. They’ll feel the pressure if they don’t score in the first half, I’ve been to the Camp Nou and their fans will get on their backs very quickly if they aren’t seen to be playing up to scratch.

  39. I agree with the idea that Gibbs would be an excellent choice on the wing as he can attack and defend in equal measure -certainly something this game will require. Against him is experience and the sporadic brilliance of a certain Russian. However, I am sure Clichy would prefer Gibbs in front of him as he seems less confident and less attack minded with the Russian on the field. Alternatively, you could move Arshavin to the right and Nasri to the left. Personally, I don’t think Wenger will start with Arshavin but bring him on after 60 minutes. It’s all speculation of course but just a hunch on my side. Whoever plays, we can only ask them to give 100% in effort. If they do, that should be enough.

  40. Call me crazy, but my gut reaction tonight is that we are going to humiliate them. I could well be wrong but I was, unfortunately, right about the Carling Cup final. Trust the gut, drink more beer.

  41. It would not suprise me to see Rosicky start on the left. I don’t go with the Gibbs idea, it is too defensive minded. We have never started a game like that before, why now? If Arsene is going to try somthing like that he is more likely to play Eboue on the right, and move Nasri to the left.

  42. Man, we slate the English press, but the level of ignorance and lack of research in some of the opinion pieces in the Catalan sports papers is unbelievable, DS. Some of the polemic during the Toral transfer was actually dangerous and irresponsible ahead of a crucial CL match when emotions are bound to run high, although they did tone it down a little when the facts came through (Toral is half English, wanted to play in England).

  43. Darius, i watched Chelsea last night and thought they wee poor, Blackpool were worse.

    What interested me though was the media’s new darling defender, Luiz. After all, he cost a lot of money so must be reallt good. He does look good going forward and is agile in defence but on two occasions I watched Blackpool players run at him and pass him on both sides easily. Left him floundering.

    If Holloway has noticed his weakness like that then I imagine every one else will have as well.

  44. COYG!

    We’ll need speed on the wings so AA should start OR Eboue might play the Walcott role with Nasri on the left (if AW feels he needs a better defensive player to keep Alves on his toes).

    I’d also play Denilson instead of Diaby based on present form & last year’s game @CampNou. Methinks Denilson is better suited to play against the short passing game Xavi & co. operate on.

    Szczesny
    Sagna-Djourou-Koscielny-Clichy
    Nasri-Fabregas-Jack-Denilson-Arshavin/Eboue
    Bendtner

    Probable SUBS
    Eboue for Arshavin
    RvP (or Chamakh) for Bendtner
    Rosicky (or Diaby) for Denilson

    Almunia, RVP, Eboue, Rosicky, Diaby, Squillaci, Chamakh, Gibbs

  45. Starting Eboue instead of AA might be better as AA is a better impact sub.
    Don’t really see Gibbs playing tonight, maybe Diaby

  46. Barca 3 – Arsenal 2. Arsenal to go through on away goals. Messi hatrick. Barcas best form of defense will be to keep the ball. They genuinely looked panicked in their final third when we ran at them and wont like the sight of RVP even on one leg. We also have set piece and heading ability if we take the flanks. A great game in prospect hopefully no phantom elbow sending offs ala Busquets. A night for an unsung hero…Nik B or Arshavin I think. I enjoyed the deafening silence if the crowd when we last scored here. More please. COYG

  47. Anyways – I’d play this team tonight –

    Szczesny;
    Sagna,
    Djourou,
    Koscielny,
    Clichy;
    Denilson/Rosicky,
    Cesc,
    Wilshere;
    Nasri,
    RvP/Bendtner/Chamakh (I honestly don’t know),
    Arshavin

    I don’t think this is a game for the strapping types, so I’d only use one of Bendtner and Chamakh. Song (I know he’s out for this one) and Diaby are our most imposing midfielders, but neither has shined against Barcelona, this year or last.

    It’s great that we’re playing with something like first choice defence, and that some of our most important players are fit, which isn’t a luxury we had last season. Looking at the previous matches, if there’s one goal in it come 60 minutes we’ll win the tie for sure.

  48. Consols – what is funny is that Koscielny has more or less the same attributes as Luiz, though he gets the treatment of a reprobate who was born on the wrong side of the railtracks.

    If you consider that both Vermaelen and Koscielny (Yes – Vermaelen is still on the Arsenal payroll despite being forgotten by most) cost less than Luiz in transfer fees, you start shaking your head in wonderment as to how price tags have got out of hand. Expensive is assumed to be value for money.

    On the reporting though, I do get the sense that there’s a lot of yearning to return to the “chelsea v Manure” for the title headlines as that’s the narrative that was supposed to do the rounds.

    OOU – sports journalism is just scraping the barrel when it comes to professionalism and quality. It makes a mockery for truly hard working and thorough journalists who sometimes even risk their lives to do a decent job in the public interest.

    It’s almost like there’s a universal clammour to ensure that sports journalists are the thickest of the lot with IQs of an asparagus. I know for sure that I can do a better job writing a column if it was my primary profession – and it’s just pathetic to experience the laziness and incompetence stinking the back pages.

    The bigger picture though is that journalism as a profession needs to wake up and catch up with the 21st century that is the blogosphere and citizen journilism. There’s still a school of thought (old school as it might be) that the traditional journalist is still the ‘custodian’ and curator of the news arena, one whose job it is to filter the big bad world out there for us and show us the world through their lens. They see themselves as having a divine editorial right that is enshrined in societal norms that makes them the guardian of what is integral to being in the public interest.

    For hundreds of years though, the mass media has shoved opinion down the throats of the populus and shaped how we think, and I’m afraid, some still hold the view that this is their job. The very thought that citizen journalism is a reality in the form of the blogosphere and social media gives the whole profession of journalism a living nightmare.

    I get the sense that they still don’t know how to react to the masses responding back and arguing a different case – and that’s the mainstream sector. Lord knows how arrogant the sports media is to think they’re still the last bastion of sporting imperialism.

  49. For me its:

    ‘I am the one and only’, Sagna, Djorou, Kos, Clichy, Nasri, Fabregas, Denilson, Rossicky, Van Persie (if not broken), Bendy.

  50. Oops, that I forgot lil Jack.

  51. So basically I am saying we should start with 12 players. Are we allowed to do that? Do you think any one would notice if we can’t?

  52. I still don’t understand why the english media, and catalan too, underestimate this Arsenal so much. I get that our media (catalan) is trying to support the team in one of the most important games of the season. But the english media? I don’t get it.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen on the field. But I’m sure I’ll see a good match in Camp Nou

  53. Alex, I am more than happy for world and his pony to write us off, understimate us etc…etc.. It matters not a jot. The only thing that matters is what happens on the pitch and how the mental preparedness of our players. Everything else is redudant.

  54. Arse, I agree. But I don’t get it.

  55. OOU, Sport and Mundo Desportivo are practically extended Barca fanzines. To call them the Catalan media is accurate but not realistic.

  56. I’m not going to defent the spanish sports media, I agree it’s crap. But there are 4 o 5 journalists really good at this. The problem is that you have to look for them in personal blogs or opinion columns, and on front pages you only have clubs propaganda.

    And you only know Mundo Deportivo, Sport, Marca and AS. But I’ve been in one of the little ones an well, i left the job.

  57. Of course, OG. Arsenal doesn’t have an equivalent of Sport or El Mundo Deportivo fighting its corner, Alex.

    Interesting points, DS. Although I admit that I’m barely familiar with the themes, I’m actually of the old school opinion that there’s a portion of the press that should never bend to the internet. The best newspapers have cultivated reputations for rigour and insight over centuries. There are whole systems of guidelines, ethical codes and boundaries within these institutions that can’t be crossed. I mean, blogs aren’t duty bound to post humiliating corrections if their writer takes it on himself to bend the truth.

    I wish I could say more, but I don’t think I can before doing a bit of research!

  58. It’s simple, alex. Arsenal refuses to overpay for English players, and also refuses to play the kind of agricultural football that is long on physicality and short on skill. Arsene is trying to win with European football in an English league dead set against it. If Arsenal were to do the treble this year, it would represent a failure of everything English in football, save intensity.

    That’s why performances in the Sunderland match aren’t as important. That game was played according to different *rules*.

  59. So this is Cesc’s first match in the Camp Nou. Well, if that’s the case, he’s not much of a DNA sample is he.

  60. nolagunner

    I get this. But after what Arsenal have achieved this last years, this kind of thinking should’ve changed. The leagues of the late 90’s and the beginning of the century were with Arsene and a lot of foreign players too.

    OneOfUs. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have the media fighting in your corner. Well, I don’t like it. And because of that, you have stupid questions on press conferences and stupid interviews in sport papers. But as I said, there are 4 or 5 voices all the fans should heard. But they don’t scream.

  61. come on! thanks Yogi. I can not wait. Longest day of my life and it’s only 10.30.

  62. Time to slay the matador! And Alex no stupid comments during the match, comprede Chico?

  63. Where’s the ref from tonight? Or does it even matter?

  64. The media should be kissing our red arse. Any one read steven howards piece yesterday,what a waste of ink.

  65. longblackcloud

    how about RVP or Chamack with Nik B wide right and we go little bit more direct than normal to exploit 3 of Barca back 4 absent or out of position?
    With Cesc, Jack and Diaby in midfield, Nasri on left offering Clichy same protection as 1st leg, AA to come on 25-30 mins to go to run at a tired (& battered) Maxwell
    That said think AW might play Eboue wide right as extra security for midfield.
    how long till kick off??

  66. I think we’ll go through. Everytime I try to play it through in my mind as to how it will go, I can’t. I just see us going through somehow.

  67. Interesting facts from Uefa:

    1. If Arsenal win tonight, it will be their 100th in Uefa competitions.
    2. The referee officiated in the first leg of last season’s QF tie.
    3. He also refereed our 1-2 defeat in Shaktar
    4. He also refereed our 2-0 win at Celtic
    5. No Spanish club or international side at any level has lost a match – home or away – that this referee has officiated.

    Number 5 is frankly astonishing when you consider that some of the teams involved were Getafe, Villarreal, Atletico de Mardrid and Osasuna; hardly the invincibles of the Primera Divison.

    YW

  68. theres a 1st time for everything YW..

  69. Feeling very positive today. I really do feel we will qualify and also beat the ManUre this weekend .

    COYG!!!!!

  70. Just noticed that BBB’s first choice shorts are red – will we go with yellow as at Anfield or white with yellow shirts, similar to the style worn in 1999 when a 1-1 draw was forced.

  71. Hello Folks.

    Both Eboue and Denilson are likely to be more effective against Barcelona than recent EPL or other form might suggest. Still, it’s relatively simple, we have to score and so we must attack. Barcelona will score no matter what, say 2 or 3, and our best bet is to set out to score 2. The best defence is to attack and keep attacking all night long. We had them on the ropes with sharp counter-attack at home, and this is their fear. We are faster.

    The point is how to achieve that, and if it were possible wrong-foot them tactically also. AA will start, that is certain. RvP is more likely to be a sub, and potentially more effective anyway in the last 25 minutes. Me, I would be tempted to play Nasri central, with Cesc and Wilshere. Conventional would be Denilson.

  72. On this day in 2006, Arsenal and Real Madrid drew 0-0 at Highbury, aggregate score of 1-0 to The Arsenal…

  73. For Cesc Fabregas, Harper Toral, DD, Steve Rowley, Arsene Wenger and er…. Alex:

    Arsenal.

  74. Oh ffs.

  75. Other great 8th March’s in Arsenal’s history

    1902 Bt Stockport County 3-0
    1913 Bt Manchester City 1-0
    1952 Bt Luton Town 3-2
    1958 Bt Chelsea 5-4
    1980 Bt Watford 2-1
    1986 Bt Aston Villa 4-1
    1997 Bt Nottingham Forest 2-0

    During Arsene’s reign, Arsenal have played 4 cup-ties on 8th March. The only victory was a 3-0 win over Burnley; the other three have all been drawn.

    YW

  76. Now if Cesc were to score the goal that got us through tonight, wouldn’t that seal his Nou Camp DNA affinity? I see Barcelona are not quite as as free scoring of late in their own league, but are defending well. That will suit us. And the more they talk up the game beforehand, the less they believe.

  77. I think that the manager will go with the following team: Szcezsny; Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy; Denilson, Wilshere, Fabregas; Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin.
    Subs: Almunia, Gibbs, Eboue, Rosicky, Diaby, Chamakh, Van Persie.

    We need to take whatever chances come our way, the earlier the better to heap the pressure on Barcelona.

  78. Don’t worry, I won’t made comments during the match. The internet connection on Camp Nou, with 95000 people doesn’t work very well.

    After the match, when I arrive home, I’ll comment something.

  79. Hopefully you will be weeping into your San Miguel Alex 😉

  80. goonerandy. san miguel? what do you think I am? G drinking that shit… 🙂

  81. London Evening Standard reporting RVP has passed fitness test but won’t start tonite.

  82. Nice post Yogi.
    I think Chamakh will lead the line tonight with RvP on the bench.
    The first few minutes will be blistering.We need to weather that storm,not concede a penalty and not get a man sent off.We will need luck on our side tonight and decisions going our way.The longer the game goes on without us conceding (which is a task I agree) the better our chances.All said,this is a winnable tie.Barca are not invincible and the arrogance of their manager riles me.
    Many are not giving us a chance,but the boys need to prove the pundits wrong as they did in the first leg.

  83. My fellow ACLFers – My beloved Arsenal will have to win without my active support….in front of the tv. (Heh,Heh, Heh). But your unflagging voices of support speak for me (I know I am not being presumptuous). Am recuperating up hundreds of miles away from home with a very bad injury. No TV but thank heavens I have internet. Hopefully I can find a stream but the processor on this workstation is kind of slow. Thanks for your kind words of sympathy. (Yes Irish, a win over B-B-B will be a wonderful tonic.)
    -shottagunna

  84. Speedy recovery Shotta!

  85. Arsene said:

    “We need some fresh legs for the Nou Camp because we will have to run a lot,”

    I was surprised that Arshavin played the full 90 on Saturday and think he’ll have trouble completing another 90. He’ll either start and be replaced by Diaby/Rosicky on the hour or he’ll be our super-sub tonight. Diaby on the other hand came off after 77 minutes so he might be a surprise starter on the left, with Denilson replacing Song.

  86. Block 4, we’ll need Squillaci on the bench so maybe no Gibbs tonight.

  87. YW – number 5 on your list is worrying until you realise that Barca do not consider themselves Spanish but Catalans.

  88. Yeah…Arshavin is not the type of player who presses for the ball…we need to save him for the second half when Barca begin to tire…just like in the first leg

  89. Limpar a few times now I’ve noticed you have exquisite taste in the music.

    Good work with the Janes Addiction. For cool music check this site out. This guy is a great designer and also has a side project in music called tycho. Anyway load up the playlists and have a good listen. Bit different from Perry Farrell’s offerings but this guy also has great taste.

  90. Sorry about that no mention of football. I just can’t think of it at the moment.

  91. Markus, maybe, but maybe he’ll want as many attcking options as he can get, just in case.

  92. It’s 7 hours to go to the game. Has a day ever been longer in the history of time?

  93. What a numpty I didn’t give a link with that post …
    http://blog.iso50.com/playlist-archive/

  94. Dups

    OK, we’ll substitute the original point 5 with, “Barcelona have won 4 and drawn 2 of the matches he has officiated.” Or would you like to know that “Barcelona have not conceded any goals at home in any of the four matches that he has officiated.”

    Take your pick, it doesn’t get much better either way.

    But we could add point 6:

    “In the three matches against English sides officiated by the referee, Barcelona’s only win was the 2009 final against Manchester United.”

    YW

  95. YW – you are not making this any easier you know.

  96. It’s not that I question Arshavin’s defensive qualities (see video) but he does tend to lose the ball more because he likes to take players on. Diaby is the same. But then they make things happen for the same reasons. Riskier but we might need it tonight later on. I’m actually thinking Rosicky might get the nod on the left now in the first half… Glad I don’t have to make the decisions, because it’s a tough call between those three.

  97. Let’s wish AFC can emulate my hometown’s team, FC Metz, and win at Camp Nou (1-4, Cup Winners’ Cup, 1984) 🙂

  98. @ DS
    “Well well well – apparently, the local Catalunya press are suggesting Arsenal are conniving and cheating bastards for misleading them about RVP.”
    ha ha ha ha

    @ Firstlady
    “It’s 7 hours to go to the game. Has a day ever been longer in the history of time?”
    Yes – the 16th Feb 2011!
    I am excited but curiously sanguine about the result. I have no idea whether this is a good sign or a bad sign. Or irrelevant.

    Loved your roaring call to arms, Irishgray. Come on Arsenal!!!

  99. 1st lady you right the day has been extra loooooong

  100. Last game Barca had about 65% of possession and made about twice as many passes as we did (approx. 600 – 300). I expect that they will have even more of the ball on their home field tonight. I think we should look to counter attack at pace everytime we touch the ball. That is Barca’s weakness. Ball retention will not be the critical point for us. They had the ball most of the 2nd half in the first leg and we were still the better team. Let them run their triangles and ping the ball around mid field all they want. As long as we stay organized and prevent their penetration into the final 1/3 we will frustrate them and they will leave space for us to hit them on the break. Previous Arsenal teams would have been cut to shreads if they tried to play that way but I think this team showed in the first leg that we can hold them. I do think we will need to score since they have an away goal and I suspect the final will be 1 – 1.

  101. Bill – I think ball retention will be important tonight. If we have the ball, they can’t score. Like you said, they will have more possesion than us, but it is tiring chasing the ball. When we get it, we need to keep it to get a breather and play the game at our tempo.

  102. Nothing much to add to be honest. All’s been said. I just want the next few hours to go really quickly, but as always happens, it will be ridiculously slow…

    COYG!!

  103. Andy:

    We only had the ball 35% of the time in the Emirates. I suspect we will see it even less tonight so retaining the ball is relative. While its true they can’t score when we have the ball, I doubt that we will be able to keep possession enough of the time to disrupt their passing game and deny them chances by our ball retention the way we do in the PL. Clearly we do not want to give the ball away if the break is not on, but just like the first leg I think our best chance to score will be on the break. I hope we do not hold back from a good counter attack opportunity for the sake of maintaining ball possession.

  104. Limestonegunner

    I agree with Joshua on starting Chamakh over Bendtner if RvP is on the bench, which would make sense. As amazing as his comeback is, he is likely more effective in the last twenty minutes if we need to put them under pressure or chase a game than starting at less than 100%.

    But ZP raised a real selection possibility for debate: Nasri playing centrally with Wilshere and Cesc. I suppose this would mean either Eboue or Bendtner on the right. In theory this sounds great to me–full fledged attacking with our most skilled available midfield trio-all of whom can press and intercept but don’t need to be especially physical. My concern really is Fabregas really commands the center and the way we have played is with him forward and Song/Wilshere behind on left and right in a sort of flexible triangle. Nasri and Fabregas would inhabit the same space unless either one played further back. I think Fabregas could do this, especially as he may not have the explosion going forward with his hamstring healing. He could still pick the passes playing deep to set up the counter attack or move the ball forward for the front three and Nasri. But we haven’t seen this combination and there is a real possibility the spacing and flow of our movement and passing wouldn’t work out as smoothly. Something to think about, but I think Denilson is perfect for the sort of defensive duties, possession and distribution game in this tie. It would be an exciting gamble, though. That’s one thing I love about Wenger, you don’t know what he might try as he is a risk taker.

    And that is what I am especially enjoying since yesterday–the doubt and concern being swept under the carpet by arrogance in the Barca camp has now turned into genuine panic and confusion in their ranks! A cool customer like Guardiola doesn’t let slip potential battle cries for the opposition like “Wilshere plays because there is no pressure to win titles at the club” unless he is rattled. They are the ones under pressure and it shows. Who knows whether it will lead to our victory in the tie–we aren’t favored but have a fantastic chance–, but it shows Arsenal are going to fight with everything we have, including managerial guile and mind-games. I love it!

    COYG!!!

  105. Now that we have time to kill, I fancy the following side against Manure on the weekend –

    Tech 9
    Sagna DJ Sqil Gibsy
    Song Deni/Diaby
    Cesc
    NB Chamakhattack AA

    Sub – Al, SN, JW, RVP, Clichy, Kos

  106. Your post, Limestone, has forced me to raise an interesting question –

    Is there anything that Denilson does, that Samir cannot?

  107. Limestonegunner

    Bill, I think you have a point there about our best chances coming on the counter, but Denilson is better at ball possession and can help us hold it as can Chamakh-it may be worth establishing this to give us a breather as goonerandy says. Plus, RvP’s goal, our first, at the Emirates wasn’t a counterattack really. The second was a wonderful exhibition of how to do it with speed, skill, ruthless finishing and overall style. But the first was created by movement in their half and a good ball in behind the defense and the genius of RvP’s finishing off the back line.

  108. Limestonegunner

    MJ, I don’t think it is a question of ability or technique but a matter of discipline and organization. The are all very intelligent players who can adapt, the Wenger way, but I wonder whether Nasri and Fabregas can combine well in the same space or whether either of them at this time can play in a deeper role. Denilson will be very disciplined and help keep us organized.

    I like the idea ZP mentioned, it is intriguing, but lineups and formations aren’t only about the individual qualities and talents of the players but the overall strategy and combination/balance.

    But what do you think is at stake or is possible for the midfield? Do you think Nasri could or should play there and how do you think it would work? I could see some advantages but a straight Nasri v. Denilson comparison isn’t the issue. Nasri will be playing anyway–it is a question of role and positioning. Eboue or Bendtner would replace him on the right, so you might say it is also a question of either of those two vs. Denilson and conclude that Nasri can do more than either of those two on the attacking right and that Denilson’s presence will allow the midfield to feed him the ball in more advantageous positions.

    What do you (and others) think?

  109. Limestone @ 2:41:

    You and Andy make good points about giving us a breather and RVP’s goal. 3/4 of the open play goals we have scored against them in the last 2 years were counter attacks. They usually defend very well when they get organized. IMO the key will be how well we can stay organized in the back and make their possession advantage useless by preventing effective penetration into the final 1/3. Should be a great game. Lets see how it plays out.

  110. I’d love to see an all-out attack (yes, more so that normal). A true “we’ll score more than you” attitude. Jack, Samir and Cesc in the middle breaking up play and bombing forward/holding as appropriate. Picking out those passes that we know all 3 are capable of making. RvP, Chamakh and Arshavin up top somewhere. I know it’s unrealistic and there are few chances you’d be able to do that, but I’d love to see the goals that combination would bring, regardless of how many we concede!

  111. avaris15, are you on drugs mate? I gaurentee they’d score more then us, alot more then us

  112. Limestonegunner

    There’s talk of playing Mascherano in order to allow Bousquets to move back and partner Abidal. Abidal seems solid and to have worked fairly well with Pique, who to my mind was the one crumbling under the pressure of our attack in the second half at the Emirates. But will he and Bousquets have an understanding–both playing new positions in a new partnership? I think it is a real mistake for them to play Mascherano who may slow their movement. They must be very confident of scoring because Bousquets keeps the ball moving in addition to his defensive duties and even comes forward effectively in support of the attack on occasion–not something we see from Mascherano really.

    I think this could be good news for Arsenal. If they just had a backup CB to play with Abidal and kept Bousquets in his usual position, I’d think there was less of an advantage.

  113. I agree that you have to have that attacking threat in the side, A15. The pattern of the game changed completely when Arshavin came on last time.

    And when we do go forward we should probably focus our efforts down the left; we need to make Alves think twice about going forward, especially as he’s likely to have Busquets, who could be a weakness, next to him at the back.

  114. They didn’t last time, J*mes. We scored more than them.

    Hard luck for Wolves on Sunday I thought.

  115. Azza, no drugs, just a bit too excited about tonight’s game. I obviously know it’s not realistic, and would be completely inappropriate most of the time. I just imagine there would be many “Arsenal team goals” YouTube compilations made on such a team.

    Despite my madness, I think people overlook the defensive abilities of those 3 I mention in midfield. Jack, Samir and Cesc aren’t afraid of tracking back, have great fitness and energy, and are very good tacklers.

    Going forward, they are definitely more risky in their passing though… which I love. Completely inappropriate against a team like Barça, who would take advantage of such a gung-ho approach.

  116. I would prefer Nasri in a wide position. We have plenty of creativity/ball rentention squality in the middle with Cesc and Wilshere. One of Diaby or Denilson must play and provide some sort of axis for the team.

    Remember, this game is not about trying to contain Barca as good as they are. It is about imposing our game on them. To do that we need players playing in their best (and most comfrtable) positions. Now is not the time for experiments. If we start altering our players and style of play to combat them, we will lose out for it. We should play our best team, and let them get at the game.

  117. Well, I’ve had a bloody brilliant day so far. Dragged off to Launceston against my will by consolslel this morning (wrong side of the Tamar), I found some excellent raspberry cane and a couple of very reasonably priced new apple trees.

    All topped off with three pints of ‘Tribute’, brewed on Dartmoor and highly recommended to those with a liking for good beer, and a plate of beer battered Plymouth caught cod and chips. Bloody excellent.

    Anybody who suggests that,after a day like this so far, we aren’t going to thump barca is just deluded.

  118. I would prefer it if Masherano didn’t play to be honest. He will sit very deep, and stifle the space where Cesc and RvP do their best work.

    Busquets gets more involved in their play (similar to Song for us).

  119. Well said, CBob!

    Come on you Gunners!

  120. my score
    3-2

  121. CBob, that sounds truly excellent. I believe I have sampled a pint of “Tribute” before on one of my forays down your way – very nice it was too, from what I recall.
    Most of us are trapped in the office waiting for 5pm to come so we can get home for the game! Only an hour and a half to go… and it will go slowly…

  122. Get well soon my dear friend Shotta, your my favourite doomer shotta haha…

  123. I think Keita will start in place of Mascherano, what say, Alex??

  124. Andy @ 3:20:

    Not sure I know what you mean by imposing our game on them. Our game has always been holding the ball and breaking down the other team in their final 1/3. Even in the last game that we won 3 weeks ago and in the game we drew last year at the Emirates that did not happen. The only way Barca has been beaten in the past is to contain them. ManU beat them 1 -0 over 2 legs, Chelsea came within 3 minutes of beating them 1 -0 and Inter contained them last year. We are not going to park the bus but even the boss said on Arsenal.com that we will have to play “different” and we will be defending 60% of the time and that seems like the definition of containing them.

  125. mj_gunner I think Mascherano is in the starting 11 sure.

    Maybe a midfield with Mascherano, Xavi and Keita. And Iniesta forward with Messi and Villa. But today is a great match, and Pep will go with all the big guns.
    My XI
    Valdés / Alves, Busquets, Abidal, Maxwell / Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta / Pedro, Messi, Villa.

  126. I’m truly sorry about that avaris. I’ve been there.

  127. And now the worst referee decision ever!!!!!

  128. BTW, who was eliminated from the squad today??

  129. Normally I’m quite happy being cooped up in here getting on with working (hence rarely posting) but my excitement is getting the better of me today.
    My boss is a gunner too, but he’s not as optimistic as me, and I feel like I can’t even talk football with him – it’s weird.

  130. I don’t know about you guys but I am all about the PL this year. It’s nice and all to be at the Camp Nou I wanna win at Shite Hart Lane. My heart wants what it wants and it wants to win the league for the third time @ at the bottom of Seven Sisters.

  131. Can’t take it myself… off to Camden town for a few in the sunshine. I doubt the cod from the lock’s up to much but I might dip my rod in just in case. All the best to you good folk of ACLF. Let’s hope it’s a night to remember. The team is ready. Just got to Believe!
    COME ON ARSENAL!

  132. MJ the squad does not have to be handed in until 75 minutes before kick off.

  133. Limestonegunner

    Goonerandy, but they have to try to score and Mascherano might stifle their play as much as ours, especially if Alex’s suggestion of playing him and Keita is taken up. I’d be delighted! We will try to score but we don’t need to. If we have the players to counterattack and they cannot play the flowing game in midfield to play in their front three from midfield. Busquets helps their attack since he can distribute much more smoothly and quickly.

    We’ll see. Any which way, we can do it.

  134. Maria, I’m pretty sure most of us agree with you. Nothing would be sweeter.
    But if we do get past Barça, do you think we stand a chance of winning the competition? And I’m pretty sure AW is taking it seriously – it’s the only one he’s not won.

  135. Aaris15 – I’ve been pulled up on my slackness at work in recent days, hence my lack of posting 😦 was pushing it a bit to be fair..!

    Thanks Yogi, another great build up to what promises to be another great match. Much talk on tactics and lineups today, and I can’t be arsed to throw mine in as has already been said.

    I really can’t wait for tonight. I’m playing in a match against top of the table tonight and wont be back until the 2nd half… Gutted to miss the start, but hopefully we’ll already be in a nice position to take the win. I hope RvP isn;t being rushed back too quickly, and that it was some excellent mind game action from le boss..

    I am feeling very confident about tonight, but excitement is taking over fast…!

    Come On You Gunners!!!!!!!!

  136. If we beat them av15, we can beat the rest of em, and the team will know that. It’s definitely doable.

  137. One thing that seems to have eluded most people is that Barça have quite a thin squad. We’ve normally got 4 CB’s before Song has to play in there. Barça are already playing Busquets in there. I’m not suggesting he won’t be able to do a job, but it just seems rich given that we’re constantly being told we need a new “world class” CB.

  138. Bad news Geo. Hope you’re not in too much trouble. I wonder if I push it a bit too far sometimes. Alt-Tab is my friend 😀
    I’m sure AW will make the right decision on RvP. It’s a minor miracle that he’s even in the initial squad (given his normal recovery times) but if he’s deemed ready, that’s good enough for me.
    The CC final was a disappointment, but knowing that we’re still going strong in the CL, fighting in the FA cup, and in a fantastic position in the league, what is there to not be happy about right now?!

  139. This has been the longest day!!!! On my way home now to sit in front of the TV and watch the greatest team in the world and its not Barca!! COYG!!!!!!!!!!!
    (Repeat of my post 3 weeks ago . . . forgive the superstition!)

  140. Still 2:45 to go. I can’t wait for it 😦 Come on you rip-roaring reds. Show ’em who’s “lite”.

  141. Paulie Walnuts

    You never know in football,

    If the players stick together , keep things tight at the back & everyone plays 100 % to their potential then Barca might just have a chance.

  142. Love it if the pundits had to rewrite their pre-written shite again tonight.

  143. BOOM! 2hrs 22mins 22.22 seconds to go.

  144. come on you goons.

  145. Just over two hours to go,

    I feel it’s going to be a good, good night. Yes, tonight’s gonna be a good night.

    COYG

  146. I hope the referee doesn’t f*ck up..

  147. Just got a text from my buddy Mark wishing me and all Arsenal fans nothing but the best tonight. WOW!!! HE’S A FUCKING SPURS FAN!!!!!! Told him the same re:Milan but I had my fingers crossed so it does not really count….:)…..sorry I just couldn’t do it ah well no one is perfect!!

  148. An hour to go…
    I’m strangely calm instead of being tense and worried during the big games….

    COYRRGs…

  149. Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy; Diaby, Wilshere; Nasri, Fabregas, Rosicky; Van Persie

  150. Man I hope he’s ready…

  151. Quite unexpected. Diaby or Denilson was always a toss up but Rosicky? Well, I can see why he would want to play him since he is one of our more defensively solid widemen. And well, Robin … so he must be fit, I do not think that Wenger would take this risk if he was not.

  152. Line up:
    Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy; Diaby, Wilshere; Nasri, Fabregas, Rosicky; Van Persie

    Subs:
    Almunia (GK), Squillaci, Eboue, Denilson, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner.

  153. Limestonegunner

    Come on RvP!!

  154. Indian Gunner – how bizarre. I sat down to write how strangely calm I’ve been all day. Nervous before the first leg beyond belief and wound up over the unfairness of the CC final, but tonight? I’m making pancakes, quite serene.

  155. RVP to start

  156. Is RVP a risk or a gamble?

  157. Limestonegunner

    Wow, no Arshavin. Must be knackered because otherwise I would play him over Rosicky. But hopefully Rosicky has a blinder of a game. Perhaps this is for defensive purposes as well, so that Nasri can play on Alves’ side ahead of Clichy.

  158. As I told you, RvP in the starting 11. No surprises. Let’s go!

  159. steww,
    exactly… On the day of first leg, I couldn’t do one iota of work.. Was excited and nervous like hell.. But today, got a lot more work done than usual.. Less than a hour to go but still calm with a big smile on the face…

  160. A good line-up. Didn’t expect Rosicky to start, but I can see why he’s been picked, and I’m glad. Great to see RvP starting. If he’s starting, he’s obviously deemed fit enough. I might have been a bit less keen if he was brought off the bench with 20 to go if we’re chasing.

    Looks like I’ll be with you guys through the game this evening. Silly me, I assumed this game would be on terrestrial tv, but it’s on Sky, so I’ll be catching as good a stream as I can find. Anybody know of a stable, high quality stream, let me know.

  161. Kenyan gunner – I think he is neither I think he is a necessity

  162. Steww
    having a party? lol

  163. Are we playing tonight?

  164. i really hope van persie is fit..heart in mouth right now 🙂

  165. I like the line up, Bendner and Arshavin to finish Farcaleno off. COYG. We f@ckin beleive!!!! I would love it absolutely love it if we beat them.

  166. Oh so we are.

  167. Barcelona thistle? Probably win then I should think. Did last time.

  168. Gnu Camp? Wheres that then?

  169. It seems many are worried about TR7 starting ahead of AA or Big Nic.. I’m not worried… I think Arsene is going to play a more counter-attacking game.. TR7, Lil jack and Cesc would be positioned to start a counter-attacking move with Diaby, Nasri and RvP making runs…

  170. Irishgray, if he’s 90-100% fit it’s a risk. If he’s below 90% it’s a gamble!

  171. Gibbs is the 19th man!

  172. Kenyan – even at 90% he is worth playing really excited about this!!!

  173. Rosicky’s going to be all about keeping the ball for the team – he’ll be playing it simple all night I expect.

  174. Can someone explain why there is a star(*) mark in front of only Iniesta’s name in the teamsheet..

    http://twitpic.com/47jcpq

  175. If he is 90% fit I guess it depends upon which bit isn’t fit. Similarly if you are 100% fit there is a risk that you could become 0% fit in one tackle.

  176. Am I the only one who reads “Gibbs” and not “Clichy” in the line-up ???????

  177. does anyone have a link to game tonight. because i am watching on my laptop. cheers lads if you do

  178. AH CHRIST!!! The pregame is with Warren Barton!!!! Seriously I think I just Gagged!!! Bleh…..

  179. Why do you think you are the only one, Tokala?

  180. Warron Barton at it again, we don’t play like Barca we have our own style, we are not trying to copy them, when will these pundits stop saying that! Stop calling us Barca-Lite

  181. Did not see anybody commenting on it….maybe i browsed through too quickly….

  182. Limestonegunner

    I hope Cesc has a fantastic game. Arsenal DNA.

  183. Lets hope Shaktar can knock out ASRoma as well tonight, would love to see Eduardo score a hat-trick 🙂

  184. It would be nice if football were like conkers. When we beat these fuckers we get all their goals and their points added on to ours.

  185. Colney – you are watching FSC aswell huh? He sux ass does WB

  186. Nope i think you scooped it, Tokala. Well done. If Gael is a sub then I can see Gael and Kieran playing together down the left later in the second half.

  187. Tokala,
    Check the official team-sheet I posted..

  188. Whoops no. IndianGooner sccoped it, sorry.

  189. Frank,
    I must be on drugs….my Arsenal.com page had Gibbs instead of Clichy in the team until i refreshed it…….very very strange…. hence my comment… 🙂

  190. Irishgray where’s the girlfriend?

  191. Irish,
    Yea FSC

  192. It means he’s a tit Indian.

  193. Limestonegunner

    Clichy starts. Busacca anyone?

  194. Frank,
    Gibbs isn’t in the 18-man squad. He is the one left out from yesterday’s 19-man list…

  195. Limestonegunner

    I guess YW gave us some stats on him, but any impressions on how he calls the game? I’ve seen him frequently but don’t remember anything significant–probably a good thing.

  196. Warren Barton – ” A novice of the game will look at Shaktar and say how can they beat the giants of Rome but what they don’t understand is the quality they have, they always underestimate them”

    Eh, what a twat!! He does the same week in and week out when it comes to Arsenal!!! Fucking novice is right!!

  197. Okay, really anxious now. Let us hope for the best. This team can do it, we all know it. I hope the away boys will be out in full voice. Let’s show the world who’s “lite”.

  198. CBob,
    Nice one.. But I found that strange… The only one in the 22 men in the list..

  199. Kenyan – The Girlfriend is in work and will be til 9pm or so, she’s a keeper 🙂

  200. I assume Arse.com was doing some mind games on me….

  201. Iniesta has the star next to his name because he is one yellow card away from a 1 match ban

  202. Mine did too, Tokala. Very fishy. I reckon Arsene is at it again.

  203. diaby starts..thats a shock..
    i was expecting deni seeing as though he performed well against them last year….

    paul n..if your reading
    this is diabys night mate..if abou can turn on the good stuff barca wont know whats hit them..
    come on abou we get one massive game out of you before your injured again..let this be the one..destroy them

    robin..
    van…….
    persie………..

  204. You still persisting with that hopeless relationship, Irishgray?

  205. Delia---Block 112

    Well AW has pulled his white rabbit out of his hat, all we need now is a little piece of magic from our playmaker and who knows!
    The two dogs and I are all dressed up and ready to go . I feel tonight is going to be one of those special occasions. With a glass of red at the ready , Cheers Gooners !
    As always COYRs

  206. *Arsenal have won 14 of the 15 european ties when leading after the first leg.
    *Barcelona haven’t been beaten in their last 20 home games.
    Something’s gotta give!

  207. Something is definitely a foot, Tokala

  208. It’s pancake day. Gotta use up the eggs and milk before lent

  209. What a star you are, Delia

  210. Arsenal

  211. Frank – Its the perfect relationship, she leaves me alone anytime there is a game on, which is awesome when we are in all four competitions 🙂

  212. why are they going on about the field, both teams are going to play on the same field, it’s 11 v. 11

  213. Wow what a line up. Thought sure the steady feet of Denilson would be starting. Diaby a wild card. Denilson would have sat deep. Diaby is great on the counter attack so I guess he and Jack will take turns bombing forward. Risky business!!

    I wonder if AA is not 100%. Rosicky will do a better job of giving defensive balance.

  214. Except when you have to visit your father-in-law, Irishgray?

  215. Christopher Sullivan is the only sensible pundit on this FSC show

  216. However I am very, very happy for you both.

    Did you know that Gibbs SR was the first colour advert on British TV and that it was made in Arsenal colours?

  217. It is definitely a sign that Kieran Gibbs is going to be a great, great player.

  218. Diaby’s dribbling ability can help in tight spaces, lets just hope he makes the right decisions in the final third.

  219. Fingers crossed for Diaby, it a huge huge game for the guy..

  220. I agree. Carmon Abou…..

  221. I’ll be honest the shine came off the season when I discovered my band is playing next Saturday and on the night of the cl final. The idea of spending these occasions in the company of a Spud, two Mancs, a Pompey fan and a guy who doesn’t know what a football is is pretty painful.

  222. This is certainly the best Arsenal squad I have ever seen.

  223. You in the Salvation Army, Steww?

  224. Back home from a morning in the office. Spongebob’s Genuine Essex Pasties sales are slowly taking off – all is good. Trying to find a volume level on FSC so that I can hear the crowd but not that knobhead Barton.
    COYG

  225. Hardly. I’m a pacifist.

  226. MDGunner – unfortunately there is no such dial!! I have taken a leaf out of Limpar’s book and now have some Jane’s Addiction blasting on the I-Dock, much better than Barton 🙂

  227. steww. what kinda music do you play? i myself am an avid music fan i play lots of things, drums, guitar, piano, to name some. i’m currently in a pretty straight forward guitar rock band, and we play loud and hard. anyways onto the arsenal. i’m currently living on a college campus here in the states. walking around today i saw a few cunts wearing barca jerseys. So i say, hey fuck you and bust out my arsenal jersey. they just laugh it off and don’t actually want to talk footy! america truly has poor taste in sports.

  228. Irish – is that your girlfriend at the front door, again?
    Aaah Shrove Tuesday, will have to get the special crepe pan out tonight

  229. william
    I have played just about everything in my time but today I’m in an alt-country/indie crossover band (all original material) and a Madness tribute.

  230. Excellent, Steww

  231. Warron Barton – “Samir Nasri couldn’t get into this Barca team”

  232. MDGunner – If it is will ya give me a head’s up when she is leaving? Cheers mate 🙂

  233. this barca team is great yes, but they are human not some immortals, Come On You Gunners!

  234. sounds good steww. do you have anything online i could listen to?

  235. It is here, i think am having a nervous breakdown,cant stop trembling!Here they come.COYG!

  236. ‘Spongebob’s Genuine Essex Pasties…’ If I ever get over to the States MD.

  237. I got goose bumps!!!

  238. Irish – will do but we are expecting heavy rain, so she might be delayed. Can she cook pancakes (English-style not American)?

  239. just one of the reasons why TR7 starts tonight…

    If the true forms of rosicky and diaby turn up (which they WILL on a stage like this), barca wont know what hit em

    COYG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  240. Consolsbob – He’s a cheeky bugger isn’t he?

  241. Cbob – we have a spare room.
    Swiss ref, perhaps Johan can have a word…

  242. MDGunner – Fraid not mate!!

    Referee is Swiss so will not pick a side to favor and can keep time!!

  243. i;ll talk to yall at half time. coyg

  244. Dive straight away

  245. can anyone post links please? cheers

  246. Looking at the replays of last year here and its amazing to see the gulf in quality of the sides we presented, ability wise and mentaly we are a much purer entity. I hope the pep talk to barca was to remember last year because they will get blindsided pretty bloody quickly in the first rounds.

    when heavy weights come together stamina becomes a big factor. I predict we have about 15% at least more in the tank than they do. lets hope we can hold our own for a good 65 mins then take the fatal blows with samurai skills…

  247. What the heck kind of pass was that from Djourou?

  248. Good start, Koscielny is doing well in his recovery tackling.

  249. Barcelona noticeably more ‘physical’ in this leg. Reffing could be critical..

  250. yes we are defending well

  251. Interesting stat: In 9 minutes, all broadcasters have spouted 100% bullshit

  252. And there it is – yellow card won by the crowd

  253. nasri looks on form

  254. Busacca trying to shaft us, that was a soft yellow

  255. Noooooo

  256. oh boy, dislocation or break?!

  257. Looks like Chesney injured his finger… He is crying while going off.. Almunia in..

  258. WTF – Wos off? Robs us of a sub later. Fvck not bad luck already

  259. Big Al’s on and all Doomers the world over just pooped their pants!!!!!

  260. hopefully he isnt out for too long

  261. bollocks.

  262. the linesman has a hell of a job tonight, they are cutting our off side trap very fine

  263. Am I the only one having non-acid induced flashbacks about Almunia coming on early doors. Time for Manuel to prove his doubters wrong. With a bit of help from his friends, of course.

  264. One good pass and we will score a goal!

  265. Thank God Almunia is an experienced backup

  266. What ever happened to ‘neutral’ commentators? Barca love fest on FSC

  267. so Barca are doing what they done in the final in hitting them long diagonal passes.

  268. Just not sure about the Diaby selection for this match but I hope I am wrong though.

  269. No yellow for the thug Alves

  270. funny the barca players are trying to intimidate our players

  271. Where is the yellow card for that foul on Nasri?? The ref was eager to give freekicks and card against us.. why not for them??

  272. close them down ffs!

  273. Djourou with some rubbish passing!

  274. goodmen of ACLF…would u be kind enough to spare a stranded brother a link? ta

  275. Oh this fucking referee, silly booking for Sagna but ignore Spanish thuggery

  276. Just keep thball for some time.

    The ref is a fucking twat… Booked Sagna and not Alves..

  277. diaby needs to up his game, his legs look very heavy
    our sub options are limited but rosicky could take his place with AA coming on later…

  278. We need Denilson, would rather Song but he is out.

  279. Busacca favoring the home team

  280. I really believe this game needed Denilson.

  281. fukin el have we got to play every game against 12 men.

  282. gotta weather this storm

  283. Barca with about 80% of possession but so far we are defending well. Nervous times.

  284. I am seeing in Diaby what I saw last year, he seems star struck to me.

  285. Fukin el

  286. this is painful viewing.

  287. Furious Styles

    paul n

    just had the same thought. then i thought some more and realised he’s done no better or worse than cesc and wilshere. they arent getting to the ball at the moment and thats all there is to it for now.

  288. They still can’t break our wall!

  289. Me too, Paul.. He just can’t keep the ball…

  290. I am wary of this ref!

  291. half time cant come quickly enough

  292. Farca cunts going down without any touch…

  293. The last time we played like this was the FA Cup final 2005. And somehow Barca do not know how to break us down?

  294. Paul N , he just turned down a clear pen!

  295. we are on the ropes! hang on boys!

  296. these guys do go down easily dont they

  297. Adrain Clarke on the Arsenal.com broadcast just said we are “parking the bus”. Hopefully we can come up with a counter attack goal at some point.

  298. Furious, no one is getting the ball however Diaby has looked frightened, you can see it in his eyes.

  299. Mascherano added to the list…

  300. dont piss off rvp

  301. he sure did DG!

  302. GER IN THAR FACESZZZ!

  303. And now we see Barca’s true colours – Alex your team are unpleasant, cheating cunts

  304. Abidal should be sent off for holding RvP by the cheek… Where are the rules ref??? Inspite of having 5 refs on the field noone saw it??

  305. The match has gone crazy!

  306. calm down guys we need 11 men

  307. Furious Styles

    Oh ok paul. Im not watching the production that zooms in on his fear-filled eyes all the time so I didnt catch it

  308. this is getting dirty. the louis vuittons have come out

  309. RvP booked but not Mascherano and Abidal… Someone give the ref a Farca jersey.. Atleast our players would be able to recognise him properly..

  310. I cannot believe Cesc did that!

  311. oh fuck

  312. Farca 1-0 up.. We need to score now…

    My respect for that club now is fuck all…

  313. wtf was fab thinking

  314. fukin bullshit cesc, fukin give the ball away there. fukin hit it long ffs.

  315. Yes Paul, stupid back heel, needed a boot

  316. Cesc needs to correct that!

    Damn it!!!!

  317. We need Diaby off for Denilson and Bendtner on for Rosicky, RVP alone up front is what is really killing us

  318. looks ominous

  319. cant be playing tiki taka infront of our box

  320. I agree we have been outplayed but we have defended well. We have coped with all the pressure so blinkin well and just for it to blow up by some stupid fancy play.

  321. bring denilson on for diaby, and we need to keep possession better. that early sub has handicapped us quite a bit

  322. Shaktar up 1-0 against Roma.

  323. I say keep the same team tell Abou to pick it up and use the two subs wisely. I would love to see arshavin in this game

  324. Borges Spinelli

    What about Arshavin?

  325. I still believe we will go through but geez!

    Arshavin on for Rosicky if anything and Denilson for Diaby.

  326. 1 loose cannon

    one mistake, and all the hard work was undone.

  327. Jesus that was close!! Barely managed to grab the remote and change the channel before Warren Barton wet himself saying how great Barca are!! Time for a quick smoke 🙂

  328. Borges Spinelli

    Don’t lose hope!!!!!!!!!!! We can score still. All is not lost yet…we were defending fairly well, until that last second goal.

  329. the early change has handicapped us.

  330. bring on the viking.

  331. Up until that stupid goal in injury time I thought that we had defended well and kept a good shape. My concerns are that the cheating Barca’s, with the assistance of the crowd, are going to try and get someone sent off, as demonstrated by their claims that Jack was not fouled (when he clearly was). Their histrionics when barely touched has already got us two yellow cards, while the ref has not given us anything – if we are going to lose, then make it fair and square, not because of a weak ref.
    No mention from Barton cunt about us losing Schez.
    As for Messi’s goal, a tad fortunate in getting the bounce off big Al

  332. i got a feeling we played that way in the first half purposely so we could take the game to them in the second when they tire
    then cesc decides he wants to be flashy in front of his mates and boom
    but all is not lost
    the plan was to stay in the game until barca tire then aa comes on and we go for the away goal
    besides the goal nothings changed we will still go after the goal so its still game on…

  333. well. We always needed to score. After playing so well defensively a lapse from Fab. Maybe Al could have done better but he probably pullef out fearing he would be sent off.Well Barca dont like it up them thats for sure. Lots of play acting for Farca what a loada little w©nkers. Arsenal not letting the premiere league down with tackles and physicality right outside the stoke manual. Second half will be interesting. We have missed Theo.

  334. if messi meant to flick that over almunia before he hit it…. nevermind

  335. Our defence has done well.. Even the first shot was saved by Al but like last year, the ball bounced off Al and came back in the path of Messi..

  336. that really sucks we have been hoofing the ball almost the entire first half and one of the few times we try and play out of the back we pay for it. but seriously i am feeling so much anger for cuntalona and everything they stand for. Abidal puts hands around RVP neck. a few of those cunts run over and start yelling at Jack while he’s down. I counted 4 or 5 times earlier when cuntalona players would roll around. how about dani alves scissoring Nasri. I could go on for days. Anyways this is still a match albiet we are playing against the biggests cunts i know and they have a majority of the football world beliving their shit is to die for.

  337. still needed brilliance to convert the chance…

  338. Our passing has been sloppy. Not saying that we are not under pressure and credit to Barca however we have given it away simply at times.

    Lets get it done in the 2nd half! lets do it!!

  339. no spanish team has ever lost a european tie with Massimo Bussaca in charge. but we don’t need to win we need to draw!

  340. Come on Arsenal. We can do this. Even some neutrals ( not really neutral, Man U and Chav) are cheering us … Unheard of! Fab to bag the winner!

  341. Limestonegunner

    Arshavin for Rosicky, I say.

  342. cesc didn’t even attempted to tackle iniesta! WHY?

  343. Lets all be brutally honest here, 1-0 is not bad at all. We have not created any chance of note so we cannot claim otherwise. Yes we have restricted them on the shot count but it was way too last ditch defensively for me, successful right til the end I admit but we are getting creamed in midfield, some thing has to change there for sure. And if ANYONE blames Big Al fuck them!!! Just sayin”!!!

  344. Should have read … Some neutrals in my local!

  345. Colney you are right – we have been cruelly robbed of a sub. Let’s start a Facebook campaign to get Barton taken off. Perhaps we can get Irish’s GF to work a sting to trap Barton?

  346. Cesc will score the winner. I can feel it in my bones.

  347. Outdone by idiocy at the edge of our own box, and Messi being a lucky fucker.

  348. we turned it round at home we can still do it but we need them to tire
    i hope they burned themselves out in that first half trying to pass round our parked bus..
    george graham would have been proud of that first half
    now will the please AW please stand up in the second..

  349. MDG – Can’t we just have the fucker shot? I mean someone on here must know someone who KNOW”S someone…….

  350. You don’t fucking park the bus like that, and try to be flashy at the same time. Criminal offense by Cesc. We’ve showed no signs so far of even remotely threatening them. But perhaps that was the game plan, and 2nd half we can provide a better showing. But regardless, few players need to wake up. Diaby has been nothing short of awful so far, I’d exchange his tricky feet for Denilson’s reliant ones in the 2nd half.

  351. Almunia wasnt at fault for that goal at all.

  352. stop wetting your pants over messi’s goal

  353. Don’t Barca get it? We always let them score first as it adds to the excitement. It’s the Arsenal way 🙂 simples really

  354. All we need is a goal right?

  355. need to be disciplined in the second half. almunia was not to blame on that goal, the ball didn’t bounce off him either.

  356. cesc was at fault for the goal..

  357. CLICK CLICK CLICK……….

  358. Yes. And we will get it, I believe in it. Barca will be tired, they had to run for 45 minutes while we barely even moved. We will start some of our nice counter attacks to score.

  359. and they are disgusting the Barcas. if we ever go out i hope they meet a “stoke” team and i will cheeer everytime their “star” player get tackled. hopefully they get messie into a hospital. thats what they deserve when they cheat like they do

  360. that is the truth peacefrog this is NOT one of the best footballing matches ever though. that half was very dull.

  361. not many keepers in the world stop messi in a one on one
    he should have never have had the ball in the first place i dont think even the biggest almunia haters will blame almunia so theres no point talking about

  362. I think the second half will be different, hold steady, they tire and we stretch them for the equaliser.
    Irish – well I know quite a few Teamsters in Chicago and Boston

  363. Clichy’s throw ins also need to find Arsenal players.

  364. We really neeed to raise the pace of this game

  365. smash and grab baby, we will get a chance or two or even three and need to be clinical

  366. MDG – I know a few in NY, between us we should have it covered 🙂

  367. COME THE HECK ON!!!

  368. irish. me and another buddy are holding down the fort in chicago. i also took you up on the smoking idea. That cig really helped me calm the anger i built up in the first 45 minutes.

  369. fukin el we cant string three passes together, just play our game ffs.

  370. Yes..

    1-1…. Diaby…..

  371. ahahahahahahhahaha fuck yeaaaaaaaaaa

  372. booyakasha baby

    yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss

  373. BLOW WOW!!!

  374. Yes yes yes take that

  375. busquets own goal

  376. C’MON

  377. YES FUCK YEAH

  378. Great stop byBig Al

  379. big al…thats more like it

  380. manuel taking one for the team

  381. Not Diaby at all!

    Own goal but if the ball was allowed to pass we wouldve scored anyway!

    Great save Big AL!

  382. Oh!! An own goal.. For a sec I thoought it was Diaby.. But wat a cross from nasri and jump by Diaby..

    And as i write that, what a save from Big Al.. Unlucky to get his face to JD’s knee..

  383. The funny thing is that the FSC commentary is several seconds behind the play

  384. William – 🙂 can see NB52 winning this for us

  385. i love busquetts! I do… dont worry, we are on our way to wembley!

  386. no this is not for real!

  387. RVP sent off

  388. Kos playing it well with the offside trap… just hope others keep up with him..

    What the heck.. 2nd yellow for RvP… This ref needs to be kicked in the ass..

  389. The conspiracy theory..

  390. FUCKING REFEREE FUCKING REFEREE RVP SHOULD DECK HIM BEFORE GOING OFF

  391. thats bollox

  392. ridiculous

  393. this is a joke right???

  394. respect the ref my ass…

    Great defending from Big Al and others.;..

  395. I generally have no sympathy for Arsenal, but that was a terrible, terrible decision by the ref… Common sense must have been taking a coffee break.

  396. MJ, Bill and Goonerandy will tell us that we should score goals so the refs cannot interfere.

  397. FUCK OFFFFF:(

  398. speechless

  399. If inter can do it so can we. Well now barca will just have to throw everything at us. Refs a tw@t by the way.

  400. we r getting robbed

  401. gunner be a long 30 mins this.

  402. Fucking ref
    30 minutes with 10 men.

  403. AAARRRGGG!! Super rage! WTF! You fucking cunt!

  404. 1 loose cannon

    What a stupid refree. What was that all about ? he just did not like the fact we scored. Ridiculous .

  405. wrong pass by Nasri!

  406. 1 sec between the whistle and the kick apparently………. jesus fucking wept

  407. Borges Spinelli

    It’s like the entire Referee committee are against us.

    But WE WONT FRIGGING GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  408. We need one good counter and its goodnight!

  409. manuel gonna have to play the game of his life. time to recall vito from loan if Szczesny is out for the season

  410. who the hell has ever been red carded for that???

  411. FUCK THIS CUNT REFEREE. MOTHER FUCKER. IS HE FUCKING STUPID? RUINING THE GAME LIKE THAT. ASSHOLE.

    COME ON U GUNNNNERRSSS!!

    US AGAINST THE WORLD!!

  412. just got a great text from a Chav buddy re:Big Al. he says its almost faith that after all he has gone through he will come on and save the day for Arsenal…….God sounds good that!!!

  413. No skill moves inside our half please…

  414. what a travesty!

  415. Fucking joke. Anyway, whatever happens we can take a lot from this match.

  416. 1 loose cannon

    I cannot believe this decision. Why ? I genuinely beleive he did not hear the wrislte at all. even he did that was , really, silly, silly decision . I don’t know how we are going to cope for the rest of the game. It really tough now.

  417. clerkenwell gooner

    I think Young Guns had something about Mannone being back already.

  418. we need chamakh to come hold up the ball!

  419. 1 loose cannon its obvious is it not? More money is generated if Barca goes further in the CL as they got a bigger fan base. So the ref has to try to help them win. IF they go out its a disaster. UEFA cannot afford that…
    To bad their stupid send off wont matter. cos we will still winn!

  420. We will cope. If one thing that we shouldve learnt by now from playing in the EPL, albeit by watching, is how to park the bus. Time to summon, the biggest bus of all times. With a ruthless counter attack machine.

  421. Nervy play from both side.. Farca trying to score 2 and us hitting on counter attack… Its either us getting the 2nd away which would need them to score 4 or they scoring couple…

    Hope its the first..

  422. thats a sad sight watching jack break a run from midfield and absolutely no one in front of him

    almunia doing very well but we really are falling apart at the seams

    god knows what wenger can conjure up with the subs

  423. J
    WTF are you doing on this blog then? Troll?

  424. it would be worth a second red card just to get the arrogant face of messie out for the rest of the season. see how the “wonderful barcelona” would cope then….

  425. Hope we get one of counter now…

  426. Good lord…………….

  427. Come on – one goal on the break. Come on!

  428. Borges Spinelli

    Who do we take off, we need a striker on like nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww?

  429. Big Al unsighted by Sagna, I think he would have saved that

  430. Wenger is cursed.

  431. wow pedro went looking for tht

  432. wow!

    this is special!

  433. Not a penalty

  434. get cesc off now and save him for our title tilt.

  435. well we cannot win this. not with a ref like that. its lost already. the ref decides the outcome as usual. whats the point in even watching footy anymore? its not about the players its about the ref. the ref is god. and if god does not want you to win you dont. simple as.

  436. MOTM: The ref by a country mile…

  437. will luck EVER be on our side??

  438. Good night.

    Proud of the team. Fuck the cunt referee. We didn’t deserve to lose like this.

  439. What the fuck are you supposed to do?! As if it wasn’t hard enough already.

  440. I will never complain about the refs we deal with in the prem ever again. Honestly, i’ve never seen a game officiated by someone so weak-willed and malleable.

  441. i cant help it i just want someone to break Messies legs, kick him in his knee so he can never play again. I hate him i think. Cheating miget!

  442. but why dont we just sit back, defend and wait for the counter? we are getting exposed on the flanks!

    We only need one goal though!

  443. well according to the sun is a CLEAR penalty cos Pedro falls over his leg. ANd kos was lucky to not get sent off they say.

  444. oh alves please die!

  445. robbed again. we are officialy cursed.

  446. or was it villa? please be properly ijured if you fall like that. i want a stretch it looks that hurtful

  447. sigh! we just have to realize. we are not good enough to play 12 players. We are not good enough to play a team with 11 players and the ref. Thats the reality.

  448. We will still go thru with a goal. Its not over yet. We can still nick one somehow.

  449. so now the game is away from us we start to play football?

  450. Come on NB!

  451. Big Nic on for Cesc…

  452. 1 loose cannon

    cruel decision on RVP. Why ? If that was Messi I would very much doubt he would send him off.Idiot

  453. Big Nick can nick a goal. Come on guys.

  454. @Bill if we get another goal dont be suprised to see the ref send off 1 or 2 more Arsenal players. after all the establisment want them to go through . not Arsenal.

  455. my word Wilshere is a legend!

  456. The goal was caused by a deflection off of Sagna! can you believe that blow wow!

  457. Almunia is doing exceptionally well to keep the score 3-1…

  458. Well the last time they took off Villa, we won. Let’s hope we score one more.

  459. Well again, you cannot win if the ref is against you. Cos he is 10% of the game. If he wants you to loose you loose.

  460. Almunia loyal servant never moaned when dropped hope the doomers get behind him now cos he’s going to crucial for the rest of the year

  461. 1 goal to win the game…….. we just gotta take it to them

  462. I’ve a feeling this ref might officiate the CL final at Wembley.. Hope someone breaks his fucking legs if that is the case… I’m so pissed off right now that I will kill that motherf**ker..

  463. We restricted them until that red card – it was only then that the chances started to flow. Fuck this ref.

  464. I am listening on Arsenal.com and it sounds like Almunia has been fantastic.

  465. 1 loose cannon

    its cruel really. we got the goal and the team was on the up then the ref goes and spoil it for us.

  466. Bill,

    He has been… Big Al along with Kos and JD keeping the score at 3-1…

  467. OFcourse the ref knew he had to do something. He got the press on his side, nobody will argue that red card. He got the UEFA on his side, he got the spanish on his side, everybody agrees that Arsenal can not knock Barca out of CL. that is jsut unheard of. How cesc can love such a cheating team is increadible for me. How he can “love” those people with no sense of honour at all is incredible.

    You will see the press fight Tottenhams case if they ever play Barca.

  468. Bendy 😦

  469. Fuck off niki b.

  470. bendtner so close

  471. NOBODY EXCEPT US WANTS TO SEE ARSENAL THROUGH. THATS THE REALITY AND I HATE IT. mah im going to bed…

  472. Come on boys one chance, just one more chance!

  473. 1 loose cannon

    Shit. Bendtner was so close

  474. bendy shouldve fucking scored that. Fuck.

  475. Arsenal fans still coming through over the home crowd.

  476. F*ck everybody else Poodle….its us V the world!
    Remember you may be a football fan, but youre blessed in being an Arsenal fan through the grace of God!

  477. Who needs the bloody CL??! We have a league to win!!! Come on you gunners!!!!!

  478. sad part, if not for Cesc, this is a totally different match even, the irony.

    One thing for sure is that we have defended valiantly!

  479. Yes Ateeb, NB’s shouldve put that away!

  480. I love my team!

  481. Almunia will take confidence from that performance.

    I’m feeling really fucking bitter right now.

  482. Proud of the boys and the away support… And now hate Farca evern more…

  483. Messi shakes the refs hand! I would too!

  484. 1 loose cannon

    I still believ with RVP with could’ve gone through. What a shame really

  485. Ha ha ha. What a fucking joke. No point of watching football, if you’ve got cunt referees like this. Same in EPL.

  486. Well that was close. Shock result too.
    Wait for the low life scum in our so called support to
    A – Blame Arsene for Cesc not being fit
    B – Blame RVP for being sent off.

  487. 1 loose cannon

    They needed a pen and a sending off to beat us. Well done ref

  488. Fucking cheats. Don’t you dare swop shirts with them

  489. well fuck it, we failed the CL when we came 2nd in the group anyway. Chelsea and tottenham are already planning the quarters ffs.

  490. And now lets win the one that really matters.

  491. word – who cares what they do? I don’t I only care about Arsenal.

  492. Me too 1lc, the goal changed the dynamics of the game!

    I have never see someone get a yellow for that! and the ref is such an idiot that he wouldnt humble himself and realise that RVP didnt hear the whistle.

    Kiss mi granny neck back, mi neva see nu’un like dis!

    I

  493. If Bendtner is able to sleep tonight, well…

  494. No matter how you guys want to wrap this disgraceful performance,

    Look at the stats.

    ARSENAL HAS ZERO ATTEMPT ON GOAL.

    BIG FAT FUCKING ZERO.

  495. we got schooled again in terms of how to pass and press
    but with 30 mins left we were still in the game we were winning the tie and barca werent really creating anything clear cut..we were defending well
    then the ref killed it…

  496. I guess English FA refs are not better than UEFA refs, or FIFA refs?

    The rouge nation of football governing body will always succeed in directing trophies where ever makes them more money, so long as no one can open their mouth and try to move football from the stone age to the 21 century.

    I do not expect any fairness in football whatsoever, it will always be tainted by referees who are told who should win and who should lose.

    But I’m not surprised at all really, the whole world is a big fucking corrupt ball anyway.

  497. damn that was aggrovating. fuck that overpriced hyped up money driven life sucking machine some call “champions league” I think there is one guy somewhere controlling all the referres. i mean the head ref has a headphone, some cunt upstairs with an anti arsenal agenda says, eh give him a red card for that, yellow for that. oh cuntalona players are rolling on the ground? better dish of some more yellows.

  498. Why are we always having to overcome the refs?!!

  499. The team can hold their heads up high. They really stood up to the test. Their is no shame in losing 4 -3 to Barca with ten men. We are getting so close so close and Barca know it. Next time barca next time. Almunia and Jack Willy have been the man of the match by a country mile. COYG. David villa wins the prize for most theatrical dive. If only. If only.11 men and Theo if only. The Barca creamfest in the media begins in earnest and how united or Chelsea will beat them. Now to united and the premier league and To the bunker. Love the Arsenal.

  500. well bollox to barca anyway
    it was nothing but a distraction from the real issue..
    thank fuck its all over and thank fuck robin is fit again..
    now for the PL…no more fucking circus

  501. I guess Barca need help from the refs too. Cos we would’ve had this. Onwards and upwards. The league calls.

  502. also to the asshole who said we had zero attempts on goal. how did we manage to score (a corner) is that not an attempt at goal. we had a few others as well. just because there is not a shot as the end product doesn’t meant that it is not a scoring attempt. okay maybe in the eyes of some wanker who i don’t even know. but fuck you guy.

  503. i am proud of this team, they showed a lot of grit today. The positives of this loss:
    1. our fixture list clears up, we can now focus on the FA cup and league
    2. Wilshere fears noone he showed up tonight credit to him
    3. If Szczesny is out for the season we need to get behind manuel he will be key!

  504. Gosh Gunner4ever you make me feel I should not watch football anymore..

    Always had the same feeling as you do about how corrupted the football world is…

    But to be honest the corruption got more and more obvious these recent years.

  505. Some people may say football won, but I believe football has lost. When terrible calls are made it is a total disgrace.

  506. This cannot be real! The game is in disrepute and I dont even see how a Barcelona supporter can rejoice in this. The game was decided by that call.

    I really want Arsenal and Wenger to talk and let the fines come, they can afford to pay. How many times are these kinf of calls going to go against us and we stay silent?

    This hurts, it really does!

  507. I hate to say this but the second RVP was sent off for nothing we should have thrown on either AA or NB52, we had nobody up front…… FUCK!!!!

    Well played Big Al though.

    I just hate to think what could have been if RVP was not sent off, fucking heart breaking.

  508. It was far from close…one way traffic…we let our heads drop after RVP was sent off…we defended brilliantly and Alumina kept the score down to respectable levels…I am actually stumped about what more we can do to beat Barcelona…we certainly can’t play like Inter
    Cesc was a passenger in this game…but he was our best bet

  509. steww – the difference is that chelsea busted a gut for top place whilst we massively underestimated our opposition with a weak lineup. braga away was pretty much my worst experience this season. all that talk about having to beat the best anyway is BS in the CL. last year our run would have been barca, inter, BM which is one hell of a task and we did not learn our lesson.

    and while im moaning – disgrading the mistake, I’ve lost repsect for cesc tonight.

  510. Good defending….Cesc below par…ridiculous refereeing…(how many yellows did we get ? Inter would have finished with 6 players last year…)

  511. Well done le solitaire please tell us which team has played better against Barca

  512. Hearing that Arsene had a go at the ref in the tunnel… I’m surprised it took him so long… I just hope he gives the post match conference in the way only Arsene can…

    Refeering is getting worse by the day and it isn’t surprising why they don’t want to introduce Video-Technology into the game.. I would also not be surprised if in few years time, all this comes out just like in italian league few years back…

  513. also nikki bendtner had a chance to become my hero for the moment. that was a big fail lol. bring on another round of cunts for us to beat this weekend.

  514. Paul N despite how rigged this game might seem…

    We were outplayed. By miles.

  515. They said that from the time RVP first touched the ball until he then took his shot was 1 second, I repeat 1 SECOND!!! And for that he was sent off!!!

  516. Borges Spinelli

    Almunia DESERVES praise for keeping the scoreline respectable for us. We suffered a MAJOR dis-service at the hands of yet ANOTHER referee. After ‘it’ blew for the penalty, I thought ‘it’ was going to send Koscielny off too.

  517. LeSolitaire, really? you have no class at all.

  518. You know what though guys? Out of the 4 games in the last two years we’ve played against the Catalan cunts, we’ve played them with a full strength team with 11 men on the pitch for 90 minutes ONCE. Needless to say, we won that game. End of story. Fuck ’em all, country mile etc.

    Also i’d like to kill Souness, his wife and his children.

  519. Direct quote and I am sure he will be punished for it because you are not allowed to disrespect a referee, even if he is a fucking retard!!!!

    Arsenal striker Robin van Persie on being shown a second yellow card for shooting after the referee had blown his whistle: “It had a big influence on the outcome – at 1-1 it was all to play for – and it was a total joke because how can I hear his whistle with 95,000 people jumping up? There was only one second from his whistle to my shot and it is a joke. I explained it to him but he was been bad all evening.”

  520. This ref has got to get banned after that. That was unbelievable. I don’t care what anyone says about the match stats – the fact was that were winning the tie against the best team in the world when RvP got sent off.

    After that it was a procession, but you can’t blame the players for feeling demoralized. We need to hold onto this anger and take it with us into the run in.

  521. I’m expecting a ban for RvP for his comments on ref after the game.. He called the ref an “absolute joke” and that “How can I hear the whistle with 90,000 people jumping up, how to god can I hear that”..

    3 match or a 6 match ban??

  522. AW should fucking let rip. It doesn’t matter all that much now.

  523. 1 loose cannon

    Second half we came out with purppose got the goal the tail was up and RVP was doing his runs but the ref did not like that, we were no supposed to score and certainly we were not supposed to win the game. Despite their bullshit passing in the end it came down to one mistake , one deflected goal, a penalty and a sending off and a miss from Bendtner done us in the end. Its a shame. It is really harsh

  524. le solitare you are a cunt. the only reason barca passed rings around us because everytime we tried to make a tackle, they simply fall down like little girls!! this fact was established in the first two minutes of the game where i believe xavi went down followed by a few of those other cunts on purple jersesy. i now accept the fact that teams like stoke and wolves and lower division teams simply have to sit back and invite the pressure when they play us. because otherwise we will cut their defense right up. i like the stat about our team only playing 1 of 4 matches with 11 men.

  525. Yeah referee was poor…but we were poor as well…losing possession quickly…unlike the first leg where we kept the ball better in the 2nd half

  526. Shaktar Donetsk through, they creamed ASRoma 6-2 on Agg. Now how fucking awesome would it be if Barcuntalona get knocked out by an Eduardo hat-trick?

  527. Lets not underestimate how much easier the game has panned out for Barca without the outlet of Theo. I think that would have made a difference.

  528. “Gosh Gunner4ever you make me feel I should not watch football anymore..”

    I’m either very close to not watching football all together, or I have to make a fundamental change in my brain to consider that football is not about competition or trophies, but just about watching Arsenal play while eliminating any human emotions like feeling cheated, unfairness, etc.

    A “watch as you go” policy if you will.

    I have no interest in the premier league or any English competition.
    I have no interest in the CL or any UEFA competition
    I have no interest in the World Cup or any FIFA competition.

    I’m only interested in how Arsenal play.

  529. LeSolitaire, and so what if we were outplayed? how many times have we outplayed teams only to lose.

    Barcelona were the better team but you dont know what the 2nd half wouldve been like instead after the goal.

    You have no shame, even United and Spurs supporters are saying we were robbed.

    Man Up already!

  530. Paul N…

    So you are saying we played well and the match was close?

    How was it even close?

    – The 1 goal we had was a freak own goal.
    – Did you see how clumsy Barce made our “technically inclined” players look?
    – We can’t even string more than 2 passes the whole game. Not that I can recall.
    – ZERO attempts on goal. enough said.
    – Our players were tackling like the “Shawcrosses” that we hate so much.

    Only thing that made me didn’t want kill myself was that Wilshere and Almunia had a good game.

  531. Well yeah, peacefrog, but our stamina really told in the last 20 minutes at home. We were robbed of that opportunity this time. I’ve no doubt that we’d have had chances – I mean the RvP red card itself was a tight offside.

  532. OOU,
    I expect “the cunt with the whistle” to be lined up for the CL final at Wembley..

  533. Furious Styles

    cant say i feel robbed by going out, they had, what, 70% possession, 10 shots on goal against our 0 shots. that said, the sending off was bullshit and seemed to open us up.

  534. Barcelona are not going to be able to play at home for a while now. Apparently it is going to take three months to scrape the Souness, Redknapp, Shreeves and Benitez semen off the pítch. I have never seen a more stupid. biased and probably corrupt decision from a referee in my long, long life.

  535. Great defensive performance despite the goals.
    Almunia deserves an apology.
    The ref deserves what he will get.

  536. And before the red Barcelona were nowhere near as rampant.

  537. hate to admit it but we did cede posession often and way too easily but the big turning point was the second yellow on RVP. But what I really do not understand is the lack of change when he was sent off, we where toothless up front. Yea NB52 should have done better with his chance but at least he made one. If he had come on sooner who knows what would have happened…. fucking sick of referee’s and their bullshit decisions. Not just against us either but in general. Can’t wait to read Untold’s review of this idiot and see just how bad he really was.

  538. Oh Barca…..always need help from the referees to go through. Remember how the Chavs were cheated out of a tie against Barca. Screw this.

  539. If you are waiting for the last 20 minutes to take the game and some cunt decides to send off a centre forward for taking a shot the world is a twisted and distorted place.

  540. I am so pissed i doubt i’ll sleep!shit fucking barca and their dickhead ref.

  541. If that is what it takes to win the fucking Champions league Barcelona can keep it. Sending a player off for having a strike at goal when he didn’t hear your whistle is just so pathetically poor that it really beggars belief. We came out in the second half started to play, got a goal and had the momentum and then the ref does that ! And I bet you that you will not see anyone sent for that offence again. My guess was that the referee would have sent one of our players off no matter what and he had a whole roaster of players to choose from…. the red card in football is the ultimate sanction against foul play and misbehaviour it is not meant to punish players who fail to hear a whistle in a full, crowded and raucous stadium. It’s the rank idiocy of the decision that gets me… we were about to see a truly compelling game and then the referee kills it.

    I have to say that the people complaining about zero efforts on target are completely missing the point here… we defended exceptionally well in the first half and but for the aberration from Fabregas we would have gone in level. All of Barca’s possesion yielded them not a whole lot till our captain tried a quite fantastically stupid back heel. In the second half we were beginning to look to pass it and looked a threat which is how we got the corner and how Van P got sent off…. we were ATTACKING. I’m proud of the lads today, very proud. Yes we could have used the ball better when we got it in the first half and we could have shown better composure but it is very easy to say that from behind my keyboard. The guys did us proud. The ref can go screw himself.

  542. 1 loose cannon

    They showed a replay of the sending off 5 times, you can bearly hear the wistle and Rvp kicked the ball seconds after the wistle almost impossible to stop in those seconds. I think the ref did not like the fact we scored. the point is even if he did hear the wistle, as a ref you use your common sense and realise it is the harshest decision you could ever make.

  543. I’m over-posting, I know, but the refs have been the same in every match against Barcelona. We can’t get a foothold because the moment we lay a finger on them they’re on the floor. Then when we’re in possession they can hack away all they want.

  544. Don’t be such a cunt, Irishgray. Just have a wank on Barcelona. Thats what the pundits are doing. They will not win the ECL this year. They are not good enough.

  545. souness is a c@nt.Onwards and upwards.

  546. Lesolotaire
    How many teams actually go to the camp nou and get more than 50% possession? It’s about taking your chances when you get them.

  547. well said, Joshua…

    1lc, it was timed to a about a second.. It was never a second yellow..

  548. Yeah…we definitely had a chance to go through with RVP on the pitch…maybe we were just finding our touch before the referee decided to put out any spark…but upto that point we showed no sign of breaking down Barcelona

  549. many positves from tonight
    mainly
    we can defend
    we have no more stupid circus midweek matches from now until may..
    its the league all the way

  550. Yes, lets look at some stats

    Fouls 19-8
    Cards 5-0

    Really?

  551. it was part of the plan
    we sat back and defended what we had with the intent to bring AA on in the final 20 and go for it..
    didnt happen cos the refs a cock…
    but fuck it…

  552. Every big game my only wish is that it isn’t decided by the referee and every big game I’m disappointed. Arsenal must have severely upset the powers that be sometime in the past. That said, on the play, Barca were the better side. But why, oh why, didn’t Bendtner just f’ing hit it ? That’s the difference, just that.

  553. Blatant hand ball from Messi in the box, nothing. Not a card to be seen. Having a crack at goal a nano-second after an offside call with 90,000 screaming fans, red card. WTF? Seriously, which is the bigger footballing crime? I’m absolutely disgusted, because it put an end to a great game of football.

    We will win the league. FACT.

  554. Theo must be back pretty soon as well, one week at most I think. Probably in time for West Brom. Add Song to that as well.

  555. From the ever reliable Swiss Ramble on twitter:
    Busacca is not universally respected in Switzerland. He was suspended for a few games a couple of years ago for giving the crowd the finger.

    And it seems the Arsenal fans are kept in the stadium with the nets down.. The tension inside the ground is high.. Hope all those gooners find their way back safely..

  556. Bunch of cheating cunts, plus a weak referee, what more can you expect. We were keeping in with a chance and could have turned the screws in the final minutes if we weren’t handicapped by the usual bullshit that we have to face. The team don’t need to feel ashamed of their performance tonight and just need to pick themselves up for the final push in the PL. We matched the ‘best team in the world’ until we were knobbled by the officials, so we can beat anyone if we put in the effort required.

  557. What are you complaining for. You the red card was a very harsh. If he has called everything right, Barca should have been 2-0 up by half time. Diaby clearly brough down Messi in the box and as usual being an Arsenal fan you will never see that. Kolscieny should have been send off when he conceded the penalty.

  558. One more positive thing is that if Szczsney really has ruptured the tendon then at least Almunia reminded everyone what he’s capable of. Save after save after save, and the old “he doesn’t inspire confidence in those in front of him” doesn’t stand as Djourou and Kos have barely played with him.

  559. Most refs will think twice about a second yellow for such a minor offence (if you can call it one)…unfortunate with what happened to Chesney…we were also crippled with our sub choices

  560. A decision that stank of preconception. Never in all my football watching career have a seen something like that. Just the logic of it astounds me. These two teams playing each other is a spectacle to behold and to crucify it on grounds of time wasting so early in a game beggars belief. What a shame. I’ve never considered throwing games but perhaps its naive of me…Any F**king way i will still swirl and savor the taste of beating BCN at home for many more years. Well done Arsenal and thanks for the roller-coaster. Exhilaration on tap and a beautiful creation you are becoming!

  561. great finish by eduardo. hope shakhtar go and fuck the rest of western europe in the ass.

  562. well we deserve it and barca was much better ,the ref hasnt help but wenger gamble (cesc and vp) and fail.why he was waiting so long to get a striker on.
    At least we can now focus on the league who is much for the taking

  563. don’t care whatever happened and will happen, just one word: annoyed!!

  564. Enough of CL distractions…the PL is still within hands reach

  565. Pissed right off! More Injuries, a crazy sending off WTF? Just heard the shitty info about the game, what a joke!

    Glad RVP and Arsene spoke their mind second time the ref has had Barca DNA!

    Anyhoo double is still on bring it home boys.

    News Chesney is out torn tenors for the rest of the season too. Unconfirmed OFCAUSE!

  566. The decision was crazy. Let’s be honest player rarely get a yellow card for having a shot after the whistle… to make the decision to send Van P off for THAT is way beyond absurd. And remember that this was a match that was the pick of the round, the match that most neutrals around the world most wanted to watch… and it is killed because a player took a shot after the whistle in a crowded and deafeningly noisy stadium… ONE SECOND AFTER THE WHISTLE HAD GONE!!! It is an unbelievably incompetent and stupid decision. I can understand Kosceilny or Sagna or Clichy being done for a tackle on Messi ….but for having a shot! Disgraceful.

  567. A special moment for “today’s cunt with the whistle”:

  568. Joshua,

    There can be no denying that both the RVP cards were disgraceful.

    But there can also be no denying that we were completely outplayed by a better side. Even when we had 11 players on the field – we didn’t create a solitary chance. We even had to rely on busquets to score for us. Yet still we could have won it (thanks to wilshire) and when the opportunity fell – you can see now why Bentner will never be a top class striker.

    But there are positives. Tonight a 19 year old boy lead the charge when players like cesc, nasri, diaby, rosicky all went missing. Jack Wilshire was simply outstanding. He’s the best player I’ve seen wear the jersey for his age at this club including Cesc. He is going to be some talent and he’ll stay at the club too.

    And from someone who has been critical of the defense – hats off to Koscielny, Djourou and Almunia – they too were sublime.

    The sooner we put it behind us and concentrate on the league the better. We have a real chance of winning the PL – and that should be the focus now.

  569. Any Arsenal supporter who does not think that the football establishment is full of cunts is a cunt.

  570. You guys have made Mourinho proud. Come on 24% possession, 0 shots (forget shots on goal). The goal came from a Busquets mistake. The sending off was harsh. But then he was calling the same way through out the night. The diaby foul on Messi in first half looked a definite penalty from all angle. If that was given it would have been 2-0 at half time. Kolschieny should have been send off in the penalty situation as it was a definite booking. I can believe people here saying that it was not a penalty.

    And don’t say that you were having the momentum in the build up to the goal. If Barca players were shocked, so were the Arsenal ones when the goal came. Like last season Arsenal fans could only complain. Yours is a team which accoring to many here thousand times better than Barca and had 0 shots? Wenger got his tactics wrong and had it not for Almunia you would have taken home half a dozen.

  571. Oh go fuck yourself, Joe, you cunt

  572. What a fucking legend Big Al was tonight! Best goalkeeping performance I’ve seen for a while.

  573. One can’t use stats like 0 attempts and whatnot if one considers the second yellow for RvP a botched call. (yes yes.. everyone has to deal with bad calls, I know)
    But had the last half hour been played with Barca chasing 2 goals (to at least avoid a shootout), and with how we got stronger in the first leg as the match went on, I think Wenger and RvP and whoever else are correct: A bad call completely altered the outcome of the match.
    Im not saying we’d have won, hell, Barca could have scored 4 for all we know, but the game would probably have been in the exact spot Wenger was looking for at the end. Them opening up more and more and us with better and better chances to hit them on the break and ice it.

  574. Sending off was totally crap, but we got a bit of a whipping really!
    The stats show no attempts on goal and we didnt string three passes together in 90 minutes!
    Still love my team though!

  575. clerkenwell gooner

    I hope Réal Madrid fucking crush them.

    First Sunderland useless fucking ref (booking Wilshere and Nasri for dissent when they were getting lumps kicked out of them – suck it up lads, you’re only Arsenal players!) and disallowed Arsha goal, and now this laughable RvP expulsion. We were in the lead, ffs.

    I hope Chesney is OK. (Mannone is just back from injury himself, but not as I thought above, back from Hull.) I hope Cesc can recover for the FA Cup. I hope we crush the Mancs, and can then sit out the international break with a whole host of our players recovering from knocks.

    Then onwards, to the League title.

  576. How can you guys be so confident the league is there for the taking? Under what circumstances?

    The only way possible is not by playing football, but by playing the rest of our games with no referees/linesmen.

  577. Just read your comment re: ‘best team in the world’, Passenal. Parentheses are correct. Barcelona are nowhere near the best team in the world. They are on the way down and all the symptoms are there to see. If you have the eyes to see them.

  578. Oh go away FCB

  579. Football this days is beginning to smell dirty, I would not be surprised if important games like these are being match fixed by UEFA and not just them alone the FA too.

  580. …oh by the way. Cesc, you owe us big time.

  581. Frank at 10-29,
    Agree…

  582. FCB

    With 10 men, hardly surprising possession went down. Let’s face it, the officials were incompetent. The referee has never officiated in a game where a Spanish side at any level has lost. In over 35 games, that is bias, not incompetence, especially when Osasuna, Getafe, Atletico are involved.

    A number of decisions were dubious, a failure to punish home and away players in equal measure means that victory for Barcelona is tainted. Correct about the Diaby decision but too many free kicks were given for theatrics – Villa and Abidal were both guilty of conning the referee. If that is how Barcelona believe they will win European trophies, so be it but even an average team will turn you over very soon. The Golden Age for Barcelona is over, too many aging players, too many willing to sacrifice their personal reputations by deceit.

    YW

  583. I’ve never been one for anti-Arsenal conspiracies but the commentary tonight was unbelievable. To say unbalanced was ridiculous. If we score, we win. When have any team (Arsenal) been lauded for possession rather than goals ? Tossers. Let’s win the league.

  584. Frank:

    If we are on our way down, then most probably you guys will never reach there.

    Van persie was stupid to get the first yellow card. There was no need for to go in at Alves. Especially after a bit of fight. And the truth is that, that period of fighting did well to destroy your concentration and ended up conceding the goal.

  585. Delia---Block 112

    Dreadfully disappointed. They were better than us BUT with a lot of help from the Officials. Nearly every 50/50 challenge resulted in our player being penalised. Cesc didn’t look match fit, will we see Szczesny again this season if he has a broken hand/fingure, Almunia should be given a lot of credit for his tonight’s performance and LJW was again our best player.
    I fear for us on Saturday, the players looked out on their feet at the final whistle. Perhaps it would be best to put all our eggs in the PL basket?
    If only Bendtner had taken that chance in the last 5 minutes!
    As always COYRs

  586. YW:

    Come On nobody said that “The GOLDEN AGE” will never get over. But the fact was that we had one and still continuing.

  587. You think that Abidal’s action was OK then, FCB?

  588. If there was an award given for the “Biggest Cunt In The World” this fucking referee would only come in second. You know why? Cos he’s a CUNT!!!!!!!!!!!

  589. Ok I did not watch the match due to a prior engagement, but to tune in on the radio and hear our away fans even in defeat singing “I’m Arsenal till I die” I gotta say thats what support is all about.

    Nearly burst into song on the train home too. Keep your heads up boys.

    COYG!

  590. We were not outplayed in the first half. It is funny how people can’t see that. Think about it: how many clear cut chances did Barca have before Cesc’s mistake gifted them a goal. How many times did they go 1 on 1 in a dangerous position? I can tell you: 0 times. They never ever got even one clear shot on target. Either someone was there to put them off balance or they did not even get close enough to pull the trigger. They had one shot that struck the post but that was from far left with an impossible angle and Almunia would have been there because he had it covered. So, no, we were not outplayed. They did not slice us open at will like they did last year, they had fewer clear cut chances than at the Emirates couple of weeks ago. We stood our ground and if it wasn’t for Cescs brainfart we would have gone through to half time level. In the second half we had to start attacking and we did. We put them under pressure, won corners, started to keep the ball more and had dangerous counter attacks. Then the ref sent Robin off in a big farce, we were reduced to 10 men and then they started to create chances after chance … and even then they really had to fight for their goals because Big Al was up to his best.

    In the end I do not know if we had won if VP had not been sent off but the ref definitely changed the game.

  591. Frank, they have good players and can play a good game of football, but when they are threatened they are quick to resort to cheating – going down easily feigning injury to get their opponents yellow cards etc to give them the advantage. Referees are quick to fall for it and today they were given a massive helping hand to their victory. We may not have created much offensively, but we were defending well and executing the managers game plan. Had we got to 70+ minutes with 11 men, I believe we were in with a chance of advancing to the next round. Had they beaten us fair and square 11 vs 11 I would have no problem. But I can’t help feeling we’ve been cheated out of the opportunity to compete on a level playing field once again. If they really are ‘the best team in the world’, they should not need a helping hand from a weak or corrupt official. At least with Arsenal we know that whatever we achieve is despite not because of official support.

  592. FCB
    You were obviously too scared to have a level playing field. Very very biased referee…

  593. FCB,
    Why aren’t you commenting on the Abidal incident?? How can the supposedly “best team in the world” do something like that??

  594. I think Cesc was just sub par – I’m not worried about his fitness. I don’t think he’s really done it for us against Barcelona in any of the three games he’s had. I mean, we all know what he’s capable of.

    We’ll need to make changes for the weekend, but Song should be back and it looks like the perfect opportunity to give a certain Aaron Ramsey a start.

  595. Bradys right foot

    Proud of the boys tonight not going to talk about the ref. I honestly would just like to comment on an Arsenal performance this season without having to comment on the whistleblower, its getting so tiresome without the referee taking centre stage. Barca were immense tonight but I do think it could have been a very different last half hour. Theos absence tactically was a huge loss. Theo is all four horsemen of the apocolypse to a team playing a high pressing game, they couldn’t have squeezed us that high and he would have had acreage to exploit. Anyway I digress Kozzer and JD where absolutely immense. Chin up RVP, take the positives onto the Mancs this weekend. The ref what a cnut ( couldn’t resist) and well done to Big Al.

  596. Referee was not “weak”……that was a crooked decision. How the hell else could anyone explain that. So obviously and bizarrely WRONG that it beggared belief. Maybe they were worried Brokeback Barca would get knocked out after all. Can’t have that at this stage. I thought Arsene showed admirable restraint at the end. And to cap it all….. Barca’s odious theatrics…..horrible.

    Sky’s coverage was utterly depressing as well. Souness is indeed a c*unt. Stelling was an even bigger fawning bellend than I thought possible. Redknapp is Redknapp. I couldn’t understand a word the Spanish waiter said so I’ll let him off.

    F*ck ’em all.

    RVP’s post match interview was pure class though. Legend.

    ARSENAL.

  597. You think that to grab a player round the throat is not even worthy of a yellow card, but to kick the ball towards goal within one second of the whistle is? Does that not make you a bit strange, FCB?You don’t think, FCB, that FCB might have had a bit of a leg up here? Which is a bit strange for the ‘best team in the world’. With eleven Arsenal players on the pitch, son. You were fucked.

  598. Joe with all due respect we outplay teams and lose… even the Carling cup final was an example of that… we battered Birmingham in the second half and fairly wrung Sunderland’s necks for 40 minutes… then what happened. Barcelona have always outplayed us in the first half of matches and we’ve murdered them in the second half. Nothing we saw tonight was that strange for anyone who’d been paying attention… except for the fact that we were more disciplined and more resilient. The second half we started to play that is why we got the corner and that is why Van P was having a shot after a marginal off side call.

    It is one thing to say that we should have done more with the ball, that we should have shown more composure and a bit more belief when we had the ball in the first half but the fact remains that Barca scored only because Cesc screwed up. That is a fact… another attack of theirs had been snuffed out when the ball came to Cesc and he tried what has to qualify as one of the world’s most stupid back heels.

    Neither can you deny that in the second half we had begun to play hence the corner and Van P’s shot… but we only had 7 minutes of it! That’s all we got. I’m sorry but the referee screwed up this game. Totally.

  599. Bradys right foot

    Yogi thats an incredible stat 35 games wtf, hell probably get the final now.

  600. All I can see that ref had Barca DNA alright.

    Also heard from Swissramble that he isn’t really respected in Swizerland and that he was banned a while back after giving the crowd the finger. Fooking nutcase!! Sucks to us this week…*signs*

  601. 1 loose cannon

    I love the stat idiots. We see it in the premier leauge regurlarly how teams dfend for 90 minutes against us get a shot score take all 3 points. Newcastle did it against us they had one shot on goal and it was a goal. After the game they were applauded with their wonderful performace. Stats means shit if you can’t score. Had Bendtner scored that fantastic chance in the end we would’ve been through and no one would be talking about stats. Idiots. If that was RVP instead of Bendtner he might have scored. we will never know now.

  602. FCB

    And it is descending into deceit. Let’s face it, your presidents sum up the club perfectly. Laporta, Rosell. Everything you want to know about Barcelona and it’s future rests in the fact that conniving and fraud is seen as perfectly acceptable in the boardroom; hardly surprising that diving and falsely claiming injury are perfectly acceptable on the pitch.

    Name one Barcelona player who can hold their head up with pride after tonight. Actually try to do that and forever be labelled a fool.

    YW

  603. maria,
    I’ve posted his special moment in the comments.. Here it is again:

  604. I agree with Passenal

  605. It really is about time that we put Ray Parlour and Alan Smith down. Quick injection of a potent substance is all that is required. You are either with us or against us, lads. Regardless of your pedigree, which given your comments tonight might not bear scrutiny, I would like never to hear from you again. On the list you go.

  606. Jack Wilshere on twitter:
    Arsenal fans great as always! Sorry about the result,good luck to Barca,great team! Oh yeah and the ref was good aswell….

  607. I guess he’ll get banned for that eh, IG?

  608. Whoever BBB are playing next, I will be supporting. I hate those cheating catalan cunts with a passion.

    Indian Gooner, it sounds like the players will not be downhearted in the next game because they know they were robbed once again.

  609. why mj? He was just saying what a good job the referee did tonight in a difficult match. Anything else you are inferring is in your mind!

  610. I know you are connected.YW. Are any Barcelona people or even Spanish people able to see this crap game for what it was? This is a cheating, advantaged bunch of five a side players who are on the decline. It is not even exciting to watch them!

  611. how much time till I get to hear/read Arsene’s post match conference?

  612. mj,
    I’m sure RvP will be banned.. Arsene may be depending on what “tonight’s cunt in the middle” has put in his report…

    Passenal,
    I think the CC defeat and the draw against Sunderland have made the players more determined and tonight’s manner of defeat will add fuel to that… Kos’s performance at the weekend and tonight is evident the way he has channelled his frustration.. The more everyone tries to screw us, the more stronger this team becomes.. Just hope this group of players stay for few years.. Proud of them and proud to be following the Arsenal..

  613. Because he’s an Arsenal player, Passenal……

  614. Any honourable team would have had something to say about that game. Not one single Barcelona peasant had an honourable word to say. We are coming to get you you fucking bastards and you know it!

  615. Passenal,
    I supported the team against Farca last season.. it’ll continue this season too… Shakter has become my team for CL now..

    Even though I hate the Moaninho at RM, I want them to win La Liga as I hate Farca more than anything else in football..

  616. 1 loose cannon

    Jack can hold his head high he was awesome tonight. He will be a legend at Arsenal. A future captain without a doubt. At such a young age playing in front of 95 000 away at Barcelona did not bother him at all. You can imaigne what he will do in fews years time.

    I thought this game was perfect for Walcott, we had space in abundance behind the Barca defenders but not one to exploit it. It wasn’t to be. At least we were close to nocking them unlike last season. This is all good we are getting close to them every year and if we meet them again next seaon I’m sure we will do even better.

  617. Great support from the arsenal fans. I take full blame for the result tonight. One of the worst moments of my life. I apologise.

    That was Cesc’s message on twitter enough to make me cry. Poor is getting tons of abuse over there sad really. Arsenal fans my a**!

  618. Please sort yourself out, Maria. This Cesc twiddly fiddle?what is it?

  619. Did Wenger shake Guardiola’s hand? o.o

  620. Glad Eddy scored miss him more on days like this when chances are few and goals needed! Taylor I hope you fall into a pitch black hole you monster!

  621. Bradys right foot

    Just watching the match again and I’m convinced that these two centre halves will win us the league if they keep performing like this. They did an awful lot of defending last ditch blocks, interceptions, recovery tackles. I wouldn’t be surprised if we concede less goals than anyone else in the league.

  622. RVP – telling it like it is and more than likely getting penalised for it.

  623. Gutted. Not least because of the referee. It was not just the VP sending off, but the number of times it seems to me that when we broke away we were crowded out by 3 or 4 barca players – either fouled – which was persistent – or one of their players would win the ball back and then on being challenged, would go down. The statistics – 18 fouls to Barca’s 8… ???? Unbelievable.

    We must have been physically jaded, because there is no way that their pressing game would have worked like that in England with a fitter team. Diaby and Cesc were also not match sharp, and with VP out – that was the killer. This was a very cynical performance by Barca tonight. Too many players diving and going down easily.

  624. It’s hard to win when you don’t get a fair shake. Fuck that ref. Fuck Barcelona.

  625. Apparently AW got into it with the referee in the tunnel, well done Arsene as someone has to hold them responsible as we know UEFA won’t as they are cunts!!!!

  626. Joshua,

    While we outplay teams – we don’t make it count. I just don’t think we break teams down – especially when it really matters. The Carling cup final was a disaster. So too Sunderland, Newcastle……people think I’m being harsh and demanding, but I think this Man Utd team is very poor and if we took the chances we have had so far – we could well have one cup on the mantlepiece and be 10 points clear in the league. Our first 11 players are outstanding and we even have one or two really quality substitutes – but the strength of the squad is not as deep or laden with quality as others would have you believe.

    As for tonights game – its unrealistic to suggest that Barca only capitalised because of Cesc’s mistake. Cesc has been magnificent for this club and if he’s off form because of recent injury, then we should have had someone to come in and cover for him. But we don’t. We over rely on players like Fab and RvP. Do you think RVP would have missed that chance that Bentner missed? When either or both of them are missing – we struggle.

    For over 90 mins of football tonight we didn’t have a solitary, not a single shot on goal the entire night long..! Thats not something you can say about the Birminghams and Newcastles of this world when we outplay them. Almunia must have saved 6-7 one on one’s …! Djourou and Kos were simply superb all night. It was the Alamo from the get go. Yes the RVP decision was a disgrace – but by no means decisive. We were just beaten by a better team by players who know what it takes to win games at the highest level. And there is no disgrace at all in that. And the margin is getting smaller all the time..!

  627. Exactly mupped. Like when the top of Sagna’s boot touched the bottom of that cunt Dani Alves’ boot and Alves goes down holding his shin and rolling around on the carpet.

  628. Muppet…sorry 😉

  629. Fuck them all. I was proud of our players tonight. We were going through until the ref decided that it would be too much to bare to see the Cuntalonians go out. What a joke. As for being outplayed in the first half… bollocks. They did fuck all until Fabregas messed up. We get accused of playing too many passes around the box without shooting, but when Barceloan do it, the pundits worship them. An absolute farce.

  630. Off to get wasted with some American friends who happily know nothing about what just happened, and trust me I plan on keeping it that way. Love The Arsenal, always have and always will 🙂 would not be a Barca fan if you paid me!!

  631. Why am I sitting here humming one nil to the Arsenal? Weirdo! Need to stop my family are cursing me under their breaths! Deadly silent everywhere all you can hear are doors slamming. Hehe

  632. Proud of the boys tonight. I thought we defended really well and Almunia was a star. The second yellow card was perhaps one of the harshest bookings I have ever seen. To be honest I sick of playing cheating Spainards and Italians and the CL is dogshit. We will win the league now!

  633. 1 loose cannon

    The stats gits are out tonight. Stats mean shit. The only thing that matters are goals. if you watch the begining of the second half at 1-1 Barca were rattled and looked nervous but the sending off had a huge impact psycholigically we retreated deeper and Barca did what any team would’ve done and use the sending off to their advantage.

  634. Arsene’s responses the best ones I’ve read in a long time:

    especially “Two kinds of people can be unhappy; those who love Arsenal and those who love football can be frustrated with the referee’s decisions.” and “I feel sorry for people who watched the game tonight.”

    On some controversial refereeing decisions…
    Two kinds of people can be unhappy; those who love Arsenal and those who love football can be frustrated with the referee’s decisions. When he made the decision it was a very promising game, very interesting. That’s the regret. We lost against a very good Barcelona side, congratulations to them and good luck for the future. We have many regrets tonight because we didn’t expect to lose the game like that. I feel sorry for people who watched the game tonight.

    On Robin van Persie’s sending off…
    If you have played football at a certain level, you cannot understand the decision. I cannot imagine that someone who has played football, in a game of that importance, makes that decision at the moment he did. Even if he heard the whistle, I still don’t understand the decision. People who have played football will never accept a decision like that. It killed a promising, fantastic football match. What for? If it’s a bad tackle and a second-bookable offence then OK.

    On whether Arsenal would have won the game with 11 men…
    Yes. I felt Barcelona gave a lot in the first half where we were completely dominated, I agree with that. But in the second half, you felt there was more space and, I knew, like in the first game, we would come back into the game. I am convinced we would have won this game.

    On Wojciech Szczesny’s injury…
    [It’s] a dislocated finger. We have to check the tendon and see how much damage is done.

    On not having a shot on target…
    Once we were down to ten men it was very difficult. We had a very difficult first half. Barcelona played, a little bit, a poker game by giving absolutely everything in the first half. After that, it became difficult with ten men against eleven. I feel Barcelona are good enough to win in a normal way against anybody. You want to be given a chance to play a normal football match. Everybody has the same regret in our dressing room.

    On having a lot to play for this season…
    How big is the blow? We don’t know. That depends on our response on Saturday at Manchester United.

  635. Oh for fucks sake.It is so simple. Arsenal were in the front seat, 2-1. Barelona had to score another two goals and stop us from scoring. Big stadium, lots of home advantage, they like to masturbate with the ball a lot, not always effectively and not as impressively as many a pundit would have us believe. In fact, for all of their possession they begin to look like the underdog. Gets nasty. Abidal even risks a sending off for his grip on RvPs throat. Sending off in any league anywhere. But no. Not even a yellow. Shortly after RvP gets a yellow. Very soft. Second half, Barcelona still wanking away and getting nowhere. Referee sends off key striker for shooting. Barcelona wank away until they get a penalty and another goal….and everyone believes that Barcelona are the best team in the world?

    Utter bollocks

  636. Zero shots. ZERO. What the fuck was that? I know the ref was a cunt, I know their players are cretinous little cunts, but what the fuck is zero shots?

  637. This has found its way to wikipedia( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massimo_Busacca#Barcelona_v_Arsenal_controversy ).

    2010–11 UEFA Champions League
    Barcelona v Arsenal controversy

    In the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League tournament, Busacca was appointed to referee the second leg of the round-of-16 tie between Barcelona and Arsenal, with Arsenal taking a 2-1 lead into the match from the first leg.

    The official generated controversy when, in the 55th minute and with the score tied at 1-1 (3-2 to Arsenal on aggregate), he issued a second yellow card and resultant red card to Arsenal’s Robin van Persie. Van Persie had been cautioned for a foul in the first half; then, in the process of an attack in the second half, he was flagged offside but took his shot at goal — after Busacca had blown his whistle signalling the offence. The striker was deemed to have therefore ‘kicked the ball away’ (a yellow card offence) although replays suggested only one second had passed since the whistle.[6] Later, van Persie described the decision as a “total joke”, claiming that with the noise of the 95,000-strong crowd he could not hear Busacca’s whistle.[7]

  638. I’m in a mood right now and I don’t normally like to see things like this happen, but I wish someone had kicked Messi’s balls up into his neck.

  639. 1 loose cannon

    Had it been Messi shooting after the wistle I have no doubt he will not be sent off, this is just the reality I’m afraid. We were the unfancied underdog and any harsh decsison aginst us would not enrage Eufa or anyone. Dani Alves put his hand around RVP’s throat and that was overlooked by the ref.

    Last season I put my hands up when they beat us, I had no regrets at all. But this time I felt it was really harsh to go down to 10 men, even then we had a glorious Bendtner chance to go through. Despite all the stats, we came close this year.

  640. Except is was 10 men against 12 Indian Gooner.

  641. Oh Frank, that message was tweeted by Cesc on something called twitter which is another social media instrument. You should join, quite a few players are on it Nasri, RVP, Johan and Sagna. Still waiting on Eboue though

  642. Fuck off Joe

  643. Fook off Harsh!!!

  644. Don’t think that refs decision will be helping Shottas recovery much. I can just imagine his reaction. Sheeesh, good luck to whoever is nursing ol’ boy take cover, haha actually his must probably blowning out ash by now!

  645. Harsh that stat is irrelevant because it was obvious that the plan was to defend well, soak up BBB pressure and then hit them late on as they tired. Plenty of PL teams do it to us and win with their only shot on goal, why shouldn’t we employ that game plan when necessary? Of course we didn’t get the opportunity to complete the second part of the plan as the referee ensured the game was tilted in favour of the ccc’s.

  646. Passenal,
    It was 11 vs 12 for me from the first few minutes itself.. Then when they found that they couldn’t beat us that way, they made it 10 vs 12.

    This is a poster which is doing the rounds today.. Farca’s new 4-3-3-3 formation: http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/5728/1c456d732118c0ddb73a405.jpg

  647. 1 loose cannon

    Maria- Do you think Eboue has a computer? I doubt it 🙂
    I have just checked Cesc’s twitter page I could not see the message. Am I looking at the wrong one ? there are so many Fabregas out there.

  648. Yeah – The pressing game isn’t important at all is it Ole…!!

    Frank – Barcelona are not the best team in the world..?? Well I suppose when you consider that they only have 8 players with world cup medals, European championship medals, more with Champions Leagues medals, spanish league and cup titles – and of course the fact that Wenger also thinks that they’re the best team in Europe – then yeah, you probably have a valid point Frank, as usual..!

  649. The referee was shit throughout, but it’s not like our offense showed up to play either. I’m not convinced that we parked the bus, we were honestly trying and couldn’t string any passes together at all. Granted, Barcelona players fell to pieces with the slightest contact, but there was an entire first half of football being played with 11 men during which we didn’t even get a shot off. I’m not arguing stats, I’m just saying that we were crap offensively and should’ve done better.

  650. Just got back from watching the game in a pub in Finsbury park.

    I am absolutely livid about the decision to send off Van Persie. Madness.

    If Barcelona were winning the game 1-0 and Van Persie had shot after the whistle then he would not have sent Van Persie off. The game had swung back in our favour and the referee had to take action.

    I don’t care if people think I am deluded or paranoid. Look at what happened to Chelsea a few years ago at Stamford Bridge. Decision after blatant decision went against them just as it did us tonight.

    Barcelona received no yellow cards. NONE! Would Messi have been sent off if he shot after the referee had blown? you’ve got to be kidding me.

    There is no doubt that Barcelona were the better side and created all the chances but as we know too well, you can dominate a game and lose. We had the advantage and an away goal when Biscuits headed into his own net.

    We couldn’t play around their pressure enough, they worked like crazy people. I hate the way they cheat and roll around but they are exceptional footballers.

    We defended extremely well and massive credit goes out to Djourou who was our best player by far. Koscielny again fantastic,. Jack the boy Wilshere again exceptional. Arsenal through and through already at 19. And plenty of credit must go to Manuel Almunia who once again shows his strength.

    We were not the team that the powers that be wanted to see in the next round, that and Barcelona’s brilliance.

    Let us take out our frustration in the league race. We have to overcome ignored penalties for us, phantom opposition penalties and wrongly judged offside goals but we have the quality to do it.

    We are on our own, we are the Arsenal!

  651. Hey, Joe. In the Gnu Camp they finally put the tie to bed 4-3. After a very, very dodgy, sending off. Comment? Just as an aside I am intrigued by your smugmness at ‘our’ (not your ) loss?

  652. “Zero shots. What was that?”
    If that’s a serious question, Harsh, here’s an attempt at a serious answer.
    We know how we beat them in the first leg.
    We waited until they had run around in circles so often that they had screwed themselves into the ground and then we hit them with two brilliant goals on the break.
    We were on the way to doing the same again tonight. (Not a brilliant goal this time. Instead, a goal where, just for once, a break went our way.)
    We were winning.
    The plan might have succeeded.
    But because of a moronic piece of refereeing, we will never know.

  653. Very well put, merlot. We actually did better than we usually do in the first half because we defended as good as I haven’t seen us defend for years. Barca had no clear cut chances in the first half and our plan was about to unfold when the ref decided that he had to make himself a Nou Camp legend.

  654. Haha he probably has 10 more than us 1 loose!

    @cesc4official is the Fab twitter account! The message is still up.

  655. You see that most really discerning football supporters will see that Barcelona tried and tried and tried but Arsenal just shut them out. Then Cesc handed them a goal. Even then no problem. We just apply bit of pressure and Barcelona collapse. Then comes plan B…the referee…and even then the privileged little cunts just made it. Best team in the world?I doubt they will get past the next round. I really am disappointed in Barcelona and their supporters. Deeply ungracious team and deeply ungracious supporters. Just like you, Joe.

  656. i agree with frank
    for once
    the ref was a cock and barca spent 90mins having a wank..
    being down to 10 killed the game completely
    the majority of their shots came after the red…we played barca for half hour with 10 men and a spunk bubble of a ref..of course they were going to cream us…
    how the fuck do u get a yellow for shooting???
    please tell me???
    one good thing about this is that robins going to be totally pissed off now and a fit, pissed off rvp, will win u a pl…
    unless they decide to ban him for a million games for calling the ref a joke…
    u never know..he got a yellow for trying to score so i reckon he could be looking at being suspended from footy indefinately..
    i hate shit refs they are a slack bag of knackers…

  657. very proud of the team and their performance, they were very resilient. Wilshere is something else, a legend in the making was not afraid to take the cuntalonians on. He has true grit!!!

    3 Cheers for:
    Almunia
    Koscielny
    Djourou
    Nasri
    Wishere
    and more importantly the rest of the team, they gave absolutely everything. Interesting that Wenger should mention in his post match comments that he talked to the uefa people and they were baffled as well.

  658. when inter and uts and cheslea go there and play like that its fucking amazing and tactical genoius and defensive maturity
    when arsenal go there and play like that its they worst display ever and we are shit and blah blah fucking blah..
    cunts the lot of em
    we still gunna win the league so fuck off…

  659. Well said Joshua, I support everything you say, especially if it’s against Joe the Whinger.
    LeSolitaire (and your inevitable new best buddy, Joe the Whinger) football teams get outplayed every week of the season and yet go on to win the game, and not just in football but in every sport. Have you never, ever seen that happen? Sometimes it’s just fate. It happens to us – but despite all the Barca possession we were not out of the game, in fact we were winning on aggregate until the fateful decision by the ‘referee’ – in fact it was playing to our game plan – contain until they tire and then hit them in the last 20 minutes.
    I note that you don’t comment on the fact that not one Barca player was shown a yellow card, despite the sneaky thuggery or the fact that they rolled around in Oscar winning dramatics in order to con the ref!
    Real Arsenal fans can do without spineless, self-serving attitudes, when we need to get behind the club and support the players.
    FCB you’ve gone awfully quite when confronted with the evidence of the dark side of your ugly team.
    You would have thought too that just one Brit newspaper would have commented on the attempts of Barca players to con the ref.

  660. haha fuck off Joe! i used to have respect for barca players. then this game started and i was slagging off every single one. except for busquets. not once the first half did i see him rolling around like a little girl. then he goes on to score a goal for us!! what a guy. but seriously did we not soak up everything barca tried to throw at us? to make it worse those barca players would roll around on the ground throwing a hissy c-ronaldo fit everytime we tried to make a “robust, english” tackle. that hampered our ability to close them down. so we just let them pass around in front of our box and hoofed it clear whenever we could (except for cesc lol) Arsene got the tactics right today.

  661. Very well said, MDGunner

  662. Arsenal were cheated today. Of that there is no doubt. The fact that it will go no further is deeply disturbing….but it is just one of a ctalaogue of disturbing events in the patently obviously corrupt world of the FA, UEFA and FIFA. You see they think that supporters are fuckig idiots…and of course they are right.

  663. colney, those are my words too!

    Proud of the guys, except Cesc. Huge let down from him to give that ball away and then let Iniesta pass so easily. I hope he can help win back my respect by lifting the league trophy.

  664. Joe, why the fuck do you “support” Arsenal? I think Barca are much more to your taste, well judging by your fawning admiration of them tonight anyway. You should enjoy reading the sports pages tomorrow, but maybe not Yogi’s forthcoming post.

  665. No argument about the cheating and diving – its systemic in the game and something that needs to be addressed by the authorities. The Spanish, Italians, Brazilians, Argentinians – they all fein injury and exaggerate fouls – its a systemic problem and we have our own share of divers in the PL too.

    That said – I do hope Barca go on to win the CL. They’re a wonderful team to watch going forward and have the right attitude and work ethic to carve out results.

    Quite simply – we should aspire to that standard of football and not denigrate it.

  666. All of you that that do not support your team go away. Your irritating kind likely are mental cases anyway, for if you are this hard on your team I can only imagine how hard you can be on yourselves when you make mistakes or fail. Maybe this is therapeutic for you, to make up for your crappy lives. I recommend you see a psychiatrist, get some meds, meditate. But stay off here with your self defeatist negativity! The team does not need you.

  667. the refs are getting worse and worse..
    there has been some shocking decisions recently..not just against us either
    they are protected too much with all this respect bollox
    how you supposed to respect a total cunt…??
    they need to start coming out and explaining their actions after games…they want the spot light let them have all that comes with it,
    the authorities need to start hanging them out to dry like they do with managers and players…
    sian massey only mistake was for having breasts and shes never been seen again
    yet a ref can send a player off for having a shot and he’ll probably be given the cl final to officiate..
    its gone fucking crazy i tell ya..

  668. Thank you Frank.
    Mentalist – this might explain something (from the Torygraph):
    Cesc Fabregas also later admitted that he had felt a “twinge” in his hamstring after just 15 minutes and played the rest of the game with an injury.
    “I take full blame for the result tonight. It was one of the worst nights of my life and I apologise,” said Fabregas.
    Fabregas said he was now an injury doubt for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Manchester United.

  669. I have to say that I completely disagree, Joe. You are just toeing (towing) the party line. But for one refereeing decision, Barcelona would be out of the competition tonight They are consistently poor in the last 20 minutes of games against strong opposition. It is clear that Arsenal had that in mind, aftr all two out of three of our games against them with the same tactics were fruitful. But then the real question is why you would want Barcelona to win the ECL when you claim to be an Arsenal supporter?

    You just enjoy being a cunt is the truth of it…and that is your problem.

  670. After watching the ref’s performance in that game I now know why video technology is not wanted by fifa an uefa. How would they get their required result if VT was used. Nothing but corrupt bottom feeding scum all of them.

    F*ck em all (including Joe) We are THE ARSENAL!!

    Frank you are a star.

  671. Gariago – you really would not want Joe beside you in a really tight spot, would you?
    Can you imagine – “You have to admire Mr. Hitler’s wonderful tanks rolling into Poland right now, you have to admire their work ethic……

  672. We played well. The boys have nothing to be ashamed of. Just one more stumbling block before greatness, that’s all. The sending off will go down as one of the biggest robberies in recent football history. Any one who thinks otherwise needs to learn about football.

    Here is to fat bottomed girls, beautiful caribbean beaches and yachting. The Rolex sail week is in town. I’d rather occupy my mind with that until we play next in whatever. I need a break from football. I’m getting fucking drunk tonight as well. Good night.

    P.S. Shotta, get well soon. Lotta mercy.

  673. You OK, Shotta?

  674. The fact that not one single pundit thinks that RvPs sending off is significant is pure proof of corruption.

  675. YW, we need to take this a step further. Fuck off, Joe and your ilk, you lack the bottle. But something is happening here and it has to be stopped.

  676. Rushed from work to catch the second half at the Blind Pig in NYC this afternoon — what a crowd there, literally packed shoulder to shoulder w/ hundreds of supporters from all over the world screaming and singing throughout.

    Devastating result, and felt robbed by the RVP sending off. Possibly the worst and most impactful refereeing decision I’ve seen in any sport, ever. Twice later, after offside calls, Villa barreled over Almunia and Messi shot — no yellow, even though each as bad or worse as what RVP did (which was nothing, really, and happens w/o a booking in just about every match).

    NB52 will be wishing forever that he side footed that into the far corner first time.

    Onwards. The league and the FA cup are there for the taking.

  677. Yes, they have nothing to be ashamed of, Arsenal. But others do need to be ashamed, starting with the ref, and the barcass players that overreacted to fair challenges.

  678. Arsenal confirm Chez has a dislocated finger

  679. You know I have just been watching the game again and Barcelona got behind our defecne almost no times. Most of their shots were tapped towards the keeper. They were completely non-plussed until the little Swiss bastard deciede to change the game. CORRUPTION.

  680. And Frank, I bet not one “newspaper” will include the photo on Gooner Talk with Abidal’s hand round RVP’s throat

  681. 1 loose cannon

    Even Collymore of all people thought it was corruption Frank. Eufa are pleased that one of their darlings is safely through and that all that matters .

  682. Sorry, YW, I do not want you to be compromised but it sems obvious that Massimo Busacca showed an udue bias in the game this evening. As non FA people we could take him to court?

    That decision was result changing without a shadow of a doubt.

  683. MD – well, big blow for Cesc. The same had just happened against Stoke. I won’t say we’d do better with him off, losing two substitutions in 15 minutes… He can’t take blame for the defeat, just for his own bad performance. I’m disappointed but we can only question his decisions, never his commitment.
    Now I expect him to fully recover before coming back.

    Have a good night all, I’ll follow G69 and give myself a rest till Saturday.

  684. For all of his tubby profile and floppy hair, Martin Samuels is a reactionary. And here lies the problem. He has to pull his celery..sorry salary. The cunt is a mercenary. The British press believe that he is the best they have. Which leaves us all short changed….but who really gives a fuck?

  685. 1 loose cannon

    Strangely this is the same ref that officiated The Barcelona V Inter game last year. he also sent off an Inter player in that game.

  686. Any member of the football establishment who does not believe that the decision to send off RvP was utterly incompetent or corrupt is corrupt. So there you have it. All you have to do is ask them the question. Seems to me that unless this is sorted out then professional football is completely fucking pointless.

  687. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
    — Martin Luther King Jr.

  688. It’s the season of the referee. The only question is, are they crap and corrupt or just crap. Wouldn’t have helped last night but… video tech now!

  689. Well it would have been a disaster if Barca did not go through. They are most neutrals secant team. Generates loads of money. everyone will cover this up and hope Barca goes to final and everybody is happy. As wenger said only if you love arsenal or footy would you care. Most people don’t.

  690. Limestonegunner

    Credit to Almunia. He was immense. He would have saved Xavi’s goal but Sagna’s deflection caught him out. Like in the first half of the first leg last year, he saved so many shots and played with extraordinary confidence.

    Credit to JW in the second half. He showed his class and absolute determination. His pass for Bendtner was joyous. RvP would have hit it first time, but the ref took care of that. I’ve never seen such a thing; his first yellow card was soft and the second simply unbelievable.

    Nasri had a decent game and was clearly not intimidated. Djourou was our best player, snuffing out attacks or putting off Barca shots. Koscielny also played bravely and quite well under enormous pressure.

    But football has become too hard to watch. I do think Cesc owes the team something this season for that performance and I am sure he will make up for it in the league. But, the only respite is the bit of truth you get from RvP after the match. It was a joke and I don’t know either what that Busacca was doing there. I love RvP.

  691. NOT ONE SHOT ON OR OFF TARGET ALL GAME,ALMUNIA HAS THE GAME OF HIS LIFE.BARCELONA JUST MUCH TOO GOOD.BARCA HAD 76% POSSESION THAT IS UNBELIVEABLE

    WENGERS FOLLY OF PLAYING WEAKENED TEAMS IN THE GROUP GAMES COST US DEAR.WE WON OUR FIRST 3 GROUP GAMES YET ONLY FINISHED 2ND.

  692. That it? Jesus what a pair of crap comments.

  693. Says something about Barcelona supporters. Not a single comment of recognition that the sending off changed the game. The rewriting of history starts today.

  694. Bradys right foot

    Frank don’t waste your time mate the glee in the press and the disrespect being shown to Arsenal is par for the course were used to it. The sending of happened at 1 :1 fact, Barca needed two goals to go through at that time, bar the error for the first we had dug in admirably with Kozzer and JD simply immense. The job would have been easier 11 v 11. Anybody who can’t acknowledge that has an agenda. Barca are a fantastic team and outplayed out for the 90 minutes last night. They combine their wonderful play with a cyniscism that often goes unnoticed.

    The players will know doubt be down but anybody doubting our two centre halves needs a reality check. They were outstanding last night and that bodes well for our league campaign. Lets be honest we wont play a team as good as Barca for the rest of the year.

  695. Gutted, absolutely gutted.

    Things really didn’t run for us last night I am afraid. Lost our goalkeeper, and then RvP’s sending off was an amazingly stuipid by the official. I am not suprised Arsene went mental at him. We were struggling as it was, one we were down to ten men the game was effectively over.

    I thought Almunia was excellent when he came on. Jack and Nasri really carried the fight as well. Poor Cesc was pedestrian, and a bad mistake for their 1st goal. Hopefully he can put that game behind him ASAP. All in all, you cannot complain about the team, we gave 100% but were simply beaten by a better football team than us. Barca did to us, what we do to pretty much every team we play.

    We could not string 5 passes together, due to the pressure they put on the ball. It really is impressive. I have never seen a team stop us having any period of pressure in the opposition half, but that is what they did last night. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up, and admit the opposition were better. This is the case today. Would RvP staying on have made a difference? Maybe, but we were not exactly on top of them when he got sent off so I doubt it if I am honest with myself. Shame Bendtner could not make more of htat chance in the final few mins though. It would have been the ultimate smash and grab!

  696. We were not fucking struggling. The game was going according to plan. Keep it as tight as possible and then really go for it in the last 20. It would have worked…and the referee knew it. This was corruption. As blatant as the nose on your face.

  697. Football, O football
    Where have you gone?
    Once pure but now so defiled
    Spread your legs for the criminals of the world
    Wipe their poison, wash your lips, resume pretending
    But we see through you
    How we see through you
    Can’t pretend that we don’t care but it’s up to you
    If you don’t protect what’s left of your sanctity
    There’ll be no honest souls left to defend thee
    Won’t buy your tickets, won’t watch your cable tv
    If you don’t stop stealing from the people
    We will turn our backs on you
    We will turn our backs on you
    We will turn our backs on you.
    Nuff said.

    Yesterday was the first time in my life that I walked away from a football game before it ended….@the 56th minute of shame

    So VERY PROUD of OUR TEAM
    ARSENAL for LIFE,
    LOVE, TRUTH & HUMAN DECENCY!

  698. lets hope United and Chelsea and go far far far in the CL. That will distract them sufficent so that we can snatch the Fa cup and the League. Lets also hope that Barca meets United in the semi final or quarter final. Will give united sufficient to think about so they cannot concentrate on the league pluss whoever looses that match i will be happy anyway. though i find myself hoping Rooney gets “the red mist” and Rafael does a headless challenge into Barcas legs.

    Its obvious for everyone to see is it not? Barca did not manage to play Arsenal on equal terms they had to get RvP sent off. They did not have the capacity to beat Arsenal with 11 men. It was proven in last match and in this. With 11 men Barca had NO chance. But cash is king and everything can be bought…..
    For people that failed to see the arsenal game plan last night, look at the arsenal game plan on Emirats, and look for similarities for yesterday. Everybody know that in the last 20 mins arsenal would as they have done before, shut down the precious Barca machinery cos barcas players does not have the stamina to play on the highest level for 90 mins. Not against 11 players anyway. However Arsenal playing 10 againt 12, where no 12 has veto on all decisions. Messie is not barcas best player. The ref is…

  699. How Fabregas can love them and want to join them after they humiliated him and cheated him yesterday i do not understand. How he can cite them as friens, when they cheat him like that i do not unerstand. Does he think that is ok? How he can want Barca to win the CL now, after what they did, i find mystifying.

  700. One good thing to come out of this is that the club feel somewhat cheated. Hopefully they will take this into Saturday, which is now a huge game. A defeat there really could rattle the teams confidence; a win however would (I believe) start a run which would take us to the lge title.

  701. Very disappointed with Barca cynicism and ridiculous referee….this is sad for such a good team
    To my own surprise, I think i will actually enjoy it when maureen’s team kicks them out

  702. Almunia outstanding – and Jack, Johan and Kozzer (after a joke early yellow for an innocuous foul) too. Who says our defence is weak – most teams would have lost by 5 or 6.

    What a shame that the best team in the world, also has the most odious player in Alves (or second after Gattuso), overreacting to everything seeking to gain an unfair advantage, when he doesnt need to…

  703. One referee for Barcelona, one massive set back for fairness!

    Words quite literally fail me…

  704. poodle – What exactly did Barca do which involved cheating us? It was the ref that sent off RvP. Barca just happen to be very good at football.

    I for one am proud of the team. We defended bravely against probably the best side in the world. The sending off just made an almost imossible task, impossible.

  705. The ref was awful all night. Some of the yellow cards dished out to us was plain stupid, and he missed Diaby plainly foul Messi in our area for a pen (glad about that one though).

  706. its RASER time again Frank,

    Truth be told there’s almost no reason to waste time trying to explain how well AW’s plan was working pre-BusaccaSham.
    Life furnishes all opinions with proof .
    U see what u want to see.

    “We we’re ROBBED!”
    “Barcelona CHEATS!”
    “Karma’s a bitch!”
    Life goes on

  707. “We were ROBBED!”

  708. Why do they always school us? Were better then them for gods sake. Some knobhead at work keeps telling me Barca had more shots on there own goal then we did, its so annoying. Our plan was working we were the better team by a country mile. Last nights result was a travesty against total football

  709. BBC=
    “Barcelona Busacca Cheats!”

  710. Aman, I hated the way it looked like they were better just because we couldnt get the ball. Its fucking bullshit and the british press have a lot to answer for IMHO.

  711. The truth is that Barcelona could never beat arsenal with their full strenght. They proved it yesterday. Barca had no chance alsong as arsenal had 11 men on the field. Thats the conclusion.

    @goonerandy. i would say that barca infuenced RvPs red card, and that card was outrageous. Ergo barca cheateded us or “played the game to their advantage” if you like. Just like Newcastle did in the 4-4. They did nothing wrong up there you know, simply “Played the game to their advantag”. You got to take advantage if you have a weak referee. thats what they did. we did not unfotunatley. Rvp should have fallen like a sack of potatoes and squirmed on the ground from that was it Abidal? hand around his neck.
    Likewise Arsharvin should hav gone down against Sunderland and squirmed like an sick horse against sunderand. Cheating or “playing the game to your advantage.” Yo may be right they dont cheat we are just crap on “playing the game to our advantage”. Our playes need to be more cynical. use elbows, fake injuries and use the refs for what they are worth. We dont do that atm. And lets face it. Teams that win much always “play the ref”. We dont.

  712. Azza – I am feeling very proud of the side this morning, but some of your comments are a bit deluded mate.

    “Aman, I hated the way it looked like they were better just because we couldnt get the ball”

    “Our plan was working we were the better team by a country mile.”

    There is no shame in getting beat by that Barca side, especially in that form. They were better than us last night; big deal, they are a very good side. They would have beaten anybody last night. Our defending, even after the amazing sending off meant that we were in the game until the final whistle.

  713. poodle – I did not see any Barca players trying to get RvP sent off. Which in a way makes the referee’s decision even worse. Nobody in the ground saw RvP’s effort as time wasting other than the cretin in charge of the game. Scandelous refereeing.

  714. It does not matter how many passes or shot at goal Barca had. For all their possession and stuff up to the 56th minute we was wining and the ref decided he needed to step in to save the situation, 2009 they got roughly the same kind of help in their game against chelsea…. I dont think Barca have ever beaten an full strength Asernal side at all.

  715. Absolutely farcical decision from a cunt of a referree who has never reffed a match where a spanish team has lost. Hmmm. I sometimes think that we’re being paranoid about all these terrible decisions, especially in seasons gone, but this year has just reinforced everything we have been saying about complete and utter biase against Arsenal. That decision was the worst, THE WORST decision for a sending off i’ve ever seen. There is something seriously wrong and something needs to be done. Let’s face it though, the only thing that will be done is for Wenger and RvP to get banned for highlighting one of the worst refereeing decisions ever. Absolutely outrageous.

    Don’t get me wrong, Barcelona deserved the game, and if it wasn’t for the heroic Almunia, it could have been embarrassing. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we would have given them a very scary last 20 mins if we had our best striker on the pitch (and 11 players). RvP may well have just smashed that Bendy chance first time, winning the tie. Hypothetical I know, but it’s very likely he would have done better there.

    I am so angry and gutted for the lads. But at the same time, we were beaten by the best team in the world, and now have a great chance at winning the EPL – which was always our top priority.

    Wilshere – amazing.

  716. goonerandy they were good but not that good to be honest they had the ball and made a lot of passes but managed 1 goal in up until we Rvp had been sent off. i might be wrong but i doubt they wud have beat us yesterday if we had 11 players. they wud have passed us to death that i admit.

  717. This season has seen countless poor decisions against us. I just wish something could be done about it. Shame.

  718. I agree with Gooner andy. They were a better side for sure. In the first half, their tippy tappy football, although didn’t yield anything, not even a decent chance, it was just beautiful to watch football being played without any end product. They could’ve kept doing that till eternity, without scoring a goal, and I’d still be cheering their players for each and every touch.

    Sure, it took, a mistake from Cesc for them to score, but come on, that’s football. And we didn’t deserve to be 1-1 in second half, because that was a genuine mistake by biscuits.

  719. Geo @ 9:22 – Pretty much sums it up.

  720. Massimo Busacca, Anthony Taylor, Martin Atkinson, Mark Clattenburg, Blatter & all FIFA officials-against-goal line technology, Sandro Rossell, Josep Guardiola, Alex Ferguson, etc

    Q: Cesc, will you leave us to join these people?

    We Wait & We Wonder…
    RASERS!

  721. The fucking pundits too. Jesus. I have never been so close to smashing my telly before. I thought they were meant to show some biaise towards english clubs? I thought they would talk more about the decision, and less about how far they can poke their tongues up their fucking catalan arses. Makes me sick. The difference between how they talk about Chelsea or United in the wake of farces like that is embarrassing. To have cunts like Jamis Redknapp and fucking Souness talk shite like that after the match was just too much for me.

  722. Frank is right, again.

    Barcelona are a very, very good passing side though, and they worked hard, good also at the cheating game, and we about to knock them over, of this I am certain. We so nearly did courtesy of Wilshere’s late assist to Bendy.

    We ought not to get carried away. Nor blame Cesc, a silly mistake given the area of the field and the massed ranks of Barca players in the vicinity, but the intention (attitude) was quite OK, you have to try those passes.

    Our season is far from over, in fact just getting into stride.

    Barca should feel themselves blindingly lucky, or something else, although the movement for Xabi’s goal, if not the goal itself, was excellent as was Messi’s goal and one applauds that skill. What did YW say yesterday? No Spanish side, club or national, has ever lost under his, um, application of the rules, ever.

    At 1-1 and 11 v 11 moving into the second half, we had the ascendancy and I suspected an imminent Barca panic attack and a lot of writhing on the floor, wagging of fingers and surrounding of the ref was about to start. Moving into the final 20 minutes, with AA probably coming on for Rosicky, we might have drawn or won the match, because our goals would come then.

    Wenger is right to be angry.

  723. Geo,

    You’re fucking deluded to believe that Barcelona deserved to win. The first half was an immensely poor show by Barcelona, they had no end product, their possession amounted to nothing, not even a half a chance. If not for Cesc’s mistake they were going no where. We on the other hand, put on one of the best defensive displays by our team, making them impotent. That was the game plan, and in football that’s called fucking tactics. You lot, complain about Arsene’s lack of tactics, but yesterday they were spot on.

    The game changed, after RVP’s sending off. You can’t expect to win 10 v 12. And frankly, that was the only way they were going to win yesterday. They only found an end product to their attack when we were a man down, before that, they were impotent in attack.

  724. 2 down, 2 to go

    RASERS!

  725. I mean the ref. para 4. last sentence.

  726. When we pass team to death and dominate possesion, even if we don’t creat emany chances, we always believe that we deserved to win. Barca did exatly that last night; anybody who believes other wise is bit of a hypicrite really.

    As disapointed as I am, I can live with the fact we were beaten by a better side, who were better than us on the night. The sending off was a factor, as it basically ended the game, but don’t delude yourselves that we were somehow better than Barca. We were nowhere near, but we defended excellently.

  727. Things may have changed if it had remained 11 v 11, we may have had a period of sustained pressure. We will never know.

  728. Ateeb – dont talk to me about being fucking deluded. I’m one of the most Arsenal -biaised fans going, but i’m being realistic which you blatantly aren’t. We defended well, yes, but to say that they didn’t deserve to win is just plain wrong. For a team not to even have a shot on target after 50 odd minutes (with 11 players on the pitch), suggests that we didn’t deserve to win the game – or am i deluded there?? Get a grip mate, We’re all upset about the decision which ruined the game and gave us much less chance of progressing, but to say that Barcelone didn’t outplay us is fucking deluded. So fuck off mate, not in the mood today. The ref fucked us, but Barca were the better team. Not hard to see that. Our ploy of coming at them in the last 20 was ruined by the decision, but who’s to say that definitely would have happened? I’d love to, but obviously can’t guarantee it would have worked. I’m not being deluded in any way. Take a look at what you’ve written mate.

  729. I dont think anybody thought we were better than Barca and Barca is the best team in the world but the best team does not always win but can you begrudge the winners making the best of their opportunities. Bayern 1999 totally humiliated united for 90 minutes but went out to two goals from uniteds only two chances. So eleven men and Bendtners chance could have made a difference. We will never now.r

  730. Goonerandy we was not better than them but we up until the sending off we had done what we had came for thats what i mean.

  731. goonerandy is getting on my last nerve. their are no prizes for your reason. We could;ve won this straight up. In a game where we do have all the possesion, Goonerandy would say we should have scored the goals the possesion doesnt matter.
    thank God for all the other peoeple here. Its great to find some respite. Goonerandy, I really think you might like the sheer torture of the guardian articles. Please check them out.

  732. Geo is 100% correct.

    Also, we cannot keep going on about if’s and what’s. They coule easily do the same; what if they had taken more of their 19 chances? What if the penalty had been given against Diaby on Messi?

    What if’s work both ways.

  733. Geo,

    You all masturbate when Mourinhio lands titles through his ‘tactical genius’ but when Arsenal tries to do the same, we’re just fucking pussies. If you take into consideration the 180 minutes played, we were fucking brilliant in the 2nd half of the first leg, and perhaps could’ve come away with another goal. They were crap yesterday in the first half, of that I have no doubt. You’re telling me they were immense, yet couldn’t muster a decent chance, till Cesc’s mistake? Really the better side or best side in the world? I beg to differ.

    The second half we started well, and everyone could sense, that we will play as we have in the 2nd half. We scored from the first decent attack. Which says alot about both the sides. Our posession of even 20% would have yielded a goal or two(as happened last year Emirates and this year as well), because we were tactically setup for that. They however were utterly crap, till the ref killed the game. After that they dominated, which was understandable. 10v12.

    And on another note, any fucker who thinks Baqrca desrved to win, after watching them cheat and dive for 180 minutes, should go fuck themselves. They fell like a sack of potatoes. I’d be ashamed of myself if I was a Barca supporter. And you should be ashamed that you could masturbate about Barca’s greatness, when the evidence suggests otherwise.

  734. I’m actually a bit buoyed by the performance last night, a great disciplined defensive shift by the players who while it was 11v11 didn’t show any sign of capitulating with the dominance of the ball that Barcelona had. I do feel we would have got stronger the longer the second half wore on, but the referee put paid to that. But for a couple of individual mistakes we would have gone through. If the squad can show the same comitment and discipline to the end of the season then at least one trophy will be ours.

  735. Hahahahaha!!! Mate i fucking hate mourinho more than any other manager – ever. So don’t really know what you’re on about there. What the fuck are you talking about if your argument is based on something that you’ve assumed and is completely wrong?? and when did i say they were immense?? Nice one dude. keep it up! I used to read your posts and take them into consideration, but you’ve made youself look a real dick there mate – and will happily skip past them in the future.

  736. “Our ploy of coming at them in the last 20 was ruined by the decision, but who’s to say that definitely would have happened?”

    History says that would have happened. I was glad, and I am sure Arsene would have been too to go in the first half with just a goal down. You could tell after the first 10 minutes, that the tide was changing, we weren’t just defending back. We scored from our first decent chance. They were against the ropes. I have no doubt, that we would have come away with a win even at the Camp Nou. And frankly, stop calling yourself an arsenal supporter, if you don’t even fucking believe that the ref decision was insignificant and barca would’ve raped us regardless. I saw no evidence of that in the first half, yesterday. And I believed given how we play, they had lost the tie when they only managed to score only one goal in the first half.

  737. Goonerwife – Your post makes no sense at all. What post have I made which you don’t agree with?

    Clay – I do agree with that.

  738. Did you even read my post Ateeb? Have you ever read my posts before? Did you watch the game? Do you understand what is going on around you? I’m intrigued by all these things. But at the same time, don’t give a flying fuck about what you write in your amazingly analytical, well thought-out and succinct comments.

  739. I love the way Barca play football… I fully appreciate the genius of Lionel Messi but I have to say that it is just nonsesne to say all that happened yesterday was that we were beaten by a better team… they put pressure on the ball in an amazing effort for 45 minutes and had one goal that they scored due to Cesc’s mistake, there’s no way they could have sustained that effort for 90 minutes… already we’d seen that at the start of the second half we were having more of the game just as we did in the first leag and jsut as we did with a worse team last year. Wenger is right to say that 10v 10 would have most probably seen us win this match and that for me is the real shame, we would never know how good Barca truly are because a referee made an almighty cock-up…. AGAIN!

    Till Cesc’s mistake Barca to be honest had huffed and puffed to little effect, the best that can be said for them was that they were denied a penalty…before that they had a shot that hit the post from an incredible angle that was covered by our goal keeper… in other words all their effort and passing and pressing had yielded pretty much sod all. The truly wierd thing about all the people eulogising Barca and their possession stats on here is that when we have even more impressive stats and have referee a intervene on the opposition’s side they are here to lambast the team for lack of bottle or whatever. IMHO some Arsenal fans are a bunch of self-hating Jeremiahs who are only happy with doom and gloom. You don’t even have to be an Arsenal fan to regret that ref’s decision. The man single-handedly destroyed one of the most compelling matches we could have seen this year. What an IDIOT

  740. Goonerandy- Im talk about you being all sickly reasonable. “oh , it probably wouldnt have made a difference”. “Barcelona had all these chances”. Even though they had most of the chances when we were down to 10 men.
    I had no doubt we could win this till VanPersie got sent off. How about fighting for Arsenal.

  741. Ateeb – “They however were utterly crap, till the ref killed the game. ”

    Utterly crap?

    Hmmm, do you watch much football? Incidentally they were doing exactly what we do most weeks, and I for one don’t think we are “utterly crap”. Seemingly you do.

  742. Too many what ifs. What if Cesc had not made that backheel right at the end of the first half. We would have gone in all square on the night 0-0 and 2-1 in aggregate.

    What if RvP had not received the 2nd yellow card? We would have been 1-1 on the night and 3-2 in aggregate.

    The 3 1st half yellow cards for innocuous challenges against Wilshere, Sagna and Clichy made Barcelona virtually untouchable for fear of another yellow by the crap referee.

    Wenger had a game plan which almost worked, until Cesc’s mistake and the sending off.

  743. Thank you Joshua, you said it better than me. “self-hating Jeremiah” the media has whipped all self respect out of too many arsenal fans.

  744. Some people can give balance to their points, and obviously can take a step back for a minute to analyse things clearly. You’re trying to put me in the ‘doomer’ or ‘cunt’ category (not sure which), but you should have another read of my original post and have a think about your response and get real. I said that things could have been different if it wasn’t for the ref – that much is balatantly obvious, but if the match was the other way round, everyone on here would be saying that we deserved it – absolutely no doubt.

  745. Goonerwife – You are not happy with my reasonable posts? Heh, fair enough.

    It is true they did not have many chances when it was 11 v 11 (although a definate pen was missed by the astounding ref). But neither did we. They were dominating the game, and we were defending for our lives. There well may have been a turnaround in the game, but it did not look likely at the time. Nobody can say what would have happened if RvP had stayed on, the ref put paid to that. But as it were Barca were better than us in every area of the pitch.

  746. I agree with Joshua completely.

    Goonerandy,

    Yes, utterly crap. For all their best players and crap, and so much pressure, they couldn’t create a single decent chance all game. I call that a crappy performance, not worthy of a team known as the best in the world.

    And no they don’t do exactly the same thing as we do. We create alot of chances, but are guilty of converting those chances. They however, didn’t create any chance until Cesc’s mistake. Fact.

  747. Best of luck tonight, J*mes… sorry, Azza.

  748. Geo,

    Fair enough. Perhaps I digressed.

    I just don’t buy the we were outclassed thesis, and anyone who thinks Barca deserved to win, can fuck himself. Plain and simple.

  749. Just to clear things up, I am not “dooming”. far from it, I am proud of all of the players last night.

    I just find it ironic that a team did to us, what we do to teams week in, week out. When we do it we are an awesome team, yet when somebody else does it they were not that good and we had them right where we wanted them. Get real.

    We did really well over the 2 legs, bad desecions went against both sides (in both legs), and unfortunatly we got beaten by a better team. There is no shame in that.

  750. *guilty of not converting them.

  751. I guess cos i hate barcelona. I dont even mind that we lost cos now we can focus on the league. But still there is no reason today for me to compliment Barcelona. No prizes!

  752. I agree with everything you say there Joshua…..apart from the referee. That was not just an almighty cock-up. That would imply he simply made a mistake, or was incompetent (bad enough in itself), that decision was much much much worse. It was crooked. It was designed to the tilt to the tie in Brokeback’s favour. Pure and simple. There can be no other rational explanation for a decision so utterly BAFFLING and WRONG. This guy is allegedly at the very top of his profession….yet he makes a “decision” which would result in a riot at conference level. In most other walks of life he would have a lot of fucking explaining to do. If there is no inquest into his performance and that yellow card then the whole shebang is little more than a rigged circus and a joke.

    I feel very very sorry for Arsene and Arsenal this morning. And the Arsenal supporters (in fine voice) who made the journey. They deserved better. We all deserved better.

  753. Glad you cleared that up, goonerandy.

  754. I’m not sure what match some of you were watching! The fact is we were beaten by the better team, simple as that. What if RVP had stayed on, who knows? Even before he was wrongly sent off we didn’t have one shot on goal. Get over it, move on, we should be talking about ways to beat Utd on Saturday.

  755. Gooner Andy,

    Your football knowledge is as crap as I’ve seen there on LG. Let’s get a few things straight. We game them a hell of a match in the first leg, where we came out to play our free flowing football. Despite their marginally greater possession, we were more lethal than them. That is why we scored two as compared to their one.

    Moreover it was one of the best defensive performance last night in the first half. And one could see/feel that we were beginning to unleash our plan B, and we would’ve ripped them a new one, like we did at Emirates. Only couldn’t because the ref was a cunt.

    And I refuse to believe they were a better side over the two legs. Last year sure, this season however, we’re much more lethal than them, and they should consider themselves lucky to progress. And to top it off, we play our games without whining, diving, grabbing people’s throat, or crying like bitches. No side should be considered better, if it has to resort to such tactics to win a game. I’d rather watch blackbool play football, than these barceholes.

  756. Ateeb – “And no they don’t do exactly the same thing as we do. We create alot of chances, but are guilty of converting those chances. They however, didn’t create any chance until Cesc’s mistake. Fact.”

    There are plenty of games where we completly dominate an opponent but don’t create many chances. We wait until a gap appears and exloit it. They play exactly as we do, but I would argue are better of the ball than we are. That is pretty much the only difference between the 2 teams.

    There is nothing wrong with admiting that we played a better team mate. It is no big deal. If you genuinely believe that they were not a better side than us last night, you really cannot watch much football.

  757. One again, there’s a bit of a difference between a referee or assistant making an honest mistake, like the Messi offside call in the first leg, and intervening deus ex machina style, like he did for Barcelona by sending RvP off.

  758. Goonerandy

    I’m sorry but to say that NO ONE knows would have happened is utter clap trap. We can surmise the most like thing to have happened by looking at what has happened in matches between these two team in similar circumstances. We do KNOW what has happened in the past… Last season Barcelona had an even more dominant first half again a very much weaker Arsenal side and we cam back and drew the match! This season we came back and won…. Let’s not forget that we still had two attacking options to bring on in a situation where we were drawing 1-1 at a time when we were undeniably posing more of threat against a team playing 2 makeshift CBs! To say that all of that doesn’t amtter is just so much rubbish TBH.

    Your comments become even more incomprehensible given what you said after we lost to Birmingham and drew with Sunderland! It seems that you are only able to criticise what Arsenal do which is weird for a supposed Arsenal fan.

    The funny thing in all this is that Wenger is often criticised for not having a plan B… when we go out and show defensive resolve that no one has ever given us any credit for the very same people who slam our defenders and ignore stats when we play well and either lose or draw or suddenly on here telling us to LOOK at the stats! Crazy… We know what the likeliest outcome would have been and so does Guardiola… and to be honest I suspect that the referee knew that too… You, on the other hand, claim to have no idea. Funny that…

  759. GoonderimokwithcheatingANDy,

    I’m surprised at morality levels of Arsenal fans. I can guess from your posts that principles are of no importance to you, and you belong to win at all cost crowd of people. Any team that has to resort to cheating to win a game, is not even worthy to be in contention with comparisons with other footballing teams. So please stop telling me they were a better side. Frankly, what’s wrong with you?

  760. Cesc should go back to barca. Go on then, fuck off…. Where were u when the rest o the team was trying to defend jack eh? Thats right, u were holding back van persie!!! What the fuck were u doing jogging like a lost puppy all night? Where the fuck were ur tackles? Where the fuck ),was ur voice? I cant see any love for us in ur eyes cesc. When that bastard keeper was giving u the elbow and body checking u, what did u do cesc eh what the fuck did u do???? U looked down on the ground and said nothing!!!!!! U little fucking coward!! Ur no gooner!!!! Rvp’s aborn gooner!!! I could see it in his eyes!!! Fuck it was fucking beautiful i wept mate!!!! The whole fucking world and their grandma could see that!!! Fuck u cesc!!!! Fuck off!

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