And Then There Were Two – Arsenal Chase Double

UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, 2nd Leg
Barcelona 3 – 1 Arsenal

(Barcelona win 4-3 on aggregate)

1 – 0 Messi (45)
1 – 1 Busquets (53 og)
2 – 1 Xavi (68)
3 – 1 Messi (71)

van Persie sent off (57)

U2 proclaimed that it takes a second to goodbye; Massimo Busacca proved that it takes that long to decide that a player should be booked for timewasting, one second the time that elapsed from the Swiss official’s whistle blowing to the ball snatched wide by Robin van Persie. By the time, the Dutchman had turned around, he was heading for an early bath.

At that point in time, Arsenal were heading into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the wind taken from Catalan sails as a powerful header into his own net by Busquets had levelled the scores on the night and put Arsenal into the lead on aggregate.

Arsenal had been treading a disciplinary tightrope for most of the game. Koscielny and Sagna were booked early in the match; Barcelona were whining, writhing and crying like babies from the kick-off. Injuries were suffered to parts of their bodies which had not been touched. It was deceit; it as cheating.

Quite simply, they were a side that lacked any scruples. With the quality of player that they have it unnecessary but indicative that they were knew that the referee was weak and easily swayed.

Bias is often used as an excuse to disguise indistinguished performance, to explain away a defeat which was deserved. Generally, refereeing bias is a fabrication to suit our circumstances. There are genuine cases of it and last night emphasised that it does exist.

Busacca has much not to answer for not least if Uefa take disciplinary action against Abidal and Alves for throttling van Persie and Nasri respectively. Both cases were in direct line of sight of the officials yet neither Barcelona player was dismissed. Both were straight red cards. On such fine lines do fates hang.

Whilst the referee was a (the?) major reason for defeat, events were moving against Arsenal from early in the match. Beforehand Ars ène expected Barcelona to have 60% of the possession; they began early on to rack up those numbers. The defence was braced for an onslaught and was pierced on a number of occasions. The defence held out, magnificient tackling technique on display for the most part.

Pedro was halted in his tracks by Koscielny, Messi seized on slack play by Djourou only for the Frenchman to snuff out the danger. Alves’ free kick caused the most consternation, Szczesny dislocating a finger in the save, Manuel Almunia entering the fray. The Spaniard was not a popular substitute, his performance was better than expected and might have brought himself a move this summer.

Messi was prompting at this point; with thirty minutes gone he had his first clear sight of goal, leaving Djourou, Koscielny and Clichy tackling air as he danced the ball toward the net. Johan Djourou dug deep into his resources and cleared as it seemed the deadlock would be broken. If the defence was creaking, it was held together by the glue of belief, a belief that was as rattled as the woodwork when Adriano struck from the dead ball line.

Yet that glue had held until the interval.

Much of the media focus had been on Cesc Fàbregas before the match; during it he was relatively non-existent, unable to influence proceedings as he usually does. Was it down to injury? Certainly he seemed to be less mobile than normal. Certainly he was more careless than normal.

Midway through the half he had ceded possession cheaply, the chance quelled by Djourou. With the whistle almost at Busacca’s lips for half time, Cesc backheeled the ball carelessly, needlessly, Iniesta seized on the ball and sent Messi clear. The Argentine international flicked the ball around Almunia before burying the chance. Heartbreak for the captain and club.

The second half found Barcelona chomping at the bit to increase their advantage. And undone by their arrogance. Nasri was surrounded and forced a corner. van Persie swung over a decent delivery, Diaby was in the vicinity and Busquets was on target. The tie was out of Barcelona’s hands; two more goals required to win through and heads were going down.

Until Busacca intervened.

Thereafter a tough job became almost Mission Impossible. Barcelona pegged Arsenal back. Ten minutes after van Persie’s dismissal and Alves, Messi and Villa had all gone close to restoring the Catalan’s lead on the night. Within three minutes, they would be in the quarter finals.

Iniesta slid a perfect pass into the path of Xavi, his shot beat Almunia and the aggregate scores were level; Arsenal had to score or run the gauntlet of penalties to get through. The latter option swiftly disappeared. Having been denied a clear penalty in the first half, Messi made no mistake from the spot following Koscielny’s trip on Pedro.

After that Afellay and Messi were denied by profligacy and Almunia. Alves should have replicated the scoreline from last season but missed. Bendtner had a sniff of a chance, created by the outstanding Jack Wilshere, smothered by the under-employed Valdes.

Arsenal were out.

With hindsight it is easy to criticise the team selection but in two instances Arsène might reflect that things could have been different.

Rosicky was a surprise inclusion, his defensive workrate presumably swung the decision in his favour. However, it left van Persie isolated and Arshavin could have been more supportive in attack, an outlet with space to scamper. Or at the very least, make the full backs think twice before pushing forward.

The second was the inclusion of Diaby. The Frenchman offers more than Denilson in terms of supporting the attack, perhaps deemed more combative in midfield than the Brazilian. Yet it was the sort of fixture where possession is all; Denilson is one of the best at the club in not wasting passes. They may be short, they are accurate and they offer respite.

Whatever, the result stands and Arsenal kick on from here in the two remaining competitions to be won. Injustice can be a useful weapon psychologically; Arsène needs to use it to motivate the team forwards.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 9, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 426 Comments.

  1. hey!

  2. 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. And I have no doubts we would’ve done the same in the 2nd half yesterday.

    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.

  3. Busacca’s record when refereeing Spanish teams in Europe: P30 W23 D7 L0. Hmm.

    There’s no doubt van Persie’s ludicrous red card changed the game inexorably in Barca’s favour. But it wasn’t the only reason we lost. In fairness, we had benefitted from two huge decisions in our favour already – Messi’s disallowed header which would have put us 2-0 down before halftime at the Emirates, and then Diaby’s clumsy foul here. Infuriating though these errors are – and I was as irate as anyone else – that’s football.

    Personally, I find it difficult to argue too much when you consider how dominant Barca were last night. We had no shots. NO SHOTS. When did that last happen? They struggled to break us down 11 v 11 – and that is a real testament to our defensive workrate, but it is also evidence of how poor we were at retaining the ball.

    You know what? We lost narrowly to the best team on the planet, and gave them a real scare in the process. Gutted though I am, I can live with that.

  4. Diaby was awesome last night.wilshere too.these two were the only players who played the way we know they can.

  5. YW – Nice post. Your last paragraph is especially important I think.

    Ateeb – I enjoy many debates on here with some good posters. Some get heated, but hey, all is good. You seem to have watched a different match (33% possesion with 0 attempts at goal, useually equates to having played a better team than yourselves) so I will leave it at that with you. We will have to agree to disagree.

    Although you are obvisouly wrong 😉

  6. Looking through the comments yesterday what most of the doomers fail to realise is that the third goal was irrelevant. At 2-1 to them we needed a goal to go through and at 3-1 we still needed a goal to go through. The last half hour of the match was the most important for us, as in the first leg. Arsene knows Barca can’t keep up their high-pressure game for 90 minutes and that was why he was so furious. Everything went according to plan until the sending off.

    Yes we were outplayed for 60 minutes but that is no surprise and was the same in the first leg.

    That ref will not officiate another match in this years champions league, and that’s as much an admission of wrongdoing as we’re likely to get from UEFA.

  7. A damn painful match to watch. Firstly Barca outplayed us. It was painful watching how they seemed to toy with us. Thanks Almunia for another outstanding game. But we held on. Until Cesc set up Iniesta. Such shit happens! We got the equalizing goal – or Busquets gave us the equalizing goal. Statistics read Arsenal zero shots on target. Then RVP gets sent off unfairly. Match over. Not really because had Bendtner got THAT chance we would have been through. Barca are the bloody fucking pass kings. Bloody 68% possession – even before the red! Yet they only got three goals from 19 shots on target. Makes one wonder about the true value of possession football. With all that passing they still had to use the officials to win? For such a match to result from the two most entertaining clubs in world football one only wonders about the future of the beautiful game. I’m still pissed off!

  8. A good summary Yogi

    For all their possession in the 1st half they only really had 1 clear cut chance. We defended calmly. Sickening to go behind from a back heel on the edge of our own box, from our captain no less.

    When farcically down to 10 men for half an hour it was panic stations.

    And barca really were a disgrace. For all their magical football, I saw for the best part a bunch of classless, diving cheats.

  9. Wilshere was amazing again. Worked his socks off right until the last minute – even though he was obviously shattered. The defence worked really hard and saved us on many occasion. Almunia really impressed too. Even for the Xavi goal, i think he had it covered but for the unfortunate deflection off Sanga. Bendy will be re-living that moment at the end over and over I’m sure.

    The positives are there to see though, over the 2 legs, it was a very close contest. Much closer than everyone told us it would be back in Feb. We are now right up there against utd for the league, with them having to play probably 4 more matches than us (i’m assuming they progress to the semis here…) and also have injury problems. We have a much better chance of winning the league now, and the disappointment and unfairness that contributed to putting us out will hopefully spur on the players to go all out, guns blazing for the english double. We’ve seen some great responses to disappointment recently, and this can be the catalyst for great things. The lads should not be ashamed of themselves at all.

    Come on boys, let’s pick ourselves up and nail united at the weekend.

  10. Happy for Almunia though. It looks like he will be back in the side for a while, and he should be full of confidence after last night.

  11. Who knows if we would have qualified or not with 11 men but it would have been nice to find out. Diaby had a terrible game and the referee was a fucking wanker!

  12. Wilshere really stood our over the 2 legs eh?

    Our midfield 3 is really nailed on now. Cesc/Song/Wilshere. Hopefully for years to come.

  13. Were people watching this on Sky? Did everyone’s TVs survive? The most sickening analysis of a match i’ve seen. they may as well have got a team of spanish pundits in. It’s rare that i turn off, but had to after 10 minutes of listening to their shite.

  14. Even Keys and Gray and George Graham have siad they cant make a decision on arsenal improving cos we didnt get the chance. They knew we would come out in the second half.
    Anyhow, onward and upwards.

  15. 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?

  16. Marylamb and Jezza (the same cunt) – why don’t you fucking choke on some catalan cock. Surprised you can spell quadruple.

  17. Ateeb – Can’t be bothered carrying this on mate. If you think we were the better side, more power to you. Slighly worrying that you can’t admit/see what is right in front of you (distorted reality can be signs of mental illness). Not my issue though. Have a good day now.

    Jezza – Tis gone. Will just have to make do with the double now I suppose.

  18. Our poor record without Cesc was the main factor in him playing last night, but he wasn’t fit. If our game plan was to contain for 60 minutes and then go at them in the final 30 I can’t understand why we didn’t start with three deep midfielders. Start Denilson and let him Diaby and Wilsheer run themselves ragged chasing Barca, then make the positive substitutions on 60/70 minutes when they ease up, as in the first leg.

    Anyway 100% focus on the league now, and to be honest it will be very hard to take if we miss out on it, esspecially from the position we now find ourselves. Almost the entire team fit and highly motivated after last night.

  19. After reading most of the papers and blogs, it’s funny how the very same people who slag our team off for “lacking a killer instinct” in the final third are the ones who criticize our players for being dominated by Barcelona’s slick passing and dominance in possession.

    But as we know all too well when we play the likes of Stoke and Birmingham, slick passing and dominance in possession sometimes does not equal victory.

    The game plan was working perfectly. It was Muhammed Ali-like rope-a-dope that wore the opponent down. Except the “sting-like-a-bee” part was prevented by that utterly incompetent, bent ref.

    I’m not looking forward to OT where refs are similarly swayed (or paid).

    I’m sick of this sh#t.

  20. Anyone who thinks we were unlucky should see a doctor today.Even Stevie Wonder said Barca battered us.In over 45 years of watching Arsenal i have never seen a game in which we didnt have ONE SHOT.
    Was anyone really surprised we lost we were playing the greatest football team ever.Its one thing having that genius Messi but to have Iniesta and Xavi as well is taking the piss.We think we have good players in Cesc and Nasri but they are not as good as Barca’s 3
    If it hadnt been for Almunia playing the game of his life and awful finishing it could have been 8 or 9
    Last night was no disgrace we lost to the greatest team that has ever played football did you ever think you would see a Wenger team be reduced to just 24% possesion and not one shot on target the men in white coats would have been coming to get you.Thats how good these Barcelona team are.

  21. Barca were awful sneaky little cheats all night. At one point towards the end Villa fell on the ground in mortal agony and must have rolled over about ten fucking times. I thought someone in the stadium had shot him (possibly for the stupid bit of bum fluff below his lip. Grow a proper beard or shave it off man for f*cks off). It was so pitifully embarrassing even Drogba must have been sat somewhere shaking his head in disbelief at this lot.

    I have no respect for them at all. If you don’t win fair and square…you don’t win at all in my book. If they are really the “greatest team since time began” (you repeat something often enough it becomes fact)…they shouldn’t need the ref to tilt the game for them and resort to underhand play-acting themselves.

    Anyway. F*ck ’em.

    Nice write up YW. Thanks.

  22. i hate xavi.

    is it bad for me to wish that he get’s shawcrossed?

  23. Xavi es un maricón.

  24. Don’t think Wilshere was that great. For me it was big Al and Koscielny. There were long painful moments that our midfield didn’t exist.

  25. 1 loose cannon

    Here we go KELVIN is another stats git . If Bendtner shifted that ball to the right and smashed it into bottom corner everyone of you idiots would be saying stats don’t win you games. Despite all their possession it came down to few details. 4-3 aggregate on the night. one shot one goal that all it needed to go through.

  26. Like I said in yesterday’s comments, while the result is disappointing, I am mightily encouraged by the overall performance.

    One thing though, everyone seems to be surprised and outraged by the Barcelona players’ diving/cheating/whining. Have you never seen them play before? They have horrible cunts like Alves and Busquets who are at this week in week out, van Persie’s first yellow was inevitable once he waved his hand within ten feet of Alves. The only ones who don’t seem to be able to see this stuff are the referees, the sooner this air of infallibility of referees is removed and TV replays are post-game to make sure the right sanctions are given for diving etc. the better.

  27. I think we can take a lot of positives from last night. Firstly our ‘need’ for another CB crap must surely end after Kos and JD’s performances last night, both were amazing. Especially as they had very little protection from the midfield.

    Cesc wasn’t fit, why did he play? Did he convince the medical staff he was okay so he could play at the Camp Nou? If so he put his own desires before that of the team, I hope this isn’t the case.

    I still think that we needed Chamakh up front, whilst RVP is more likely you get you a goal, Chamakh is more of a nuisance and holds the ball up much better. I could tell how this game was going to go, we couldn’t hold the ball and spent a lot of the time hitting aimless clearances.

    I agree that Denilson would have been the better option at DM with Diaby better served in Cesc’s position.

  28. I wasn’t surprised at all Block. They have been like that for the last few seasons now. As if they need to. That Villa sextruple roll after Kos caught him would have been laughable – if I wasn’t so angry.

  29. drew10, had Denilson started and Diaby played instead of Cesc they’d be a “Wenger has lost it!” outcry.

  30. I feel refreshed by the humanity and sense of fair play by some posters on here.

    It is heartening to know that when we played Barca in the CL final a few ago, when Campbell put us into lead they all refused to celebrate as the free kick that led to the goal was won with a blatent dive by Eboue. In fact they all turned their backs on the celebrations by our players.

    What was that? They didn’t?

    Oh. 😉

  31. Ah, stats. they confuse me a bit.

    Stats that make Denilson look good – Good stats.
    Stats that say we got outplayed – Bad stats.

    I get it now.

  32. 1 loose cannon

    Kenyan- Almunia had no choice but to stop whatever comes at him and has done it well. But Wilshere took on the Barca players he could’ve gone in his shell at his age in such a big stage but quite the opposite he looked like a leader on the pitch. Hassled, tackled brawled. He ran his socks off without any fear and made a match winning pass to Bendtner. that is why he is MOTM for me.

  33. goonerandy, stop sticking it in. You do know that there’s a certain amount of hypocrisy allowed!

  34. Like other have mentioned, there is plenty of positives to take from last night.

  35. 1 loose cannon, fair enough. Can’t complain with your choice.

  36. kenyan – fair point

  37. goonerandy, plenty of people have got onEboue’s back about his antics. Even now when he does it a lot of the crowd are shouting at him to get up. Some player or ex-player in the media (sorry, can’t remember who) said recently that here it’s diving, over there it’s clever play. In that case our players need to be clever enough not to get drawn into it. However, over and above that, if the referees can’t see it then it could be simply eradicated by retrospective yellow cards being given out based on video evidence. As you know I’m not one for making excuses for our failings, but this issue does wind me up.

  38. We could have done with players of the mold of Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Bloody nostalgia!

  39. Barca are great playing their football but there’s also something very sinister about them. Their game plan seemed to include trying to get our players sent off.

    I don’t think it matters how we approached yesterday with personnel, formations, attitude because it seemed obvious from the start that Barcelona would get whatever was required to qualify.

    I have a horrible feeling that football has become so big, that it is no longer a fair contest.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it has already been decided that it will be a Barcelona v Chelsea final with Manchester Utd winning the FA Cup and either Chelsea or Man Utd to win the league.

    We don’t eat at the same table.

  40. Kenyan gunner, I just wonder what would have happened if we had played two up top and just kept hitting direct balls to them. No I know it isn’t how we play but at least the ball would have been in their half. We saw what a mess they are at defending in the air.

    We also know they are the best at the way we play so why not stop trying to out-play and do what lesser teams do to us?

  41. 1 loose cannon

    Goonerandy- Yes there are stats and stats. When you play a poor side you are expected to outplay them but when you are taking on Barcelona on their patch you have to face the fact that you cannot match them in their game so what do you do? You have no choice but to defend what you’ve got. Maybe you think we are better than them and we should have more possession, more shots. if that is the case then you need to think again. We did what we had to do and it almost worked in the end.

  42. Block4 – Don’t get me wrong, I agree with your post 100%, and the diving and whinging irritated me as much as anybody. Some people are just come over all self righteous about it though. We are not spot free when it comes to that sort of thing (no teams nowadays are, to be fair).

  43. drew10, remember Wimbleton winning the fa cup in the ’80s using such tactics. Wasn’t pretty at all, but they won!

  44. 1loosecannon – “Maybe you think we are better than them and we should have more possession, more shots. if that is the case then you need to think again”

    I don’t, and agree 100% with what you have said. In fact it was my point all along; they are a better team than us (nothing wrong with that of course, they are better than everybody at the moment). What you have said, is exatcly my point, but other disagreed and think we were the better side.

  45. “Whatever, the result stands and Arsenal kick on from here in the two remaining competitions to be won. Injustice can be a useful weapon psychologically; Arsène needs to use it to motivate the team forwards.”

    Yes. Last night sowed a whirlwind which I hope Manure reaps.

    The referee was in their favour. We were playing them at their home. And yet, at 1-1, we were going to win the tie. As AW says, they had gambled on a fast start, but had not been able to get enough goals to put the tie beyond us. Then the main thing we had going for us – being able to outlast them – was taken away from us by an outrageously bad decision.
    They are better at football than we are. For now. But we are close to them and they know this. Presumably this is why they dive and cheat and foul and try to get players booked, while fouling us repeatedly. If you’re so superior, why do you need to do that? I respect their football ability but everything else about their team and club is despicable.

  46. goonerandy was being slated here earlier (particularly yesterday’s post) for saying that barcelona were the better side in the 2nd leg – while giving a fair analysis of the game. He wasn’t denying that they were cheating or the ref changed the game, and he wasn’t saying that we were shit. If Arsenal had played like Barca did last night, we would all be in agreement that we deserved to progress to the next round. When other people say the same things it’s fine… some on here are very fickle.

    Not dooming, just trying to be balanced.

  47. If you think of it players such as Diaby, Fabregas, Wilshere, Denilson,Song, Nasri and even Ramsey are very good in possession football. It’s just that none of them is the finished article yet. But we’ll get there!

  48. FG – spot on.

  49. I wonder why people keep mentioning denilson’s name and his passing abilities. Are u saying he a better at it than wilshere or samir? The way barca play would have nulified denilson.he can’t do much with the ball when pressured and we know barca do that all over the pitch

  50. 1 loose cannon

    Drew- Good point they looked really shaky at the back specially dealing with high balls. If it was Birmingham or Stoke they would have exploited that big time, the towel, the lot. But we don’t play like that. We don’t do Mourinho and we certainly don’t do Stoke. We did what we can do, sadly it didn’t work out and the sending off didn’t help either.

  51. Had the tie-winning chance we had at the death fallen to RVP, we all know it would have been straight past Valdes, no first touch, net bulging – victory in spite of blatant corruption. Feel sorry for NB52. And how many chances would we have had with XI men on the pitch playing in an open tie? Lots. Anyone doubts that is an absolute mug. Go watch the first leg again.

    We should have seen a great game last night. Times like this I really am sickened by football. Hidesouly corrupt… so, so easy to scupper a game.

    Positive: RVP with that sort of fire in his belly, with that sort injustice behind him – he can win us the league.

  52. I also don’t think that it’s a coincidence that our 19 year old Briton had more fight than everyone else. Even big Al and Koscielny, who were the top players for me, didn’t have Wilshere’s passion.

  53. Goonerandy, if you have nothing good to say…….. seriously.
    You are bringing us down. You have got to be the biggest drag ever.

  54. 1 loose cannon, Exactly we don’t play like that, which is exactly why we should have done. Earlier in the season we were mixing our game up, sometimes going long to Chamakh I said even before the game we could have done with our two big lumps up front to really push them back. Sadly we tried to go like-for-like and they are simply much better at it than we are right now.

  55. 1 loose cannon

    Gooneranddy- No one is saying we were better than them on the night, it just get on my nerves when people bring on the stats to prove that we are a bad team. We are not a bad team, we play our football according to the opponents ability but last night we simply had no choice but to sacrifice possession in return that we stay in the game and we did . We almost snatched it with ten men in the end. So we should be proud of the team and putting them down is not going to get us anywhere.

  56. “It is heartening to know that when we played Barca in the CL final a few ago, when Campbell put us into lead they all refused to celebrate as the free kick that led to the goal was won with a blatent dive by Eboue. In fact they all turned their backs on the celebrations by our players.”

    What was that? They didn’t?”

    Bollocks. Every team get those type of decisions in their favour from time to time. You take those rare moments I’ll admit. Yes all fans are guilty of certain amount of hypocrisy. Our players do not dive and roll around all the f*cking time though. If you are seriously comparing that one Eboue incident with the relentless theatrics of the Barca players then you are clutching at straws to contrive an argument.

    We have been at the wrong end of some soul destroying “decisions” by officials already this season…….last night was the icing on the whole shitty cake.

    But yeah the good things from last night…..a great defensive display, Almunia was immense and we now have a seriously amped up RVP.


  57. goonerwife – If you read my posts I have mentioned plenty of positives from last night. In fact, I have not mentioned one negative (please correct me if I am wrong here). As Geo alluded to a few posts ago, because I am more than willing to discuss the negatives as well as the positives, my posts often get “jumped on” and any positive I mention simply gets ignored.

    It does not bother me particularly, but it does seem to be the case.

  58. Have to say that I think detecting passion can be quite a subjective undertaking, KG. And I reckon that Wilshere’s nationality is pretty coincidental as well.

  59. Champions League press reaction: ‘Arsenal betrayed their style’

    And then they moan about us not having a plan b.

    I cannot understand these ‘middle of the road’ Arsenal fans. F*ck barca the diving, cheating scum.

  60. Got to get on with some work really, so am gonna cheat and paste my post from earlier. Pretty much all i’ve got to say now… Have a good one all. Peace.

    “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.”

  61. Who the ‘better team’ was on the night doesn’t even come close to being relevant, measurable, or up for any sort of discussion. One team had it in the bag from the outset. Check Bussacca’s bank account once all this settles down and you’ll find him a very well-heeled fellow in deed. Utterly fucking robbed.

    We contained, manfully – it was working. Then we conceded, change of gameplan, we attack. We score. We’re drawing the game, winning the tie and in the dirver’s seat. One more break, RVP put through once more and we’re throuhh. Then the suckerpunch. Lo and behold. Fucking disgrace. Legs taken out from under us. Best player gone. See you later, CL.

    We were absolutely robbed. Better team never comes into it.

    If you want to wank off over Barcelona fuck off and do it on a Barcelona site.

    Danny Alves is the fucking Devil in carnate and needs skinning, cooking and chucking off a huge fucking cliff.

  62. Thanks for that YW, nice blog with RSD & Goonerholic too.

    Goonerandy trolls with the breeze.
    If Trevor Francis says a shot is straight at Big Al, it is. Even though a simple replay will tell anyone willing to use their own brain, that it wasn’t.
    Pure gr*t.

  63. Robbed Van Persie!!

  64. 1loosecannon – Then we agree. I have never once said that we are a bad team (simply because we are not), and like you feel proud of the team despite the rsult last night. The stats show (was not me that brought them up by the way) that we were outplayed. No shame there, it happened to be by an excellent football team who would have beaten anybody last night.

  65. Agreed Alves is a cock, did you know he has his own name tattooed on his chest, that really says it all eh?

  66. Came within a whisker, and that with 10 men, i have no doubt had the ref not interviend we would have gone through, Wenger got his tactics spot on yesterday, just the ref spoilt them tactics.

  67. Flint McCullough

    “That ref will not officiate another match in this years champions league, and that’s as much an admission of wrongdoing as we’re likely to get from UEFA”
    Sorry but it more or less guarantees him the final like that Swedish cunt who cheated us at L’pool.

    It is frankly hard to take football seriously anymore with the kind of refereeing we have seen over the last several seasons, let alone recent weeks. So many ludicrous decisions effecting so many outcomes to important matches. The fact that Howard Webb got the WCF tells you all you need to know.

  68. B52 is the kind of striker that is useful if are dominating the game and creating awful lot chances. When scoring opportunities are harder to come by than snow in hell,he is just useless.

  69. 1 loose cannon

    Drew – Agree I have no problem if Wenger decides to do a Stoke from time time but it is hard to master two styles.If you do training on both styles you would probably master neither. Stoke are good at what they do because that is all they do in training. We saw Barcelona hardly lifted the ball of the ground even their corners were played short because that all they do in training.

  70. Fuck the fukin stats. fukin joke, we were always going to get oufukinplayed. never in doubt the only thing we could do was grind out a result, which we would have but for the ref. daylight fukin robbery.

  71. Barcelona’s whinging and diving was a fucking discrace. Why is it acceptable for grown men to act in this way? I actually sick to death of European football, too much hype, cheating and whinging.
    Bloody proud of some of our lads though. Wilshere and Kos have immense futures in front of them and I was so chuffed for Almunia, that performance must have meant a lot to him. I really think we are going to come back strong after this.

  72. Proud of our boys today.

  73. Can you imagine how much the press would have been wanking over the performance from Kos had he been £35M and playing for Chelskum?

  74. OneOfUs, when George Bernard Shaw was asked why one of his characters in “Ceasar and Cleopatra” had modern British characteristics he said that character is defined by environment. There’s a certain drive in the British which I observe in players like Wilshere, lampard, Terry, Gerrard, Tony Adams – who I loved – among others. Of course the latter players have less technical ability than wilshere. But they all share a certain grit!

  75. @ Harry Flowers | March 9, 2011 at 11:44 am |

    Well said. It’s like the cheating is as much their game as the passing and pressing.

  76. Not gonna lie guys, but I’d feel wholly better about that red card if it was for socking Alves in the face. In for a penny, in for a pound.

  77. As much as I couldn’t give a toss about the FA Cup, I fully expect our lads to utterly destroy United at the weekend. After a disappointemt like last night there is only one way a true professional can respond. With focus and righteous fury. I would expect no less.

    Regardless of who the 12th man at Old Trafford is.

  78. The Spectator once claimed that that English grit was what was destroying the English game. A failure to move on. In Wilshere we see the fight aided by technical ability!

  79. Limpar – “Danny Alves is the fucking Devil in carnate and needs skinning, cooking and chucking off a huge fucking cliff”

    Heh, I will agree with that.

    Finsbury – If “trolling” equates to not agreeing with your somewhat questionable views, then I am bang to rights of course.

  80. I am not angry I am furious. The game was going our way ( that wasn’t in the script was it sky sports) up steps the ref game over. The thing that sticks in my throat is the glee that the pundidts on sky sports took out of the result. They could hardly contain themselves.

  81. We just need to wait for UEFA to charge Wenger now. I will be amazed if they don’t. I hope (and think he will) he stands 100% behind his comments to the ref, regardless of what he actually said.

  82. First leg, Barca had the possession but lacked the finish. We had less possession but looked dangerous and had the finish when it mattered. So it was a close game in many respects but we were able to impose some of our strengths and hence win the game. We had our best players, fully fit, playing well and we beat Barca – thats an achievement and a defining moment of The Grove.

    Last night was about limiting Barcas chances because its nigh on impossible to limit their possession. We did that quite well in the first half, right up until the 47th minute. A sucker punch.

    We all know Barca are an awesome passing and pressing team. No other team in the world do both quite as well. There are on a level all of their own. You cannot outdo their passing, simply cannot be done. And the way they pass means its equally difficult to harry them to win back the ball. And even if you do, their own pressing kicks straight in if they lose it.

    So i thought we did quite well defensively in really the only few ways you can. But the flipside is that 1 mistake is most always very costly. And thats what happened first half.

    Where we failed in the game was to keep possession long enough to allow our forward players to get at their defenders. We didnt have the zip or accuracy to bypass their pushed on midfielders and counter.

    T o beat Barca you need to make them worry about getting at their defense, because then you will most likely have bypassed their midfield enough to make them redundant and be man on man (2 on 2, 3 on 3) against their defense.

    This is where we were failed totally in the first half. It looked like it might be happening in the second half but then was stopped dead again when RVP got sent off. We managed it one or twice when down to 10 (Bendtner chance) but thats simply not good enough. Maybe with 11 men and RVP on to that chance it might have been diferent, who knows.

    BUT for all the good we did in the first game, we couldnt do it at all in the second game last night. And we all know it only needs a few moments of quality in a game to turn it on its head. But the players didnt have it in them last night and were also removed from the game by a terrible decision so as they couldnt even have the chance to. Thats the shame here.

    Outpassed and outshot by a top top team on top of their game. Thats the reality. We have a way to go to get to their level. But i will say we gotta keep playing the way we do, because thats the ONLY way we will ever get to that level.

  83. Good write-up,
    interesting comments from fellow Gooners.
    By the way YW,sorry to be picky mate,but it’s ‘champing’ at the bit,not’chomping’……………..don’t get pissy,thought I’d point it out !

  84. I just don’t see it, KG. I think that kind of desire varies from person to person, and nationality doesn’t enter into it. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a celebration more passionate than Szczesny’s when we took the lead in the home leg.

    Just looking at Barcelona (spits on ground), Carles Puyol gives everything and puts his body on the line for 90 minutes. And he’s meant to be one of them there sneaky Catalan types!

    In Britain it’s the “passionate” players who stand out because we don’t produce enough players who can win with skill. Our only hope is to try to cultivate a fearless attitude and fill our national sides with players who never stop running (even when they should slow down and think) and don’t give up.

    But how about the WC in 2010 – I’d say England was the most feckless, insipid bunch at the whole tournament.

  85. Inter Milan were out passed and out possessioned! by Barca so what the fuck does that mean. means nowt. we nearly done the cunts with 10 men. heroic stuff. had rvp been on we would have scored again. fukin media saying the red didnt matter . fukin balls. meant everything. if ever there was a game changing decision that was it.

  86. 1 loose cannon

    Bella talking of glee . I Saw Leneker and Venebales on a foreign channel all smiles cracking jokes calling Arsenal ( Mini me). It made me sick. Leneker surprised me the most . on the BBc he tries to be neutral but on a foreign channel they thought they can get away with any crap and they enjoyed themselves on our expense.

  87. 1 loose cannon

    agree Duke

  88. I’m having to type on a shitty iphone in my car cause I’m I’ll and my house is being fumigated.

    not seen the game yet because virgin happen to be a bunch of arseholes I thought this was definitely a game for Denilson and I was surprised to hear Diaby started but whatever. I’m only on here to say I want barca next year – cause fuck them! They ain’t beating us again without a suitcase full of money

    I had a ton of texts from some filthy mancs about the zero shots. I had to remind them about last year at old Trafford where they had 3 shots all game and the only one on target was the penalty. Let’s hope for a half decent ref!

    It seems crazy though. Refereeing seems to be the only profession where errors are expected and subsequently ignored. Most industry seek to eliminate errors with the use of anything and everything so it’s utterly bemusing to know FIFA et al do nothing. The world of football needs a c’oup as much as Libya!

  89. Ace, you’re going too far calling B52 useless. He was winning balls in the air steady when he came on and with a little more support up front would have made a real difference.

  90. jonnygunner

    Not getting ‘pissy’ (whatever that may be) but try this one:

    Just saying, like, you know.


  91. Lineker and Venables are both Barca remember. And both ex spuds, they will have been doubly happy last night.

    The inbred twats.

  92. I expected BBB to roll about the place, for Arsenal to have to defend with a little luck and grit. But not for the ref to do that!
    I expected Cesc to not be at his game, and that Denilson should maybe have started.

    Unlike some of the trolls here, I am happy to accept when I get it wrong (which isn’t very often, unlike the troll above), to be ridiculed by Polizano. Plenty of evidence in the archives for that.
    Grit arsed liars, these trolls are.

  93. No shame in being outplayed by Barca, they will outplay everyone. Being able to limit their chances is where you focus. BUT you also need the quality going forward when you get the chance. Teams like stoke etc will get free kicks, corners and then load players into the box. Thats their tactic. We dont use that so much, but it can be effective. Personally i dont like that, i like to see a team play football, not percentage ball – to create the chance by good football and not prey of mistakes or lose balls. Sure you take those when they come, but dont play all the time in the hope that they come. Always look to create not scavenge.

    That being said though, theres a lot to be said from being drilled at dead ball situations for when the football is a little flat.

  94. Gadget, another shining example of why technology has no place in football. It would stamp out the corruption and we can’t have that.

  95. Yes Duke.

    Very proud.

  96. Finsbury – Please explain why my posts are “trolling”. I post both positive and negative about the team. I just say things as I see them. You might not agree with some of my views on hte team, but that doesn’t really make me a troll does it? It seems to me that labeling people as “trolls”, just highlights your inability to consider somebody else’s opinion.

    It says more about you than it does me my dense little friend.

  97. @ Gonnerandy 12.01
    And don’t forget RVP for his comments about the ref. UEFA will have a field day.

  98. Goonerandy,

    My bad.
    You are too ‘dense’ too use a dictionary?

  99. 1 loose cannon

    Alves admitted “Perhaps this was our most difficult game so far in the Champions League this season but we have Messi and he’s on a superior level to anyone else,”
    Why did he say that? because he knows we had a plan, made it difficult for them and we almost punished them in the end. But what he forgot to mention is they had the ref too.

  100. Any gooner must surely see how we were close to getting the grinding result we needed untill the ref saw off rvp.! how can any fukin real gooner say we were out done or out classed or the favourite among the talk shite gooners , lost our bottle! clueless. again we didnt need any shots on goal and Wenger didnt give a fuck about it, we got our goal we defended admirably. We parked our fiat cincequento and it held out and i believe it would have with 11 of us.

    even if it didnt ,how does anyone know now. we scored from a set piece and could have again. all this ,well we would have been done anyway is bullshit assumptions and going on the fact that after 140 mins of football we were still in the lead is surely more evidence that we could have held on.

  101. Borges Spinelli

    Every dog has their day…

    With hindsight, Fàbregas was without a doubt better-off not starting AT ALL. Denilson and/or Arshavin or Bendtner would have shown much more testicular fortitude in his home city, against his lifelong team and friends.

    Please note, usually I’m not one to criticize any player who pulls on an Arsenal jersey, not to mention our illustrious el captaino; but it has to be said, we played with 10 men from the onset. Injury robbed him of any dogmatic display. And after van Persie received his contentious marching orders from the generous ‘ref’, that easily became 9 men against 11 opposing players + an insalubriously biased referee + Barcelona fans. Inevitably we were doomed to fail.

    Still I took pride in watching my team attempt to scrap, despite all else that had occurred last night. It pains me when we lose under such maladroit circumstances. Nonetheless, I remain eternally rooted in my support for my wonderful team. Nothing can/will ever separate the indomitable LOVE of ARSENAL from my heart.

    One thing is for sure, better days are on the horizon.

  102. Heh, just rushing at work. Not answered my question though.

  103. Finsbury, is that directed at me as well as goonerandy??

  104. Finsbury – Just checked (you might want to too). It seems that you are double dense.

  105. Exactly Duke. If you watched the first leg you’ll know that the only stats that matter are that we were a goal ahead before the sending off, conceeded two after it, but another goal would still have seen us through and we’d have had a better chance at it with 11 men. I agreed with Souness when he said Van Persie was a spectator in the first half, but that was part of the bigger plan anyway ffs. When someone suggested his sending off didn’t matter it was just too much.

  106. GA clearly isnt a troll he just happens to be wrong on this occasion.

  107. Out-played? Out classed? Do me a fucking favour you fawning fuckin idiots.
    Robbed and ye don’t even know it.

    …dukeGoonem knows.

  108. Geo.

    He’s trolling. Buy hey, apparently posters on ACLF don’t ever disagree, according to Goonerandy.
    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  109. That was a fantastic comment from Mean Lean last night as well.


  110. duke – Heh, very good 🙂

    I do think we were outplayed, but so what?. We could not get the ball from them, and when we did we could not keep it. But as I have said, against this current Barca side that is no great shame. We did not look like scoring at all. Things may have been different had RvP remained on the pitch, but for all we know he game could have just carried on as it was.

  111. @ DukeGoonem
    Well said.

  112. by the way anyone else think that this team are better equiped in europe then the team we had with Viera, Henry and co? at least we now go out to the best and not the likes of psv and Valencia.

  113. Finsbury – I don’t get your post mate. “Buy hey, apparently posters on ACLF don’t ever disagree, according to Goonerandy”. I know full well that there are plently of disagreements.

    Limpar – If the roles had been reversed and we not not let Barca hardly out of their own half, stopped them from taking any shots on goal, are you seriously saying that you would not be crowing how we outplayed them? Do me a favor.

  114. @ duke.

  115. Markus,all im saying is in a game like that where goal scoring chances are rarer than a virgin in a maternity ward,b52 is well nigh useless to get you a goal.

  116. and how was that GA, we were in front remember! we already scored from a corner after a great run from Nasri, so we could have done i t again. we still nearly nicked it at the end so imagine with 11 on.

    we let them outplay us. like chelsea and the wancs do to us. no one ever says we were the better team when we have 70% possesion against chelsea.

  117. Yeah, I remember we bossed possession, missed a couple of sitters and sparked pandemonium in the Chelsea box at the away game last year; they scored one wonder goal, and one absolute freak, and still AW was ridiculed for even suggesting that we were closing the gap on them.

  118. OneOfUs at 12:05. Of course this nationality stuff is in a very broad sense. But to say : “But how about the WC in 2010 – I’d say England was the most feckless, insipid bunch at the whole tournament.” Now that’s funny. Always like a guy who can laugh at himself!

  119. Duke – “and how was that GA, we were in front remember! we already scored from a corner after a great run from Nasri, so we could have done i t again. we still nearly nicked it at the end so imagine with 11 on.

    we let them outplay us. like chelsea and the wancs do to us. no one ever says we were the better team when we have 70% possesion against chelsea.”

    Nasri’s run into their half was few and far between. We had one half cahnce at the end. They had plenty of shots on target, a nailed on pen turned down, and countless forays into our area, and the vast majoity of posession. From that, I think they outplayed us. All these if’s and could’s hold no water because they could say exactly the same thing.

    When we have that type of possesion against anybody, let alone Chelsea 95% of people on here (rightly) say we were the better team.

    I really don’t get why people can’t bring themselvs to admit that we were outplayed? It is not some sort of henious crime. The important thing was to defend well if we were to be outplayed, and we did that excellently.

    What would be your definition of ouplayed?

  120. OOU – And from your example would you have said that we were the better side and bossed the game?

  121. 1 loose cannon

    Wenger said “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”
    now you can understand Wenger’s plan ljust like we did in the first game . We let them tire then heat them in the second half. It almost woeked but sasdly a ref decided to take matters in his own hand and decide the game.

  122. 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.

  123. goonerandy, what really pissed me off was the way Barcelona dominated the game. Not even the red card. But if we can keep this squad together and continue growing we’ll turn the table on them in a couple of years.

  124. We took a lead into this match, so we could afford to soak up some pressure. I thought we were comfortable until the sending off, GA. Everything hinged on that in my view.

  125. Andy, duke is admitting that we let them outplay us. You’ve quoted it in your own reply for gods sake. Not many people would argue that we weren’t outplayed but that isn’t the point, so stop spouting the same shite you heard from pundits after the game last night.

  126. Nobody (excepting people here) wants to mention that with 10 men we moved the ball out of our own area much more effectively and you could see we were hurting for that one forward placed player to turn a a break into something in their area. The sending off killed us plain and simple.

    Add that to the atrocious attitude of Barcelona’s cunt players and fans and it’s a bitter taste. Very bitter indeed.

  127. yes we were outplayed, but my point is we were always going to be outplayed , its a non stat. you could have said we were outplayed at 6pm yesterday. means nowt, the point is we were getting the result. thats the only point. all them misses and luck with the pens just made it more likely that it was our day to grind it out….till the ref decided otherwise. Do you think then we were always in for a spanking even if rvp never got booted off??

  128. The point is people who come on an Arsenal site after we have been fucking mugged and harp on about how great the muggers were are fucking mugs.

    I’m with Finsbury, WUM or wanker – not sure which.

  129. Some fans moan about not being able to ‘grind out a result’, when we are doing just that they say we are outplayed. Wankers the lot of them.

  130. Kenyan – Yeah, I agree with that.

    Markus – Duke might well be admitting that, but Duke does not know that does he? Asene himself said before the game we would attack them. We are not a team set up to sit back, and it is not in our players nature to do so. Barca simply did not let us get on our game with their high intesity closing down. They stopped us playing, and then played their own game. I could not tell you what the pundits said last night as I rarely even watch their drivel (and didn’t last night).

  131. Duke.

    Using YW’s favourite term, Arsenal nearly suceeded in using the ‘rope-a-dope’ trick.

    Looks like you have!

  132. Danish Gooner

    This team is on its usual downward spiral and it will be concluded on saturday night.

  133. Duke – “yes we were outplayed, but my point is we were always going to be outplayed ”

    That is all I have said from the start. Only to be told I was in the wrong (not by you I might add).

  134. Your post was excellent until you started second guessing the managers choices for the line up. Then your postulation was off the mark. This is the problem for most fans……protecting their idols.

    Diaby and Rosicky were not at the heart of our loss. It was Cesc and vP. Neither should have played. We played IX v XI.

    Cesc and vP, 2 players who could not chase the ball, win a tackle, or make possession for Barca difficult.

    Match over and time to move on, but nonetheless a poor decision by our manager to ponder the rest of his life.

  135. Limpar – Neither.

  136. Dude, seriously. We were never going to play our normal attacking game. Our plan was soak up pressure for 60 minutes then hit them when they tire and space becomes available.

    Wenger said a few days before the game:

    “We will have to [play another way] because it’s one of the few games where we will spend 60 per cent of the time defending… We prefer to attack that is for sure, but we can defend when we have to.”

  137. Markus – I thought we did defend well asl well. by the skin of our teeth somtimes, but we were very good as a defnsive unit.

  138. I think my keyboard is dyslexic.

  139. goonerandy | March 9, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    “Happy for Almunia though. It looks like he will be back in the side for a while, and he should be full of confidence after last night.”
    I must say: What an effen, bloomin hypocritical statement. Search the archives for the anti-Almunia diatribes by this self-appointed expert on goalkeepers.

  140. Shotta – You post highlights the problem with many of the insular posters here. I have been critical of Almunia in the past, and I stand by those comments. However, I have always said I will call things as I see them. And last night he was excellent; I have nothing personally against the guy.

    Why is that hypocritical?

  141. The point is GA. the media are now using the “we were outplayed” as a stick to slag us off. when we always were going to be outplayed, no one outplays barca at the nou camp. you have to beat them a different way which we were.

  142. Stats like possession and attempts are useful, but limited. In the first half, Barca had 2 legitimate scoring chances, and scored on one of them. Prior to the sending off, they also had a third genuine chance. So, 55 mins through the match: they have converted 1 out of 3 quality chances, and they have made a hideous defensive error for an own goal on an uncontested header.

    They are deflated. They KNOW that Arsenal finishes stronger than they do. They expended amazing amounts of energy on possession, but their own errors have led to a 1-1 scoreline (sound familiar, gunners?). From 53-57 min, you can see Arsenal starting to push. It’s all to play for now.

    Then RvP gets sent off for nothing. All stats after that are meaningless.

  143. I’ve only skimmed the comments but got the gist.

    It was all downhill after my lunch in the sun, defeat to barca and then a new crown at the dentist this morning.

    It seemed a pretty standard defeat for us this season, one that comprises three elements.

    First, some stupid actions by one or two players, Cesc showboating and RVP, yes, RVP for falling into the trap of responding to the barca provocation in the first half.

    Second, a referee that defended every barca player while ignoring assaults on Jack and Nasir. A referee who went on to prove he was the pillock that we all suspected already by sending off Robin when we were in our strongest position in the tie.

    Third, and here’s where it gets controversial, because we didn’t play to our strengths. For me defeat was always going to be very hard to avoid once we decided that we couldn’t match barca at all at playing football and tried to ‘park the bus’ . A couple of reasons why this wasn’t a good idea.

    First, we have no experience of doing it and we don’t really have the players, witness the unbalanced team selection last night. Second, we ignore our strengths which are passing, movement and scoring goals, that is how we beat barca in the first leg, basically we outplayed them. We didn’t try to do that last night.

    This last one is what gets me. We can say all we like about us being treated differently by the media in thier response to us ‘parking the bus’ as opposed to how they treat, say, Birminghamdoing the same against us. Fair enough. If RVP wasn’t sent off then we might have prevailed. Fair point as well. Barca are a bunch of whining bitches. Definitely fair enough. However, can anyone here honestly say that they would be happy with a display like that by Arsenal?

    We had an argument on here very recently about playing football ‘properly’. Did we ever try and do that last night? What would have made us better than Stoke or Birmingham playing at the Emirates if we had succeeded to beating barca that way?

    What upset and confused me, is why the best side in Britain can’t square upto the best side in Spain or even Europe? Are they really so much better than us. I’ve never thought so.

    Apparently Arsenal do though. Appparently, they are so much better that we changed our entire style of play in an attempt to negate them. Just like we moan about the mancs doing. I hated that.

    Poistives? If the back four and keeper play like that for the rest of the season then we will definitely win the Premiership.

  144. why do you bother Shoota? hes gonna change opinoin agin tomorrow. this man changes opinions quicker than the rest of us change underwear.

  145. Duke – Fair points, but none of my comments today have anything to with the media. Nor have I been cricical of the team (the opposite in fact). I happened to mention exactly what you said (that we had been outplayed), only to be told that I was wrong…blah, blah, blah.

  146. @consol they are not that much better. Without the refs help they are maybe 5% better. With the refs help they become 20%better. a team 5% better you can deal with. a team 20% better is hard to deal with.

  147. poodle – Only I have not changed any of my opinions have I?

  148. I have to gag when I read on this blog even ex-English colonials (40 years on) celebrating grit and passion of their former colonial masters. What f*cking bullshit. If you don’t have talent combined with spirit and self-believe you won’t survive at the top-level of any sport no matter your nationality. In us Jamaicans are subject to the cliche that we are easy-going and lack drive. What a pile of shite! Think again if you believe all our successful olympians over the past 40 plus years (McKenley, Wint, Quarrie, Bolt and the various women gold-medallists) were simply talented and did not work super hard with passion and self-believe to eventually break world records and stand proud as gold-medallists.
    Can we dispense with this grit and passion nonsense when it comes to AFC?

  149. consolsbob – Interesting post.

  150. Drogba says it all.

  151. consols, if you watch how we’ve played Barca successfully, you’ll notice that we try to absorb pressure for the first 60 and hit them when they tire. The plan was working to perfection, until their 12th man stepped up in the 57th minute.

    I also think our tactics were limited by Cesc and RvP not being fully fit, not having Theo’s speed as an outlet, and most importantly our fatigue after a grueling and deflating match on Saturday.

  152. does anyone REALLY like watching Barca play footiee? pass pass dive dive yell scream roll pass pass yell roll dive roll pass pass?! give me a good premiership match anyday than watching that lot of cheating babies. The ref was frightened by the screaming catalans and changed the outcome of the game. barca might have had 80% of possession – pass pass pass yell scream dive etc – but not many real chances on goal until RVP was off. go Gunners – we are the best

  153. Shotta – No responce? Thought not.

  154. “I also don’t think that it’s a coincidence that our 19 year old Briton had more fight than everyone else.”

    I’m with shotta. What utter bullshit.

  155. Nationality has nothing to do with grit and determination. Some players have more of it than others, simple as that.

    I think the (incorrect) assumption is that players are either good technically, or they are determined. As many of the foreign players tend to have better technique than the Britsh players, if must be that they have less grit. Idiotic black and white thinking.

  156. “Shotta – No responce? Thought not.”

    Andy, I hate to break this to you, but many times people stop responding to you because it becomes very boring. Just because you outwork everyone in the discussion (especially after losses, it should be noted), it doesn’t mean you “won” the point. You just get too boring to respond to any more.

  157. I agree that that is how we have the last tie nola and maybe we would have this time as well. We can’t know.

    What I don’t like is this seeming acceptance that barca, in fcat any side, is so much better than we are.

    That is not how we usually talk of Arsenal on this site. You just do not play a high risk game of containment against a skilled attacking side for 60 minutes if you have an alternative means of playing in your arsenal. Like it or not, despite the terrific defending, barca could have scored on more than one occasion in the first hour. That’s the risk you take by those tactics.

    The fact that they nearly came off doesn’t make me feel any happier about them.

  158. Wenger and Nasri have been charged by UEFA for comments made to the ref.

  159. Cbob I think you are being way too harsh on the team. Theo and Song are important players in our ability to play our game, without them we had to adapt especially since it turns out Cesc was not really fit enough and both he and Arsene let their hearts rule their heads. We may be the best team in the PL, but we are also 4 years younger on average than them. I doubt very much that the plan was to defend for 90+ mins, rather we needed to keep it tight until they started to tire and then spaces would have opened up for us to play our usual game. Sometimes you have to take a few hits while you earn the right to play your game. You also don’t seem to be taking into account that we were the away team. Had we deliberately set up to play like that at home with all our best players fit and available I might agree with your point. Under the circumstances last night, a more pragmatic gameplan made sense to me

  160. Consols, I’m with you on that. I don’t like seeing it, but I don’t think it was as intentional as you make it out. I think we genuinely had a lot of trouble keeping possession in the first half. That’s less tactics than performance.

  161. consolsbob – To be honest, I am not sure how much of us sitting back was planned, and how much of it was enforced by their pressing. We just could not get control of the ball for any period of time to get out of our half.

    That may have changed as the game wore on of course, but we will never know for certain.

  162. I’m with Wenger, i’m convinced had RVP stayed on we would have gone through, no two ways about it.

  163. goonerandy am a manure fan and not so sure if I should be commenting on this thread but cudn’t help noticing u were the only sensible looser i have ever met. Keep on dreaming gooners, the theater of dreams will wake u up come saturday.

    Go Barca, lets play the final again and this time its wembly

  164. If ‘english grit’ were all it’s needed to be succesful in football,i guess england ll be world champions.i luv arsenal bc of the flair. Grit to me is lampard,terry,gerrard,rooney,hufin and pufin and hoping a goal is scored while at it.

  165. Fuck off, motonews. Learn to spell while you’re gone, cunt.

  166. Do Manure fans really call themselves “Manure Fans”?

    How odd.

  167. Borges Spinelli

    Shotta | March 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    “I have to gag when I read on this blog even ex-English colonials (40 years on) celebrating grit and passion of their former colonial masters. What f*cking bullshit. If you don’t have talent combined with spirit and self-believe you won’t survive at the top-level of any sport no matter your nationality.”

    Colonial mentality is deeply rooted, my friend. You only have to gauge the attitudes of those at the political/socio-economic/media helm in Britain, towards nations perceived to be less like them, to see their warped superiority-sense, perfectly demonstrated (citing the cases of Libya, Egypt, Iraq and sub-Saharan Africa.)

    Little wonder when footstools begin to believe the propaganda of their supposedly, former conquistadors. Sport is no exception.

  168. I would have known he was a manc by his inability to spell.

    Well, we differ on this occasion Passenal.

    They had a makeshift central defence. It would have been nice to see wether we could have exploited that.

    If we couldn’t respond to barca, then they really are so much better than us.
    I understand the age business but, no, not as an explanation.

    Youth will have it’s day.

  169. I was once impressed with barca football, no longer though, they are a collection of arrogant footballers who believe they have the god given right to win (I might add at any cost), unfortunately the referree’s believe this (see chelsea match), the spanish press believe this, the english press believe this (again can i just add the english media and so called football pundits are a disgrace .. they don’t even support arsenal when we play non englsih based teams). On to our Captain I feel that everytime he plays against his mates he is intimidated (it could be something else) and never performs to the best of his ability. I’m now of the mindset that he should leave arsenal (this is not a knee jerk reaction). I feel his time with us is now up and I wish him all the best We should sell him for 45 -50 million. WE have other playerswho could captain arsenal Van Persie/Nasri have the passion, and the fight.. one of them should be the captain. We also have other players who can step up their game Nasri, Wiltshire, Song, Van Persie, CHamack and a long list of talented players on loan or in the reserves. When Cesc goes to Barca I believe it will be a similar situation to Helb… i.e. always benchwarming, cesc will get swallowed up in the barca machine and like Hleb, Flamini, etc etc will just be a foot note in arsenal history and not the legend we all hoped he’d be….. The legends will be in Song, Nas, Van Persie, Jack, Wolechek, Ramssey, Walcott, Jet, Eastman, Kos, Dijouri and TV when he comes back in fact include all the players who have the fight passion, skill intellegence and grittiness…. AINT THAT THE EFFIN TROOF


  171. YogI thanks for a great post. I have always thought and still do think that talking about conspiracy and bias is counterproductive in almost all case but this time trying to deny bias is just as dumb as using that as an excuse in some other cases. That sending off was the single worst decision I have ever seen.

    Our plan was to defend our lead and I assume we planned to hit them on the counter attack. To me that was the perfect game plan. I thought our defense and Almunia were brilliant. JD/Kos and the whole backline were organized and they defended like their lives depended on it. They were undone by the back heel from hell and the sending off. Kudos to Arsene for doing something out of our comfort zone and kudos to our defense for executing that plan despite how foriegn it is to our nature. No clue what would have happened without the red card but it would have been nice to see.

    I am disappointed that we were not able to execute the 2nd part of the plan. Before the game started I really thought we could hit them on the break. Our passing was terrible. Distasteful as it sounds I wish we would have hit a few long balls. I am sure RVP could have skinned Bisquick on a long pass that bouncing around in their half of the pitch. They were packing the midfield and if we could have frightened them with a long ball or 2 it might have opened the midfield at least a little.

    Now its time to focus on the PL. I am glad

  172. Nobody reads my posts anyway, but it’s nice to have an outlet.

    As an American who doesn’t live in a major city I was totally embarrassed by last night’s game. I am vastly outnumbered by sports fans who think Soccer (yeah, I know) is a sport for weak sisters who spend half the time rolling around pretending to be hurt and the other half mincing around like fairies who are afraid to touch the ball. Of course I explain that this isn’t the case and try to explain that if they would actually take the time to watch a few games and learn to appreciate what is going on they would come to love the game as much as I do. This falls on deaf ears most of the time, but occasionally a marquee match has enough juice to entice them to watch.

    Then they see a total shitfest like last night’s and I wind up looking like a complete idiot.

  173. Theo would have made all he difference last night I think. Even if had a bad game, the Barca defenders would have had to drop that bit deeper so we could not clear balls into space behind them. If their defenders had dropped deeper, their midfielders would have found it more difficult to close us down.

  174. Commonsense – heh, unlucky mate.

  175. Borges Spinelli


    I doubt any one reads my posts too. Still i persist with my therapeutic prose in the company of sporting brethrens.

  176. A charge from UEFA was to be expected. Not charging Wenger and NAsri would be to acknowledge there was something to complain abot. And that again would be to say ” the ref did not do his job.”
    UEFA can not live with that. This ref is after all gonna ref the final!

  177. I see that AW and Nasri have been charged by Eufa. What did Nasri do?

    What about a charge for Abidal for puting his hand on RVP’s throat? Sorry I forgot, the best way to cover up a mistake is to punish the victims, not the perpertrators.

  178. It all depends what was said I suppose. After the game RvP said that the decision to sent him off was a joke. i am not sure if he can get in trouble for that as he has not questioned the ref’s integrity. I would hazard a guess that Nasri has called him a cheat or such like, hence his charge. I reckon Asrene may have curled one out in the ref’s changing room, hence his charge.

  179. Well done Yogi!

    I am kind of bothered by people saying that we had things go in our favour. The RVP sending off is the only reason we lost, plain and simple.

    Messi’s penalty, those decisions are always a close call, they always look crazy in slow motion. Messi’s goal in the first leg was offside.

    We got some calls but they shouldve had two men sent off and some other yellows.

    Let me read the comments!

  180. Sorry for this peeps, but I would like to give my humble opinion on this boring dragged topic.
    Goonerandy & Geo, you say Barca were the better side. I am afraid, you judge a side over 90 minutes, but, we weren’t given an opportunity to play according to our plan after 57mins. As many people mentioned, history states that Barca are vulnerable durring the final third of a game, we surely stood a chance of scoring more.
    It was just like the first leg, the only difference being, our best player, being shown the way. And you saw what happened in the 1st leg & last year.
    Hence, the statement ‘ they were a better side’ is delusional & holds no meaning.

  181. I agree goonerandy. They behaved arrogant to even question the ref. Agree totally. It’s typical arsenal. Loosing bad. Cannot accept that their team was not good enough. Had to moan to the referee. Do they never learn? The ref was In his right. And the Barca players only grabbed throats to protect the ref!!!! Can’t punish that.

  182. Nanas08 Samir Nasri Official
    (…) and by the way bussaca is the best….pff

    On Twitter.

    Jack was a tad smarter, saying “Barca,great team! Oh yeah and the ref was good aswell….”.

  183. Grabbed throats to protect the ref?

    While the Barca cunts were swarming all over JFW because they were stupid enough to believe he’d pull a Dani Alves on them?

    Eat a bag of poison dicks, you fucking asshole.

  184. There is one difference between Barca and us and that is Messi, all the other wankers who roll about cry and cheat would not be anywhere without him.

    He truly is world class and I simply cant believe he has scored 45 goals this season. 45!!! I reckon we should buy him, if Cesc does want to go back I reckon a straight swap would be about right. Okay they can have Almunia as well.

  185. Tim, you neither understand tactics nor sports, Along with Goonerandy and the lot.

    It matters not that we didnt have a shot on goal, that does not mean that Barca “deserved” anything as the match was done until the sending off.

    However we had not shots on goal up until RVP was sent off when the match was 1-1. Its as if we have people on here who know the future. How do you know what wouldve happened in the last 30 or so minutes? When a game is played for 60 minutes tell me.

    Ali in one of his greatest fights ever against Foremen sat on the ropes and made Foreman tire and then knocked him out. According to the logic of many on here Foreman deserved to win the whole fight based on the fact that he had more punches, which obviously is silly.

    History tells us that Barca get tired in the last 20 minutes. In two matches we have scored 2 goals within minutes. Is it not easy to see that this was the focus and plan, a la Ali? wait until they tire and bust them in the mouth – TKO!

    That was the plan, so to sit here and say that Barcelona deserves to go through is a slap in the face to our manager and his plan and the great defense that was played.

  186. Who cares if they are better or not? They are a great team, great passers of the ball, have an extremely talented player who is arguably the best ever seen to grace a football pitch, but we still would have went through had the ref not given that stupid decidion ( i wont get into the countless other times he gave cheap cheap free kicks).

    I think that says a lot about this Arsenal team. We still had a chance right up until the 88th minute when Bendtner had a brilliant chance to down these cheating cu**s. It just wasn’t to be, the ref made sure of it.

    The phone-ins from other fans saying “it was a bad decision, but Arsenal would av lost anyway” is a bit stupid to say. Especially after we came back last year, this year, and the match was in the balance.

  187. the match wasnt done until the sending off.

  188. Sad – huh?

  189. SPOT ON, Paul!

  190. Cbob:

    I really do believe that we did not plan to be as defensive as we were. I think that we fell into that mode when we could not move the ball through the midfield. I do not know for sure but I really beleive that hitting them on the counter was part of our plan. We just could not execute the attacking part of part of our plan yesterday. Nothing wrong with adapting to the situation and lets face it we can not go toe to toe with Barca at their game on their home field. No one can. I think our game plan was spot on and was not negative football, it just did not work. Perhaps we would have improved as they tired but unfortunately no one will ever know.

  191. Have to say one thing to get it out of my system , I was just watching the Bendtner miss again , I think we need to get rid of him , his touch is very poor for an Arsenal player. For the world class ego that he has with which he sets himself up as that was poor finishing !!!!!
    I have a small video of a player who just retired recently , He is the only striker I consider better than our own Thierry Henry in the last 15 years .
    Ronaldo’s goal against Holland in the 98 WC

  192. Sad is doing a Muppet…

  193. Paul – Then we are so lucky people like yourself can explain tactics and stuff to us. We are greatful.

    I agree it would have been interesting it it had remained 11 v 11. As has been mentioned Barca have tired in the last 20 in matches against us. They really put some miles in against us, so the tide could have well turned.

  194. mj – Yeah, I got that. Don’t know why he mentioned me though.

  195. We were on the ropes for long periods yesterday.But we expected that.We always had a chance until Rvp was sent off.That ended the contest.Barca cannot keep their tempo and we would have created chances.The refereeing was highly questionable and Busacca for me was man of the match.He determined the outcome of the game.I sometimes wonder if it’s worth continuing to watch football at all.Many games nowadays seem to be decided by error prone referees and those responsible for making decisions about the game dont seem to give a hoot.
    Having said all that,I find it amazing that nobody’s raised an eyebrow about RvP getting that initial yellow in the first place.He had no business getting into a cat fight with Alves.The hopes of the team as far as I’m concerned rested on his shoulders and he should have shown some level headedness.
    I feel our big players let us down on the day;Cesc was anonymous.
    Are we going to end another season empty handed? I dont know.As for old Trafford on Saturday,my fear is that the lads are already knackered from yesterday and team ‘B’ have not shown they can pick up the gauntlet from recent history.Only time will tell.

  196. Barca were scared and desperate to kill the game off early. Arsenal’s plan was to absorb the pressure and hit them in the last 20 mins when it matters. I agree with many of the commenters, the plan was working, we should be sitting here talking about a great victory had it not been for the ref. Even if Barca pulled one back bringing the tie to 2-1, nobody will know what would have happened in the last 30 or so minutes. The match was called short on 57 mins and Barcelona were gifted many decisions during the game.

    If they are the greatest team ever to exist this Arsenal team showed we are not far off from greatness. Extremely encouraged about our chances of a double now. We have the balls, the manager, the players and the belief has never dropped.

  197. All good plan never stand 1st contact.

  198. Read some of the posts but have to say the only one I fully agreed with was by Consolsbob. We should have approached this game like almost any other and stuck to our principles of playing attacking football. AW I believe is now regretting not doing so. Yes we defended well, but it was inevitable that by sitting back we would concede. Yes the ref fucked up continuously and when down to 10 it was almost impossible but I think we could and would have beaten them if we had started our strongest 11. Denilson should have started instead of Diaby. JW and Cesc in front of him, with AA, RVP NB52 in attack. We are told by all that AA did not start because he does not track back often enough but for fuck sake Alves spent so much time in our half he looked more like our left back than their right back!! The reason why was obvious as there was no threat behind him when ever he did lose the ball!!! Diaby has barely played and until he has several full games under his belt he will be ano ymous in most games. He had his moments yesterday, more than Cesc to be honest, but still I feel Denilson was the one we needed.

    Above all I still cannot understand why we did not send on NB52 or AA or both as soon as they scored their second. At the very least it would have forced them into a more defensive mind. Plus 2 pairs of fresh legs…..fuck I could just go on and on…..really could not be bothered doing so, will leave that for others.

    Never thought I would say this but Drogba is dead right as it is a disgrace, just one in which we where also culpable by showing those whining, diving, bitchy little bastards way more respect than they deserved. Arsene please God do not make that mistake again, next time give them hell as it is all they truly deserve. COYG!!!!!!!!!

  199. Any chance of us playing our natural game completely evapourated when the referee hamstrung four of our players with soft yellow cards in one half. Just like last year. One of those yellows was always becoming a red… could’ve been anyone. Just so happened it was RVP not using his correct fork first.

  200. The above video is an indicator of what finishing under pressure should be like , This was the pre injury Ronaldo!!! I salute such a great man for being born to play the sport of football . Personally we need one explosive striker like him or Thierry ,RVP can be the provider in the Bergkamp type role ,but we need someone like them . Walcott, I am sorry to say will never be even close to good as either of them ,as he has the pace but certainly not the ball control/composure /dribbling skills required

  201. How was the Alves’s tackle on Nasri not a booking??

    Meanwhile, David Villa’s theatrics were simply out of this world..I don’t remember him doing such stuff before joining those bitches..

  202. 1 loose cannon

    just to rub salt to wound UEFA have charged Nasri & Wenger with impropper conduct.

  203. Limpar – “Any chance of us playing our natural game completely evapourated when the referee hamstrung four of our players with soft yellow cards in one half”

    Don’t really get that mate. We didn’t play our natural game because we could not keep the ball. Our normal game is possesion of the football. We have players booked all the time.

  204. Gunman

    Try keep positive, there is no shame in losing to such a great team. Didn’t you see how they managed to get every single decision going their way for 180 mins!! Remarkable.

    Seriously though, as much as I hate the likes of Chelsea, United and Barca for playing for freekicks and deceiving the ref, you just wonder.. can an honest team win a trophy? Maybe we should start cheating like the rest… As sad as it sounds, the only winners seem to be those that perfect the art of deceiving the ref. I hope Arsenal prove me wrong, we have the ability to win the 2 tophies which remain, we have the desire, will the ref allow us to!?????? There is always something or ‘someone’ preventing us.

  205. I really liked David Villa when he was with Valencia.

    Humble hard working guy with talent.


  206. Good old Samir Nasri. Full of fire that one (not British gas though interestingly… British grit rather) Thought he’d be hopping mad. Hope he said what we were all thinking. That crooked cunt needed calling out.

  207. Is this what they charged him for ??

    “Thank you for your support once again you were amazing. Sorry for the result, now we have to think about the Man Utd game and we still have a league… to win, and by the way Busacca is the best….pff

  208. While I do agree that we might have been able to exploite there fatigue and hit them in the last 20 minutes, I don’t think playing as poorly as we did and offering as little threat going forward as we did for the first 60 minutes was really a part of the plan.

  209. Possession requires winning the ball first, goonerandy. The referee made that unworkable on the night.

  210. Limpar – Agree about Nasri. He has that “spikey” side to him. The same with Wilshere.

  211. Our natural (newfound) PRESSING game, Goonerandy…

  212. limpar – I take that point mate. But we won the ball a fair amount I thought, we just had nowhere to go once we had.

  213. arsenalandrew

    First class post YW, no idea how you manage to produce a piece with such balance and quality so soon after such a traumatizing event, I know I couldn’t.

    Not a lot to add to the many excellent comments to be honest – just these thoughts:

    1. Barca are both classy and classless – great footballing skills, shocking mental attitude
    2. English media – in particular the Sky commentary plus their employment of the Liverpool mafia (Benitez, Souness, Rednapp for chrissakes) – a total embarrassment in their unbridled love in with a club that hardly deserves that level of uncritical worship; only Jeff Stelling attempting to bring any balance.
    3. Arsenal were VERY much in it until RvP dismissal; the evidence for this is the scale of the Barca cheating – they HAD to win the match ANY way they could and hence the use of simulation throughout which was as breathtaking as some of their actual play.
    4. Referee deserves shooting for his performance and lack of judgement; UEFA deserve shooting for appointing a silly little Swiss man way out of his depth in a grown up match.
    5. Football is in chronic danger of becoming fatally undermined by its own loss of credibility; compare the efforts cricket, rugby and tennis have made to bolster their own games. Fans won’t indefinitely invest so much into something that is incapable of delivering a spectacle on a level playing field where concepts such as fairness and justice are secondary to a fundamentally anachronistic approach to the governance of the game.
    6. The nature of last night’s game and the appalling way it was handed to Barca may well fire up our squad to carry us past Manure in the League regardless of what happens in the FA Cup.
    7. For me personally, it’s ALL about the Premier League, it always has been.

    Keep up your amazing work YW; you are a great credit to yourself, and in the written word at least, Arsenal’s 12th man.

  214. mj – No, it was somthing that was said in the tunnel I believe.

  215. The tide couldve turned GA, the tide did turn as the game was 1-1.

    Trust me, your desire to be objective hinders you from being objective.

    Bill to play poorly was not a part of the plan however Wenger said we may have to play differently and has said on many occasions that we have to deal with them having the majority of the ball. The fact that we didnt paly up to par is not the point, the point is that we worked our socks off and were through on goal aggregate with 30 + minutes to go until the ref!

  216. Alex Ice Cream

    What a defensive display that was: 10 men v the “best team in the world”, away and v the ref; it was a fantastic display. Some of the tackling was brilliant – Johan, Kos, Bac and Gael were immense as was Jack and Almunia had a stormer when he came on. The spirit showed in the most difficult of circumstances was brilliant. Last year we were outclassed, this year we were not far away from winning. We beat them at home, were not overawed and this shows big progress from last year.
    I honestly believe the ref was paid; it was a fix. I am convinced of it. The most ridiculous sending off in CL history was then added to by a penalty where there was no contact. This was on top of all the dives of the despicable Barca scum got free kicks for. When Messi played on after the whistle and took a shot then threw the ball down there was no yellow. The ref is a cheat. Xavi, Alves, and Busquets are utter scum. Why was Abidal not sent off for grabbing RvP by the throat?
    Despite this Bendtner should have won it but his first touch was (is) not good enough and not for the first time. Cesc and RvP were blatantly unfit and should not have played – although Cesc still managed to run 10kms and Diaby and Rosicky let them game pass them by just like their careers at Arsenal. We only had 9 fit men which makes the performance all the more remarkable. If you “include” Diaby and Rosicky we only had 7 men. Theo was also out and he would have made a big difference.
    We have to win the Prem now and with no CL we should have an advantage. It’s there for the taking – ManU are ordinary but it depends on keeping Cesc, RvP, and Theo fit. We simply can’t replace these players.
    I am very proud of the boys for a fantastic performance. At 1-1 Barca were bricking it.
    Come on Arsenal, let’s win the League now.

  217. I have the freedom to choose not to read what you write, that is a given I think. But as a blogger, don’t you have some responsibilty towards what you write?

    Arsenal were outplayed by Barca last night. There were some refereeing decisions that went against them and Arsenal. But where is the injustice??? Arsen Wenger’s game plan to try and hope that it would stay 0-0 and then bring on Arshavin backfired. Rosicky is always bad, Diaby was wooden. Such players should not even grace the Camp Nou.

    A sense of injustice, as you claim will not fire this team. This team lacks ‘balls’. Why did Fabregas pull RVP away from the melee? It was RVP who stood up for Wilshere when Iniesta tried to pull him up. Was this match about Arsenal or Fabregas- Barca soap melodrama that is frankly embarrassing. Guardiola was right in saying that Arsenal didn’t put 3 passes together. Arsenal players lack the belief to win, not any technical deficiency if we have to believe most of the press.

    As an Arsenal supporter and fan, I want this team to win everything. That is not possible. But I don’t want to say they did well when they clearly didn’t. And as a blogger, you have a responsibilty too. Too often the comments here are writen by people who don’t know football and are just sycophantic twats who itch to string two sentences together. You must write onjectively.

    The time has come to say this : Wenger is a fantastic manager but please go now. You are bereft of ideas. If your blog has any influence, you must try writing about the lack of ambition that the club have. Arsenal’s ambition is to finish in the top 4. Is that good enough? And why doesn’t Fabregas declare his intentions like RVP did a few weeks ago?

    Man United will roll Arsenal over on Saturday. Everybody knows that, even Wenger, his Colney babies too. And after that, Wenger will say the ambition now is to finish 3rd, then 4th, then 2nd, then 3rd. Nobody is indispensible. Not even Wenger.

  218. You are most welcome GA!

  219. Paul – I meant the balance of play. It is not as if we had them on the back foot when we equalised. It was a rare foray out of our half. The last 20mins may have seen us get more possesion of the ball and assert some sustained pressure. Maybe, maybe not. We will never know.

  220. I can never understand the comments about “they were the better side”. It’s meaningless – they play the games for a reason. Otherwise, the managers would buy players and the season would be worked out on paper…the games are played because – Carling Cup anyone? – it makes no difference who’s better. You play the game. Barca played a cheap & chippy game. They have the benefit of a 95000 person stadium which intimidates the best of refs. Put a newby like that ref in the cauldron and you get what we saw last night. Cards in the first couple of minutes, cards for every Arsenal infraction with the mass baying for blood, a miss on Diaby’s pen…and then giving a soft one against Kosser. Not to mention Alves and Abidal who will most certainly get no punishment for their actions. As for RvP…well, we’ve strayed into the realm of the ridiculous haven’t we?

    From my perspective we set out to play Barca the same way we did in the first leg…give them the ball, let their older player run themselves ragged and then with our superior fitness…take the game to them in the last half-hour when the legs get heavy. Like a big fish, you let ’em run and then you reel ’em in.

    Barca are a very good team, but they have weaknesses as well. One, is that they fade. We almost took it off them with 10…if Jack’s pass had been to RvP instead of Bendtner? Well, we’d all be doing a jig this morning. Instead of feeling robbed.

  221. Kubla – We will win on Sat.

  222. Also YW’s blog entries are as he saw the match. You may agree with him, you may not. But if he writes (well I might add) as he see’s you cannot critisise him for that.

  223. arsenalandrew

    Kubla Kahn – just do us all a favour and do one.

    I appreciate your first language may not be English and fair do’s for trying but are you seriously suggesting we get rid of a manager whom you describe as ‘fantastic’.

    I suspect your first sport probably isn’t football, either.

    Get a life.

  224. ‘Such players should not even grace the Camp Nou.’

    How old are you Kubla Khan??

  225. I agree with that Limpar.

    I was telling my friends once the first half ended, I knew that the ref would make sure to find a way to get us down to 10 men. It was written all over that ref.

    However, I didn’t think it would be in such a spectacular and obviously crooked way just after we had scored and for the lamest of reasons.

  226. I think the charges are based upon what happens in the player tunnels after the game. It must be.

  227. Irishgray, all Cesc had to do was clear the ball and we wouldnt went into the half 0-0. Barca did not score up until that point, so I am not so sure why yo believe we would concede.

    We have been pegged back by teams that are not as good as Barcelona, it can happen but as long as the score is square it shouldnt matter. Our passes were off but what the heck, isnt the sign of a great team the ability to win ugly?

  228. Paul:

    I am totally on board with the game plan and I agree that it may have been different had it not been for the ref. Unfortunately there is no way to know. Assuming that we could have picked up our attacking game at the 60 – 70 minute mark when we offered nothing before that is pure speculation. I really wish we had tried a few long balls. I believe RVP could have made them pay for putting 10 men in the attacking half by latching on to a long pass or 2.

  229. Hello AIC,

    I thought what was really most reassuring was the performance of Wilshire. The boy is the most talented player I have seen wear the jersey at that age. I honestly believe he had more influence on the game than Cesc could ever have done at the same age and he has real grit – a leader in the making. The amazing thing is despite being under the kosh – we could have stole it at the end (again thanks to Wilshire). And I think Bentner proved as much in that moment why he will never be good enough to lead the line at this level (I know you rate him much higher than I do). C-bob made a great point earlier though – in that we never tried to impose our own game. We sat back far too much. Maybe this was down to the lack of fit personnel in midfield. And for the life of me – I just cannot fathom how much space Alves had down the left, especially when we tried to set up the team defensively (Rosicky for AA). Nasri for all he offers going forward never pinned him back.

  230. Barcelona are classless bitches, I think this much is clear. Last year against Inter it was shocking already how those cunts whined and tried every dirty trick in the book to turn things around for them, not because they want to win, but because they think they and ONLY they SHOULD win. Arrogant bitches.

    I agree with the boss that we had a good chance of gone on and won this thing at 1-1. The ref must’ve thought the same and decided to take action as soon as there was a chance, because for all the outplaying they did, we did amazing last ditch defending and Almunia was just a hero. I’m happy I never let myself become one of the haters, he’s a great man and ‘keeper. Another Samir run and combination with JW or RvP and we could’ve nicked a goal again.

    Anyway, as nerve-racking and infuriating it was to watch yesterday, I have to say I’m proud to be Gooner. Our boys didn’t descend into the classlessness of the barceholes, fought and hustled and defended for their very lives. RVP could’ve fallen to the ground, holding his neck and gotten Abidal sent off (though with this ref, it probably wouldn’t have worked).

    Our players have so much more dignity, honesty and class than 100 barca players together. Fuck barca and bussaca!

  231. Anyone els struggling to understand what kubla kan is on about? Is he on drugs?

  232. CBob, I understand what you mean, but we played the same way in the first leg & it worked. Nobody was complaining then??

  233. GA – “we will never know” is the most profound statement that has been made today and I am not being condescending.

    Based on that we dont know, maybe Arsenal wouldve gone on to score 2 more or Barca 5 more (for arguements sake).

    The thing is based on what had already happened and the fact that they only scored 2 more, when we were down to 10 men, I dont believe theywouldve scored more than one based on our level of defending, with 11 men that is.

    Again, given history 2 out 3 matches, we have gone on to score 2 goals in the 2nd half against them. So for all the great play of Barca, Arsenal had the upper hand it would seem, well did a 1-1 obviously!

  234. Kubla Khan?

    Lacks balls???… obviously you missed the game last night and at the Emirates!! With 10 men, being outplayed, we still went for a goal and pressured as much as we could. Maybe the little coward who doesn’t like our ‘French’ manager should grow some balls.

    You should be very proud of our club, manager and all its players. I don’t think there is a neutral fan on the planet who doesn’t respect how this Arsenal team goes about its business. Get your facts straight you mug.

  235. Joe – The amount of space Alves had was similar to the 1st leg as well. I can’t remember who, but some pundit did a decent piece explaining that we tucked our left midfielder/forward in to keep it tight in the middle. It is somewhat of a gamble, but as Barca don’t cross the ball it was one worth taking. It pinpointed Xavi picking the ball up countless times in loads of space in the right back area, where Alves had gone forward and was marked. Many of Barca’s moves were stated in that way.

  236. Alex Ice Cream

    Hi Joe,
    I am coming round to your way of thinking about Bendtner; the moment when he miscontrolled the ball last night said to me that he will never be good enough to start for Arsenal.
    Jack was awesome; frightening but Cesc at 17 was a better player in terms of technique, vision and passing. Cesc was good enough at 17 to play in the Invincible side. Jack is stronger though and is more aggressive. Plus he is home grown so he won’t be going to Barscum anytime soon.
    Overall, I thought that it was a great performance especially bearing in mind all the problems that we faced.

  237. Bill, yes the whole thing is speculation but we did come back into the game last year in the first leg when they played much better in my opinion and we were down by 2, remember?

    Fact is all we had to do was hold on, we didnt even need a goal. So its also speculation that they wouldve score again.

    The decisions to send off RVP destroyed the whole thing.

  238. Alex Ice Cream


    No balls? You are a joke – 10 men including injured players, away against the best team in the world, against the ref, without key players, dodgy pens and free kicks all night and we could have won it at the end.

    Your level of football knowledge is even lower than the depths that Barscum plumbed in cheating yesterday.

  239. Paul – Yeah, you could well be right. We might well have held on. It was a horrible game to watch as an Arsenal fan though. We defended very well, but I was on the edge of my seat and they seemed to on the cusp of scoring constantly.

  240. Check the ref in that clip and tell me he is not bent.

  241. But you got to say the barca players looked very very happy for this win. Afterwards they gloated like they had won the CL all together. This was a MASSIVE match for them. They did not know if they were going to go through or not. They had a huge chance to go out as long as arsenal had 11 men on the field. with 10 men they won.
    The relife they showed, the joy they showed. all this says that this match was massive for Barca. they barley won, wasting chance after chance after chance. they were totally unable to put it away. had it not been for a stupid cesc and a silly penalty they would not have won. thats how simple it is.

    So we should take comfort in the fact Barca was really scared of us and the way they gloat afterwards shows they were hugley relived they went through. Usually if a team is alot worse than barca they sympathise wth the loosers saying they played well and bla bla.
    Today its all Barca is best, arsenal is crap. Shows how afraid they really were and how much this match really meant to them. It was their match of the year.

  242. Kubla Khan

    You’re right, you do have the right not to read what I write. Take it as read that I cannot be bothered to read what you write.

    You want objectivity? Try to put some in your call for Wenger to go. “Everybody knows that” is a euphemism for “I think therefore it is what everyone should think”.

    As for being bereft, it is you who is bereft except you lack rationality.

    Oh and calling people ‘sycophantic twats’ merely highlights your lack of intellect and ability to stimulate debate.


  243. I must admit, for all of NB’s big talk, that miss annoyed me to no end.
    Its true that all players make mistakes and miss sitters but when you run your trap you better back it up when it counts. The goal was at his mercy and he hit the ball across his body.

    Mi vex!

  244. GA, I remember us winning the 05 FA Cup. It was the same, United always looked like they score but they didnt. Same as we have looked likely to score against many teams and lost. Thats sports!

  245. I love Cesc but I can’t accept that he wants to join THOSE CUNTS.
    I want him to come out like RvP and pledge his loyalty to us. I don’t like to be doubting by I don’t know…it’s just outrageous that he is friends with these bitches…

  246. Poor Bendtner really had his chance for eternal Arsenal glory last night.

    I won’t get on his back because, well, I’d have done waaaaay worse with that touch, but man… he’d have been an all time legend if he had gotten that touch right and put us through while down 10men at Barca.

  247. To be fair to Bendtner he had not long been on the pitch, and had hardly touched the ball. It is frustrating though; he certainly talks the talk, but in all honesty I never for one second though he would take that chance. If if had been Nasi, or RvP maybe.

  248. So Goonerandy, if we’d pheld on, you’d still have said ‘We won against the better team’??

  249. Paul:

    Your right. Who knows what would have happened. We were defending very well up to that point. Sending RVP off at that point in that type of game was the just a stupid/biased decision by the ref. We have every right to feel we were cheated. I am not on board with the idea that everything was “going according to plan” . I do not think the plan included being totally dominated up to 60 minutes but that does not really matter.

    If we can spank the red Manc’s this weekend and win the PL it will be a great season and this game will be thankfully forgotten at least by me.

  250. held*

  251. Paul – I remember it well. Freddie heading of the line and all. Strangely I always thought we would win that game, despite our performence on the day.

  252. and i still cant understand how Cesc can have these guys as friends. They properly screwed him and his team over last night. And then laughet at him and his team today saying they were really really poor. How can he berfriend people like that? people that gab others in the throat. people that fall and squirm. holding their head when they get a slap on the wrist?

    If my friends were like that id be so embarresed. cheating like that. I think my morality would not allow it. Is that what he aspires to become? A diver? Cos that is what he will have to do if he plays for Baca. fall down at any chance and squirm like a maggot hoping the ref will give him advantage…

  253. not gab but Abidal did.

  254. mj – And there lies a discussion that we have about our results in our lge. Many a time we have battered a team, only for them to win the game or equalise with pretty much their only attempt on goal. And what do we make of those games?

  255. Anyway, a discussion for tomorrow maybe.

    Off home, laters.

  256. Andy, in those games, the opposition has my full sympathy if they have had their best player sent off unfairly..
    Battering 10 men, out of which 3-4 are already on (harsh) bookings, does not make them a better team than us!

  257. goonerandy! off home you say? is that meaning that you sit at work and post on this page at your employers salary? baaad goonerandy…lol 🙂

  258. Andy,

    I take that point about pushing alves wide by playing tighter – its a ploy Chelsea used to great effect against us in the past, but Nasri was still supposed to close him down and didn’t get up and down the line as often as he should. God knows I think Clichy has been poor these past few seasons, but it would be too easy to criticise him last night – when he rarely had any support.


    I take the point about Cesc v Jack – but I still think Jack will be a more influential player eventually – he is a better leader in my eyes. He still almost singlehandedly won the game at the death for us last night.

    I disagree with you about the conspiracy theory though. I accept the sending off was an atrocious decision and most PL games we watch now is peppered with inexplicable decisions and poor refereeing (2 peno’s at newcastle..???). Last year Inter went down to 10 men – yet they knew how to handle the situation and they kept their shape. We didn’t. Our midfield was poor apart from JW. We just didn’t know how to handle that situation – and it took Wenger forever and a day to ring in the changes, let alone start with fit players. The same with how to play the referee. Barca are conniving and they know how to extract the most in gamesmanship. The feigning of injury and diving is systemic in the game. Some say thats immoral and corrupt. Others say its experience and being streetsmart. How many times has Cesc waved imaginery cards in the PL when he tried to influence the referee?

    We need to be able to take these knocks on the chin and let our football do the talking. We have the talent to overcome these setbacks but not the maturity. RVP was silly to be booked in the first incident when he succumbed to the taunts. He was even more foolish speaking to the world after the match and calling the referee stupid. Is it any wonder were being charged? Did we really need this too?

  259. Maybe Cesc apologizing and saying that it was one of the worst days of his life could be interpreted as “finding out first hand what utter cheating classless cunts play in my boyhood club was so bad it’s one of the worst days in my life. And I wanted to go there last summer! Stupid me…Gunner 4 Ever!”

    That’s what would really make me happy to hear, I’d even forget this atrocious match!

  260. Someone PLEASE tell this twat to FUCK OFF!

  261. Take your pick mj.

  262. Last before I leave

    mj – I have seen on here many a time (past Chelsea games are a good example), we we have played the better football, only to be hit with a sucker punch and lose. Only for people to go on about how we were the better side, that they just sat back, that we were the ones playing the football, that we deserved to win. It was role reversal last night. Some want to have their cake and eat it.

    Barca were the ones probing and asking the questions (which we were dooing well to answer), they were the ones playing football, they were the ones that looked like scoring as we certainly did not.

    Bill is right, I don’t think the big plan was to let them do that to us. It happened as we could not cope with their game. As others have mentioned our best chance was to hope that they tired towards the end of the game and see if we can grab something. That is the same tactic as many sides employ agsint us, only for some of our fans to mock that style and say that they should try and play against us.

    We got beaten by a better side than us. The ref was crap, but they were still a better side than us. It hurts, but it is true. People that think we lost 100% because of the ref need to stop acting like ten years olds. Unless they are ten of course, and in which case I apologise. 🙂

    Just my opinion of course.


    poodle – I know, naughty eh? 😉

  263. There are a few candidates today.

    It’s like finding yourself forced to listen to Brazil and Talkspittle.

  264. Dups

    So that makes 3 Barca players who grabbed an Arsenal player by the neck. I hate conspiracy theories. I hate whining about officials. But I have never, not even in the wildest of Webb’s 12th man moments for UTD, thought that there was anything reallllllllly going on.

    As a rational, logical person, I can’t take all of yesterdays events into account and just shrug my shoulders at each of them and say, incompetent refereeing. I just can’t.

  265. YW,
    I read it -to the bottom………
    champing is the much older expression.
    Still,I’ve read a few of your replies to your readers on here,and you don’t like to be told,so I suppose that’ll be it then.

  266. I call on Sepp Blatter to resign, he’s a fucking old man who’s still watching football in black & white. He’s a dictator that is holding the whole sport hostage. Football needs new blood with new ideas to eliminate favoritism and make it really a fair game.

    Who the hell is Sepp Blatter anyway, when did he play football? I’m assuming it was the 50s that’s if played at all.

    The biggest sport in the world’s governing body should be much more transparent and we want to know how they do business. Where all the money goes, and why there is no oversight of such a huge international organization?

    That also goes on UEFA.

    We need a football revolution!

  267. Bill, I am sure we wanted to play better in the first half and take some early chances. Truth be told we had some chances but our passing was woeful at times when we were not under pressure.

    Thats was not part of the plan but the “overall” plan was working, soak up the pressure and smackthem when they wore down and damn it, it was working.

    NB just makes things hard for himself by running his mouth. Many people have said they like it but I cant stand it. Be quiet and prove yourself worthy. Even though he just came on, he shouldve atleast worked the goal keeper. Even shoot wide, over the bar, something! He didnt even get a shot off.

  268. bah you all forget this is BARCELONA. they play by different rules. they are the MAN U of Europe. If they want to grab people by the throath then let it be so. they are so good that a couple of flaws are to be expected…

    What really puzzles me is that other fans of other big clubs in Englan are so happy about this. Do they not realize that they will face the exact same situatuon if they go to Barca to play? Does the tottenham and United fans of this world not realise that THEIR team will not be allowed to progress if they meet Barca? Deffinelty not Tottenham(if they beat Milan today with ” the worlds best player” Bale in their team), who wants to see them in CL? their fan base is even smaller than Arsenals. No, no, no make no mistake. IF tottenham is up against Barca they will NOT be allowed to prorgress what so ever. This is not England, nobody in Europe cares about Redknapp, hes nobody outside England, his rep cannot save the team there.
    Same goes for Man U. Peole want to see Barca in the semis not 3 english teams. So whoever meets Barca has to loose. simple as.
    They will also effectivly put a stop to anyone that feels like complaining afte the game. Banning Nasri(!) and AW for a sustainable amout of matches will keep people away from critisising the ref.
    Only hope is that if Barca wins against another british team with a biased ref the English media will wake up. After all Redknapp is “One of us” so is SAF. and Terry and lampard are the “golden boys”.

  269. Andy agrees with Bill, what a surprise.

    Bill if you think we went to the home of the best team in the world with any other plan than being under pressure for most of the match then you are… mistaken.

    We played defensively against the best team in the world in the biggest competition in Europe in order to protect a lead we had already earned. I can live with that. But we were robbed.

  270. NJ, something is up, you actually see the ref looking at the choking taking place and nothing.

    The way how the Barca players are behaving is as if they are gods or someting or as if they know nothing will happen.

    after all of the choking, not even a yellow for them!

    Why didnt Cesc confront his partners though, why didnt he call them out for their behaviour? that also bothers me a lot.

  271. @paul N cos he really really likes them. its his mates. that is who he wants to be and play with. that is shocking too!

  272. @ Irishgray –

    When we lose a game, the manager always gets it wrong, Arshavin & NB ‘should have’ started instead of Rosicky etc etc..
    If we’d have got drubbed for over offensive tactics, what do you think would have been the atmosphere here?

  273. Aussie Gooner

    We were robbed.

  274. but guys we should look forward. We can hate Barca but we must beat United. And beat them we shall, we must also win the PL and win it we shall. Lets hope for United to go to the semi finals if the CL meaning they get tied down and tired and we get a even better chance to win PL. we should all cheere for United in the CL now, they cannot fight on all fronts. We will win PL if they got to Semis im sure of it. We will also win FA cup if we win on Saturday im sure of it.

  275. Ugh. I am left with a sense of unjustice about the whole match. Full marks to Almunia for making some fantastic stops, he did a great job coming into a pressure situation and performing. I can not find fault with his effort or performance. Wilshire did great as well, what a big game player he is turning into. Djourou had another good game. How does he perform so well while looking so catatonic? I have no idea. You would get the sense from his facial expressions that he’s watching paint dry.
    Overall I thought we played well below our best. Posession given away cheaply so many times it was infuriating. That, more than anything, contributed to the lack of shots I would think. Still, advancing to the next round over “the best team in history” is where we were before the referee decided that his actions were going to be what the match was remembered for. It is an absolute shame when the official has such a big influence on the outcome. Bunch of corrupt Fu(ks…that UEFA lot.

  276. I am finding it real hard to find a reason to watch football.

    I just read that RVP will not be able to appeal his red card! should he have to or should UEFA step up and question the ref. Shouldnt common sense prevail when rule is applied incorrectly.

  277. Aussie Gooner

    Denilson would have made difference with his intelligent play.Arsene is a tactical genius when it comes to big matches like this.

  278. You’re right poodle.
    I think we should play the best available team on Saturday, given that we play only twice in the next 20 days.

  279. Poodle, when we beat Barca Cesc was more concerned about talking them up and now in this match he doesnt defend his team mates.

    I have seen were two people who are even best friends almost come to blows defending their teams.

    I fear his love for them is greater than his love for Arsenal. When you play for a Club, you allegience must change, no matter where you were born, no matter who the heck you supported, who are your friends or what team you played for when you were a youth.

    Actually, it should stoke a fire in his belly since they overlooked him!

  280. Fuck off, Jaguar.

  281. “We Wuz Robbed”

  282. Funny how naive people can sometimes be. We have one tactic against Barca … and it works every time. We let them tire themselves out and sit back the first 60 minutes, then we use their tired legs to beat them into submission. At the Emirates last year we had a lot of look in that regard, but it somehow earned us a draw. This year at the Grove it worked very well, though people could still claim that we had “luck” because they had some near misses. In the return leg, we had the tactic perfected. Once again, claim they outplayed all you want, but count how often they were directly 1 on 1 with our keeper in the first half before Cesc’s mistake. 0 times. They never ever had a clear chance in the first half. We had a gameplan and it worked perfectly. When Robin was sent off, we were slowly starting to kick into gear and it is obvious that the tie would have taken a different turn — and we would have gone through, if it had not been for that decision. In the end, we had a plan and despite all of Barcelona’s possession they could not break us down or create a clear chance. The ref foiled our plan. We lost the game and went out.

  283. Paul N

    thats exactly it. I’ve never even seen that level of “the rules don’t apply to us” from United palyers. It was appalling. And your right, Cesc’s reaction was equally infuriating. Honestly, last night really showed me something about our captain and it was not good. If his aspirations rest on playing for a team of that ilk, then he is not the man I thought he was.

    I’ve never felt so indignant in my life. Not after wrongfully being failed in my road test for not coming to a complete stop at the stop sign ( i stopped!!!!). Not after being under 5 feet and under 100 pounds as a freshmen in high school. NO! This is a new level of indignancy. And yes, thats my word of the day.

  284. Sorry, should probably warn… that is some ambient, sort of industrial, British techno from the early 90s. May not be to everyone’s taste… or indeed, as is more likely, anyone’s.

  285. Welcome to the Land of the Indignant, NJ. The Nation of Indignancy. Or, as it sometimes shortened, IndigNation.

  286. GA

    “We got beaten by a better side than us. The ref was crap, but they were still a better side than us.”

    The real problem is we didnt have a full 180 minutes of football. We had about 140 before the ref took things into his own hands. Your right, they were the better side, but as we have said, that doesnt always guarantee Arsenal a win when we play and are by far the better side. And with busquets equalizer, there was a real chance, very real, of arsenal progressing, despite the fact that Barca were by far the superior side. But unfortunately we will never know. And if you can’t admit that the ref changed the game COMPLETELY with an absolutely horrendous decision that, at best, smacks of criminal incompetence, then you are just looking to sling shit and wallow in the mud of arsenal’s defeat.

  287. I’m sorry Bill but assuming that we’d pick up our attacking game at the 60minute mark was not pure speculation… we have actually seen it happen twice already with quite devastating consequences for Barca. It is not pure specualtion at all as it is based on the evidence of what we all know has happened before and as I and other have pointed out at the start of the second half we already had more possession and carried more of a threat and that half was barely 10 minutes old before Van P had to walk!

    What gets me about all this “Barca was great stuff” is how utterly silly the entire argument is… we saw Barca absolutely murder us last season … in fact they have never reached that level of dominance against us since and yet we came back that day and drew. In the first leg they had 60 odd percent of possession and still lost and this time around we were at 1-1 and posing a serious threat… I’m sorry but some of this “Barca were the better team” stuff is just nonsense. The simple truth is that but for a shot that hit the post and a Cesc mistake they didn’t really look like breaking us down. They had bitty chances and a penalty claim that I have seen given and also seen not given for and against us.. It’s not like it was Bramble’s push on Arshavin type of foul… They had a lot of possession but so have we on occasion against teams that carry far less threat than us and we’ve actually lost those matches… including a particularly painful FA cup final against Liverpool where Carragher took to saving the ball with his hand… I don’t recall a whole load of sympathy for us losing that one… and Carragher wasn’t even sent off! Instead it was proffered as another example of Arsenal lacking bottle.

    Our problem was basically two fold… Cesc offered us not a whole lot. He wasn’t fit and therefore IMHO shouldn’t have played… bringing Nasri inside and playing Arshavin wide would have given us just a better chance of actually playing some football. It’s my opinion but I’m no coach so it has zero validity apart from being an opinion offered on the internet. The second problem was the abscence of Walcott… without the threat of his pace Barca could press and leave space in behind that they knew Rosicky had no hope of ever getting into… but even then we did well enough.

    The bottomline here is that a referee chose to send off a player for having a shot after the whistle had gone in the 56th minute. That the decision was taken at all is incomprehensible to me, that it was taken in a game with score at 1-1 is just mind blowing, that it was taken in a game between two high profile European clubs in the continent’s premier tournament is just plain crazy…. it should never have happened. For me that is is the main over riding and indisputable POINT

  288. IndigNation indeed LA! a much needed chuckle.

    I’m a rational guy most of the time. Yesterday has left me with the really intense desires to do VERY irrational things. I just wanna rumble with some barca fans.

  289. So will UEFA hand out bans based on the choke slamming abilities of the Barca players? I count 3 straight red cards – Abidal on RvP, Valdes on Nasri, Adriano on Nasri.

    I wouldnt be surprised in the least if Massimo whatever his name is says he saw the incidents in his report.

  290. Harry Flowers

    You’ve a right to be indignant NJ Gooner. Not enough indignant Arsenal supporters today. Too many apologists. As if we should just congratulate the bastards, smile and move meekly along. Sadly the fight was fixed. Too much at stake. Laughing Len knows:

    “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows”


  291. good post Josh!!!!

    Barca’s quality of play is irrelevant. The ref’s decisions 100% determined the outcome of the tie. Sure he couldnt take messi’s penalty for him. But I’d say a criminal sending off after ignoring violent conduct by 3 barca players is enough of an encourgaing pat on the behind.

  292. Harry,


    “Too many apologists. As if we should just congratulate the bastards, smile and move meekly along.”

    This was very much Cesc’s reaction and I have to say I was hurt by our Captain’s behvaior last night, not even taking the back heel into account.

  293. But however rigt Josh is, it does not matter, the establishment did not want to see Arsenal progress here. And everybody is very happy they went out. even thoush some indicate there may have been some “dodgey” referee decisions, they all agree that the best team won and that the CL is a better competition with Barca in it. That arsenal was and is a lucky team and that Barca are geniouses , atlest until they meet United.

  294. Is it too soon to talk about getting Loic Remy?

  295. “the CL is a better competition with Barca in it. ”

    poodle – thats it. That is surely UEFA’s opinion. It is not hard to imagine that the ref was trying to turn the game in barca’s favor and that’s why I can’t take yesterday. I just can’t stomach things like that.

  296. you can see it everywhere, people are so happy Arsenal is out. Its like xmas for most fans. they loooove it! its mad really how much it is possible to hate Arsenal.

  297. If you’re looking for a rumble, NJ, then it’s the Boixos Nois, or The Crazy Boys you’re after. Barca’s fascist, skinhead hooligan front. The fan club so blinkeredly nationalistic they accidentally spelt their own name wrong. They actually called themselves The Boxwood Boys – by mistake. As in the shrub. The Shrubbery Boys… hm… whole new meaning.

  298. It is true, Harry F. It is. Good old Len.

    There seems to be a strange affinity between Leonard Cohen and AFC this season. Channelled by ACLF. I think it’s still best used in OOU’s “Go long, Marouane!” – still makes me laugh.

  299. So what happens with them? You cock your fist back and before you even throw a punch they’re rolling around like you punched them in the nose?

  300. If we can ever play these cunts without them getting to the referee beforehand, I reckon it’ll be a…

  301. Mascherano –

    “Barca always wins thanks to the referee, never because of its play, not for having taken 19 shots on goal, not for having won 74 per cent of the possession or completing 900 passes,” fumed Mascherano

    “Let’s not be hypocrites. We didn’t let them breathe and that was the key. We played Barca’s way and that’s why we advanced.”

    “We did not allow Arsenal any chances at the Nou Camp and this was the key to the match.

    “Barca plays as a team and that is the reason for our success. Not the individual actions, but the compact work of the eleven players.”

  302. Nice posts for the most part except for some outlandish claims made by people blinded by their own colors no doubt. But let’s be honest, Arsenal were castrated at the Camp Nou last night. For all the talk of ‘playing our football’, ‘attacking’, blah blah blah – it was, in fact – again – another Arsenal capitulation. How easy our philosophy is compromised when up against a superior team who obviously know how to truly play possession, attacking, stylish, and composed football and actually know how to win while doing it.

    To hear some of you talk about ‘what a disciplined defensively sound game’ Arsenal were playing, and ‘we were going to open it up in the second half until Van Persie got sent off’ is complete bullshit. As an Arsenal supporter, I hope that you don’t go and kiss your mom with that same mouth that espouses the endorsements of anti-football. Oh, I know, ‘we have to win ugly sometimes’ and ‘we have to grind out victories’ blah blah blah. No, win ugly against ugly teams like Stoke, Birmingham City, etc. Last night, Arsenal had a chance to show that they – along with Barcelona – were actually one of the sexiest footballing teams in the world who could actually deliver victories (or at least, some dignity) with beautiful attacking fluid football, but instead they showed how malleable the Arsenal footballing ‘philosophy’ truly is. On the world stage, Arsenal became the footballing equivalent of Holland (see ‘Total Football’) last night . . . Lots of talk about beautiful, passing football – but when up against a team that does it all so much better (i.e. Spain, Barca), or has a stronger belief in their own philosophy and players (i.e., again, Spain, Barca) – they resort to boring, stifling, defensive, and ugly kickball. Most often times, the guy walking around with a bad attitude and picking fights, is the guy that can’t get a dance with the hot girl, and their inferiority complex lies seething just below the surface (or below the belt). Last night, Arsenal’s inferiority complex was worn on their shoulder – along with the Champions League badge – for millions to see. I as an Arsenal supporter, do not support what I saw from my beloved Gunners last night.

    I agree, that the officiating last night was horrendous and Arsenal was treated unfairly – soft, early yellow cards, being punished too harshly for virtually nothing while Van Persie getting an Abidal choke hold put on him goes unpunished, and – of course – the worst second yellow card ever given for Van Persie’s failure to hear or acknowledge a ref’s whistle less than a second before shooting on goal in front of 98,000 whistling, hostile fans. And, no I don’t think Barca are a team of floppers by any stretch of the imagination, but Dani Alves was certainly doing his best impersonation of the Portuguese and Italian national teams with his theatrical falls to the earth. However, the fact remains, though the gulf in talent between Barca and Arsenal may not be very big, the gulf in industry, belief, patience, and the ability to impose a style upon a game is as wide as the space of water between England and the Iberian Peninsula. None work harder off the ball than Barca do. When they lose the ball they try to get it back like a bunch of crazed hyenas. And, if they don’t actually steal the ball back, they usually cause the other team to make a silly, nervous pass to NOBODY. This was the case last night. Arsenal looked no different than the teams that we turn a nose up to for their ‘non-footballing, kick-ball’ ways. Lo and behold, in the time it takes to press the “on” button on your remote control, Arsenal morphed into everything we despise. And to hear fellow Gooners defend our ‘play’ or – more accurately – lack of play, is ridiculous. What is so disturbing about all of this is the fact that for all of Barca’s patient ticki-tacka passing game with such an emphasis on maintaining possession with skill and composure – they work harder than any team that they play against. They are most industrious team on the pitch and they seem to celebrate the opportunity to instill their will and style upon a game. Last night was just more evidence of that, every time Arsenal had the ball, they were surrounded by Barca players, and every time Barca had the ball there are Barca players busting their ass to get open and move into empty space. The Barca philosophy is an uncompromising footballing philosophy of not just style, but also substance – bringing aesthetic beauty and functionality together. “If we have the ball, you don’t have it. Therefore, we get to play with it, and you don’t get to score.” In the case last night, “we get to make over 500 more passes than you with 80% possession of the ball and create 20 times as many scoring opportunities, while you park the mini-van (because Arsenal doesn’t own a ‘bus’, obviously) in your own half, act like you want the ball back but are unwilling to put in the hard work needed to earn it back, and whine about poor officiating.” No more excuses Gunners, please! Either we are who we say we are, or we are not. Last night at the Camp Nou, we showed that we are not. For the second year in a row, we remembered everything but our notebooks, a couple of sharp pencils, and a comfortable chair . . . Y’know, the kind that Pep Guardiola is used to sitting in . . . So that we could take notes on what it actually looks like to put in the kind of hard work and grit it really takes to earn the right to win beautifully.

    Beat manU.

  303. Too long, didn’t read.

  304. That looks like a fucking Thomas Pynchon novel.

  305. me neither NJGooner. its happend all year though. I was so happy before xmas when it seemed like we finally got some Man u treatment from the refs. the marginall decisions wen our way, it gave us those xtra % that United always have.. Then after xmas since Newcastle its all gone downhill with the refs. the worst was against Sunderland where we if you follow the rulebooks we won, and the ref took charge, changed the rules and we drew(!).
    Against Birmingham in the CC i think it was meant for us to win(would have looked very nice and given some nice headlines in the papers), indicated by the referee “ignoring” the foul on bowyer in the beginning. That we squandered away all by ourselvs unfortunatley.

    It seems that latley the papes have almost prepared for the downfall of United. Being more hostile than normal. We can only hope that rubbs off on the referees.

    It would be extremly stupid to continiue disfavuring Arsenal in the next match though. it would only lead to even more speculations and if it is one thing the FA hates it is ongoing speculations about refs. The best for the FA would be to whisper in the refs ear to think about how Arsenal has been treated latley and make sure it is a even game(maybe slighty even a pro arsenal game). Arsenal would win the tie and evrything would be forgotten about bad referes and the storm would blow over and no damage done kind of thing.

    Because if Arsenal goes out of the FA cup due to a dubious ref decsiosn that will be the third game in a row they have had the referee agains them. No game can survie that. Even the papers will have to start asking questions then, and we do not want that do we? Who knows what skeletons they would find.

  306. Harry Flowers

    Too long, tried to read it but could feel my will to live ebbing away by the third interminable “paragraph”….

    That Mink DeVille record is a classic Limpar. Years since I’ve heard that. Cheers!

  307. didn’t get to the end but dude has serious issues. legit psycho vibe going on.

  308. Just skimmed a bit, erotic writing with Barca as the bitch.


    Sorry, had to let it out.

  310. lol nobody belived RvP did not hear the whistle until Jack said he did not neither. Then it must be true. Cos engllishmen never lies,but Dutchies do?

  311. Poodle, if a pest like Jamie Redknapp can admit that he did not hear from the touchline, then I don’t know what to say…

  312. Limestonegunner

    YW, excellent report. Those were the two selection issues I considered as well when the lineups were released and, while it seemed to work for the first half, I do think Denilson might have helped us hold onto the ball just a bit more. Arshavin’s defending was probably the reason for Rosicky’s start and this justifies suggestions that our strategy from the very start was to weather the Barca attack until our fitness could give us a new foothold in the second half. Unfortunately we didn’t have any threat further up the pitch, a situation exacerbated wit RvP’s corrupt sending off, and which we didn’t remedy until after two more goals were in with Bendtner. Ah well.

    It shows that Wenger and Arsenal do have a plan B. Although, Inter managed to hold their advantage with 10 men at the Nou Camp, we aren’t built for extreme catenaccio. It is a testament to the strength of our defense that we absorbed their pressure for 49 minutes of first half action before the final moment when Cesc’s backheel led to Messi’s goal.

    Unfortunately, we aren’t hearing much lauding of our defending or acknowledgement that we showed flexibility and a determined spirit in our tactical setup. We are held to a different standard, but that’s fine. After last night, I believe we are of a different standard and the “World’s Best Team” looked low and vulgar despite the appearance of sublime passing and movement; it is a false illusion since it is anchored in low morals and a cheap spirit. You haven’t learned enough from Arsene Wenger, Cesc, if you still yearn for that rabble.

  313. Poodle

    Interesting take. Hadn’t thought much about the FA’s reaction to all this. As someone pointed out earlier, I can’t understand how English fans are so unwilling to support Arsenal against our common European enemy. I was happy to see that The SUN went to intense lengths in their article to highlight the ridiculousness of the RVP red card. But still not enough. Imagine if that had happened to Spurs or Chelsea, let alone United. There would be calls as outrageous as to boycott european competition in the future.

    And to be honest, rolling out all those cases of injustice against Arsenal does a disservice. Nothing compares to the refs performance yesterday. Not even Newcastle. Well now that I think about it, Newcastle is a pretty solid comparison. But bc it was in the CL, by far the biggest matchup in the round of 16, there really is no comparing.

  314. Consolbob,

    Evil wrote,
    ‘We have one tactic against Barca … and it works every time.’
    Which was one interesting response to your earlier question.

    The easy, and stupid answer is to write that Arsenal were forced to play that way, but that ignores the Arsenal’s team selection, which seems like an odd thing to do when discussing a game of football. (Yup, our trolls are very subtle)

    I’m a speed freak, and as expressed upon these pages I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get my fix if both Arshavin & Nasri didn’t start. So, I had to watch that first half trying to hide behind my fingers as Arsenal nearly weathered the storm. Gr*tty stuff indeed from the Gunners.
    Without Nasri + Arshavin, Theo + anyone, or just Theo*, for my tiny football brain addled with blurry memories of Overmars and friends, this Arsenal teams plays a slightly different way. Of course that could be complete rubbish, it’s just my own humble opinion, and preference. Some like Gr*tkickers. (A shame they have trouble admitting it )

    Allegedly Phillp K.Dick wrote ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ in one frenzied Speed driven draft.

    *possibly the maturing Vela?

  315. The best team in the world does not beat a team by one goal over two legs after running themselves ragged. Nor does the best team in the world need a corrupt referee to win the tie.

    Barcelona are about to get knocked off their perch. They have three players who stand out, but only one is a world beater. I doubt if they will win the ECL this year.

    Sadly their star is about to wane.

  316. We all going to talk Dick again?

  317. Also, Cesc was not entirely ‘match-fit’.
    This must have had an impact on the flow of the game.

  318. Does anyone seriously think that we can out play Barca at the nou camp? c’mon have a sense of reality. They simply wont allow it. Wenger had his tactics spot on but he couldnt legistate for the sending off.

  319. No Run DIC impersonations from me.

  320. People also forget the RVP offside. a classic example of our threat. again i’m convinced had he stayed on we would have got another chance but him onside.

  321. pitchARt – you have been watching too much Charlie Sheen lately, incomprehensible

  322. and pitchart for 150 mins of their glorious beautiful substantial better then us football, we were bloody winning. and nearly beat them with 10 men, you make it sound like we got slapped 5-0.

  323. I think people that wanted us to “outplay” baca at home are missimg the point. You dont have to outplay anybody to win a game. You dont even have to be the best team. All it requires is to score more goals. You dont even need to have any shoots on the goal. All you need is one more goal than the oponent. W would have managed to contain them with 11 man on the field and that is a fact. they would have presed and pressed and pressed, they would have been the best team, they would have outclassed us and outshon us. But they would not have won. and that is all that mattered in this game. The winning part.

  324. nice MDGunner exactly what I was thinking.

  325. maximum lameness. but hey we still are the arsenal so fuck those other people. up above i think NJgooner said something about violence directed at barca fans. I would love to do that, and was really pulling for RVP or Nasri to just punch one of the bitches in the face yesterday. the one time our player (Jack) goes down after a challenge, immediately you get that cuntface Alves and some other fuckers towering over him, taunting. i really do think those barca players have let their abilities get to their head. For all the great passing they can do, they ruin it with their manners on and off da pitch.

  326. Limestonegunner

    Dups, nice video at 4:16–thanks! Needed that.

  327. Well im gonna go see the worlds best footballer preform for Tottenham now. I never seen Bale in all his might or ever seen the reason why he is the so called “welsh wizard” he must be some player since hes better than messie, nasri, jack, inesta and xavi.

  328. Poodle @ 7:23:

    Somehow I do not feel so bad anymore about the times that I have said it was smart tactics by ManU or Chelsea etc etc to sit back deep and defend then try to hit us on the break of for Stoke to hit us with long balls. I remember lots of lots of virtual dog piles on Bill when I have made those type of comments in the past.

  329. Of the 1,000+ comments posted in the last two days, half of them by the (supposedly) goonerandy, the award for the most stupid comment of the day goes to……..Kelvin@11.01 “Last night was no disgrace we lost to the greatest team that has ever played football”
    On what grounds do you base that remark? I see that you have been watching Arsenal for 45 years but have you, for example, watched every team, say in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and so on? Barcelona play in a domestic league where usually only one other team shows up as competition. And in the UEFA competition five other teams have won it more times, including Real Madrid with 9 wins and 3 times runners up. Barcelona have won it in 1992, 2006 and 2009, which really makes them johnnies-come-lately to the table of ‘greatness.’
    A good side, yes, but the greatest team that has ever played football? Try thinking for yourself than rather than regurgitating the crap spouted in the football media ffs.

  330. Well finsbury I don’t agree with evil on this occasion. It worked once, maybe? I’m not sure that was deliberate.

    I wanted our best side on the pitch trying to outplay them and score. Nasty drug, speed, but I agree.

    No poodle, you don’t have to ‘outplay’ somebody to win a game. Going toe to toe you might get hit more often but you can still win through courage, which we have in spades.

    Why can’t we play barca at football duke? Are we a great team or not?

  331. Sorry Bill, good try, but I don’t think it was smart tactics. Not for manu, the chavs or us.

  332. i really cannot se Milan winning here. Tottenman will win and then be hailed as the new “barca light” of England. sick but true…

  333. @consol thats what i mean. you dont even have to be the best team. aslong as you score or prevent the oponent from scoring. just like we did yesterday. People that think that red card did not matter, just have no footballing brain at all…

  334. Mr Bob, I think we just didnt play well but also knew that they would have the ball.
    I really am not complianing because we did what was needed and had a chance to go through.

  335. Cbob:

    At this point we are not good enough to go toe to toe with them and play their brand of football especially on their home pitch. Simple as that. The fact that we were still ahead in the tie at 60 minutes despite them outplaying us showed we got the tactics right. I still believe we had a legimate attacking plan in our tactics but they totally stiffled us. May be I am wrong but I don’t think we went out on the pitch planning to be anywhere near as defensive as we looked yesterday.

  336. I’ve discovered the reason for all the anti-Arsenal sentiment last night, it’s all the fault of Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1950’s-
    “As a reaction to a declaration by the British press on the part of Wolverhampton Wanderers being “Champions of the World” after a successful run of European friendlies in the 1950s, Hanot finally managed to convince UEFA to put into practice a continent-wide tournament.”
    Putting the financial rewards aside for a moment, why do we bother entering into the European competitions any more? More often or not we dislike the tactics of teams from other countries (in the past – boring defensive Italians, efficient boring Germans, filthy cheating, rolling in agony – insert ‘everybody else’ team name). If the creation of the European Cup was to help reunite the Common Market during the Cold War years, it’s now past it’s sell by date, just like Jeux sans Frontieres.
    Why don’t we upgrade some of the domestic competitions instead and make sure that more of the TV income is channelled to smaller clubs so they don’t go down the financial pan like Portsmouth and possibly Plymouth? And also put in place a proper coaching system for kids?
    Tiger blood that’s what we need, you people need a winner like me (Charlie Sheen 2011)

  337. Cbob @ 7:50.

    It has worked very well for the Manc’s and Chav’s in the past and almost worked for us yesterday. If the goal is to win the game, how can it be bad tactics if it works?

  338. Are Spurs really that shitty? They’re hilarious.

  339. @mentalist i still think they will win as beliveit or not Milan and Zlatan is not far behin tottenham in being shit. Scary but true. It will be one of those sillylump the ball, Crouch headibng and bam into the net. Crouch again hailed as the best striker in England.

  340. and then the “walse wizard” will prove to everyone he is the best in the world as the Milan defence just show how incapable they are.

    Its sad but ture, if we had done our job and won the Group we were in wed killed off Roma and been in the quarters.
    Therein likes the mistake and we can only blame our self for that really.

  341. when did we play barcelona??
    who the fuck is bussaca?

    whats going on with nasri and wenger and why hasnt robin been charged as well??

  342. Damn, that was a rant. Forgive me. Funny comments though – I deserved it. Chalk it down as my own much-needed catharses, after that ‘clinic’ that Barca just gave Arsenal . . . for the second year in a row. Painful.

  343. bob,

    we went toe to toe with them at the Emirates and we done em. camp nou is different for all the known reasons. Wenger had his game plan and it was working and would have worked if the ref didnt send off rvp and we would all be talking about how fukin great we are.

  344. Dupps
    i am with you, we are often accused of not having a plan b, but when we show that we can defend we are accused of abandoning our philosophies.

  345. HT in the SP*D game.
    Return of the Sp*d.

  346. Well Bill, I don’t want us to play like the chavs and mancs. We have not built ourselves on that model. Makes me squirm.

    I hear that duke, I just don’t agree. No one has yet explained to me why they are so much better than us. Do they win the Champions League every year? Are they unbeatable?

    Paul. I am struggling, really struggling with the thought that our Arsenal cannot play football with any team on the planet. To concede that, for me, gives all the apologists for Blackburn, Stoke, Birmingham and their ilk, a leg to stand on.

    As for you MD, just channel the profts from your ‘Essex pasties’ to Argyle, where they belong.

  347. apparently Tony fukin Cascarino done a piece saying “Wenger abandones his principles” after listening to that cunt bang on for ages about us having no plan b just proves we cant win with these cunts.

  348. Why bother with Cascarino? He is prime No.1 tosser now as he has been for as long as I remember. Pfft.

  349. Cbob & Duke,

    Whilst I have my own preferences, I cannot deny the way the Arsenal team ‘held its shape’, as BBB tried to pull them apart took the breath away.
    Like watching a dance. it was almost clear whilst watching the game live, BBB never got behind the Arsenal defence in that first half. A mockery of those dumb fucks who have stated ‘Arsenal cannot defend’, shameless bullgr*t. The quality of tackles from the Arsenal back four outstanding.
    1-1 at 53 minutes? Perfect. Well, Arsenal could’ve delayed their equaliser, allowing less time for the Barcaholes to roll around, even more then they were. Or for the ref to come up with a subtle and ‘cunning plan’.
    If we could predict BBB’s conduct, me with my tiny football brain, so could AFC! The plan, whatever it was (a game of cricket, I might know, football, nope) was the right one.

  350. Cbob @ 8:45:

    Fair enough. I don’t really see either of those teams play like that against the rest of the league, just against us. Doubt you will see “defensive football” from us until the next time we play Barca so probably not much to worry about.

  351. That last paragraph above is not a statement of absolute truth.
    Just me admitting that even though I was not keen on the approach, that I think I understand why it was the right one.

  352. We we robbed, no doubt. Proud of our defeding, but I can’t particularly say the same for the midfield and attack.

  353. There are a lot of positives to take from yesterday’s game, and i for one is very proud of this team. They showed a lot of fighting spirit and belief, success surely is just around the corner. The best way to answer our critics is to go and win the league and FA cup.

    As for barcelona let them enjoy their day in the sun, they will get their comeuppance. Every decade or so, a team appears out of nowhere, dominates for a bit and then disappears into the doldrums. our time will come i am certain of it. I was very encouraged by what i saw yesterday and i am inclined to agree with Wenger when he says we would have progressed had we had 11 men. Historically most of the goals we’ve scored against barcelona have come in the last 15 min of every match. They are a great team but they could do without the histrionics.

    We will win the league this year i am sure of it, there was a sense of injustice among the players and maybe this can fuel their fire and drive them onto success.

  354. should read i for one am* lol

  355. Yogi
    You need an edit button in the comments section 😀

  356. I agree with colney!

  357. and Spurs are in the quarterfinal!

  358. that is what england wantd and needed!now they can look forward to Spurs playing Barca and winning! woohoo!

    mind you they prolly gonna draw some really crap team in the quartes and go further again….

  359. But honestly, if Tottenham does draw barca and win im gonna die.

  360. Consol,
    Totally agree with your sentiments. We tried to do to barca what the mancs and stokes of this world do to us and that’s not cool.

    By adopting was seems like an ultra defensive tactic, Arsene has opened himself up to accusations of hypocrisy, given the condescension we as a club normally treat that kind of approach when its used against us

  361. Cbob – sorry we are already sponsoring Colchester United (the advertising hoarding says “Colchester – home of the original pasty”)

  362. oh well time to move on right? if Jack the 19 year old can, so can we. If hes mature enough to move on so should we. He loves arsenal and he knows that what is needed now is to focus on United and for the away fans to do their great job as they always do.

    We can hate Barca and the ref and the way we played as much as we want. Still want change anyting. Pundits will looove the fact that tottenham is in quarers and not Arsenal.
    We got ourself into this situation by not winning our easy cl group this autumn. You sow as you reap. We just pood in the drawers before xmas and got smackd by meeting Barcelona in the first tie of knockout.

    I cannot understand how Fabregas can actually look his friends into the eyes and say that they respect him after their theatrical preformanc yesterday though. Is that really what he aspires to become? a moaning bitch that falls over an clutches his head when someoen slaps him on the wrist? He worships those guys. I just cannot respect someone tha worships abidal and his trhoat grabbing or Busquetes and his diving. The irony is that Cesc will cheere for Barca to win now, deep down in his heart he always wanted Barca to win the CL. So all in all this was win- win for him. If arsenal won he would be happy and if Barca won h would be happy.
    I wish i felt the same.

    Anywya… that is the past now, the future in Saturday and the League is ours if United beat marseille.
    Mind you my united friends are really worried and that makes me worried, we do want them to play as much as possible until May after all..

  363. We could have beaten a 10-man Barca over 45 minutes if the situation had been reversed.

    Barca tired late at the Emirates this year and last and let us back in. I suspect that the pattern may have been about to repeat itself until the red card because we had gone in level at half time.

    Pain, but no shame. Plenty of anger.

    It could all come good still.

  364. Mr. Bob I can understand your frustration but we have been pegged back by lesser teams. You know we can play with them, we have proved that, we did beat them. Dont let yesterday get the best of you, please!

    What we were unfairly robbed of was an opportunity to see if we couldve played better, I believe so but the ref…

  365. A section of supporters have always advocated for a more pragmatic approach to football. They wish that we played a bit more like the chelseas and mancs of this world from time to time, rather than the single minded attack philosophy we usually adopt. I can understand those kind of fans being happy with our game plan yesterday. But there are many on here who critize these fans for having such views. Chelsea and Inter were widely derided by this latter group for adopting cowardly, anti-football tactics. It’s instructive to see how a few of these same group of supporters are now praising our strategy yesterday. It just makes me wonder what sort of people these guys are. Did they really believe anti-football or ‘parking the bus’ was bad? Or they were just being sycophants? If God forbid we start playing like Stoke tomorrow and our players start shawcrossing our opponents legs, would these set of fans also change their tune? Is that what these people understand as support? How then are we different from Stoke and Brum fans?

  366. I dont agree that we totally tried to sit back, I didnt see that at all. What I did see though was some bad passing from us and barca giving us a hard time. However as in most of the matches we have played them, we started to find more space in the 2nd half.

  367. Henristic, it was not the same approach though. The approach was for them to tire and then mad them in the 2nd half.

    I dont believe people are praising the team for sitting back, we are praising the team for a great defensive display.

    I wouldve played Arshavin for Rosicky though and Denislon for Diaby, we needed speed and precision.

    Diaby is great but when he is not on form he thinks too much and is slow in getting rid of the ball and I just dont remember Rosicky even playing, sad!

  368. Arseblogger can be such a tool.

  369. 1 loose cannon

    Ah the Spurs are loving it. apparently Barcelona are terrified of Spurs. with all the disappointment that we had, the league cup’s unfortunate mistake , the goal against Sunderland that wasn’t given and the harsh RVP red card in C.league , you just feel we might get a little luck to land the title or at least the FA cup.. This is a real test for the fans the players and everyone. You can either lose hope and give up or you carry on believing and we will eventually get the reward. It’s up to the players not to feel sorry for themselves and move up a gear to finish strongly.

  370. After reading this comment from Doyle @Guardian, I am not sure who I would want to win if the Spuds draw Barcarefereeinour pocket:

    “Wouldn’t it be a rum thing if, after years of having to watch Arsenal swank around Europe (until every time their campaign dissolved into a pool of hot tears), Tottenham won the Champions League at the first attempt? But one thing is for sure: Spurs won’t go down as timidly as Arsenal did last night.”

  371. Henristic:

    You are thinking about this way more then is needed. Has anyone ever said being a professional sports fan required logic. The evidence will always be mentally manipulated to fit the conclusion rather then drawing conclusions based on the evidence. Guilty of it myself sometimes. Fortunately there is no answer to your hypothetical scenario since we will not start playing like Stoke.

  372. 1 loose cannon

    MDgunner Who is Doyle?
    the C.league does not concern me at all now. We have a very good oppportunity to win the title this year and we should take it . Next year it will be a lot harder with Mancity and Chavs splashing out on players.

  373. I agree with Bill, I am not sure what henristic is saying. Did we play like stoke? explain.

  374. A pretty inept performance last night!

  375. I dont think we adopted an ultra defensive tactic last night but I think we played right into their hands.
    Why try and play out of trouble 25 / 30 yards from goal, there should have been an outball to try and turn their defence!
    I think AW got it wrong last night big style!

  376. Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 29 13 1 0 39 9 4 8 3 24 21 33 60
    2 Arsenal 28 10 2 3 30 12 7 4 2 27 15 30 57
    3 Man City 29 9 4 2 23 11 6 4 4 22 14 20 53
    4 Chelsea 28 9 2 2 26 9 6 4 5 25 15 27 51

    I am not surprised to hear praise for Arsenal’s defending.

  377. anyone still think we cant defend??
    i must admit i had my doubts at the start of the season but not anymore..
    since koz has found his feet his partnership with JD has been one of the best anywhere…how many clean sheets in how many games again????
    and then we go see that last night..that just sealed it for me, the 3-1 was a false representation of how well we actually dug deep and proved we can defend v the best..
    that took guts what we did..we went against everything we pride ourselves on..
    we set our stall and we invented a new way of defending last night..
    park the bus with a high line..
    we were excellent at the back it was a masterclass…other than messis goal that cesc gave him and the pen what the fuck did he do??
    we know why we lost we dont have to explain ourselves to anyone, fuck barca and fuck the ref..
    scary thing is..we have three top top top top top class cb’s at the club and they are all unfer 25..
    this is only the beginning, they will continue to grow..
    im not even bothered about last night im glad its all over the PL will be taken this year and for many years to come..

  378. ian
    dont you think the ref made a few more mistakes than AW did??
    if we had a fiar ref then barca see two red cards before half time..
    before they score
    if the ref does his job then we play a 9 man barca for 50mins and i dont give a shit how good they are they dont win that one..
    but barca aint a fair team we didnt have a fair ref and they can both go fuck themselves

  379. Bradys right foot

    Honestly I don’t give a dodgy brown envelope full of cash if appy arry and the spuds go on to eurpoean triumph. I’m only worried about Saturday and also our run in for the league. We are 10 games away from a league title. We just have to hang in until Theo Song RVP and Cesc are fully fit. Hopefully the rest of the squad can stay free of all shades of back, knee, shoulder, muscular and ligament knack and associated knock until we close out the season. The league for me is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th its the rubber stamp that says your the best team. I’d love a champions league it would be a quite beautiful and delicous cherry on top of our beloved club, but given a choice for me its the league every single time, well maybe after three or four in a row I might trade a league for European Cup.

    Been looking in detail at our defence this season and JD and Kozzer have been immense in the league over the last few months. Our defensive improvement has gone completely unrecognised. If the guys keep doing what there doing well end up with the best defense in the league, just Imagine Hansens face priceless lol. COYG.

  380. if we defend all next season like we have in the second half of this we will romp the Pl next year…
    romp it..
    its gotta be said i think tv is a great cb but for me he has lost his place..
    debateable i know, but how do we break up that pairing??

  381. JJ – I do not think TV will get his place back this season. It will be a good fight in pre-season to see who gets the nod though.

  382. Bradys right foot

    Im with you JonJon TV will have to content himself with a few splinters as he looks on from the bench. I can’t actually believe that some people still don’t rate Kozzer. Six clean sheets in the last nine matches in the league, i do think Scezneys played a part in that but can’t see him being out long term.

  383. the only place we went wrong was midfield
    cesc wasnt fit and diaby had one of his mares..
    barca took advantage….its hard enough when you are at full whack v barca never mind when two of your mids dont turn up..
    the defence was amazing though and not only did we lose momentum when robin went off we lost our outlet for the last 35mins
    we had nobody to pump the ball to to relieve the pressure..robin was defending from the front as well so once he went the barca waves got more and more frequent…

  384. Jonjon
    I agree that if we defend like this we will romp the PL, but that depends a lot on who comes and goes this summer. Interesting times ahead indeed.

  385. Anyway can we move on to the upcoming tie with United, i think we’ve debated enough about barca.

  386. Bradys right foot

    Will be very interesting if Ryodhino gets a special talent work permit in the summer. He looks an incredible prospect.

  387. we dont need to change that much colney
    just a few tweaks..
    the majority of the changes will come via the academy i reckon.
    any signings we make will be big ones i think this time..

  388. Vermaelen – “I don’t know when I will be able to play again. No date has been set for my comeback, but it will not be in March”

  389. 1LC – sorry for the late reply, eating Chinese takeaway, Doyle had some blog on the Guardian sports website. Please don’t ask me to go back and check….

  390. Ryo needs to be called up by japan to help his case. i think we can rule vermaelen out for the season the problem arises if they can’t figure what exactly is wrong with him during the summer.

  391. Jonjon
    I think the academy needs pruning. Who goes and who comes is not my forte that’s why wenger is paid to make such decisions.

  392. ryo will be on loan for 100 years before he plays for us
    there is a rule though i think where if he plays 75% of games for japan in a certain time period he qualifies as he is classed as a fully fledged international…or something like that
    so u never know, he may be eligible for us next season, stranger things have happened, like strikers being sent off for shooting..

  393. … whilist some fullbacks are allowed to shoot people.

  394. Ryo has to play 75% of his country’s internationals. I think Japan has 2 internationals coming up but i don’t know if that would be enough to get him over the hurdle.

  395. i think most of the loan players are putting themselves in the shop window, players like traore, randall and hoyte

  396. Look at this idiots comment from The Guardian:

    10 March 2011 12:25AM

    Wenger and the arsenal board are a joke, they have turned arsenal into a bloody mockery, arsenal have now become a mid table team”

    The fool doesn’t even understand how to read a league table. Arsenal remains the world’s best run club. The victories will come sooner than they expect!

  397. HELP WANTED!!!

    It’s official, I now detest every last thing associated with BBB. From name down to manager. I appreciate the pressure they are under but can NEVER forgive their comments and actions surrounding the second leg. My dilemma?

    Post-Franco Real Madrid have compounded matters by hiring the biggest (_ _ _ please supply your own expletives here) in the form of Maureen and Ronaldo. For this reason I cannot see a realistic way of seeking secondary satisfaction. Maybe in the CL but they may face the Spuds in the next round (I know, it hurts!) and I’ll be faced by the same dilemma.

    Any suggestions on how to vent my negative karma against these -%+&ts?

  398. YW,

    A reasoned and accurate account of events well written. I think the double is a worthy outcome and do believe that we are ascending and BBB are on the precipice about to decline. I would honestly like us to be drawn against them next season.

    One thing that I have come to believe is that Arsene’s being charged is no bad thing. I feel that we have been poorly treated far too often (not only by the media but, more importantly) by match officials and football bodies. Fungusbum and Maureen both kick up a noise and officials seem less inclined to continually ask them to bend over and then smile while receiving whatever intrusions such an official fancies.

    To hell with it. We need a slush fund just to plan for the series of fines, which I think we need to accept as part and parcel of our efforts to increase the likelihood of a level playing field.

    I also think that Gazidis and the club need to start nurturing relations of influence within the media and footballdom. Dave Dein may have (alright, ‘definitely has’) his faults but I feel he was good in these areas. In order to give Arsene and our squad the optimum opportunity to demonstrate their excellence on the field, I believe there is need for more of this type of background work off the field.

    Rant terminated.

  399. YW,

    I also recall your pre-match commentary of Busacca. Well, as Wikipedia notes:

    “Busacca was chosen to be a referee at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. While refereeing a World Cup match between Ukraine and Spain, Busacca made a decision against Vladislav Vaschuk, giving the player a red card and awarding a penalty kick against Ukraine in the 47th minute of the match. Multiple angles of the infraction showed no physical contact inside the penalty area, preceded by a tug on the pants of Fernando Torres in the penalty area by Vladislav Vaschuk. David Villa of Spain slotted home the resulting penalty against Ukrainian keeper Oleksandr Shovkovsky.”

    There definitely seems to be a pattern developing. And Arsene is the one (well, with Nasri thrown in for good measure, one of the two) being charged.

    On the bright side (?), I think the rose tinted glasses of our squad when it comes to playing BBB has been tarnished and any future engagements will be far better for that.

    And that really is the end of my early morning and delayed vent


  400. can’t get gravatar to work…damn!

  401. sweet…it finally worked

  402. congrats dude how do you do that?

  403. Well i read yesterday that we were gonna buy distin to strengthen our very weak defence. We were also gonna buy reina as our keepers aparantley sucked(!) nobody mentioned that the glorious united defence have let in more goals. Or that Kozer brought the continental style of defending to England long before Luiz ever appeared. Infact luiz of Chelsea is a Kozzer clone whe it comes to playstyle. There are some proper blind monkeys sitting around in the newspaper houses of this country…. how does the ancient saying go? No hear, no see, no speak. That’s births football press for ya.

  404. Why do you have to put links to that shit on here, goonerandy? I spend my life avoiding newspapers and you create a conduit to pour this excrement onto the site.

  405. One of the first links I have seen giving a plyers view on he game Frank, that is all. Not really a big deal.

  406. Hackery is always a big deal.

  407. Re. CL: Looks like this year all Group stage winners/return home game teams may get through to last 8….

  408. Queen of suburbia

    Some good points in it actually.

    For all the excellent defensive work from our centrebacks, we struggled against the swarming style. Especially as we are used to playing teams who let us keep the ball until much higher up the pitch.

    Naturally, one effect of the swarm is Barca were likely to tire late on. Losing RVP meant we never got the chance to find out.

    Those that arecomparing us to Stoke aremissing the point. The objection to that sort of team is not that they try to defend. It’s that their game plan is to kick us.

  409. Well, that wasn’t my point at all, Queen.

  410. Reading through the previous 2 days’s threads makes interesting reading.

    It strikes me that when team play us with a set game plan (and I am not talking about booting us off the park), many on here get on their high horse and slate them with such things as “anti-football”. Especially if the said team gets a result against us. When we do exactly the same, the very same people claim we had a master plan which was working. All very acceptable.

    It is hypocracy of the highest (and most arrogant) level.

  411. There is a difference between playing containing counter-attacking football with a view to tiring out your opponent as we did against Barca, and hoofing the ball long and playing for throw ins/corners/free kicks as some teams do against us.

    What we did isn’t anti-football, and truth be told most Premier League teams do actually play the former variation against us, the latter not so much.

  412. I agree with your epl assessment. However, It is naive to think that we were tiring Barca out by chasing them around the whole game. If anything, they were wearing us out, as they worked harder than us the whole game. Anyone who thinks that strategy would work with the players that we have and the style that we play is fooling themselves. It is comical to hear some of the people on this board raving about Arsenal’s defensive prowess, as if actually defending solidly for 42 minutes immediately gives Arsenal the best back line in Europe. It is ridiculous. I would say that the way we played against Barca Tuesday night is a disgrace and an embarrassment by Arsenal standards. Some fans will defend anything . .. “When we do it, it’s okay.”

  413. Queen of suburbia

    The pattern of our last few games vs Barca is that they tire in the second half. That is clear.

    Barca ran 4k further than us. Running more than somebody who is roughly as fit as you means you will get more tired, more quickly.

    That much is logical. I fail to see why you would think that is naive.

  414. Maybe they ran further than us because they could. They definitely didn’t have to chase us or the ball around much. That much is very clear. And, if it is true that they ran 4k more than Arsenal did, then the Arsenal players weren’t working hard enough to win the ball back or to keep possession during those rare times when we actually had the ball. Maybe Barca ran more than us, because they actually worked harder. Seems pretty logical.

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