Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona

Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona

Postby Massa » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:25 pm

Barçelona, a chance for revenge.

Two of the finest footballing teams on the same pitch, each ready to strut their stuff and play football the way it should be played.

This match had a lot to live up to, and it did not disappoint.

Hands were rubbed as Arsenal drew Champions League holders Barçelona in one of this seasons quarter-finals, and the long wait finally ended, this was the match, this was it.

Cesc Fabregas & William Gallas were surprise entries in the starting line-up for Arsenal, with the former only previously given a 40% chance of playing by Mr. Wenger, and the latter not expected to return until the Wolves game 4 days later.

Arsenal:
Almunia, Gallas (45), Vermaelen, Clichy, Sagna (67), Diaby, Nasri, Fabregas, Bendtner, Arshavin (27), Song
Bench: Fabianski, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott (67), Denilson (45), Eboue (27), Campbell

Barçelona:
Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Xavi, Ibrahamovic (77), Messi (87), Keita, Busquets, Pedro, Maxwell
Bench: Pinto, Marquez, Bojan, Henry (77), Milito (87), Toure, Jeffren

A fabulous start to a fabulous game, for the visitors at least. For the first half of the match, Arsenal were torn apart, but we proved a tough nut to crack as somehow we managed to prevent the Catalan giants from taking the lead.

Surprisingly, Manuel Almunia, on the back of his sub standard performance against Birmingham costing us 2 vital Premier League points, kept us in the tie.

His first came into action after being tested by Lionel Messi, frequently known as Argentine midget. Barça’s magician skipped past Alex Song & Thomas Vermaelen, and let rip from just outside the box. A shot with plenty of venom, though it proved easy pickings for Manuel as he timed his dive perfectly to stop the shot, and managed to scamper up onto his feet and clear the ball preventing a chance of a rebound. Things were already looking grim for the gunners.

A swift counter-attacking move led to Ibrahamovic clear of Arsenal’s highline, he ran nearly half the length of the pitch before shooting, but again Almunia was again there to prevent Barçelona from gaining the upper hand. Fantastic start from our much disputed No.1, though this would be an unwelcome occurrence throughout the first half.

Another slick Barçelona move led to a simply superb defensive display from the Gunners. Messi cut open the Arsenal defence to put through an un-challenged Zlatan Ibrahamovic one on one with the goalkeeper, though Almunia’s fine awareness somehow managed to prevent Barça from taking the lead, though the danger was not over yet. Maxwell managed to retrieve the ball out wide, and played a glorious through ball leaving Xavi with just the ‘keeper to beat, only for the ever reliable ( :hiding: ) Manuel Almunia to palm the ball away. The danger was still not over. Almunia’s save managed to find Kieta who, with a goalkeeper-less net to aim at, hit a first time shot from around 20 yards, but the actually ever reliable Alex Song was there to head the ball away. Surely that must be it? Nope, the clearance found its way to Messi who hit it towards goal on the volley, with Alex Song again there to kick the ball away. Fantastic last-ditch defending from Arsenal, though understandably, we were looking frustrated. We were being totally out done by Barçelona’s swift passing, the type of game that we should have been playing, the type of game that we most certainly weren’t playing. Every time we managed to retrieve the ball, it seemed to disappear seconds later and lead to another wave of Barçelona attacks. And it wasn’t getting any better.

The visitors tried to get yet another speedy attack going through Xavi, but this time Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin came lunging in. Xavi perhaps made a meal of it, but the Russian was rightfully booked. It appeared that Andrey had picked up an injury during the tackle, and Arsene Wenger, with one of Rosicky, Walcott or Eboue to choose from, opted for the Ivorian to replace what looked like a lethargic Andrey Arshavin.

Arsenal Substitution:
Andrey Arshavin off
Emmanuel Eboue on


Things were looking better for Arsenal as the half went on; we were beginning to create some chances. Abou Diaby fed it to Samir Nasri who, right on the corner of the box, let one fly only for it to bounce agonizingly close to the post. This would prove to be Arsenal’s only shot at goal in the first 45.

It was perhaps a gamble for the Arsenal manager to select William Gallas to partner Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence, and one that would not pay off. The former Arsenal skipper, who had only just returned from a five-week lay-off, had to be stretchered off, as he had appeared to strain himself again. Arsene had the choice between Sol Campbell as a straight replacement, or bringing on Denilson and pushing Song to CB, he chose the latter.

Arsenal Substitution:
William Gallas off
Denilson Neves on


The half would end with Cesc Fabregas holding his head in his hands.

Another smooth Barçelona wave led to Xavi in possession, and a conceivably frustrated Fabregas came sliding in, big mistake. The Arsenal skipper was shown a yellow card, meaning he misses the second leg. Arsenal were already being undone with possibly their strongest team, bar of course Van Persie, playing; and now if by some miracle we were still in it for the return leg, we would have to do without Cesc Fabregas.

An undesirable end to a disheartening first half, though Arsenal were relieved that the score was still 0-0.

That feeling of relief didn’t last long though.

27 seconds after the restart, a glorious long ball from Gerard Pique found its way to Zlatan Ibrahamovic. With only Alex Song attempting to stop him, Zlatan took advantage of Almunia’s decision to rush out of his goal and placed an almost arrogant chip into the empty net.

Barçelona Goal:
Arsenal 0-1 Barçelona
Zlatan Ibrahamovic 46’


Arsenal responded relatively well.

Cesc Fabregas found Clichy out wide, who crossed the ball perfectly for Nicklas Bendtner, but the big Dane’s header was saved by a perfectly positioned Victor Valdes.

Barça were again on top for the opening periods of the second half, and further enforced this with another goal. In similar fashion to the opener, a superb pass from Xavi, found Ibrahamovic, who wasted no time and powered a finish into the roof of Manuel Almunia’s net.

Barçelona Goal:
Arsenal 0-2 Barçelona
Zlatan Ibrahamovic 59’


Arsenal looked down and out.

Barçelona were taking us by the throat. We needed something, someone, to turn this around for us. Enter Theo Walcott. After much confusion, Sagna was the one making way for the Englishman, allowing Emmanuel Eboue to move back to his preferred position at Right-Back.

Arsenal Substitution:
Bacary Sagna off
Theo Walcott on


The pacey wide man made an immediate impact as the Arsenal team utilized his pace, allowing him to beat his marker and place a cross. Comfortable save by Victor Valdes, though a sign of intent from Theo.

His second contribution resulted in a much better outcome. Nicklas Bendtner found Walcott with an inch perfect pass; Theo cut inside, flew past his marker and forced home a finish. Valdes got a hand to it, but the pure power of the shot proved too much and he could only watch as the ball bounced into his goal.

Arsenal Goal:
Arsenal 1-2 Barçelona
Theo Walcott 69’


Arsenal were on top.

We were doing to Barça, what they were previously doing to us. Passing the ball comfortably, retrieving the ball relatively easily, but we were still losing, and that’s not a result that you want to take with you to the Nou Camp.

Arsenal gained a small advantage when Gerard Pique was booked, meaning he would miss the second leg, but this would prove even more costly to Barça come the end of the match.

Cheers were starting to erupt around the Emirates Stadium, not because we were back in the match, but because a certain Thierry Henry was preparing to come on. Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer replaced Zlatan Ibrahamovic to a standing ovation.

5 minutes until the end of the game, Arsenal fans could seem somewhat confident with the knowledge that they had scored 8 late goals their last 7 games. Would there be a 9th?

Nicklas Bendtner was played a ball that he nodded on to the feet of Fabregas, Carlos Puyol brought down the Spaniard just before he was about to shoot and surely score. Red card to Puyol, penalty to Arsenal.

Cesc Fabregas took the penalty against his former employers and boyhood club, he may not be playing the second leg, but he had the chance to give his teammates a huge boost for the return. Could he do it?

Arsenal Goal:
Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona
Cesc Fabregas 85’


Yes he could!

The Arsenal captain sent Victor Valdes the wrong way to level things up at the Emirates, but at what cost?

Cesc seemed to injure himself in the process of taking the penalty, but he played on, with what was later deduced as a broken leg! Great commitment from our captain, and he managed to play out the remaining minutes as Arsenal held on to record a superb comeback.

Full Time:
Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona


There we have it, fantastic game of football.

Arsenal looking for a win at the Nou Camp or a 3-3 draw to take them through, two outcomes that don’t look too distant with both Puyol & Pique suspended for the 2nd leg.

Come on you Gunners! :arsenal3:
Last edited by Massa on Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona

Postby SE13 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:45 pm

Nicely done!
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Re: Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona

Postby gzagee » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:13 pm

Very individual post match report. Almost like reading a newspaper summary.

Good effort.
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Re: Arsenal 2-2 Barçelona

Postby Massa » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:35 pm

Cheers guys :)
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