Feb 16

Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona — ‘Best team in the world’ stunned by Gunners

Arsenal pulled off a remarkable comeback after falling behind to a David Villa opener as goals from Robin van Persie and substitute Andrey Arshavin helped the Gunners to a first leg win.

Pep Guardiola’s side dominated possession with wonderful passing, working tirelessly to press the home side in their short spells on the ball, and deservedly led through a David Villa goal after 26 minutes.

They could have had three or four more but Arsenal levelled after controlling most of the second half through Robin van Persie in the 78th minute.

The game got even sweet for the Gunners seven minutes from time when substitute Andrey Arshavin swept in the second after a superb counter-attack.

Szczesny
Eboue – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Fabregas – Song – Wilshere
Walcott – van Persie – Nasri

Arsenal got off to a scintillating start within the first 15 minutes of the tie with a half-volley from van Persie after just five minutes forced a stellar save from Victor Valdes. Surprisingly for both sides, in the opening stages of the tie many passes went astray, as both teams instead lost possession and faced storming counter attacks from either end.

The first gasp-inducing moment of the night came from a stunning miss from Leo Messi. The Argentine was released by David Villa and clipped the ball over Szczesny from a one-on-one situation, only to watch the ball sail inches wide from five yards.

Barca opened the scoring straight after a piercing Arsenal counter attack from Theo Walcott was snuffed out. Messi released a weighted pass behind the Arsenal defence, Gael Clichy played David Villa onside and the Spanish star didn’t miss from inside the box.

For the remainder of the first half Barcelona began to settle into their lead, forcing the Gunners to chase shadows for large periods around the half-hour mark. Barca’s dominance was nearly rewarded after a Villa shot was stopped by Szczesny, before Messi bundled in a header and was judged to be offside.

To Arsenal’s credit, the side began to battle back in the dying minutes of the first half, owed mainly to respective brilliant ball retention and sprints from Arsenal’s young English duo of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, though Robin van Persie’s shooting was uncharacteristically sloppy.

With just over 20 minutes left on the clock, both sides made substitutions, as Andrey Arshavin replaced the Alex Song, who had received a yellow card at the beginning of the tie and defensive midfielder Seydou Keita replaced goalscorer Villa.

In the 78th minute Arsenal’s perseverance was finally rewarded through a Robin van Persie equaliser, after the in-form Dutchman struck a volley from a tight angle along the left-hand side, exposing an awful positional blunder by Victor Valdes, who could only watch a revived and attack-minded Gunners took the tie into the last ten minutes.

With seven minutes to go the Emirates Stadium erupted. Samir Nasri tormented Barcelona down the line and squared the ball across to substitute Arshavin, who couldn’t miss from 15 yards. Suddenly the Catalans were rattled as wave after wave of Gunners attacks edged closer to providing a comfortable two goal cushion for the second leg.

In the final seconds of a riotous 90 minutes of football Barcelona almost levelled the game, following a mistimed defensive header from Arshavin which led substitute Adriano to force a parry from the tremendous Szczesny. Bringing a lead many thought impossible to the Camp Nou, Arsene Wenger’s side confounded the expectations of numerous pundits and came of age, while Barca manager Pep Guardiola was punished severely for taking his foot off the pedal through bringing off his frontman Villa.

Post-match reaction

“It is one of those special nights. It was a great game that did not disappoint,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

“When you play Barcelona you are always on the border of collapsing but we showed great resilience. It’s open now, we will go there and play our game because you can’t go to the Nou Camp and just defend.”

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29 Responses to “Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona — ‘Best team in the world’ stunned by Gunners”

  1. Asif K says:

    F*** Barca. Were the Best!

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  2. bob dillon says:

    we are the greatest team, the world has ever seen!!!

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  3. arsena4live says:

    this is the greatest day of football. No one gave us a chance including BBC but the God of soccer has vendicated Arsenal and He will do for us in spain. Im very proud of all the boys and good luck to Gooners

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  4. CF4 says:

    I can’t believe some people thought we played well. We were absolutely mauled for an hour. They were toying with us, and the linesman helped us out on more than one occasion.

    Great result, mind, don’t want to be pessimistic, but the away goal means the tie’s more or less over. Barca tend not to win away in these knockout ties, but they’re almost invincible at home.

    I just feel privileged that we get to share a pitch with the greatest footballing side of all time. They play how we THINK we play.

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  5. LOlza says:

    I hope we win the next leg against barca! But we proved the whole world wrong, this includes my friends, who said barca gnna ***** you! But this shows that we have defended very well and created many chances unlike barca!COME ON YOU GOONERS!

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  6. ole says:

    Kocsielney was just awsome today, some of the best i`ve seen for a long time. he has been good lateley, but today he took a huge step to become a great arsenal defender. Great night, few tears ran on my cheak when arshavin scored;)

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  7. Unbeaten.49 says:

    @CF4: You said it, they’re “almost” invincible, but we can do it, remember Inter last year

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  8. Baggy says:

    Normally just read this blog and dont post but have to say We were brilliant today.

    As for CF4 please fuck off.

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  9. arsena4live says:

    for me they all did well , but what a day for jack this boy is better than xavi and iniesta put together . this proves that age is no barrier and our defenders did great job too . I still believe we will knock them out . Arsenal always create history , remember the italian giant and real madrid , the same will happen to barcalooser

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  10. The Fan says:

    CF4 is a yid and pissed off that after writing us off all week that we proved him wrong. And not just him. Everyone else who doubted us, to the people who thought we shoulda defended like inter, to the people who call us barca lite, to the people who just give in to barca.

    We decided to play it how we use to and unlike barca headed straight for goal when we got possesion. I don’t understand why when arsenal win w/o a lot of possesion they can’t see us deserving the win where as when chelsea beat us w/o possesion they are the better team.
    End of the day we decided only to be threatening with our possesion and it paid off. Barca may of had more but they just passed it along the back a load any way.

    Bring on camp nou.

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  11. GunnerMKD says:

    i just hope puyol doesnt shake off his injury, and that would leave them with milito in central defence, which is GREEEAT for us. anyway, we won 2-1, we still have to play away, so calm down its not over yet.
    but boy, i danced when rvp scored he equaliser! we`ve gotr sagna, which can only be a good thing, 1-1 will do just fine for me ;)

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  12. Ken says:

    Tough win. Barca looked dangerous at times and dominated us first half but that is to be expected from one of the best team in the world. We showed real determination and resilient to come back and won the game, credit to the players and Wenger. Camp Nou will be even tougher but I don’t see why Arsenal can’t win the tie. Go Gunners !!!

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  13. Chrissie Greeno says:

    You could almost smell the scum circling waiting to jump on here celebrating the most successful night in their history and ripping us apart….but it didn’t work out how they intended and they resort to lower themselves like thieves in the night and stinking belly crawling pig slugs…..CF4 you sad bitter man hahahaha

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  14. Mauritius Arsenal Fans says:

    Bring it on !!!

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  15. dw says:

    We look in good shape for the secound leg
    We have sagna coming back and nasri
    Should be fitter he look out of pace in
    The first half and fabragas should play much
    Better in the secound leg.
    jack wilshere and szczesny was class today
    They kept us in the game

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  16. ps says:

    @CF4: barca was always going to dominate the game with their passing. we just have to grab the goals and run. i hope we can do it again in nou camp.

    i went ballistic when the second goal went it! what a night, and what a great game. our players have come of age with a very matured performance, and another 90 minutes in nou camp is what separates them from greatness.

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  17. rosslee says:

    cf4 is a gloom mongering tottenham/barca/manu scum. he’s been copy pasting the same shit on all arsenal blogs. Have you no shame or family honour? go back to sucking scum off the tottenham sidewalk.—you have been exposed!!!

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  18. phil says:

    @CF4:
    I just can’t believe this comment. What a mealy mouthed mean spirited and unhappy tw*at you must be. I really feel sorry for (if you have one) your family.

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  19. ak47 says:

    forever in our shadow! lmho!! jus kiddin… not really.:-)
    il hold my hands up, i thought jack and kozza would struggle.
    what actually happened was the opposite!

    my eyes well up when i think about how a 19yr old managed to be one of the strongest players on a pitch full of most of the best in the world. i found myself rubbing my eyes in disbelief at the technical ability.

    the fan is spot on, i was thinking earlier thats what separates us from barca, were more direct.

    in all 4 comps, 1 final, 2nd in the league closer to the top than 3rd place is to us, spent the least money, got wilshere, the best blogs, loadsa history, the best manager(fact), i could go on and on!

    now with confidence for sale.

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  20. Burtsagooner says:

    First of all CF4, you are a cock. We play the arsenal way and it worked more direct and with tons of speed,ok they were awesome in the 1st half but they went no where with it, every time we had a break on i could sense a goal. 2nd half was jus super, defending as a team and scaring the shit out of them when we attacked, was a joy to watch us become what we all knew we could, a team capable of being spoken of in the same breath as earlier wenger teams. Proud as punch. Bring on the next victim!

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  21. pkay says:

    awesome! Awesome match! Koscielny was my man of the match but all the boys laid out their all today. Proud of this team. Eff off with that more than a club he say she say bull. VP10. No words.

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  22. meaner says:

    Walcott can never assist that kind of goal Nasir created for the second. It is Eye sore to watch walcott play.

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  23. Irish gunner says:

    The fans were great tonight got behind the team from the off well done to all,atmosphere really came across on tv.wilshere is becoming the heart of this team,future arsenal captain me thinks!

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  24. ADEWALE says:

    OOOOOH THANK U GUYS, U DID A WONDERFUL JOB, AS MAN OF THE MATCH, JACK WAS VERY VERY EXELENTE 1 LOVE ARSENAL, KEEP THE FAITH…

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  25. shir says:

    YOUNG kids vs 3 FIFA-BEST finalists in the game but finally we won.hands together goes to a wonder-kid jack,he really dominated those 2 fifa ranked best-defeated midfielders.go go gunnerz.hope for the win at camp nou.

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  26. pastaface says:

    Have you noticed something people, when we lose or draw a game there are 100s of comments. When we win a historic game (ok we still have far to go and will be hard a Barca) hardly anything!

    These so call Arsenal fans are a joke!

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  27. french gooner says:

    pastaface ,youre right,but who cares, because theyre scared to show their faces,we played our game as wenger promised and won beautifully !!!!we can now concentrate on the cup and the league.everyone will write us off at the camp nou but were used to been the under dogs…we know were not…by the second match we will hopefully have the league cup if the results go our way 1st in the league.

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  28. nicky says:

    cf4 is quite right. Barca are “almost” invincible at home. The key word is “almost”.
    When Arsenal visit, they will do so in sure and certain knowledge that they are
    a better team than a year ago, they lie second in the toughest league in the world, they are full of confidence and experience and they have just beaten the team they are about to meet. For their part, Barca have to score and keep a clean sheet in order to prosper. A draw will not be sufficient. They know how Arsenal can punish via a counter. They will enter the contest with great trepidation and with good cause.

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  29. gooner james says:

    cf4 you are a dick.

    i know the boys all played well specially wilshere and koscelhney but i have 2 say credit to wenger he had them ready to play every1 knew what they were doin and it all came off.

    thank you wenger if we can repeat last year by which i mean score first inside 20 mins then im 100 per cent sure we will be in the next round.

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