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Thursday
Apr012010

Arsenal 2 Barcelona 2: Match Report

  

Pick the bones out of that one as they say.

On an extraordinary night of Champions League football, by some miracle Arsenal emerged with a 2-2 draw at home to Barcelona, despite conceding an incredible 65% possession and 23 shots at goal.

It would not be unfair to suggest that Arsenal could have been 2 down in the opening 5 minutes, and at least 4 down by the 20 minute mark, were it not for wasteful finishing by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi, a last ditch tackle by Vermaelen, and FIVE excellent saves by Manuel Almunia.

Arsenal were also extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty when Clichy brought Messi down in the box on 27.

For an Arsenal supporter, this was painful and embarrassing to watch, and exactly what I had feared.

Arsenal didn’t complete two straight passes for the first half hour, and practically the whole game was being played in their half - yet by some miracle the score remained goalless after 25 minutes.

On 28, an injured Arshavin was replaced by Eboue.

Slowly Arsenal began to get on the ball, but not before Gallas was stretchered off on 41 with a recurring calf strain. He should not have been picked, it was dreadful management. And the same for Fabregas who was evidently not fit to play in a football match of such intensity.

Wenger compounded his error to pick Gallas by moving Song into the back four.

As a whirlwind first-half came to a close, Arsenal only had a long-range shot from Nasri to show for their woeful endeavours, whereas Barcelona had something like 15 attempts on goal.

It was only a miracle that the Gunners were not a handful down as Wenger’s tactical ineptness was brutally exposed.

For all Wenger’s genius in turning youth into world class talent and assembling teams capable of playing excellent pass and move football, I'm absolutely convinced that, tactically, he’s the worst top level manager in the business – and the first half proved that beyond any reasonable doubt.

Yes, Barcelona are an excellent team, but for Arsenal to get utterly obliterated in this fashion on home turf is quite frankly a disgrace. Let's not forget, FK Rubin Kazan drew with and beat Barca in the group stages - but thanks to Wenger, they made Arsenal look a pub team.

His choice to play injured players was selfish and detrimental; his team played too deep, and the man-marking was utterly shocking – both in open play and from set pieces. For some reason, players were closing down individually - not as a team, when one tackled, the others were standing 10 yards away so nobody was on hand to pick up the loose ball.

As it happened, it didn't matter - for all their flair and technique, Barcelona won almost every tackle.

The wide forwards did practically nothing to protect the full backs, there was no communication or leadership from anyone, anywhere on the pitch - and no organisation. Half the team was going one way, and half the other, meanwhile Barcelona were having a party in the space between.

There were two or three occasions when three or four Barcelona players were left unmarked IN THE BOX!

To add to Arsenal’s misery, Fabregas got booked for a tackle on Busquets from behind – ruling him out of the return leg.

The second half got even worse for Wenger due to his mistake of moving Song into central defence. Wenger immediately requested Arsenal push up the back four, which would have been ok if he didn't have a DM playing his fifth ever game as a center back.

Within 23 seconds of the second half, Song was found out - too slow to step up, he played Ibrahimovic onside and the Swede coolly chipped over Almunia – who came way too far out of his goal, effectively making Ibrahimovic’s mind up for him.

After 54 minutes, Arsenal finally carved a chance following a Clichy cross that Bendtner headed point-blank at Victor Valdes from 10 yards – a bad miss.

Five minutes later, and Barcelona were two up – more miscommunication at the back, this time between Clichy and Song, saw Ibrahimovic break the offside trap to bury his second high above Almunia. This was Man Utd/Chelsea all over again – Wenger has evidently learnt nothing. 

Walcott entered the fray on 65 and began to test the exhausted Maxwell, who had spent the entire first half bombing up and down Arsenal’s right. This paid dividends on 69 when the youngster scrambled his way into the box and hit a tame shot that Valdes made a complete hash of – diving over the ball. 1-2.

On 71 Pique was booked for a foul on Fabregas, ruling him out of the second leg.

Barcelona continued to push Arsenal, Messi testing Almunia yet again on 75. But the Spanish side had run out of puff and could not keep up their pressing game, finally allowing Arsenal time on the ball, which was usually wasted by bad passing.

However, at least Walcott was making a nuisance of himself – his pace hurting full-back Maxwell. On 84, Walcott crossed for Bendtner who nodded down to Fabregas in the area. About to pull the trigger Puyol closed in and Fabregas appeared to kick the back of Puyol’s leg then went down. PENALTY! Red card Puyol!

I must confess I didn’t see what Puyol did wrong. Fabregas appeared to kick him rather than the other way around, but Arsenal got the lucky call - Fabregas stepped up and levelled the game.

Full-time: Arsenal 2 Barcelona 2

It seemed as if God was on Arsenal’s side at the Emirates last night as Arsenal were ripped to shreds by a rampant Barcelona, but through sheer good fortune – and good goalkeeping (for 15 minutes) – somehow clawed their way back into the match.

And who can say this tie is over, with both centre-backs Puyol and Pique suspended for the second leg? Well, it sounds like good news but I wouldn’t be too optimistic.

Fabregas will also miss the second leg, and whether Arsenal can win at Camp Nou without him is not a tall order, it’s a skyscraper order.

The fact is, after watching last night’s game and despite the undoubted excellence of Barcelona, I have never been more mortified by Wenger’s tactical ineptitude. He sent that team out there utterly naked, reprehensibly clueless as to what to do with regard to team shape, marking, communication, gameplan – anything. It was an abomination.

If Barcelona creates a similar volume of chances next Tuesday, they will pummel Arsenal into the ground. I simply can’t believe the Gunners will be able to get away with this sort of performance again – presuming you think a two goal home deficit is curable, and it will probably be even more painful to watch than last night.

Good luck to these boys though. I feel sorry for them – and they stuck at it when they could have died of humiliation out there and completely surrendered to Wenger's worthless tactics.

—oo— 

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Reader Comments (55)

Puyol made a clumsy challenge and locked Fabregas leg. Gave the referee no choice... Penalty and a red!

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AT RESPONSE

He didn't make any challenge. Fabregas drew his leg back and caught Puyol, it was lucky but I can see why the ref gave it.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteroskar

the only way arsenal can win champions league is complete luck not with this idiot in charge

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbmouth

Wenger's apparent ineptitude is only outclassed by your penmanship. Shocking article that really belonged on the sister site arsenalfalse.com.

Guardiola's own words were that he'd never seen Barcelona play like this, and you can barely imagine a team in the world surviving that 15 minute massacre. It was that good. And you're blaming Wenger for Barcelona's quality. Perspective, dude, perspective. As they say, don't quit your day job.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErichero

Youre on a loser mate Those that criticize you sit on their pub stools stuffing crisps and beer in their mouth havent a clue. Theyve probably never kicked a ball in their life. I feel your pain because last night was a horrible mess and next week Barca will finish us off for fun.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErik

They drew against the best club side in the world, who were playing at the height of their powers. They were better than any side that I;ve seen at the Emirates as a season ticket holder.

Arsenalare second favourites to get through, but will go into the second leg with some confidence that they climbed a huge mountain.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVera City

good article, well written

agree with most of your ratings


ps.

"This was Man Utd/Chelsea all over again
– Wenger has evidently learnt nothing."
You are spot on.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLord O'Twarpie (USA)

Excellent summary of the game; I see that those who have been brainwashed by the Wenger spin-machine are biting back here and elsewhere.

In a big game Wenger was found out yet again; he would make a good talent scout and that is about it. Tactically, he has never had a clue in big games.

Amazingly, Arsenal could have won the game. Put John Radford, Malcolm McDonald or Frank Stapleton ( or me) in the same position as Bendtner, 6 yards out with a free header, and the net would have been bulging. Typically, for this side, Bendtner manages to head the ball straight at the keeper. The team plays these big games as if they were just a lark on the practice ground - do they not realise even now that gilt edged chances like Bendtner's have to be taken if you are going to win something?

The fact is Barca realised after 60 minutes that they can wipe the floor with Arsenal in the second leg and they eased off with the week-end game against Real in mind. We got lucky, especially with the penalty. A fair score on the night would have been 2-7.

So Wenger finally got his wish - to play a team that did not try to kick us off the park - and how silly he looked as they tore us to shreds and he stood there flapping his arms about.

Having followed AFC for 50 years I have lost patience with the Professor's little experiments - sod off Arsene and play your silly games somewhere else. Bring back George.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill Robertson

That's a shocking article.

If we were so crap, yet managed to 'scrape' a 2-2 draw, what does that say about Barca?

Think about it - You are very, very quick to scathe the entire Arsenal setup when we dominate games but don't win, or win by only a single goal. You can't wait to hold it up as the latest example of how your theories are being proven correct and love to whine on and on about how lesser teams can hold us.

Yet when we get a match like this, where we are being dominated by an excellent team but manage to grab a draw, you apply reverse logic and moan from your ivory tower about how crap and lucky and naive and clueless we were.

Oh, and your ratings are ridiculous, give them up. Out of the 14 players we used, you've rated 7 of them as 5 or under, with no-one else breaking 7.5 Are you seriously suggesting that a team containing such crap performances could really come away with a result like that? I'd suggest the truth is more likely that you are trying to retain your crown as the hard nut of Arsenal blogging and are now stereotyped into writing the same drivel irespective of the performance or result.

As you have said before, football is about results not performances.

Fr once, try a little inconsistency in your reporting.

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AT RESPONSE

But my theories were proved correct. I said Almunia was a weakness, he gifted them a goal. I said Clichy would get skinned by Alves and needed protection, he did get skinned, he got no protection. I said Arsenal have to press as a team all over the pitch - they didn't. I said it's all about what Arsenal do when they haven't got the ball - they did nothing but watch Barcelona dance all over them.

Arsenal were lucky not to get smashed to smithereens. Lucky. Nothing else. They got a dodgy penalty but should have given away a stonewall penalty, and had three shots on target in the entire match compared to Barcelona's 23.

What conclusions do you expect me to draw when everything I feared prior to the match came true? I don't mind being wrong, in fact I'd love to be wrong if it meant Arsenal getting through to the semi-final, but I wasn't wrong last night that's for sure.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTonyB

As usual the only Arsenal blog on the entire Internet that saw the game for what it was. All the others pretend to themselves Barcelona are the best team since 1970s Brazil - yet they couldnt even beat FCK Kazzik Nobodoysomethjngorother over two legs. No doubt those minnows got their tactics spot on, what were wenger's tactics? "Duh!! Go out and play."

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbronzer

Hmm- I think that Almunia deserves much higher than 6.5. He singlehandedly kept Arsenal in the match in the first half. Yes, he made a poor decision to come out for the 1st goal, but Song was at fault for both goals. He didn't mark Ibra. Clichy had nothing to do with either as he had his man marked.

I'd agree with the tactics though. When you play a pressing game, you need to smother the team with other players as well - shutting off lanes. Arsenal didn't do that. They stood off and watched for most of the first 45 mins.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBegeegs

i think we will fare better in spain to be honest

the emirates is fast becoming a burden in these big matches. after HEAVY defeats to man u and chelsea twice each in the last 9 months i think it badly effects our team.

not only that but i think it took the best part of 75 minutes for arsenal to come to terms with barcelona, NOT becase they are superior, but because for the last 4 years they have been the one and only team every arsenal player openly admits admiring.

its almost like the players were starstruck, in some ways almost cowing to barcelona. as a result they were given far to much respect and THEREFORE time on the ball.

if we press hard and go for the throat im quietly confident, we used to do it in big matches all the time up untill the second half of last season. maybe the last 15mins showed its returning

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AT RESPONSE

It was nothing to do with Arsenal "coming to terms" with Barcelona. The last 15 minutes Barcelona got tired, as all teams do that press Arsenal out of the game. That's why Arsenal score a lot of late goals.

When Arsenal have time and space they can hurt anyone, we know that - but can they beat Barcelona in 15 minutes at Nou Camp - or will they be 5-0 down by then? They need tactics for the other 75 minutes, but Wenger doesn't do tactics, and Arsenal can't survive every round on blind luck.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertr

Wenger never teaches defence and set piece play. we never set out to nullify threats, we cant defend as a team and cannot play without the ball. The 4-4-2 should be utilised more often to protect the fullbacks.

However, the spirit and determination was a great thing to see.

But, take nothing away from Barca, they could do that to Brazil with that magnetic passing.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNazir

Altough I am proud with the Arsenal way to play football I really think that when we play these kind of teams Wenger should change his game plan, and his first objective should be to close down the opponents and then build on that. We cannot seriosly hope to win something when we are conceding a lot of goals at home against the big teams.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaltese Gunner

you are such a pessimist with your ratings

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AT RESPONSE

I thought the whole idea of ratings was to give an accurate assessment of what actually happened, not give optimistic or "pessimistic" ratings, whatever the hell that is.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfaheem

Look, anyone who could watch last night's game not only from an Arsenal supporter's perspective but also as a connoisseur of football would be able to spot the tactical lessons dished out by Guardiola to Wenger.

That their full backs were allowed to overlap at will was criminal, that Xavi was allowed time on the ball the whole game was negligent, that Ibrahimovic was 5 yards away from the nearest Arsenal defender on the two occasions he burst through to score was embarrassing. I don't want to lay it all on Wenger's doorstep as on some occasions you do need to trust the players, their experience and their reading of the game, but from an organisational perspective, we were woeful.

No pressing, no urgency, lack of movement, poor control and anticipation, zero aggression...it was very poor. Yes, Barca were very good, but we gave them time and space to be good, to pick a pass, to keep possession. We stood off them, invited them to come at us. That may work at home to Pompey and Burnley, but against the better sides, you'll get f*cked, and no mistake.

I'm delighted we showed some bottle and some fight towards the end as they began to tire and try to close the game out, but the statistics point to much more than the scoreline, and I'm afraid that we'll get stuffed in the return leg, something like 4-0, when Barca up their game and we show up without Cesc, Gallas, Arshavin and whoever else we'll lose after the Wolves game. Yes, I am proud of the comeback, but to show so little threat on home turf, so little fight, so much star-gazing, was sad.

Having said that...COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereddie

Your blog is a fucking classic, must read. And love your hilarious replies. Keep it up!!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSimonsound

Apologies guys.

I was unaware you had all sat in on the Arsenal training sessions and teamtalks. Therefore I didn't appreciate that, when you announce he doesn't teach or practise tactics, crossing, set-pieces, etc. that you are staing is from a position of fact.

My mistake, heh.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTonyB

to the author

tactics are overrated

do you think barcelona had tactics last night? no, because barcelona play the same every match - press the opposition to death, then pass them to death and hope the game is finished with 20 minutes to go.

they just executed their game better, because they have the confidence to do so after winning every competition in a calender year.

arsenals biggest weaknes is not their tactics, but that too much of our game is confidence based.

like a nervous boxer, psychologically the game was lost before arsenal stepped on the pitch.

that the players realised barcelona are not unbeatable - proved by the last part of the game - is massively important, even if it coincided with them tiring.

im not saying we will go there and win easily, just that i think that the players will perform alot better.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertr

No . .. just like predicting this blog is a forgone conclusion.

You better watch out . . . your disciples will be hailing you as the Messiah soon, when we all know you're just a very naughty boy.

You've still ducked the point I raised; If this had been Arsenal v Pompey, with Arsenal giving them a footballing lesson but ultimately drawing 2-2, you'd have slated the whole Arsenal performance - whining and wailing that we had 23 chances but only converted 2 of them . . . " See, I told you we didn't have a striker" . .. whilst simultaneously lauding Pompey for their fight, endeavour and never say die attitude.

Now we've got the reverse, with their manager even admitting he'd never seen them play with such intensity, all you can do is bitch about your own club.

Bottom line, nothing this club does will ever be good enough for you.

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AT RESPONSE

Winning something would be a start - or at least looking like we can instead of imploding every season for the same predictable reasons.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTonyB

The only comfort I can possibly draw from that white knuckle ride last night, is that there have been times in the past when Arsenal have responded to that kind of drubbing in a positive fashion. Quite possibly, Wolves will be told by McCarthy to expect the backlash duriung their training session today. I know Wolves are no Barcelona, but you get my drift.

Trouble is of course, just who is going to be available for the return leg anyway? Heard on the news this morning that Fab and Gallas could be out for the rest of the season. I suppose Sol could replace Gallas and Nasri drop back to Fab's slot; and we could bring in Rosisky, who I'd have liked to have seen play last night. That's if they don't get whacked before the second leg.

We need an approach like the last game of the season title decider against Liverpool; when we had a set target - a 2-0 victory at Anfield. GG got the tactics spot on that night. Trouble is AW is no GG.

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AT RESPONSE

Unless by GG you're referring to a lame horse.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDB10

Why would you keep a manager for as long as 13 years, especially at a big club such as Arsenal if he doesn't know what he is doing? Arsenal players were dominated for 60 minutes because they weren't as committed as the opposing players. The speed the vision the control and the quality Barcelona had yesterday was astonishing, when i watched them play against Vfb Stuttgart they were no where near that level. But obviously they looked amazing to watch for 60 minutes, then it was a little obvious they haven't got the legs to go the distance and keep that rhythm up for 90 minutes. Arsène Wenger did ask his players to defend as well as they could, that the opposing players would eventually tire and that they would be able to enjoy more possession and more goal opportunities. Now I'd like to know who the hell YOU are to say he doesn't know tactics or how to manage a team... Or maybe you have been managing a champions leauge team for the past 13 years? you have won 3 premier league titles along with 4 Fa Cups and led your team into the last 8 of the champions league for the past 5 years? Of course you know better then Wenger, go do his job for him mate... Cheers.

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AT RESPONSE

What makes you qualified to respond or analyse then? What have you won in your esteemed managerial career?

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAyyousseh

You're placing your own ego far too highly to have a valid opinion anymore, you talk of tactics yet either haven't watched the replays or have a very poor understanding of simple positional play. Song just gave him far too much room, he should've been a lot closer to him to begin with, either way Gallas would've been able to recover, Ibrahimovic made a well timed run.

Also if you can't see what Puyol did wrong yet think Clichy should have given away a penalty you should just pack up your Pc and be done with it, Puyol had little or no interest in the ball in trying to put Fabregas off he just ran into the back of him.

You seemed to be making more balanced and considered posts of late, I hope it's the dissapointment of the Birmingham game talking and not because you're simply bored and have decided to poke fun at your fellow fans.

Poor blog, read much better here.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSalai

I feel sorry for this blogger...there's a complicated feeling of love and ambivalence for the club.

Some of the criticisms are amazing. First he slates Wenger for playing Gallas, and then says Song was thrown in at the deep end. There are mental gymnastics that can resolve those two statements in an abstract way but in real life it shows someone who is confused about real life choices and decisions.

While Wenger got his tactics wrong, choosing to have us play deep and play long, it was corrected later on, and in the end it was 2 very good substitutions that won the game.

Whatever you say, we've seen this Barcelona do this to Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Inter Milan.

To throw a sh1t fit might mean you need to get out more. Guardiola says the first half performance was the best he has seen his team play.

I've watched a lot of football since the 1970s. This Barcelona performance is one of he best I have see in the European Cup. As good as Ajax's domination of Real Madrid at the Bernabau in 1995. As good as AC milan's domination of Barca in 1993. They were brilliant.

All I can say is; calm down pal. It's only a game.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOle Gunner

How can theo be MoM. he got lucky on the goal and his runs were otherwise rather fruitless. don't mistake pace for ability.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOC

I think you should replace Wenger as Arsenal manager. You're obviously more knowledgeable and more qualified.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershane

admittedly barcalona showed us a footballing lesson in the first half but what has that got to do with wenger well lets see

we are supposed to close down quickly and high up to not only force the opposition into mistakes but to win the ball back high up the pitch and in dangerous areas

the players didnt what has that got to do with wenger

yesterday i saw center mids who struggled to turn quickly and that is one reason why we struggled

Diaby and Song for how big and good they are, are players built for the Premier league in barca we faced a team that is NOT a PL team they had xavi pulling the strings with busquets

I noticed that xavi could spin with the ball quicker than Song/Diaby could turn around full stop

those two could not get near him

Diaby was starstruck anyway so he clearly struggled with nerves anyway

its NO coincidence that when Denilson came on we regained our game and played alot better than before

why cos in a game against Barca we dont need huge physical center mids

denilson constantly and time and time again nicked the ball off their CMs and won possession back for us

that along with his "Sideways passing" as most arsenal fans complain about kept us ticking and in possession of the ball which gave us the initiative and the ideas instead of scampering around chasing xavi's shadows

what i would criticize wenger for is playing gallas there was clearly no point

arshavin said he had a new injury and cesc said himself he felt fine until the penalty and even then he is talking about a new injury so i dont feel that wenger should take blame for that

if your player says he feels fine, who can question that, we cant feel his pain and have to go on what he says unless some form of xray can prove him wrong

i feel this article is a tad harsh on wenger and the team

credit must be given where it is due we came back and scored two goals something which man u did not do when they lost to barca and we gave ourselves a chance when we finally got back into the game

a big occasion is a big occasion and i felt they conducted themselves well in the end we didnt lose and we gave ourselves a chance

yes barca are clearly favourites and rightly so but who expected us to wipe barcalona, no team on this planet has the quality to wipe barca

marquez is a terrible CB and milito has just come back from near 2 years out....both are small CBs and i feel Bendtner could trouble those two

i personally dont think we will go through however i believe we have a chance and i believe we can do something overthere providing we get on our game quickly and learn from the first half in this game

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AT RESPONSE

What do you mean what's it got to do with Wenger? I was under the impression footballers were supposed to follow their manager's instructions.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermartin

If we to agree that wenger got his tactics wrong, did guardiola get his wrong in the last 20mins? Tactics are overrated. You can teach and plan all you want, but if the players don't follow your tactics, it won't work. Tactics had nothing to do with Diaby not being able to keep the ball.

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AT RESPONSE

Tactics encompasses many things, including fielding players that are well instructed and also have the ability to follow your instructions. If one player doesn't turn up, no biggie - when 11 players don't you get what you did last night, a complete shambles.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFelix

the truth of the performance of arsenal prob lies somewhere in between both sets of arguements being discussed here-firstly imo barca would have creamed any side in the world playing like that(they were even better than when they took the piss out of manure in last yearsfinal)a fact admitted by their own manager-secondly-wenger took a tactical gamble by playing 2/3 players less than half fit against the best side in the world-it backfired big time-last but not least you cannot afford any passengers in games like this & we had too many-diaby & arshavin were two at least-we stood off them & paid the price-if it occursagain WE ARE OUT!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterking gooner

May be Wenger and arsenal are too proud to counter play the opponent. Chelsea did that last year and almost succeeded in that. in the final Man united was also very proud to counter play barca and they had been punished for that. May be there is not other way to play the game. Wenger say you can not mark every player, otherwise you can not play your game. It seems that we are more dangerous towards the end of each game including yesterday. may be that is the advantage of young players.

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AT RESPONSE

When your game is inferior to your opponents you have to stop them. It's called tactics. If you're too proud, or stubborn, to do anything other than play one style of football whatever the circumstances, you only ever get what you deserve, which is what Arsenal got last night - battered!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIbrahim

of course its his job to give intructions and for them to follow

but that does not guarantee that his instructions will be shown on the pitch

you can tell a striker to score a goal doesnt mean its gonna happen

same way you can tell a team to close them down

if they dont they dont

wenger cant come on the pitch and close xavi down for them

its clear to see that they didnt do that to the level that we wanted

its easy to talk and much harder to do

im not saying this is an excuse but the fact is they didnt

maybe they were nervous maybe they lost confidence when they hit the pitch who knows

but i personally believe 100% blame cannot rest of wengers shoulders if he asked them to do something and they have not

thats what i feel , to be honest im not concerned with much else

fact is there 90 more minutes to play and im interested to see the next 90 minutes

whether you feel im an idiot because i havent slated wenger well that you

but thats how i feel

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AT RESPONSE

I don't feel you're an idiot, you're perfectly titled to your opinion.

I can accept that in one match the team might get it wrong and all fail to follow the managers instructions, but why does this team get smashed by every top team it plays and why are the errors so similar and predictable?

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermartin

Your lies:
1. Song has played as CB far more than 5 times for Arsenal and against big teams ( EPL vs Man Utd last season (0:0 at Old Trafford)). Moreover, he plays in CB for Cameroun.

2. Barcelona could not beat Rubin Kazan, but embarassed Man Utd, Real Madrid and Inter Milan when they played these teams within the last one year. Get an act, Barca is the best team in the world and truly as someone that see their games, i concur with Guardiola that they hardly play the way they played yesterday.

3. Its not everyday that a team like Barca lose 2 goals advantage in 20 minutes.

4. If the game had been reversed, you would have still praised Guardiola for outfoxing Wenger.

Like i repeatedly advice you, be more matured with your blog. Your fixation with Wenger is annoying. If you see yourself as a better tactician, why not apply for his job?

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGBENGA

So because of possession you would give all Barca players 10?
We had song out of position he did well under the circumstances.
Arshavin, who can we sell this clown to?
Diaby had a bad game for a change.
Nasri to me was an 8.
Clichy got skinned? what game were you watching, I saw Alves getting his knickers in a twist a few times.
Lionel Missi had a shocker.
I reckon we will beat them at the Nou. 3:2 (5:4) aggregate

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AT RESPONSE

I hope you're right, but don't rush to the bookies just yet. 8-0 to Barcelona seems more likely on last night's evidence.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdave

im not sure why the errors are so similar and predictable

i did notice that when RvP was around we pressed alot more up top

and i did notice how he used to take leadership up top making sure people were doing there jobs

i do agree with you, in the sense that after the pounding united gave us at home there was no excuse for any more poundings as they were all the same

especially when Lampard said we know how to beat Arsenal and lo and behold a few days later they did as they said they would

that tactically was down to wenger, because they were not nervous or star struck in those games

but yesterday was like i had never seen before we didnt even have the ball for 45 minutes and that was not even an exxageration

in the united/chelsea games it was like hey we made stupid mistakes now we have an excuse to attack like madmen without a care in the world

but i think they have learnt from those games

but then again we found ourselves chasing another big game

who knows i do feel they and even wenger has learnt from those beatings at home, seeing as we didnt just collapse and lose by a riduclous margin against Barcelona

experience is clearly underrated though

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We did collapse, and it was pure luck we didn't lose by a ridiculous margin - and unless Wenger gets his act together we will lose by a ridiculous margin next week.

Wenger doesn't seem to learn anything, ever. He's completely incompetent tactically. All he does is define how a team should play stylistically, and he's brilliant at putting that together and finding the right players from the four corners of the earth - but when he faces a team better than his, he's clueless. Our only chance is if the opposition has a massive stinker, which happens sometimes.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermartin

I've never seen such a rubbish and negatively biased article. More trash form the Myles Palmer school (you aren't realted to him are you...?)

Talk about shit colured spectacles. Take this for example, re Walcott's goal: "This paid dividends on 69 when the youngster scrambled his way into the box and hit a tame shot that Valdes made a complete hash of – diving over the ball." How did Walcott 'scramble' into the area?? How was his shot 'tame'??? Valdes 'dived over the ball'???? Man, you is in serious need of some anti-depressants. 'Arsenaltruth'? Don't make me laugh.

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The main difference between Myles Palmer and myself is that I am good enough to allow morons like you to comment on my blogs - he doesn't. Save the anti-depressants for Mr Wenger, he takes his team to Barcelona next Tuesday and might need them afterwards.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchris

BOy with Arsenal its a lose lose situation.
Arsenal can do nothing right, can they.

What is with this foolishness about Barca getting tired and thats why we got the draw. It look like they havent gotten tired in a while as they beat all that come before them. Another thing is, did they get tired exactly at the same time Walcott came on?

Also the game is atleast 90 minutes plus some injury time, if you dont have the stamina for the whole game you are not good enough. Thats like saying a boxer that is great for 5 rounds is good. He better be knock out everyone in those 5 rounds or he will get knocked the hell out every fight.

This is a reason to rejoice, we were a little scared and that made Barca look so much better but we showed up and were great.

The damn moaning from some Arsenal "supporters" is so damn tiring.

Please change the name from Arsenal truth to Arsenal "opinion" and a bad one at that.

ARSENAL!!!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul N

I think that you are mostly correct. But Alexander Song was worth 9 for me. He only looked at fault because he actually tried to get back, but it was Vermaelen who Ibrahimovic lost both times, and Almunia who came off his line for the first and was beaten at his near post for the second. Without Song, it would have been a different score - for the first 30 mins it was Barca v Song and Almunia, the rest were in a trance, or unfit...

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranon

What do you mean what's it got to do with Wenger? I was under the impression footballers were supposed to follow their manager's instructions. If they dont, you blame the manager

So presumably Wenger told the whole team to stand off and not challenge, he clearly must have told diaby to stand around and whenever he had the chance to pass to the oppostion and clearly said give Barcelona as much space as possible so that they can play their game.

Fact is that barcelona were utterly awesome last night. I have been going to THOF for over 30 years and I have NEVER seen a team play like that first 60 minutes. Its got nothing to do with Wengers tactics and everything to do with a a bunch of players clearly overawed by the occasion, few payers even getting close to their form that they have shown and quite simply barcelona playig football for period of time that was close to perfect.

What you seem to miss is 1) depiste barca being the best team on paper and on the night we held them to a draw through sheer guts courage and determination against all expectation and 2) the tactical changes that Wenger put in place actually resulted in us clawing our way back into the game once they had gone off the boil.

I dont know what will happen next week but I can tell you one thing last night as 60,000 walked back to the station the general agreement was of course we could have played better but no-one could have withstood that onslaught at the beginning of the match and come through unscathed and more than anything we were proud of our team, proud of our manager and proud how well that courage and sheer determination kept us in the running and proud to be Gooners.

Thankfully no one saw it as an oppotunity to yet again use any situation to carry on a personal agenda and continue your private grudge against Arsene Wenger under the banner of 'realist'.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteveo

I think it was Wenger's tactics that won us the 2005 FA Cup final was it not? Sadly our last trophy.
I don't think it was tactics that cost us last night, like a poster already said tactics are overrated. Is pressing players when you don't have possession tactics? Isn't that what every football coach from schoolboy up screams at his players to do?
I'm not anti-Wenger but I don't think he is faultless either, the problems with the team last night were that we started the game with 3 players who were clearly not fit enough to play in Gallas, Fabregas and Arshavin and the wider problem that our squad is clearly too thin. I don't think Almunia is good enough but in the first half last night he played his better ever 45 for us, sadly he was off his line for their first goal and tarnished it slightly. This was not Man Utd and Chelsea all over agin, thankfully we showed some fight and got back into it. Who I favour next week? Barca obviously. I think your criticism of Wenger is overly harsh.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGooner77

Well moron to you I maybe, but I'm actually a doctor (seriously, I am) and raising concerns about your mental welfare is not something I take lightly. Try googling 'cognitive therapy' - this might be a good place for you to start to deal with your issues.

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Doctors can be morons too you know, I mean even American Presidents can be morons.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchris

Arsenal have huge problems but not the team management its the fans management. the positives are the club have 100s of fans that are 100 times better than AW. but the negatives ...... I don't know what the hell they are doing on websites. I will be happy if the AUTHOR can manage his own family better. Because he is not giving any chance to anybody to coment (AT RESPONSE).

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkethees

Hold up pple, the blogger has a point. We lost last season against Man Utd home and away due to wrong tactics.They simply waited for us to attack 'senselessly' and with three counterattacks, the game was over. This season we lost to both Man Utd and Chelsea home and away again and why? We went in and played 'our game' as AW will always say...top level football takes care of the minor, seemingly unimportant details like man-marking who and where, how to press, how to cut off the supply lines to their forwards, etc. Yesterday witnessed no tactical approach that we can see.
What we should have done instead of ball-watching is to do what midtable teams in England do to us.Knowing that we are technically superior, they come at us aggressively, close us down quickly, cut off our line of attacks between the midfield and the forwards.
After we inwardly agreed that they were better, we went ball watching and allowed them time to think and even draw elaborate architectural plans to show us how to play football.

On the evidence of passion and a never-say-die attitude alone, we can win this but football at the highest level is played with EVERYTHING taken into consideration.When Inter came to the Bridge, they identified Drogba as the single most potent threat they need to deal with and (saying this is painful but true) the tactical evil genius that Mourinhno is, they simply cut off the supply lines to him and unsettle him from the first minute.They held the midfield and close Chelsea down quickly and aggressively. No Lampard, no Drogba. Game over.

Chelsea played Barca last season and played '11 defenders' at the Nou Camp. Man Utd played them two seasons ago and beat them enroute the finals while the Catalans avenged that last season.Did AW learn from these top managers on how to deal with Barca? What about how Rubin Kazan's unlike victory at the Nou?Did he study how they did that ir was he just swallowed up in 'playing his own game?'

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

Wenger's useless isn't he?? Why didn't he tell his players to put as much effort into pressing as Barca's players??

Oh yeah, because a football match is 90 minutes long and Barca's players had tired after 60. So we scored 2 goals to level it. And were the only team looking likely to win it by the end. Hence the commentators remarking on how Guardiola would be the manager wanting to hear the final whistle. That's probably why Wenger didn't get his players to press so hard.

Maybe we shouldn't sack him and bring in Ruben Kazan's manager just yet.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHugo

poor blogger. every week he has to suffer the ignorance of the masses. arsene wenger can only take arsenal so far. he is limited by his lack of tactical awareness. arsenal can win the champions league one day, but never with the style of real madrid, man utd, barcelona or ac milan, or the tactics of chelsea, liverpool, inter or even porto under a great manager like mourinho. the only way wenger will do it is through sheer luck. its like a lottery with him and one day he might get lucky - but it wont be this year.this year its just embarrassment.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlstar

I read your post with interest as always. And, as always, there is some truth in what you say.

But your perspective has metastastized to the point where whatever grudging praise you give Wenger are clearly throwaways designed to forestall the suggestion that you are not a balanced observer. The tone of your comments regarding Wenger reveal not just anger but rage, not merely antipathy but hatred.

You may have written earlier this year that you'd give him another transfer window to mend his ways but you should be honest with yourself. You want him gone after the end of this season and you pray that no fluke allows Arsenal to win any siverwear this year because in your view Wenger has been very bad for Arsenal over the past 5/6 years. Say what you want but, at core, that's the only impression one can draw after reading a post like the one above. And, to put my cards on the table, I disagree with that view completely as well as the views of those readers of yours who want GG back.

As a side note, It is no surprise that GG has not managed anywhere since early 2001. Equally unsurprising, there is no clamor for GG to be appointed as manager anywhere in the EPL when an opening arises. To mention the two names in the same breath is an insult to Arsene Wenger.

Last, I want to note my disagreement with another view you have pushed on this blog, i.e., that Wenger will be driven out of Arsenal soon by fans given the kind of results we've had over the past 6 years. Wenger will leave on his own terms even if the Arsenal don't win a trophy this year or next.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervillagegunner

@ Istar

i would like to apologise for being an ignorant mass. You are right AW can only take us so far - who cares about those meaningless doubles, FA cups, going a season without losing, two european finals, a new stadium and the money he has had to spend to do that. Quite clearly a lack of tactical awareness. And you are right its so embarrasing - all the other clubs laugh at us and call us names behind our backs - they have no respect. Its quite clear that he has achieved nothing. Thank you so much for your insightful and intelligent remarks. It is now all clear to me . After all he has won so much less in his time as a manager compared to a great one like Mourhino. Oh....

You really need to wake up and smell the fish.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteveo

Get some perspective buddy, and you call yourself a supporter? Ironically Wenger has single handedly taken this club from an average premier league club into a club with financial prosperity whilst continually remaining competitive on all fronts. Mindful of the clubs financial restrictions, he builds his team on a shoestring budget comparitatively speaking allowing its revenues to exceed expenses bringing the clubs debt equity ratio to half what it was a few short years ago.

Give him the same budget that Barca has (or ManU, Chelsea, Man City) and he would have trophies. But at what cost? I will tell you...Our debt would of spiralled out of control sending the club into receivership, or cherry ripe for a mass sell out and certain take over.

You live in a bubble berating Wenger who is limited interms of depth. Gallas trained well and looked ok to play. He is our best CD and even at 70% is better than Campbell or Silveste. Against Birmingham Fabregas got a knock on his shin, not his knee or ankle...and against Barca, if he says he is fit you risk him because you dont have an Iniesta to replace him. He did his injury again after taking his penalty on 85 min.

Chances are we may not win at Camp nou but we have a chance,
Stop bagging your club because football is 50% skill and ability and 50% is confidence, and your completely negative comments dont help the team....

Perhaps you can change your site name to "Spurs Closet Supporter"

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoachy

I haven't read your blog in ages because it is so unbalanced. I remember why now. This is "Truth" as in "Pravda".
Why do you even bother following the club when you are so anti everything and everybody.
You don't mention that Guardiola said the first 45 were the best his "best team on the planet" have ever played under him; nor do you give any credit for the fightback, the fact that the team managed to claw its way back, nor that the decision to replace Gallas with Denilson was disastrous in relation to Song at the back but helped get a grip on the midfield with Denilson's introduction. There are positives and negatives to most decisions taken by a manager.
Your comments on the penalty are laughable. I was sat in the perfect position and it was so obviously a penalty. Seeing it from three angles on TV later only confirmed that it was a stonewall.
Why follow this team, why write about them if you hate them so much.
You're like the guy next to me who left when we went two nil down, missing a very courageous fightback.
Of course there are problems at Arsenal, of course it's frustrating, but to go off the deep end at the other extreme, spitting vitriol at every player, the manager and every ref who gives a decision in our favour leads me to think you're well unbalanced, or "Tottenham in disguise."
No more Pravda for me.

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"Tottenham in disguise"? That old one. Although I do admit that Arsenal did play like Tottenham in disguise last night.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterredsigmund

Horrendous article. Comical, but for the seriousness with which you seem to take yourself.

First, it was a tactical gamble by Pep to come out firing like Barca did, and one that ultimately may cost them in Barca. He pressed Arsenal from the start and played the game at a British pace (maybe even faster). A spanish team not accustomed to this pace cannot maintain it. The slowed down after 20 mins and completely faded after 60.

Granted the substitutions were a necessity, the decisions by Wenger helped him tactily bury Barca. As poor as denilson is, he has one skill. he is able to complete simple passes moving attack from left to right. Song as a DM was holding the ball to long. Eboue added some tackling and tarcking on the right side alowing arsenal to shift other defensive emphahsis to the left. And, when Barca was sufficientlky exhausted by the pace of the game he brought on arguably the fastest player in football.

All my mates saw Barcelona's tactical risk in the first 10 minutes of the game. By playing the last 30 minutes on completely tired legs, Barca 1) lost both of their center backs for the second tie with tired bookings 2) allowed arsenal to test and probe for weak spots (Maxwell and Alves wre seriously found out).

So before getting on your tactical high horse, consider you may not know what your talking about.

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"the decisions by Wenger helped him tactily bury Barca."

Yeah, they'll be crying themselves to sleep. Two away goals, 23 shots to Arsenal's 3 and a return leg at the Nou Camp.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbomba

There are people stupid enough to think the only 'tactics' that exist are defensive ones.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOle Gunner

All I can say is that I reckon you could have talked about how much more skilled Barcelona's players are and the impact that had a little. I'm sure we were all surprised by how good they were, but because you don't really mention about that much it kind of reads a bit like you think its only because of Wenger that they were better than us (which is stupid) rather than what you actually mean, which for the record is bang on. Stuff like that gives the deluded bunch chance to ignore everything else you've written and start arguing, which is a shame because your reports are fantastic. This is alot better than the one Arseblogger wrote today.

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I wrote several times about Barcelona's excellence, but the usual sentiment gets in the way.

There are a lot of great football teams around, but if you are disciplined defensively, organised, and have a good tactical knowledge you don't always have to get thrashed.

These teams are wiping the floor with Arsenal every time, and it hurts and embarrasses me to watch as a supporter.

It's much easier to stop skill than be skilful. Barcelona are super skilful, but even so, to get destroyed in the way Arsenal did for 60 minutes - not just 5 minute spells - but obliterated - is shameful.

I have no idea how Arsenal escaped with a 2-2. It's not a good result on its own terms, and the performance was abysmal - but I sympathise with the players under such abysmal tactical management.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPete
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