Arsenal started well for the first 20 minutes, or did they?
It was clear Barcelona had a plan. They didn't want to blow themselves out after an hour and leave themselves vulnerable as they did last week at the Emirates, so they started more cautiously, moved into first gear for 20 minutes after Bendtner scored a surprise opener, then got the pipe and slippers out for the second half.
Wenger did the right thing lining up 4-1-4-1; it gave Arsenal a stricter shape and allowed players to cluster centrally and win tackles. Diaby did just that on 18, then set Walcott free, but he bottled shooting before squaring a poor ball to Bendtner that made it difficult for him to get a decent connection.
Fortunately, Valdes palmed the ball straight back into his path, but Bendtner did well to get back on his feet and stab the ball home.
At that moment, it seemed like Arsenal could actually do something, but it soon became clear that Barcelona were only toying. They moved into Ferrari mode and creamed Arsenal, with Messi scoring a 21-minute hatrick.
Messi is a phenomenon, an outrageously brilliant talent - but still Arsenal could have defended him better.
His first goal was admittedly unstoppable, although Silvestre gave him the ball outside the box, the finish was stunning.
But goals two and three?
The second goal, Diaby was next to Messi, then just let him go. Abidal's misdirected cross was not cleared by Arsenal centrally, and Pedro slipped it to the unmarked Messi who accelerated past Clichy and buried past Almunia.
Diaby just left Messi to do whatever he wanted. How can you ever win anything important with players doing things like that?
On 41, Messi wrapped the game up when Clichy made a schoolboy error and failed to push up with the rest of the back four. Messi, clean through with oceans of space, lobbed over Almunia for 3-1.
The rest of the game was a non-event. Bojan was replaced by Yaya Toure on 56 to shore up the midfield, and Barcelona simply passed Arsenal to death - sucking the life out of them.
What was most disappointing was that even when Arsenal did win the ball - and they had more of it than they did last week at the Emirates - their passing was shabby and wasteful, and they made the wrong decisions time and time again.
Barcelona were superb at changing focus, from not having the ball to hunting it down and winning it back, and Arsenal can learn so much from that. For all their technique and flair, Barcelona have a fantastic work ethic and do all the ugly stuff, which Arsenal don't.
Messi scored his fourth of the night on 88. Eboue this time played Barcelona's front line onside, from where Messi was slipped in and allowed two strikes on goal, the second through Almunia's legs. He should have had a fifth as well, on 43, Silvestre slipped allowing him to run clean through but his first touch was unusually poor and he squandered a banker.
Full-time: Barcelona 4 Arsenal 1
A lot of people rave about Messi, and rightly so - he's brilliant, but Sky Sports had their tongue so far up his arsehole they'll need a tetanus injection, and still Arsenal could have done a lot more to stop him.
At the end of the day, four of the six goals Arsenal conceded over the two legs were down to the fact that Wenger is incapable of even educating his players on the laws of the offside trap. Over both games, Song, Eboue, and Clichy (twice) all made elementary defensive mistakes, allowing players to run clean through on goal (as has been happening all season).
Messi just finished easy chances brilliantly - but even Carlos Vela can lob a keeper one on one.
To have your team play strikers onside so frequently is outrageously bad coaching. Once is forgiveable, four times is ridiculous - and those were just the times Arsenal conceded, there were other offside failures that we didn't get punished for.
Of course, Barcelona are a lot better than Arsenal, and even if Wenger had a tactical bone in his body we still probably would have lost - but this wasn't just a defeat, it was an embarrassing annihilation. Hopefully, Wenger will have learnt something from this quarter-final and implement some changes to his team's style - it could yet be beneficial.
Still, like root canal surgery, it's over now and the pain is gone - even if the sick feeling might remain for a few days.
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