Committed Performance, Disappointing Result
Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona
It’s never an easy feat playing against the best team in the world but when you play like Arsenal did, only to let it all go to waste, you can only but feel sad for the Wenger boys that showed yet again that they are not up to it when it all matters. Barcelona went into the game with a full-strength squad and the Gunners knew that only a disciplined performance as well as being clinical in goal was going to suffice.
What we got was a committed defensive performances no doubt but Arsenal’s finishing was downright pathetic as they were found wanting when it really mattered. When I think of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s miss in the six-yard box with the goalkeeper rooted on the ground, it capitulates what has been Arsenal’s core problem this season – the team’s inability to finish clear cut chances.
Olivier Giroud had another header that was goal-bound but it pulled out a good save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and that was pretty much it from an attacking perspective from the home team. Alexis Sanchez was all over the place and wasting possession with his needless dribbles, Aaron Ramsey was back to his frustrating best and even an experienced Per Mertesacker was culpable for the goals we conceded.
The first goal was a classic counter attacking goal from Barcelona but the lingering question would be – were was the defending? Francis Coquelin was far up the pitch, Per Mertesacker attempted to Mertecept the ball but he missed it and I was deeply saddened to see Nacho Monreal caught in two worlds on whether to mark Messi or Neymar. Even after Messi got the ball, Cech uncharacteristically slipped, allowing the world’s greatest player to pick his spot and blast it to an unguarded net. Typical Arsenal.
As for the second goal, I don’t know what’s more puzzling – Wenger’s decision to bring on Mathieu Flamini or the Frenchman’s poor reflexes that saw him scythe down Messi in the box. The Argentine genius sent Cech the wrong way and that was it. For the sixth season in a row, the Gunners are set for another exit in the knockout stage unless they pull off a miracle at Camp Nou.
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