Blog Archives

Well, That was Some Comeback From FC Barcelona

With Arsenal eliminated from the Champions League, it was only normal for a football enthusiast like me to take some sorta pleasure watching the other matches in the competition with some keen focus on the Barcelona vs PSG game. Luis Enrique put up a very attacking lineup with the aim of scoring as much goals as possible. he even ‘joked’ in his presser that if PSG could score four goals, his lads are capable of scoring six goals.

The game began with a rather frantic pace and with just two minutes gone, Luis Suarez showed great anticipation to nick in a loose ball past Kevin Trapp across the goal line and even though Meunier managed to clear it off, goal line technology took center stage as the goal was awarded to the Catalans. That certainly rattled PSG but the home side had some much more in store for them. The Parisiens did their bit to defend in numbers but the home side got an all-important second goal before half time when Layvin Kurzawa deflected Andres Iniesta’s flick into his goal.

At half time, PSG’s lead was halved and panic started setting in but their misery was compounded when Muenier slipped on the turf and impeded a clever Neymar. Lionel Messi had not influenced the game as much as he would have liked but he had a chance to put his team three up from the spot and he did with aplomb despite Trapp’s best efforts to dive the right way.

With Barcelona leading 3-0, it was looking like fairytale stuff as no team in the competition’s history had overturned a four goal deficit. As fate would have it, Kurzawa attacked the ball and threaded it to Edinson Cavani’s path. The Uruguayan hot shot blasted in his 38th goal of the season with a clinical finish using the edge of his boot. This goal set Barcelona to despair as they now needed a whooping six goals to qualify.

They kept on trying and with just three minutes left to play, Neymar swung in a beautiful free kick that beat Trapp hands down. They still needed two goals and with literally no time left on the clock, a moment of controversy arrived as Suarez was adjudged to be fouled in the box by Marquinhos. That was one of those decisions that tend to happen at the Nou Camp every season, so I wasn’t surprised. However, it still required some nerve to dispatch the spot kick and Neymar was the man.

5-1 was still good enough for PSG. I would have expected Unai Emery to add a defender or two to the mix to hold the fort but when Angel di Maria bore down on goal and was fouled by Javier Mascherano, I expected the referee to at least show some measure of consistency by awarding the away side a penalty but he waved off the protests.

At the last kick of the game, Sergi Roberto scored the goal that sent the Nou Camp to raptures. As expected, the folks at the commentary box went bonkers as they would never have anticipated that such a thing would happen in the beautiful. You’d have to feel really sad for PSG – winning a team like Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg and not still qualifying is heart breaking to say the least. They would now shift their focus to the Ligue 1, as it has become a two-horse race with rivals, AS Monaco.

Kudos to Barcelona for an amazing show of class, effort and of course, clinical ability in front of goal.

That was some comeback.

Sayonara.

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Committed Performance, Disappointing Result

MSN!

Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

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.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s effort easily saved.

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.

Sayonara

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FC Barcelona Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

That was one hell of a night in 2011

This is one fixture football fans all over the world have been waiting for. When two teams with quite a similar footballing philosophy lock horns for the right to be in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Both teams have faced each other a couple of times in the competition with the Spanish juggernauts edging past the Gunners on several occasions. When they met in 2011, the Gunners earned themselves a historic victory but things didn’t pan out too well in the second leg.

Barcelona have won their two previous two-legged knockout ties against Arsenal, in 2009/10 (6-3 aggregate) and 2010/11 (4-3), and also beat the Gunners 2-1 in the 2006 final at the Stade de France. Current coach Luis Enrique scored in both encounters in the 1999/2000 first group stage, finding the net in the 1-1 Camp Nou draw and again in a 4-2 win at Wembley.

Arsenal Team News

 

Following the disappointing draw with Hull City, Wenger would be happy to know that his side has earned a replay but there is the threat of tonight’s opponents to contend with and he’s going to feature his strongest possible XI. Arsene Wenger has confirmed Petr Cech’s presence in goal and the fans would be hopeful that his record against Lionel Messi would continue. The boss has given a hint of how he wants to approach the game but it’s one thing to say what you wanna do and it’s another for your players to make it happen.

Wenger also confirmed the continued absence of Gabriel Paulista, which means that Calum Chambers would serve as a central defensive deputy to the Mertesielny combination.

It would be an interesting game for Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin, that have them some Barcelona in the past. Sanchez hasn’t been on his best since the season began and I would be hoping that he turns up today.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Santi Cazorla (knee), Tomas Rosicky (thigh), Mikel Arteta (calf), Gabriel Paulista (hamstring)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Barcelona Team News

 

Barcelona is in tremendous form at the moment and following their narrow win over Las Palmas, they are currently on a 32-game unbeaten streak. In this run, they have won 26 games, drawn six and scored a whopping 98 goals with the world’s deadliest attacking trio, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar Junior decimating opposition defenses.

Arsenal’s defense will have their work cut out for them today.

Barcelona Injury / Suspension News

Rafinha Alcantara (knee), Arda Turan (suspended)

Barcelona Predicted Lineup

F.C. Barcelona 4-3-3 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W W D W D
  • Last Result: Arsenal 0-0 Hull
  • Leading Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud (18)

Barcelona

  • Last Five Games: W D W W W
  • Last Result: UD Las Palmas 1-2 FC Barcelona
  • Leading Goalscorer: Luis Suarez (41)

Gooner Daily predicts a 1 – 0 win.

Sayonara.

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