Second Half Rally Stuns Barcelona + Player Ratings
Posted by Escobar
February 16 2011, no gooner in the world is going to forget this date for years to come, its the date where this Arsenal team of so called spine less youngsters, who to us are some of the best in the business, beat the juggernaut that is Barcelona supposedly the best team in the world. Second half goals from RVP and Arshavin proved were enough to settle the tie.
Let it be remembered that we here at MG predicted that no matter what, we won’t lose at the Emirates, and we went a step further by saying we would defeat Barca at their own game. Le Boss sent out what has become our strongest and best eleven this season, and he thrust Nasri into the game knowing quite well it could backfire but that’s to show how much was on the line yesterday. Barca made one change with Maxwell coming in for the injured Puyol.
As always the game started at usual pace, with Arsenal throwing caution to the wind and attacking Barca, and it ruffled the Catalans as they struggled to string passes, the first chance went begging as RVP collected a lobbed pass from Cesc but Valdes was equal to it. Warning shot fired. We threatened again, this time a solo run from Theo that came to nothing as his pass found no one. The Emirates was buzzing knowing the players could smell blood. It was Barca’s turn to attack as a Xavi pass found Messi who escaped the attentions of Song only to be clipped by the Camerounian who got a booking for his troubles. A 6th minute booking for our DM wasn’t a good sign.
Messi at the centre of most attacks again was released through on goal and with Chezzer at his mercy dinked the ball over the young pole only to see it trickle past the post. Hearts-in-mouths moment for all Arsenal fans. But it didn’t take long for the first goal to come and it came after Abidal had beaten Van Persie to a header only for Barca to counter and Messi released David Villa who was played onside by Clichy and he coolly slotted home. There was still time for Chezzer to block a back heel attempt from Pedro. You’d be forgiven for thinking we were going to get a spanking. Messi had the ball in the net moments later only to be adjudged offside. Half Time
The second half saw us on the front foot as early as possible as the team showed more bite and hunger going forward, Nasri after a slow start came into the game and Fab started to find Theo more and his pace caused problems for Maxwell only to see his cross elude everyone. The next chance fell to us with Wilshere shooting straight at Valdes. Barca had another chance to extend their lead, after Messi again found space behind Eboue only for his shot to hit the side netting. David Villa was substituted as he was getting no love from Kozzer and JD and keita came on in his place.
This was the turning point in the game as AW pulled off a master stroke, he took out Song and introduced Arshavin and had all of his attacking players on the field at once. Arshavin had a hand in the goal as he swapped passes with Clichy before the latter lifted a sweet pass over Dani Alves for RVP, perhaps expecting a cross from him Valdes left his near post open as RVP capitalised and rifled in a shot home from a tight angle. The Emirates exploded. It was to get better five minutes later as we conjured up a superb counter-attacking goal, Samir Nasri racing onto Cesc Fabregas’s fine 50 yard pass and checking back before picking out the onrushing Arshavin, who curled home an exquisite shot. The celebration from the players said it all, we have just defeated the best team in the world even though they were still 10 minutes left to play, in which Chezzer still had to block a messi shot, and a Dani Alves shot and Bendtner could have grabbed a third.
In the end it was a great win for us, and like most fans and players pointed out, the battle has been won, but the war remains. Below are the player ratings.
Chezzer – 7
Showed no nerves whatsoever on his Champions league debut. Nothing he could have done about the goal, but stuck to his task well
Eboue – 6
Rarely troubled as most of the attacks were through the middle and from the left. Culprit at times in the 2nd half
JD – 7
Had a good game as he and Kozzer shackled the threat of Villa and Pedro.
Kozzer – 8.5
His best game in an Arsenal shirt so far, wait, we’ve said this before right? Oh well, he was solid as he put himself on the line repeatedly, tackled well and hurried the barca forwards into surrendering possession. *Joint MOTM*
Clichy – 7
Played David Villa onside for the goal, after that he was great throughout and his assist for the opener more than made up for his error
Wilshere – 9
This lad, he is just way to special and too good to be true. In the midst of Fifa’s1-2-3(Messi,Xavi,Iniesta) he more than held his own and proved he’s ready and able to mix it with the big boys. 10 out of 11 passes completed with a 91% success rate. What more could you ask for? A goal maybe?? *Joint MOTM*
Song – 5
Early booking didn’t help his cause and his rash play and getting caught out of position almost cost us dearly. On another day he could have gotten sent off. Hooked off when we needed a goal.
Fabregas – 8
Showed what he can do in the first 10 minutes and then he fizzled out, but came alive in the second half and he had a hand in the winner. Calmed the nerves of his team when tempers seemed to boil over. Sign of a good leader.
Walcott – 7
Not involved as much as he would have loved to be but when given the ball, kept the barca defence pegged back.
Nasri – 8
Slow start, strong finish. He ended the game on a high, after he moved to a more central position, his pace took him past the Barca defence and his pass for Arshavin was top notch.
RVP – 8
Profligate in the first five minutes as he alone squandered three chances but his goal was nothing short of a player riding a confidence wave. Good show from the dutchman.
Arshavin – 7
Changed the outcome of the game. Much maligned, booed this season, called lazy but proved Arsenal’s saviour on the night. Beautiful goal as he had 3 bodies in front of him but still managed to pick his spot and score
Nikky B – 5
Its not over yet but we have the advantage, knowing barca would be without their first team Centre backs and we should have a complete team barring any injuries is a good sign. But we’ll need a disciplined display if we’re to oust them from the tournament. Till then let’s just savour the moment. Up next for us is Lleyton orient in the FA Cup 5th round. Mauling?
From wherever you’re reading, have a fantastic day
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Posted on February 17, 2011, in Match Ratings, Post-match thoughts and tagged Arshavin, Clichy., Eboue, Messi, Nasri, Pedro, RVP, Song, Villa, Walcott, Wilshere, Xavi. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.