Arsenal vs Barcelona, 2-1: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on February 17, 2011 0:50
There are moments in the life of a Gooner where the only thing you can do is to stand up, applaud until your hands hurt and stay up all night so as not to forget what was a memorable night of football at the Emirates.
As I left the French pub in Lille where I enjoyed the game tonight, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how well we played, about how well Laurent Koscielny played – my man of the match – about how important this win is for the future and of course how proud I am of the lads, which was ultimately what I asked for, yesterday, in the preview.
Robin van Persie’s game could be easily compared to Lionel Messi’s. The Argentinean wasted at least three clear chances during the game but managed to create that something special with which the Spaniards took the lead. Robin also wasted chances but was strong enough to recover and go for goal from a tight angle clearly showing how three missed chances did not kill his confidence, clearly showing that he was the man we were missing last season.
Also superb were Theo and Jack. I was a little bit disappointed to see Theo abandon the pitch as he was dangerous whenever on the ball and the only one who was causing damage to the Barca back four when they were enjoying plenty of possession in the first half. And Jack, oh well, we already knew how good he is but doing it against Wolves is one thing, doing it against the side considered by many as the best in the world means he’s special indeed.
As for Emmanuel Eboue, the player we were all skeptical about before kick-off, well he was as shaky as many predicted but considering who we were facing and considering this was his first game for a long time, we should consider ourselves satisfied although there was some trouble going on on the opposite flank.
To conclude, Barcelona should be given credit as well. They came at the Emirates with no fear at all, took full advantage of our risky high line, took the lead and had an onside goal(Messi clearly behind the ball) disallowed for no reason. But, today’s win will indeed go down in the history book of Arsenal Football Club as we however should know that this is just the beginning of a long, difficult journey towards success.
Arsenal Interactive, as a final note, will be updated on Friday as I have no access to its database from where I am. It’s a shame I know, not being able to rate the players after such a formidable game but I will do my best to set everything up on Friday evening.
Match Video Highlights
Match video highlights are available in the Videos section of our website. If not there yet, rest assured they will be up in a matter of hours.
Szczesny: 7,5 – Mature and solid performance from our number one who produced important saves especially in the second half.
Djourou: 7 – Not as brilliant as his partner at the back but considering the pressure we were under in the first half, Johan did well.
Koscielny: 9 – Guilty of failing to play the offside trap properly in the first half allowing Messi through but that was the only mistake of his game. A beast in the defensive department and superb in making that extra step forward to anticipate in midfield.
Clichy: 6,5 – I am adding a 0.5 for the assist to Robin for our first goal. Defensively, he was not at his best as Barcelona took full advantage of his weaknesses especially when they went on to score with Gael clearly not realising he was the one to keep Villa onside.
Eboue: 6 – Some poor moments, especially in the first half but let’s face it, I was expecting a lot of trouble coming from the left wing. Luckily, we survived.
Wilshere: 9 – Almost impossible to find the right words to describe this 19-year old. Saying he’s the future would be foolish because yes he is the future but also the present. Phenomenal.
Song: 6,5 – Struggled in midfield but never gave up. Should understand from Koscielny how to anticipate Lionel Messi as he was rightly booked for a nasty challenge.
Nasri: 7 – I admit I was worried to see him start but luckily, Samir was sharp and ready for the battle. Started slowly but recovered well and improved as the game went on as he closed his very good performance with the pass for Andrey’s second.
Fabregas: 6,5 – Below-par performance from the captain who took a lot of wrong decisions in the first half. But even when not at his best, and we all can understand why tonight, he can still produce magic, like the chip for Robin’s first chance of the game and the long pass to Samir who went on to assist Andrey for our second.
Walcott: 7,5 – Impressed. By many – including myself – usually considered as an impact player. But Theo is showing that he can be good from the very first minute of the game. Brilliant run ended with Robin’s effort saved by Valdes in the first part of the game and constant thread down the right.
van Persie: 7 – I was worried after he missed the third chance of his game as all of them fell on his left foot. But, as I said in the introduction, the Dutchman was not affected by the misses as he went on to score one of this season’s most important goals.
Bendtner: 6 – Good performance from the big Dane who came on to add that extra steel to our offensive department.
Arshavin: 7 – He came on, he scored, he almost ruined it in the end. I knew Andrey was back and I picked him to shine tonight. I must admit I was a little bit disappointed to see him on the bench but this goal shows that he means business. Welcome back, Andrey.