We all end up disappointed…..
Arsenal did not get over-run by the so-called ‘best team in the world’ and it looked like a closely-matched tie for the first 70 minutes. In fact we could easily have been in front if we had taken any our opportunities to score, Oxlade-Chamberlain especially. We said before the game that we needed to put our chances away, but as has happened a lot lately we simply can’t find the back of the net.
As Wenger said after the game: “Of course I’m disappointed because we put a lot of energy into this game. I felt that we lost at the moment that we looked more capable of winning the game, and we also lost it in a way which we could not afford to give them. It’s a bit disappointing to give them the goals that we did, especially the first goal. I feel that we were extremely guilty and have no excuses for that goal.”
Arsenal had played well tactically and had used the counter-attack strategy well, but we ended up being beaten by our own tactics after rushing forward. Wenger continued: “We were disciplined defensively but we knew that if we had to keep it at 0-0, we would keep it at 0-0. They are better than us, everybody knows that, but I think we could’ve won the game tonight if we kept the discipline until the end. Once again, like against Monaco, exactly the same thing happened. We were caught in exactly the same way.
“Barcelona master all aspects of the game. As soon as you’re in a bad position, one or two players can punish you. We had two or three opportunities to stop the first goal which we didn’t do because I don’t think we had the right response to the situation that our players faced.”
The annoying thing as that we did come close to scoring just prior to Barcelona’s goal, as Giroud described his disappointment afterwards. “It’s possibly the turning point,” the France striker said. “I had a duel with the defender and I think that I headed the ball well but the keeper did very well.
“We were not cautious enough of their counter-attack [afterwards], which is a model counter-attack, and then they finished it well. We couldn’t score in the first half after we played well on the counter-attack and were dangerous.
“We couldn’t finish our hard work and it’s disappointing because at the end of the day we’re 2-0 down and our chances of qualifying are very small. There’s a lot of disappointment.
“I said before the game that we needed to be cautious if we could not win the game and not concede goals to keep our chances high for the second leg. In Barcelona it is very, very difficult to win, so we can have regrets after [the first leg] because we didn’t finish our counter-attacks.”
So yet again Arsenal have failed to score again, but at least this time we can say we didn’t score against Barcelona instead of saying Hull City, Southampton or Stoke!