Here we have another Guest Post about the Barcelona game, and Paul is not sure that Arsene Wenger put the right XI on the pitch at the start……
A wrong selection, A Star and An Awful Touch by Paul
Arsenal immortality beckoned for the self-proclaimed greatest striker in the world. Through on goal with the just the keeper to beat, Nicklas Bendtner showed what is becoming an all to regular occurence. With a shocking first touch he ensured that, one again, Arsenal failed on what is now becoming a traditional hurdle.
Truthfully, any result other than a Barca victory would have been a shock. We managed no attempts in the game, either on or off target and spent most of the match chasing the shadow of the ball.
Of all the Arsenal players on the pitch only Jack Wilshere could walk away with his head held high. He never gave up, even to the last few minutes where he played an inch-perfect pass to Bendtner, he was alert when his team-mates were not and was looking to get on the ball whenever he could. He stood toe-to-toe with two World cup winners, two of the greatest midfielders in the world and never backed down, unbelievable for a player his age.
While Almunia had a very good game, I think we all agree that his time is up. He probably knows it himself and that performance will do him no harm in finding a new club. The only player worth mentioning is Koscielny. He had a good game although he did give away a penalty but him and Djourou were far too busy on the night, we missed the protection of Alex Song dearly. When I saw the line-up I my jaw dropped.
RVP and Fabregas both starting? My first thought was that Fab must have gotten over his injury but I felt RVP’s inclusion was more for morale than anything else. He was not fit enough to start and it would have better to lead with Chamak and bring RVP on in the second half. Seeing Rosicky’s name on the team sheet left me bewildered, why oh why did he start? I can’t remember him doing anything of note throughout the match. Eboue would have been better, which is saying something, at least he has some pace and that side of the pitch was practically completely unguarded as Adriano was constantly bombarding up the touch line.
It must be said though that Barca were superior on the night, defeat to them is no disgrace, especially given how close we ran them.
We could have gotten lucky in Barcelona, it happens all the time in cup games, we could have stolen it at the end. The margin between success and failure is so slim, in this case about as slim as Bendtner’s bad touch. All in all I think we outplayed, not necessarily by a better team, but by a team who knew what they had to do and had the drive and hunger to do it.
I think Wenger got his team selection all wrong – but then again gambles are needed in big games. Investment is needed in the summer that much is clear, but at least there is one position I am not worried about and that is centre mid. Over the two ties I saw a star born, he was the best Arsenal player on the filed in both games and played better than many of the Barca players too, our future is safe with him and he is bound to become an Arsenal Captain in the future. Say one thing for Jack Wilshere, say he is a class act.