There were a lot of things that Arsenal needed to do right to stand a chance of overturning the home leg defeat against Barcelona when we met again in the Nou Camp tonight. As well as Barca not being at their best, the Gunners had to perform at our own top level.
Wenger spoke before the game about the circumstances forcing us to attack and that we would need to be clinical and would have to defend really well to stop them hurting us on the break. Unfortunately we did neither of those things in the first half, which was a real shame because in general we played well.
We started fast and pressed them hard and throughout the half Arsenal got some joy through the likes of Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis and Welbeck and both full backs were causing problems. Unfortunately that meant that Bellerin was caught up the pitch when Koscielny lost the ball in a dangerous area and seconds later Neymar was slotting home the opener. Too easy for the hosts.
Ospina made a couple of very good saves before and after that and Arsenal really should have had at least one goal before halftime, but Ozil shot wide, Sanchez headed wide, Elneny took an extra touch when he should have shot and Iwobi did the same, leaving us with three goals to score without reply after the restart.
But the players had not lost heart and came back out with intent and that was finally rewarded in the 51st minute when Alexis got free down the right and cut it back for Elneny to produce a fantastic curled finish. For a while after that the game was on a knife edge with both sides having chances.
Ospina made another top save down low to deny Messi and the Barca defence had to be alert to make some last ditch blocks of goal bound shots. The next goal was massive and unfortunately it came from a spectacular Suarez finish. There was still 25 minutes to play and Arsenal were not about to give up but the chance of a huge upset had gone.
A defensive slip late on and some super skills from Messi made it 3-1 on the night which further spoiled a good performance from the Gunners but once again sloppy finishing (except from Elneny) has let us down and cost us dear.