Barcelona v Arsenal review – Elneny stunner not enough

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.

Tags Elneny Messi Neymar Suarez


  1. Before I talk about the game #KroenkeOut sign the petition

    first half was not a bad performance from Arsenal, we had chances but couldn’t shoot on target, or were too slow in making decisions.
    Shame too cause the goal we gave away was from a mistake 🙁

    Second half great goal from Elneny, hope to see more in future. Welbeck hit the crossbar, Sanchez had a great free kick saved, overall as good a the first half but a stunning goal from Suarez pretty much ended the game, with yet another mistake (wth!) gifting Messi to add Barcelona’s cherry on top.

    Can’t fault todays performance but the tie was lost in the first leg (as usual with Arsenal for some reason)
    Iwobi was my star of the match, great performance from someone who is inexperienced at this level.
    My only gripe is we take too long to make decisions and on three occasions could have had an opening for a one on one if the ball was distributed quicker but ultimatly the best team won and went through.

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    2. Cheers to all the Travelling Fans……….u Lot did so well throwing all those money on a Trip to witness that man slaughter…

      Hope u Journey back safely….Kudos

    3. say what u Like bout pep…….. The guy knows how to set up a team and win at extra time!

      Bayern 3 : 2 Juventus

      interesting match….

    4. we thought we were on our way to camp nou to overturn a 3 goal tie

      Turns out there were Late minute changes of 5:1 deficits

    5. Cannot fault that performance?
      I guess you are gotten used to mediocrity.
      If you want to measure yourself next time , look at Bayern.

        1. Well if you want to watch proper teams play football, tune in for the ET of Bayern vs Juve!

        2. nothing will ever help arsenal beat barca

          but hey wheres your optimism?
          week by week your getting more an more irate.

          handbags davy handbags!

          1. Your snappy Muff because
            I called you out over talking
            about the Bayern game
            early in this thread..tut tut

        1. # ranger
          You must be idiot or blind to blame players and not Wenger who put us in this mess with the help of greedy owners.
          Blaming players is ignoring the fact that Arsenal can be beaten by the likes of Watford, and European 3rd tier like Olympiakos, and if these would not enough for you then you are a helpless delusional AKB.

    1. Any idea if wenger was at camp nou tonight?……..didn’t see him at the touchline all night

    2. “we will try and do the impossible at camp nou”

      – Arsene wenger

      tonight i witnessed Boys vs Men…..and a drenched chicken shivering at the sidelines

    3. Arsenal lacks goalscorers. Where’s that clinical finisher we’ve missed since Henry and RVP (Podolski doesn’t count, he was clinical, but apparently didnt work with Wengers strategy)

      I reckon we’ll buy a proper goalscoring striker once Wenger’s gone. Until then, he has his trust in Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck.

    1. well we’re a third tier european team- so it could have been worse lads.
      we played to our level- fair play

      could have been way worse!

        1. ok goon i disagree.

          round of 16 6 years in a row.
          1 final in our entire champions league history?

          what would u call it?

        2. Oh you gotta love elneny. The lad read the game very well and he is composed at turning and tackling. Someone here mentioned before that he needs to bulk up and I agree. doing so could turn him into a viera-esque player.

          As for the game, the performance was there but so were the mistakes. Please sort it out for Everton. COYG!

            1. I’m afraid, having watched the match, Barca didn’t really get out of 3rd gear. Some of our play was made to look a lot better necause of that. Baca didn’t press as much or as high, that allowed Iwobi to look a lot better on the night than I think he might be in reality. Certainly Elneny looks fun for us. At last one of his range shots have gone in. Everton is our real test, and as othrs have said, thzt now is really win or loose.

  2. Sunday: Out of FA Cup
    Wednesday: Out of CL
    Saturday: Out of PL

    What a fantastic week for Arsene FC

      1. It must be. Wenger records in the past few years:

        Worst CL defeat: check
        Worst PL defeats to Liverpool, City, United, Everton, Chelsea: check
        Lead Anderlecht 3-0 at halftime, end up drawing: check
        Messi had never before scored past Cech: check
        Messi 9 goals against Arsenal: check
        6 years straight knocked out in the last 16: check

        Who remembers more?

        1. Worst CL defeat? Nah. There are at least 3 worst defeats which spring to mind. There was that 8-0 victory for Marseille. If I am not mistaking Spartak 9-0. And how about Bayern giving a whoping 12 goals past Sporting conceeding only once.
          Anyway, tie was lost in London. We did not played extremely bad but you could see even the players didn’t believed in the win. See what happens on Sunday. Lose and we are out.

          1. i fancy us for everton . dont know why.

            i suppose its the realisation that if we dont win.
            our seasons over

            welbeck was a good choice over giroud for this game.
            iwobi tho….now thats a bright future right there!

            1. I would have started Walcott. I know, I know, THAT Theo Walcott but I would have preffered Welbeck fresh for Everton. Who knows, maybe Wenger wanted to give him some game time. Well, time will tell. Our whole season hangs now on a game. And not any game, is away at Everton. Tie won’t do it. Let’s just be clear here.
              PS: props to Bayern. What a team!

          2. @Budd,

            I meant worst European defeat in our history. 4-0 against Milan was it not?

            Anyways, it’s not that we were bad. We were INEFFICIENT. As we are always. This frustrates me the most.

            1. Ah, like that. But I don’t think that was the worst defeat. Bayern put 5 past us only this season. But my question is why only the worst statistics? We have a 7-0 win in 92 against Liege and a 7-0 against Prague in 2007. Personally I would take worst defeats 2-3 at home against Olympiacos and 1-3 against Monaco as these were clearly the underdogs.

              1. #muffdiver
                “I fancy us for everton .
                dont know why”
                I’ll give you a hint.
                May because you know Everton
                is not quite as good as Barcelona 🙂

              2. #Budd
                Now we sunk so low that if we were not beaten like Bayern then we celebrate it as victory!!!!! How about have a tour of LOndon with double decker bus cheered by AKB’s in the street??!!!

      2. Yes will beat our previous record by one day.
        Re tonight…another young manager shows the oldtimer the way.

      3. Yes will beat our previous record by one day.
        Re tonight…yet another young manager shows the oldtimer the way.

  3. Just wait and see how some people are going to find ‘positives’ in a 5-1 aggregate loss.Smh

    1. I saw that coming already. but the name MSN should never leave our minds. It could have been SOS (Suarez, Ozil, Sanchez) but the £1 added made the fool of all us Arsenal fans around the globe (except few of course – AKBs)

      1. Wenger must have done lots of stupid thing in his filthy life but 40 M+1 would his worst. Last night watching the in a hotel lounge inMadrid crossed my mind what if Suarez was with us not in Barca shirt!!!!!

      1. Lol 🙂
        Winding everyone up eh 🙂
        They said that about
        Jack Wilshere after
        one good outing v Barca a hundred years ago.
        After Ox scored in a Brazil friendly
        he was going to be the next Pele.
        Arshavin after the 4 at Liverpool the next Maradonna.
        Wellbeck after 2 v Hull the next Drogba.
        Heck even Chuba Akpom was dubbed Titi
        after scoring a goal at training 🙂 🙂

    1. thats what wenger said about jack wilshire when we lost to barca a few ucl’s ago,,, barca has El Neny’s on their B squad… one goal does not make a career

  4. Gulf in class reflected by the wages and transfer fees earned by Barvas front 3. To close the gap it’s clear what needs to be done, spend or settle for where we are and always will be.

    1. wordt i have felt in a season in a long while, one reason.. it was ours to win, we were top, playing well, second is the usual powers are having a poor year, third its spurs who look to finally top us and maybe the league, fourth we have been forced to watch an inadequate front line for 4 yrs, seems everyone knows it except wenger… likely we finish top 4, but with much worse feeling then any recent season…. imo, just wanna win…

  5. We have a system of fast passing, but it is been clear for quite a while that many of the player’s lack the technical ability for such a game, apparent in player’s like Welbeck, Walcot, Sanchez, Coquelin, Ramsey, and some more. The first half our pressing wasn’t organised. Such a tactically undisciplined squad. Next, in spite of the hard work and spirit of Welbeck we don’t have a striker. Barcelona has a weak defense, and our poor strikers have been costing us since years.

    Walcot is not a footballer anymore. He cannot pass. He cannot dribble, I don’t think he can even run anymore.

        1. Can’t blame him, he’s tried of being the only hard worker, he already carried the team for more than a year until he got injured

      1. Sanchez is a great player, but passing and vision are not one of his strengths to be honest. But his other attributes add a lot to the team but unfortunately we have a system built upon fast passing and possession, and we have too many players on the field who fumble with ball way too much, and hence there is no question of compensating for sanchez at all.

    1. “…I don’t think he can even run anymore.” LOL!!

      Made me laugh hard!

    2. Also to be noted that we were more organised with our pressing in the 2nd half. That negs the question as to why the players were not pressing as a unit in the first. You must see how Barcelona keep their shape and form triangle’s when they press. Our front 3 were running like headless chickens in the first half. Clear lack of cohesion, discipline, and chemistry off the ball.

      Another thing to note is that when we are attacking(not counter attacks), there is no subtle movement by the top 3 or any runs dragging defenders by the midfielders. We might have quality players but we are pretty average as a team. The players haven’t gelled together, and I believe the reason is the lack of an adhesive, an enforcer; a leader.

  6. Same old glaring problem. No world class striker. So many chances but Utterly low conversion rate. A factor ignored by Wenger for years now and he is not willing to learn and do something about it.

    This is what hurts us everytime, everywhere, against everyone.

    I am not saying we could have knocked Barca out of UCL, but definitely had made more of the match than is what being conveyed by the final score line.

  7. Everyone saw this coming, where are all the Wenger fanboys calling us out for being realistic ? It doesn’t take a genius to know a team with average strikers and Flamini never stood a chance against a world class team

    1. Yes, and we lost the tie in the first game already. What do you expect? Recognition? Statue? 99% of gooners said when we drew Barcelona: oh dear! We are truly fscked. Team met supporters expectations, if supporters don’t believe then the team has no pressure to win. And is always the old excuse that if you play Barcelona then you must lose.
      Should Wenger went for a clinical striker? Yes, definitely but this is now in retrospective because in the begining of the season team used to score in average twice per game and I am counting only the league here. But this strange rotation system employed by Wenger was destined to grind to a halt and we know that for a while.
      Tell you what biggest problem is with this team. Menatlity is one but the most annoying fact is that we lost that desire which made us destroy Leicester after 1 nil down. We start games briliantly and when we look to score the opposition is doing it. See games against Swansea, Barcelona, Watford, Liverpool and so on. When they score is like they hit us with a hammer and nothing works from there on. That’s basically in a nutshell. Yeah, you can bleme Wenger for this if you want but truth being told is that the games are well prepared (bar some, like Southampton) and it is what happens during the game that is looking really, really bad.

    1. ..thats the same thing mums say to there fat kids when they come last in the race by an entire lap!!

      1. ^ROFL!

        “You’re not fat, you’re big boned” in our case goes: “You didn’t lose, you just didn’t win.. ermm nor drew”

  8. Now, before everyone goes mental blaming Everyone, I think Arsenal played very well against the “Best Club in The World”. Obviously, if we had one of their strikers, we would have scored more, but we have what we have and I think we can be proud of the effort and heart. They probably have the best strike force of all time, but with a bit of luck and “their strikers” we cudda won. Arsene, you must now see the need to buy a world class striker.

    1. We could have bought one of their striker when we had the chance, but we did try with the £1 just after smoking that thing…

  9. Koscienly was at fault for the first goal, Bellerin for the second one, Giroud for the third one, some poor finishing from us, some great defending from Barca made it 3-1. Elneny proved again that he is a complete player, Iwobi was far better than what Walcott could be and Giroud just has such a low confidence right now… Good tactics I say for this match from Wenger, except for Flamini, why the hell did he start instead of Coquelin? MVP Ozil, then Sanchez, then Elneny…

  10. It’s always little too late from Arsenal. In recent yrs, we bottle our game in the first leg and then try to play better in the second leg when not in any kind of pressure. Wish we perform better in our first legs. It would have been a different game if we took our chances @ the Emirates. The difference between the two sides is the
    finishing. Arsenal are only two players away from being a top side. A magnificent centre-forward who can get 25+goals and a world-class centre-back.

    It pains mi to see our defense making mistakes every now and then and then our attackers always rush their shoot or ain’t clinical enough. Anyway, not that I think Arsenal would knock out Barcelona.

    Bayern v Juve… Extra time. Good game so far. Morata run for Cuadrado goal was sublime. Bayern comeback is also great. Both teams came back from 2goals down in both legs. Quality players and performances.

    English teams need to step up in Europe. Had to chip that one in’…

    Our season is over. I don’t think we’ll win the league.

    Iwobi was impressive on a big night. Elneny took his goal well.

    1. Yes after bottling the first leg
      we there are no expectations
      on Arsenal to win.
      Our opponents are also
      under so little pressure
      that they let us look brave in the 2nd leg.
      It was 1-5 on agg and Barca
      hardly got out of second gear the whole tie.

  11. Our defensive tactics were retarded. How can we defend with a line like that against the best tru ball and tru air ball players in the world. Every single corner got to a barca player to attack. Eff u Steve bould & your sht wrk. Sanchez needs to be benched. He offered nothing other then hard work. I’m really liking Iwobi.

    1. You are funny. He created 4 chances for his teammates beside the assist. He, Özil and Elneny were the best.

      1. Ozil, welbeck and Iwobi were the best. Lots of others created chances. That 4 don’t mean much. He’s making wrong decisions and losing the ball too much. And Elneny scored the best goal. But he was not the best.

  12. Positives:

    Best game Elneny has played
    Iwobi looked very good as well
    We created chances

    But same old story. Koscielny is a top defender but he was caught out today. It was naive of him. We created chanes but no one can score them. Just look at bayerm (lewa and muller) and barca (msn) today. All they need is a chance. New CB CDM and ST. Same old story. Very frustrating. We did show some passion today though

    1. agree elneny and iwobi shining lights today

      the only position we are fine in is goalies
      cech an ospina sweet !

      1. I agree about goalkeepers, only problem is I cannot see Ospina staying, he is too good to sit on the bench. He knows it and there would be no shortage of clubs wanting him for their number one.

  13. Arsenal showed spirit today despite the loss. But it was expected when the pressure was barely there they always show up. The boggling thing tonight is the only difference between Arsenal and Barca is the quality of the forward line, they took their chances and we wasted ours. Hard for any manager not to know this.

  14. Arsenal have lost so many games recently im getting used to it. Its not bothering me as much as it used to. That my friends means there is something wrong with this club and that something is Arsene Wenger.

  15. we were lucky the atmosphere at barca wasnt that great otherwise it could have been 10 1.
    And any one noticed that the goals from suarez and messi could have been saved by cech.
    They utilised ospinas height pretty well

  16. Yeh, good effort boys.

    effort just isn’t good enough without technique, skill and balls.

  17. Can’t complain about the tactics tonight. The players stepped up and unfortunately missed good chances. Our defense did well generally but the slip ups caused the goals. Ospina had some great saves and Iwobi did not disappoint one bit. We definitely lost but we played well and showed a lot of heart. If we show the same determination we did tonight in the next 9 games we could have a good chance at the EPL.

  18. It was never going to be enough…I’ll remember 4 things from this game:
    1) We lack finishing up front but that is nothing new…whoever plays up front we waste so many chances either we overthink or we do things to quickly, not enough composure!! But gotta give it to Wenger starting Welbeck was the right thing to do. Giroud & Walcott are not good enough and I hope going forward he is going to give more time to/for Welbeck to develop in that role.
    2) Elneny again a bright spot really this lad can play and do so many things in the middle of the park, versatile and could’ve had 2 had he shot earlier on that Mascherano tackle. A bit more time in the gym in the offseason?
    3) Iwobi this kid has a bright future ahead of him if he is willing to work hard and keep adding to his game. Always looking to do something positive & didn’t waste many balls, sound decision making. Danger for Ox of losing pace in the pecking order?
    4) Again we got picked apart defensively, still believe Gabriel can get better…

    Now we go to Everton out or not for the title let’s bag ourselves a WIN!

  19. We have all the pieces of a great team, sadly they are no longer put together in a great way. There is a fundamental problem with Arsenal, it’s not their players who are the problem..

    1. You’re quite right, but a striker is top priority, followed by a Cazorla successor, and ideally a winger and a CB.

  20. Iwobi 19 years of age, good performance. Elneny, beautifully struck. That’s about it, some nice play, but yeah, that’s all I have to say really.

      1. He must be luckiest man in the world then.

        That too makes him an amazing coach.

  21. I still maintain that Thiago Alcantara is the closest thing to Santi Cazorla. Unfortunately, we will never get him.

  22. Coman the 19yo comes on as a sub for Bayern and buries juve (the team he is out on loan from) with a wicked goal.

    Nice sub to have.

  23. Go to say it’s great watching the best team in the world and TBH. No one will win they are far to good
    I think A S and Ozill will leave this year and got to say AW has fu-led with TW head. I do think AW should go and do deans old job and get the German manager in because we need to spend big and he will get a few German players in and I think could get the best out of the OX and TW. Think AW has made our players soft.

    1. Yes I did fresh beef especially
      flown in from his ranch.
      It was scrumptious.
      Well that and the wine
      and the beautiful female hostesses .
      Limo home. All in all a great day.
      Stan’s a great guy once you get to know him 🙂

      1. So that’s a ‘I’ve never been near the Emirates in my life then’.

        Did he serve the steak to you in his wig?

  24. Admin posted this about 3 days ago with Wenger saying we should be happy we are still in 3 competitions and the onus on us to come out of it with a win. 3 days later we are out of 2 and need a miracle to win the league. Here is the quote:

    So it is poignant that Wenger is more than happy to have this daunting week ahead of us. “There’s a lot of pressure and I enjoy it, because I believe real pressure is to play games without any importance – that’s boring,” Le Prof said. “I believe it’s a privilege for our club to be in position like this.

    “You work very hard the whole year to be in these positions when March comes. It’s now down to us to be up to it and take it in a positive way and make sure we come out very happy after each game.”

    When are the AKB’s and AOB going to come to an agreement as fans that this is an issue that needs to be sorted? All the other struggling top clubs Chelsea, Manu, City are all changing or sacked managers for under-archiving. When do we draw the line as fans?

  25. AGAIN he talks about the lack of finishing in his post game comments…doesn’t he have no shame at one point when he says that?!
    YOU had at least 2 opportunities to address the issue once in the summer & than in the winter (more tricky but still) and before that!!
    Oh how Suarez could’ve lined up for us & score for us tonight had we made the right bid at the right time 2 years ago!!
    You’re the one who handed Walcott the contract of his life (his agent is a beast) & who is allowing Giroud to harm us up front with the misfiring!
    I doubt you’ll leave the club in the summer but learn from your mistakes this time and address the issues stop trusting/keeping players that are just not there & never will be (they’ve proven that already). Please stop saying that they’re going to go on a scoring streak or should be consider world class when it’s clear for all to see that’s not the case (not just this season)! Sometimes and unfortunately some players are what they are will never get better (no matter how much trust/time & confidence you try to give to them) and are maximizing there “talent” already which regarding what we’re looking to be as a club is not enough!!
    And in those cases change must come from the outside and the only way for that to happen is to show willingness to buy the quality players with the right character!
    Read Emmanuel Petit quotes today interesting & started thinking: imagine Viera is trusted into the role with Henry as a number 2 and Adams as a defensive coach and Wenger as a technical director of football within the club…

  26. Next season we need to build a new starting x1 based on just 7 players. Cech, bellerin, Monreal, koscielny cazorla ozil and alexis. The likes of ospina, jenkinson Gabriel, chambers gibbs coquelin elneny ramsey wilshire Campbell and welbeck would be my back up x1 with martinez, iwobi, toral giroud hayden and wellington also making my squad. But for me szczesney Mertesacker flamini arteta rosicky chamberlain walcott sanogo should all be sold/released to make way and money for new the 4 new world class players we need. Cb, dm, rw and cf. Not sure which cb I would buy, But we need to spend big my choice for a new holding midfielder carvalho, rw has to be reus and Higuain is my striker

  27. Arsenal need to get a new manager but as a number 2 for next season and why not TH. 170 million needs spending and 30 million on youngsters to play in the crap cup to push the first team players. New back room staff and the stadium need to be sorted out as its jus crap no atmosphere so put some seats near the field or make the filed smaller

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