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Feb 17, 2011

Arsene Wenger has finally managed to register his first victory against FC Barcelona with a splendid 2-1 come back from behind victory. David Villa gave Barca the lead in the first half but Arsenal came back spectacularly in the second half to take the game away from us. We have now everything left to do and to make matters worse we will be without the service of Pique for the return leg. Guardiola's plan to sit back and take on the pressure in the second half back fired heavily and we had to pay for that. Guardiola lined up with Alves, Pique, Abidal and Maxwell in defense. The midfield had Iniesta, Busquets and Xavi. Messi, Villa and Pedro formed the attacking trio. Arsenal started with Nasri from the start on the left.

Arsenal started to pile up the pressure on us from the start, a startling comparision to last season. Barca had the great chance in the 15th minute when Messi was put through by Villa but Messi's chipped effort went agonisingly wide. After the early frantic start by Arsenal, we were quietly imposing our possession game slowly. In the 19th minute a great through ball from Iniesta almost put Villa through, but his first touch left him down. In the 25th minute Arsenal gave a display of their pace on counter with Walcott breaking free but Abidal was upto the task. In the very next minute David Villa put us 1-0 ahead when he was put through on goal by a great ball by Messi. That away goal changed the entire complexion of the tie. In the 29th minute Arsenal keeper has to be on his very best to deny a splendid Pedro backflick at the goal. In the 38th minute Messi seriously thought he scored with a diving header but he was flagged offside which for me was very harsh. We went into the break leading thanks to a Villa goal but Arsenal was showing why a 1-0 lead may not be a safe one for Barca.

The second half started in a similar fashion like the first - with Arsenal pressing. Jack Wilshire, who was the best Arsenal player on pitch had the first shot on target, which was comfortably held by Valdes. Barcelona were allowing Arsenal with too much possession and the pressure was building up at our end. In the 57th minute Pique conceded a free kick in very dangerous position and was booked, he now misses the second leg. In the 67th minute Messi had a double shot on target first was blocked by Djorou and the next shot hit the side netting. Guardiola took off Villa and brought in Keita to give more defensive conver. Meanwhile Wenger insearch of the goal brought Arshavin on for Song. In the 78th minute Van Persie equalised from the most narrowest of angle to take the game for a frantic finish. Valdes was all at fault getting beaten at his near post. It looked like we switched off for one second and had to concede the goal. In the 83rd minute Arshavin put Arsenal in the lead with a great goal after an excellent build up.

We paid the price for switching off ourselves from attack in the second half. But credit has to be given where it is due and Arsenal was majestic in the second half. They controlled the second half well and kept our best players at bay easily. Iniesta had a very poor match throughout and struggled to impose himself in the match. The defense did play really well till that equalising goal. Messi switched off in the second half and no where to be seen, again credit to Arsenal in containing him. Jack Wilshire was the best player on the pitch. The equalising goal came from a stupid goal keeping error from Valdes. The goal came from an absolute nothing move. Now we have to do it all in the second leg at home. There was some penalty shout in the match, but in the end you have to admit that Arsenal was the best team in the night. They held on in the first ahlf and then outclassed us in the second half. Guardiola should be happy with the away goal but he would be banging on the home advantage to turn this tie over. What this defeat does is that now force us into a situation where we have to go and chase the game at Camp Nou. It is going to be a very tight night ahead in three weeks.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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