Wednesday March 31, 2010 Quarter-final Finished Emirates Stadium

Arsenal 2 - 2 FC Barcelona

  • Walcott 69’
  • Fábregas 85’ (pen.)
  • Ibrahimovic 46’, 59’

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  1. Arsenal grab draw with Barca

    Arsenal grab draw with Barca

    Arsenal fought back from two goals down to restrict holders Barcelona to a 2-2 draw in their Champions League quarter-final first leg. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Arsenal
    • FC Barcelona
    • 90+3 That's the whistle! A 2-2 draw, a cracker as is often the way in two-legged ties between Barca and English opposition. All set for a super return leg next week!
    • 90+1 Walcott again wreaks havoc but his cross takes a touch off Pique I think, allowing Valdes to claim.
    • 90' Walcott again surges in but his cross is blocked. Arsenal have been the kings of the last 20 minutes.
    • 88' Walcott on the right but he hits it too early and Barca can counter... Henry on the left faced by Song, who holds him up, then fouls him.
    • 87' Fabregas has come back on. He can barely walk though.
    • 87' BARCA SUB: The - shock, horror - ineffectual Messi off for Milito.
    • 86' Cesc is not able to continue and Arsenal have used all their subs. They'll have to play with 10 men, as will Barca. Even stevens.
    • 85' Fabregas to take and he rifles it into the bottom left before picking the ball out of the net and pulling up injured.
    • 84' Puyol is off! Last man for that and Barca down to 10 and he's out of the return! Harsh, as Cesc made the most of that...
    • 83' PENALTY TO ARSENAL! Walcott did brilliantly again to get in on the right, he crossed it in for Bendtner who cleverly nodded it down for Fabregas, who goes down...
    • 82' Maxwell obstructs Walcott but absurdly the referee awards Barcelona a free-kick.
    • 80' The ref blows for an Arsenal free-kick a touch over-enthusiastically as the break was on.
    • 79' Diaby brings down Keita and gets his second yellow of the competition.
    • 78' Denilson is down after a litle trip from Henry. He gets up though.
    • 77' After the cheer comes the boo, ironic of course, as Henry gets the ball. His cross is blocked.
    • 77' BARCA SUB: A cheer from the home fans for Henry, the returning hero on for Ibrahimovic.
    • 76' Barca look a bit ragged now but they counter with Messi down the left, he races away from a non-existent Eboue, Song flies in and Almunia bats away the low finish.
    • 74' Eboue is booked for a late tackle on Puyol.
    • 73' Fabregas curls it well over though. Poor.
    • 72' Fabregas to take this free-kick, a delay as the ref forces the wall back...
    • 71' Arsenal are on fire now as a raging counter sees Bendtner find Walcott but his cross is cleared! Walcott gets it again in the box, lovely turn but they block him off. Now Pique fouls Cesc and he is booked, he's out of the second leg too.
    • 70' 2-1! Walcott with that trademark burst of pace to get well clear of Mxwell on to Bendtner's lovely ball and he drills it in off Valdes! Game on again?
    • 69' Clichy gets on to Cesc's ball but Valdes claims before Bendtner can reach the header.
    • 68' Walcott breaks and gets beyond Maxwell with his searing pace but the low cross hits Maxwell and is easy for Valdes.
    • 68' Maxwell crosses but a touch deep and Messi can't control it.
    • 67' That move means Eboue will slot to right-back and Eboue go on the right wing.
    • 66' ARSENAL SUB: Sagna off for Walcott.
    • 62' A Michael Jordan-esque leap and take from Valdes from Sagna's deep cross.
    • 61' A hint of desperation about Arsenal now, with half an hour left and the Londoners forced to chase the game.
    • 59' 2-0 BARCA! And Zlatan has truly awoken, his second and a wonderful finish into the roof of the net after Arsenal's defence parts like the Red Sea to give him an unchecked route into the box. Game, set and match I would say.
    • 59' Lovely football by Barca as Busquets backheels it in to Xavi, now Maxwell crosses low but Song with a super block to clear.
    • 58' Song fouls Keita, who shrugged him off anyway and did not want the free-kick. Messi now, wide to Pedro, Alves outside him but his time Clichy is back.
    • 57' Puyol with a dodgy defensive header that rebounds off Bendtner but into the arms of Valdes.
    • 56' Clichy is never anywhere near left-back, it seems, Alves bombing down again but Song dealing with the cross.
    • 55' Groans from the home fans as Eboue's pass wide to Sagna spins out for a throw.
    • 54' End to end as Barca counter, Alves way ahead of Clichy AND XAVI MUST SCORE but he nods it wide! Too small.
    • 53' Messi wants this. Certainly Ibra won't have it after his earlier row-z strike... Xavi over it too... Messi into the wall, Busquets with the second shot but straight at Almunia. Almunia releases quickly, now Bendtner wide to Fabregas, Clichy on the overlap, super cross AND BENDTNER FOR 1-1 BUT A GREAT SAVE FROM VALDES! Serious power on that from the Dane but too close to Valdes!
    • 52' Ibra is somewhat fortunate to win a free-kick off Song on the edge of the box - he clearly got the ball. Poor decision from the ref.
    • 51' Pedro slices a shot just wide from inside the box after a lucky ricochet off Ibra lands at the feet of the Spanish winger.
    • 50' The irony of this match so far is that Messi has barely had a sniff.
    • 49' Fabregas gets forward, he beats Busquets and Pique slides in, both stay down, the home fans think it's a foul but play on! Looked like Pique was the one being fouled and the replay confirms this.
    • 47' Stunner for Arsenal, the Emirates is silent. That goal came 23 seconds into the half, Arsenal - and Almunia - switched off.
    • 46' GOAL BARCELONA! Ibrahimovic with a super lob but Almunia, after his great first half, was totally at fault by rushing out for no real reason with Song seemingly covering Song's run. I would say Clichy was at fault too, hugely out of position.
    • 46' Second half underway!
    • 45+2 Half-time, goalless somehow at the Emirates, Barca have dominated while Arsenal have lost Arshavin, Gallas and - from the return leg - Fabregas.
    • 45+2 Nasri surges down the left and plays a low ball between Pique and Alves for Bendtner but Puyol stretches to clear. Great defending.
    • 45+1 Bendtner wins a free-kick on the left, taken short as Arsenal look to gain something in the way of possession.
    • 45' Oh deary deary me. Ibra demanded to take that free-kick and, 25-30 yards out, put it row Z. Terrible.
    • 44' Arsenal break, Cesc to Diaby, wide to Nasri and a super ball for Bendtner but desperate defending by Barca to clear. Barca go down the other end and oh no, Cesc has caught Busquets and that will be a yellow card and his reaction says it all - on his knees, head in hands, he will miss the return to the Nou Camp. It was his third booking of the campaign.
    • 43' Looks like Denilson is coming on, not Sol Campbell. Song to play centre-half then. Makes sense, given the pace of this Barca attack. Alves does really well to find Pedro but great defending by Song to squeeze a clearance away from Ibra.
    • 42' Alves tries a one-two with Pedro but the return is too heavy and Arsenal have a goal kick.
    • 41' Oh dear. Gallas has pulled up and, sat on his behind, is beckoning to the bench. He's broken down with that calf problem again and looks like he's about to cry.
    • 40' Arsenal with a promising move but Song's through ball is poor and the visitors clear. Song catches Messi and, like a fool, gets booked for preventing a quick free-kick.
    • 39' Swung in by Fabregas but poor, easy for Valdes though, poor from the Gunners skip.
    • 38' Clichy gets away from Messi, Bendtner is howling for it but a shocking touch from Clichy gives it away. Arsenal get it back, Cesc on the ball, a one-two with Clichy who is tripped as he backheels it. Free-kick Arsenal on the left...
    • 37' Messi decides to shoot, oddly, and it's straight down Almunia's throat. Arsenal counter, Nasri on the left and he crosses in, Alves totally misses it AND BENDTNER SURELY but a great block by the keeper Valdes! The loose ball drops to Bendtner again but he hits the post! Oh, it was offside from the start. Neither side realised and they carried on regardless.
    • 36' Alves gallops down the right and Xabi is caught by Song and Nasri. Dubious, barely contact. Free-kick on the right.
    • 35' Great play by Bendtner to get away from two players and then smash in a testing cross and Diaby gets between Pique and Alves but the header bounces well wide!
    • 34' Clichy with a trip on Alves. Free-kick to the visitors on the right.
    • 33' Messi wriggles clear of Diaby and slides it inside to IBRA but he smashes a low drive wide!
    • 32' Maxwell nutmegs Song. Says it all really. Switched to the right now but Vermaelen shrugs Messi off like a child and puts it out.
    • 31' Nasri shows good tenacity to rob Pedro but a nascent counter breaks down. Bendtner chases a through ball but Puyol gets there first and the flag is - incorrectly - up for offisde, with Alves clearly playing the Dane on.
    • 30' Arsenal have had one shot, off target, with Barcelona totting up a cool dozen with half of those testing Almunia. Ouch. Still nothing to show for it though.
    • 29' Corner to Barca on the right, Pique trots up for it. Xavi's centre is cleared but only as far as Xavi and Alves, good cross but Ibra fouls Sagna as he meets it with a header, offside too, and Almunia claims easly anyway.
    • 28' Almunia gathers a long ball as Sven-Goran Eriksson watches his Ivorian charges Eboue and, on the Barca bench, Yaya Toure.
    • 27' ARSENAL SUB: Bad news for Gunners fans. Arshavin limps off injured. Eboue is on in his place - perhaps a blessing in disguise as, right now, Barca need containing.
    • 27' Alves dips in a dangerous ball that Song just about toes away. Still with Barca though as Xavi slides it into Messi who Clichy surely fouls but nothing given! Looked like a nudge and trip from Clichy...
    • 26' Xavi lifts a ball into the box that a flying Ibra takes on the chest but Gallas is goal-side of him to hold him off as Almunia claims.
    • 25' Messi wide to Maxwell, lovely ball to the attacking left back but he is forced back and inside and eventually Nasri lumps it out for a throw.
    • 25' Bendtner gives it away but works hard to tackle Alves. Oh dear, Arshavin is limping.
    • 24' Diaby finds Nasri on the left side of the box, he cuts inside Alves AND UNLEASHES A BEAUTY THAT CURLS JUST WIDE OF THE FAR POST! Super effort from the France midfielder.
    • 23' Song again wide to Sagna who, deep on the overlap, swings a dangerous cross in that is headed away by Pique and out for a throw. More like it from Arsenal but no chances yet...
    • 22' It's Arsenal pressing high up the pitch now but Bendtner loses possession. Song snuffs outthe latest counter as Cesc finds Sagna on the right, good ball by him but Puyol heads clear.
    • 21' Arshavin slides in and catches Pedro, who rolls around like a wounded cat begging for attention and earns the Russian a card.
    • 20' Keita handles Song's pass and Arsenal have a breather. Nasri on the left, he cuts inside and goes to Cesc. Clichy now, Nasri wide to Cesc as Arsenal revert to type but a horrible ball from Cesc. Arsenal get it back though as Song goes wide right to Arshavin, super cross but Barca get lucky and clear.
    • 19' Arsenal just keep giving the ball away. Barca are doing all the playing, and all the pressing. Arshavin and Nasri the guiltiest parties so far.
    • 18' The corner is half-cleared and the second ball comes in for Pedro to head but straight at Almunia.
    • 17' Xavi takes and sends it to Busquets, he can't get the shot away and it drops to PEDRO but blocked by Sagna's head and over for a corner.
    • 16' Barcelona have a free-kick on the right, Xavi to take, and I have barely had time to catch my breath.
    • 15' Play is held up with Song I think down holding his head. That was some piece of keeping from Almunia. Give him a British passport! He can't be any worse than the relegation fodder currently holding the first two sets of England gloves.
    • 14' Xavi tries the stepover but it doesn't come off, the ball rebounds back to him and HE SLIDES IBRA IN BUT AN INCREDIBLE SAVE BY ALMUNIA! The ball isn't clear and XAVI POINT BLANK BUT ALMUNIA AGAIN WITH A SUPER STOP! And the ball comes to Messi on the edge of the box but AGAIN Almunia flies in with the stop! Amazing from the Spaniard!
    • 13' Alves launches it into the box for Keita to knock it across goal FOR MESSI ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA but he blasts it well over.
    • 12' Barca back in their groove with some mesmerising passing...
    • 11' Soft free-kick won by Keita off Song after Barca pass their way out of trouble and end up 30 yards out. Xavi's ball is poor though and the Gunners have a throw on their left.
    • 10' Ibra on the right does well to beat Song, cutting back with a nice trick but his cut-back is blocked and eventually Song wins a goal kick off the Swede.
    • 9' Arsenal come forward but Barca intercept and break, Ibra races away, showing more pace than Clichy oddly and he is in and Messi is free but he delays so he can shoot and fires it low into the side netting!
    • 8' A brief lull in the match, the first so far.
    • 7' Brief respite for Arsenal but the ball is back with Valdes. Barcelona dominant early on.
    • 6' Arsenal are not at the races as Alves gets in behind a non-existent Clichy AND IBRA FOR 1-0 but he blasts it over from six yards! Horror miss! Oh, he was offside anyway - but he didn't know it and was distraught.
    • 6' Busquets into Messi who slides past two players like they're schoolkids and he's a ringer, he fires on goal but blocked by Almunia!
    • 5' Messi turns and feeds Keita, now Maxwell on the left bounding forward but forced inside. 'Come on Arsenal' roar the crowd but it's been all Barca so far...
    • 4' Barcelona now in control of possession, Arsenal are stepping off them and letting them play but Alves's cross is too deep for the offside Ibra.
    • 3' Messi puts the second corner in but the hosts clear. Still with Barca though as Dani Alves wins a throw deep on the right. Frantic pace to this opening.
    • 2' The corner is played to the edge of the box AND BUSQUETS UNMARKED BUT A SUPER SAVE BY ALMUNIA! He saw that late, through a crowd of bodies, and tipped it away for a corner.
    • 1' Messi leads the charge, Xavi to Ibra on the right and he's on loads of space, drilling it low into the box but Vermaelen hurls himself in to block!
    • 1' Here. We. Go. Arsenal v Barcelona kicks off and the home side go down the Barca end and win a throw on the right.
    • - Barca fans, meanwhile, are confident of a win. "Tonight we'll have a flood of goals in North London. Six goals is enough" says Peyman, while SUBOMI says "come on Barca let's destroy these losers".
    • - Getting texts and emails from incredibly excited Gooners over the past hour. Aman, from Twickenham and at the Emirates is "bouncing off the walls right now" while BarryGooner from Islington is also at the ground and says "come on you Gooners, let's show Europe what we're made of".
    • - Confirmation that Cesc is good after the warm-up and will start. Leo Messi was a slight doubt, by the way, but he was always going to start.
    • - ... Unless they mean the Arsenal bench could be re-jigged: normally they'd be stuck to the remaining six, see. Perhaps they'll be allowed the full seven.
    • - And also that Henry is indeed on the bench for the Blaugrana. The BBC are reporting that should Fabregas break down in the warm-up, Barca have agreed the Gunners may amend their line-up. Surely they can do that anyway....?
    • - The big news is that former Barca youth player Cesc Fabregas starts for Arsenal despite picking up an injury in the draw with Birmingham at the weekend. William Gallas starts too, meaning Sol Campbell drops to the bench.
    • - Arsenal team: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin; subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Denilson, Eboue, Campbell
    • - Barcelona team: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, Messi, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Pedro, Ibrahimovic; subs: Pinto, Marquez, Bojan, Henry, Milito, Toure Yaya, Jeffren
    • - Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)
    • - We outline the key battles between Arsenal and Barca tonight - with our biggie being if and how Gael Clichy will shackle Lionel Messi.
    • - Head-to-head record: Played three, Barca won two, one draw; Goals: Barca 7, Arsenal 4
    • - Barcelona's Lionel Messi (pictured) has scored 19 goals in his last 28 Champions League games. He has 21 overall in 40 matches and needs one more goal to equal Rivaldo's club record of 22 in the competition.
    • - Barcelona have played a remarkable 28 away games in England and have won only six though they have been victorious in four of their last eight.
    • - FACT: Title-holders Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 10 Champions League away games though they have won only one of the last seven.
    • - Arsenal have used 30 different players in this season's competition, more than any other team. They are also top scorers in the competition this season with 18 goals.
    • - Arsenal have not conceded a single goal against their last six Spanish visitors though they did let in four against Barcelona 10 seasons ago, the first time they had received a team from Spain.
    • - FACT: Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 34 European home games against non-English clubs, winning 27 and drawing seven and keeping 25 clean sheets. They did lose at home though to Chelsea and Manchester united in that period.
    • - Another talking point is the 'will he won't he' of key players on both sides: Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas are both doubtful. MORE HERE!
    • - One of the big talking points tonight is Thierry Henry's return to Arsenal, where he became a legend in his eight years in North London. He is rumoured to be on the bench ce soir. Quel dommage!
    • - Arsenal host Barcelona in a tantalising Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie at the Emirates, a repeat of the 2006 final at Stade de France and with revenge in the air for the Gunners.
  • Summary

    • 85' Fabregas to take and he rifles it into the bottom left before picking the ball out of the net and pulling up injured.
    • 84' Puyol is off! Last man for that and Barca down to 10 and he's out of the return! Harsh, as Cesc made the most of that...
    • 83' PENALTY TO ARSENAL! Walcott did brilliantly again to get in on the right, he crossed it in for Bendtner who cleverly nodded it down for Fabregas, who goes down...
    • 76' Barca look a bit ragged now but they counter with Messi down the left, he races away from a non-existent Eboue, Song flies in and Almunia bats away the low finish.
    • 70' 2-1! Walcott with that trademark burst of pace to get well clear of Mxwell on to Bendtner's lovely ball and he drills it in off Valdes! Game on again?
    • 59' 2-0 BARCA! And Zlatan has truly awoken, his second and a wonderful finish into the roof of the net after Arsenal's defence parts like the Red Sea to give him an unchecked route into the box. Game, set and match I would say.
    • 54' End to end as Barca counter, Alves way ahead of Clichy AND XAVI MUST SCORE but he nods it wide! Too small.
    • 53' Messi wants this. Certainly Ibra won't have it after his earlier row-z strike... Xavi over it too... Messi into the wall, Busquets with the second shot but straight at Almunia. Almunia releases quickly, now Bendtner wide to Fabregas, Clichy on the overlap, super cross AND BENDTNER FOR 1-1 BUT A GREAT SAVE FROM VALDES! Serious power on that from the Dane but too close to Valdes!
    • 46' GOAL BARCELONA! Ibrahimovic with a super lob but Almunia, after his great first half, was totally at fault by rushing out for no real reason with Song seemingly covering Song's run. I would say Clichy was at fault too, hugely out of position.
    • 35' Great play by Bendtner to get away from two players and then smash in a testing cross and Diaby gets between Pique and Alves but the header bounces well wide!
    • 33' Messi wriggles clear of Diaby and slides it inside to IBRA but he smashes a low drive wide!
    • 24' Diaby finds Nasri on the left side of the box, he cuts inside Alves AND UNLEASHES A BEAUTY THAT CURLS JUST WIDE OF THE FAR POST! Super effort from the France midfielder.
    • 14' Xavi tries the stepover but it doesn't come off, the ball rebounds back to him and HE SLIDES IBRA IN BUT AN INCREDIBLE SAVE BY ALMUNIA! The ball isn't clear and XAVI POINT BLANK BUT ALMUNIA AGAIN WITH A SUPER STOP! And the ball comes to Messi on the edge of the box but AGAIN Almunia flies in with the stop! Amazing from the Spaniard!
    • 9' Arsenal come forward but Barca intercept and break, Ibra races away, showing more pace than Clichy oddly and he is in and Messi is free but he delays so he can shoot and fires it low into the side netting!
    • 6' Arsenal are not at the races as Alves gets in behind a non-existent Clichy AND IBRA FOR 1-0 but he blasts it over from six yards! Horror miss! Oh, he was offside anyway - but he didn't know it and was distraught.
    • 6' Busquets into Messi who slides past two players like they're schoolkids and he's a ringer, he fires on goal but blocked by Almunia!
    • 2' The corner is played to the edge of the box AND BUSQUETS UNMARKED BUT A SUPER SAVE BY ALMUNIA! He saw that late, through a crowd of bodies, and tipped it away for a corner.
    • - Arsenal team: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin; subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Denilson, Eboue, Campbell
    • - Barcelona team: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, Messi, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Pedro, Ibrahimovic; subs: Pinto, Marquez, Bojan, Henry, Milito, Toure Yaya, Jeffren
    • - Arsenal host Barcelona in a tantalising Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie at the Emirates, a repeat of the 2006 final at Stade de France and with revenge in the air for the Gunners.

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Line-up

    Live Team Line-Up

    • Starting line-up

      • M. Almunia
      • B. Sagna Substitution Out (67′)
      • W. Gallas Substitution Out (45′)
      • T. Vermaelen
      • G. Clichy
      • C. Fábregas Goal Yellow Card
      • A. Diaby Yellow Card
      • S. Nasri
      • A. Song Yellow Card
      • A. Arshavin Yellow Card Substitution Out (27′)
      • N. Bendtner

      Subs

      • S. Campbell
      • T. Rosický
      • E. Eboué Substitution In27′ Yellow Card
      • T. Walcott Substitution In67′ Goal
      • L. Fabianski
      • E. da Silva
      • Denílson Substitution In45′

      Injured

      • R. van Persie
      • J. Djourou
      • K. Gibbs
      • A. Ramsey
    • Starting line-up

      • Víctor Valdés
      • Dani Alves
      • G. Piqué Yellow Card
      • C. Puyol Red Card
      • Maxwell
      • S. Busquets
      • S. Keita
      • Xavi
      • L. Messi Substitution Out (87′)
      • Pedro
      • Z. Ibrahimovic Goals×2 Substitution Out (77′)

      Subs

      • T. Henry Substitution In77′
      • R. Márquez
      • J. Pinto
      • G. Milito Substitution In87′
      • Y. Touré
      • Jeffrén
      • Bojan

      Injured

      • A. Iniesta
  • Rate Players

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    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      Substitution Out67′ - -
      Substitution Out45′ - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      Goal Yellow Card - -
      Yellow Card - -
      - -
      Yellow Card - -
      Yellow Card Substitution Out27′ - -
      Strikers
      - -
      Subs
      Substitution In27′ Yellow Card - -
      Substitution In67′ Goal - -
      Substitution In45′ - -
    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      - -
      Yellow Card - -
      Red Card - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      - -
      - -
      - -
      Strikers
      Substitution Out87′ - -
      - -
      Goals ×2 Substitution Out77′ - -
      Subs
      Substitution In77′ - -
      Substitution In87′ - -

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