Wednesday February 16, 2011 Last 16 Finished Emirates Stadium

Arsenal 2 - 1 FC Barcelona

  • van Persie 78’
  • Arshavin 83’
  • Villa 26’

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  1. Arsenal fightback sinks Barca

    Arsenal fightback sinks Barca

    Arsenal clinched a stunning 2-1 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at the Emirates Stadium. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Arsenal
    • FC Barcelona
    • 90+3' The final whistle goes at the Emirates Stadium, and it's a proud night for Arsenal as they come from a goal down to beat Barcelona 2-1 courtesy of goals from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin, cancelling out David Villa's opener! Thanks for joining us.
    • 90+2' More incessant pressure from Barcelona sees Arsenal pegged firmly back inside their own half...
    • 90+1' Another desperate scramble ensues in the Arsenal box as Alves, Messi and Pedro all pile in there, and a huge roar goes up as Eboue finally punts the ball into row Z!
    • 90' Three minutes will be added at the end of this second half, with the visitors piling forward to pressure Arsenal.
    • 89' Barcelona are keeping the ball, but Arsenal are pressing high up the field and not sitting back too deep.
    • 88' Adriano replaces Iniesta now as Guardiola makes another change, while Fabregas's name is sung around the ground!
    • 87' There is a mad scramble in the Arsenal box, but the hosts somehow clear the danger with Messi and Pedro thwarted.
    • 86' Wilshere finds Bendtner with a superb through ball down the left, and the Dane hits the target, only for Valdes to parry wide!
    • 85' Van Persie receives a yellow card for a cynical tug on the shirt of Iniesta, and there are no complaints.
    • 84' The home fans are utterly jubilant as their side continue to pile forward in their droves - what a match this is!
    • 83' GOAL!!!!!! ARSHAVIN GIVES ARSENAL THE LEAD! What a resurgence from Arsenal, as Nasri streaks down the right and cuts the ball back, and Arshavin keeps his cool with a magnificent finish into the far corner of the net!
    • 82' Barcelona break through Messi, and the Argentine is held up out on the left by Clichy, who defends valiantly.
    • 81' Nasri and Wilshere combine in midfield to good effect as the hosts keep possession in confident fashion.
    • 80' Eboue outstrips Maxwell with an enterprising run down the right, and he wins an attacking throw in, before Arshavin wins a free kick.
    • 79' The atmosphere is electric all of a sudden as the home fans implore their side to press forward in search of a second...
    • 78' GOAL!!!!!! VAN PERSIE GETS ARSENAL BACK ON TERMS! Clichy maraudes down the left, before finding the striker down the left, and Van Persie squeezes in a quite stunning volley from an acute angle to beat Valdes at his near post!
    • 77' Abidal makes a superb last-ditch challenge to deny Wilshere a shooting opportunity inside the Barca box, and that was a superb tackle.
    • 76' That proves to be Walcott's final contribution as he is replaced by Bendtner, with the Dane heading straight into the middle.
    • 75' Walcott continues to run himself into the ground out on the right, and he puts Abidal under immense pressure with incessant harrying.
    • 74' Here's some exciting news for everyone: Nicklas Bendtner is poised to be introduced after a very vigorous warm up...
    • 73' Pedro and Alves again combine down the right as Clichy is pegged firmly back in the Arsenal half.
    • 72' The home fans are in full voice as the hosts continue to soak up pressure from their opponents.
    • 71' Messi scythes down Arshavin with a mistimed challenge, but an immediate apology sees him get away with it.
    • 70' Clichy clears with an impeccable intervention as Pedro looks to slip in Messi with a deft through ball.
    • 69' Wenger responds with an attacking change as he introduces Andrei Arshavin at the expense of Alex Song. Everyone can breath a sigh of relief!
    • 68' Seydou Keita replaces the goalscorer David Villa as Guardiola looks to shore up his midfield.
    • 67' Messi can only find the side netting! Iniesta slides a precise through ball into the path of Messi, but the Argentine slides his shot wide of the near post - what a let off for Arsenal!
    • 66' Villa beats Walcott and then Eboue, but his final touch is heavy and a corner is bizarrely given when it should really have been a goal kick!
    • 65' Arsenal break swiftly on the counter attack, and Van Persie drills a low shot on target, but it does not overly trouble the assured Valdes.
    • 64' Alves combines superbly with Pedro down the right, but Fabregas defends and helps out Clichy as the pair manage to clear the danger.
    • 63' The visitors opt to take the set-piece short and play the ball around, with Arsenal forced to chase shadows.
    • 62' Abidal hurtles down the left before Eboue brings him down, and Barcelona have some respite with this free kick.
    • 61' Koscielny brings the ball out from the back for Arsenal, before Pique agonisingly pips Van Persie in sliding to meet Fabregas's delivery at the near post!
    • 60' After a sutained period of anticipation due to some pedantic nitpicking from the referee, Fabregas dinks a tame delivery straight into the grateful arms of Valdes!
    • 59' Pique is booked for that mistimed challenge, and now Fabregas will finally line up this set piece...
    • 58' It's all a bit too intricate from Arsenal as everyone is reluctant to shoot inside the Barcelona box, and eventually the referee saves the day by penalising Pique just outside the box.
    • 57' Koscielny is having the game of his life, and he gets back superbly to deny Pedro on the edge of the Arsenal box - terrific defending.
    • 56' Fabregas makes a brilliant challenge to dispossess Busquets, before Walcott brings the ball down the left, but Van Persie skies his shot over the bar!
    • 55' Walcott misplaces a pass to an invisible red shirt overlapping to the right, and he can only laugh as the ball runs haplessly out of play...
    • 54' Alves buys a free kick with a cynical dive as Clichy makes a fair challenge, but the referee buys it.
    • 53' Maxwell forces his way down the left and cuts the ball back for Xavi, who attempts an overly-ambitious volley which flies high and wide!
    • 52' Szczesny shows staggering confidence in dinking a pass over Messi's head to Clichy after receiving a back pass!
    • 51' Song is walking a tightrope as he clips Iniesta, and surely Wenger will have to take him off unless he is prepared to risk an imminent red card?
    • 50' Arsenal have come roaring out of the blocks after the break as Wilshere races past Busquets, with Maxwell forced to intervene.
    • 49' Clichy runs through the back of Busquets, and that brings to an end a breathless period of play at the start of the half.
    • 48' Wilshere plays a delightful give-and-go with Fabregas, before driving a low shot straight at Valdes - promising stuff this!
    • 47' Arsenal have started brightly in this second half, and Abidal has to defend stoutly to repel Walcott.
    • 46' The second half is underway at the Emirates, and immediately Van Persie races clear, only to be stopped in his tracks by the same offside flag which denied Messi a seemingly legitimate goal.
    • 45+1' The half-time whistle goes at the Emirates, and Barcelona lead 1-0 courtesy of David Villa's 26th minute finish. Is there a way back for Arsenal, or will the visitors add to their tally? The second half will tell all...
    • 45' There will be just one minute added at the end of this first half as Messi trips Eboue in a strange role-reversal!
    • 44' Van Persie rises high to meet an excellent cross from Nasri, but he heads over the bar with Valdes happy to watch it sail wide.
    • 43' Fabregas is ruled offside as he attempts to fly through on goal, and finally there is a period of respite as Arsenal's advances are stifled.
    • 42' Eboue combines with Fabregas out on the Arsenal right, before Nasri jinks inside Alves and Maxwell is left to clear.
    • 41' Van Persie is not having the best of matches thus far, and he loses the ball to Maxwell with a very heavy touch.
    • 40' Fabregas scampers down the left ominously, but his intended delivery for Walcott runs wide of him at the back post.
    • 39' Replays show that decision to have been very marginal, and Messi was disbelieving about the call for offside.
    • 38' GOAL DISALLOWED! Messi heads into the net from close range as Pedro has his initial shot saved, but the forward was offside and Arsenal breath another sigh of relief.
    • 37' Barcelona continue to pile on the pressure in the Arsenal half, with the hosts defending very dangerously.
    • 36' Iniesta takes a free kick very quickly as Alves races clear of the Arsenal defence to receive it, but he's ruled offside!
    • 35' Koscielny robs Messi of the ball in the Barca half, and Fabregas drills a shot which was going on target, only to be blocked by Pique - a good opening!
    • 34' Fabregas outmuscles Xavi on halfway, but another Arsenal move breaks down as Maxwell dispossesses Song.
    • 33' The home fans are imploring their side to find something special in the final third, but Barcelona are looking secure at the back at the moment.
    • 32' Maxwell sees a lot of the ball out on the left all of a sudden, and he and Alves are stretching the Arsenal back four.
    • 31' Iniesta is booked for a mistimed challenge on Nasri, as Arsenal look to hit back with some sustained pressure.
    • 30' Van Persie fails to capitalise on a big chance as Wilshere plays a delightful ball into his stride, and the forward scuffs his shot wide!
    • 29' Szczesny makes a very fine save with his legs to deny Pedro as the forward backheels a cut back from Villa on target - that's a fine save!
    • 28' Nasri is booked now as he scythes through Alves out on the Arsenal left, and the Frenchman loses his cool.
    • 27' Song makes yet another foul on Busquets, and Wenger must be seriously considering hauling him off now - a red card appears imminent if he is not very careful!
    • 26' GOAL!!!!!! VILLA PUTS BARCELONA IN FRONT! It's a quite staggeringly clinical goal from Barcelona as Messi slips through an exquisitely-weighted delivery for Villa, who keeps his composure to slid the ball beyond Szczesny!
    • 25' What an exhilarating break from Arsenal! Walcott sprints clear down the left this time, before finding Fabregas on the right, but the Spaniard's delivery towards the onrushing Van Persie is intercepted agonisingly by Maxwell!
    • 24' Van Persie breaks clear, only to dally in possession and see his delayed shot blocked by Pique.
    • 23' Some slack marking from Arsenal sees Messi afforded space on the edge of the box, but a huge cheer goes up as he hits his shot tamely, straight at Szczesny!
    • 22' Alves gets down the right once more, and he finds Villa whose cross is brilliantly blocked by a diving Wilshere on the edge of the Arsenal box.
    • 21' Barcelona keep the ball in their half, before Walcott again defends well to deny Maxwell with a good challenge.
    • 20' Xavi threads a sublime through ball into the path of Messi beyond Clichy, but the Argentine is ruled offside.
    • 19' STAT: Lionel Messi has scored 13 goals in his last 11 Champions League starts including four in one game against Arsenal.
    • 18' Xavi finds Alves once more, before Walcott is back defending and Eboue punts clear upfield.
    • 17' Alves has been quiet thus far, but he streaks down the right at pace, before Clichy stands his ground firmly and clears.
    • 16' Song is being forced to work extremely hard as Barcelona exchange passes beyond Wilshere and Fabregas.
    • 15' MESSI MISSES! It's a glorious chance for the Argentine, who beats the Arsenal defensive line with a perfectly-timed run, only to dink his cute shot wide of Szczesny, and wide of the far post! A collective sigh of relief is let out from the Emirates crowd...
    • 14' Song links up the play effectively from in front of the Arsenal back four, and he is undeterred after his early booking.
    • 13' Barcelona enjoy a sustained period of possession in their half, before Koscielny breaks up the play with a neat interception.
    • 12' Pep Guardiola is pensive on the touchline as he stands with his hands in his pockets, while Wenger is sat in the dugout, stamping his feet on the floor in agitated fashion.
    • 11' Song manages to intervene on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area as Messi strides purposefully through the hosts' half, and that was good backtracking.
    • 10' Vociferous appeals go up from the Arsenal players and fans at the Barcelona end of the ground as a stabbed ball from Van Persie strikes Abidal, but the referee points to his chest.
    • 9' A long raking ball from Koscielny picks out Nasri down the left, who attempts an audacious lobbed volley, but miscues it as the ball runs well wide of the far post.
    • 8' Song is booked for a rather cynical trip on Messi, and that was desperate defending from the midfield anchorman with Barcelona breaking at pace. He's got to be careful now!
    • 7' More mesmerising play from Arsenal as Walcott produces another enthralling run, before Fabregas produces an exquisite dinked through ball for Van Persie, whose first time shot is parried away by Valdes!
    • 6' What a run from Walcott, but his final ball goes awry! The winger hurtles through the Barcelona half, only to overhit his attempted through ball to Van Persie with Nasri crying out for the ball out on the left!
    • 5' Nasri's free-kick drifts through a cluster of bodies in the Barcelona box, but Valdes is undeterred and collects it calmly before releasing Pedro down the left.
    • 4' Busquets wins the ball for Barcelona in trademark fashion as Song is caught dallying in midfield, but Nasri then breaks down the left and wins a free-kick outwide. It's breathless stuff!
    • 3' STAT: Arsenal have scored a joint-competition-high 18 goals in the Champions League this season.
    • 2' Messi takes the first free-kick of the game on halfway, and Barcelona build patiently from the back.
    • 1' The first half is underway, and Barcelona kick us off in their change strip as Emmanuel Eboue immediately dispossesses Andres Iniesta outwide.
    • 19:40 The players emerge from the tunnel, and the atmosphere at the Emirates is absolutely fervent as the spotlights shine around the ground, and the fella on the Tannoy lets rip with some staggeringly over-zealous bellowing at both sets of fans! We're poised for kick-off...
    • 19:35 Right, we're just 10 minutes from kick-off, and you have that time in which to post your prediction for tonight's clash - are you going for an Arsenal assault, or a Barcelona blitz? Let us all know...
    • 19:30 Frankly, you would be as crazy as Claudio Ranieri if you were to consider switching your attention away from the Emirates this evening, but should you feel compelled to do so, follow Roma v Shakhtar from the Stadio Olimpico
    • 19:25 Arsenal warmed up for this match with a 2-0 win over Wolves. You can watch the highlights of that match here (UK only). Match Highlights: Arsenal 2-0 Wolves (UK only
    • 19:20 So the big news is that Sami Nasri is back from his hamstring injury. Whether he is a 100 per cent we will not know until the match kicks off.
    • 19:15 The referee for tonight's game is: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).
    • 19:10 Subs: ARSENAL: Almunia, Rosicky, Denilson, Squillaci, Arshavin, Gibbs, Bendtner. BARCELONA: Pinto, Bojan, Mascherano, Keita, Milito, Affelay, Adriano
    • 19:05 BARCELONA: Valdes; Alves Pique Abidal Maxwell; Busquets; Xavi Iniesta; Pedro Villa Messi.
    • 19:00 ARSENAL: Szczesny; Eboue Djourou Koscielny Clichy; Song Wilshere; Walcott Fabregas Nasri; Van Persie.
    • - Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola believes his free-scoring side are ready to improve on their poor recent Champions League last 16 away form when the Spanish champions visit Arsenal. "There were matches we lost and drew so it is a good moment to break this jinx," Guardiola said at the Emirates Stadium ahead of the first leg. Guardiola's quotes
    • - Arsene Wenger insists victory over Barcelona will present Arsenal with a magnificent chance of winning the Champions League. "We want to win this competition and we know the only way to do that is to beat the super-favourites," he said. "Barcelona are certainly the best team in the world at the moment. If we knock Barcelona out, we straight away have a good chance to win the tournament." Wenger's thoughts in full
    • - Barca, the 2009 winners, thumped Arsenal 6-3 in last year's quarter-finals, drawing 2-2 in London before Lionel Messi scored all four goals in a 4-1 comeback win at the Nou Camp. Here's all the background you need
    • - "Arsenal would do well to put all their principles to one side tonight if they are to have any hope of beating Barcelona at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger has been talking up the Gunners' chances after Barcelona scraped a weekend draw at Sporting Gijon but the timing is unfortunate in that you are unlikely to get two mediocre performances in a row from Pep Guardiola's team: if anything it's backlash time." That's the view of our own Early Doors. Read the blog
    • - Andres Iniesta says Barcelona will have to beat "one of the best teams in the world" if they are to pip Arsenal to a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. "This tie will be decided in the next match when we return to Barcelona. It is the Champions League, we find ourselves against the best in the world so I don't think anyone will think the tie can be won in the first leg," he said. More of Iniesta's views
    • - Ahead of Arsenal and Barcelona’s Champions League clash tonight, we knocked our heads together to find the 'purest' teams in Europe. The general consensus seems to be that, in tonight’s last-16 first leg, Arsenal are hosting a superior version of themselves: teams who play the game in the spirit that it was intended, with crisp attractive passing, pace, guile and an obsession with scoring the perfect goal(s). Read our feature in full
    • - TEAM NEWS: Samir Nasri is in the squad after a hamstring injury but Arsene Wenger will decide whether he starts later on Wednesday. Abou Diaby has a calf problem but Tomas Rosicky is fit after a groin injury. Thomas Vermaelen is a long-term concern. Bacary Sagna is suspended but Emmanuel Eboue is a ready-made replacement. Keeper Lukasz Fabianski is out, as is midfielder Denilson.
    • - Barcelona are close to full strength, with only defender Carlos Puyol (knee) absent. Winger Jeffren is also out but would not have started. Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Eric Abidal return after being rested for the goalless draw at Sporting last weekend.
    • - Arguably it doesn't get any bigger: Arsenal host Barcelona in the crucial first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Summary

    • 83' GOAL!!!!!! ARSHAVIN GIVES ARSENAL THE LEAD! What a resurgence from Arsenal, as Nasri streaks down the right and cuts the ball back, and Arshavin keeps his cool with a magnificent finish into the far corner of the net!
    • 78' GOAL!!!!!! VAN PERSIE GETS ARSENAL BACK ON TERMS! Clichy maraudes down the left, before finding the striker down the left, and Van Persie squeezes in a quite stunning volley from an acute angle to beat Valdes at his near post!
    • 67' Messi can only find the side netting! Iniesta slides a precise through ball into the path of Messi, but the Argentine slides his shot wide of the near post - what a let off for Arsenal!
    • 61' Koscielny brings the ball out from the back for Arsenal, before Pique agonisingly pips Van Persie in sliding to meet Fabregas's delivery at the near post!
    • 38' GOAL DISALLOWED! Messi heads into the net from close range as Pedro has his initial shot saved, but the forward was offside and Arsenal breath another sigh of relief.
    • 30' Van Persie fails to capitalise on a big chance as Wilshere plays a delightful ball into his stride, and the forward scuffs his shot wide!
    • 29' Szczesny makes a very fine save with his legs to deny Pedro as the forward backheels a cut back from Villa on target - that's a fine save!
    • 26' GOAL!!!!!! VILLA PUTS BARCELONA IN FRONT! It's a quite staggeringly clinical goal from Barcelona as Messi slips through an exquisitely-weighted delivery for Villa, who keeps his composure to slid the ball beyond Szczesny!
    • 25' What an exhilarating break from Arsenal! Walcott sprints clear down the left this time, before finding Fabregas on the right, but the Spaniard's delivery towards the onrushing Van Persie is intercepted agonisingly by Maxwell!
    • 15' MESSI MISSES! It's a glorious chance for the Argentine, who beats the Arsenal defensive line with a perfectly-timed run, only to dink his cute shot wide of Szczesny, and wide of the far post! A collective sigh of relief is let out from the Emirates crowd...
    • 7' More mesmerising play from Arsenal as Walcott produces another enthralling run, before Fabregas produces an exquisite dinked through ball for Van Persie, whose first time shot is parried away by Valdes!
    • 6' What a run from Walcott, but his final ball goes awry! The winger hurtles through the Barcelona half, only to overhit his attempted through ball to Van Persie with Nasri crying out for the ball out on the left!
    • 19:05 BARCELONA: Valdes; Alves Pique Abidal Maxwell; Busquets; Xavi Iniesta; Pedro Villa Messi.
    • 19:00 ARSENAL: Szczesny; Eboue Djourou Koscielny Clichy; Song Wilshere; Walcott Fabregas Nasri; Van Persie.

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Line-up

    Live Team Line-Up

    • Starting line-up

      • W. Szczesny
      • E. Eboué
      • L. Koscielny
      • J. Djourou
      • G. Clichy
      • A. Song Yellow Card Substitution Out (68′)
      • J. Wilshere
      • C. Fábregas
      • T. Walcott Substitution Out (77′)
      • S. Nasri Yellow Card
      • R. van Persie Goal Yellow Card

      Subs

      • T. Rosický
      • S. Squillaci
      • A. Arshavin Substitution In68′ Goal
      • N. Bendtner Substitution In77′
      • K. Gibbs
      • M. Almunia
      • Denílson
    • Starting line-up

      • Víctor Valdés
      • Dani Alves
      • G. Piqué Yellow Card
      • E. Abidal
      • Maxwell
      • S. Busquets
      • Xavi
      • A. Iniesta Yellow Card Substitution Out (89′)
      • Pedro
      • D. Villa Goal Substitution Out (68′)
      • L. Messi

      Subs

      • J. Pinto
      • S. Keita Substitution In68′
      • G. Milito
      • I. Afellay
      • J. Mascherano
      • A. Correia Substitution In89′
      • Bojan
  • Rate Players

    Rate Players

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    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      - -
      - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      Yellow Card Substitution Out68′ - -
      - -
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      Strikers
      Substitution Out77′ - -
      Yellow Card - -
      Goal Yellow Card - -
      Subs
      Substitution In68′ Goal - -
      Substitution In77′ - -
    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      - -
      Yellow Card - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      - -
      - -
      Yellow Card Substitution Out89′ - -
      Strikers
      - -
      Goal Substitution Out68′ - -
      - -
      Subs
      Substitution In68′ - -
      Substitution In89′ - -

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