Just before halftime, in the Champions League match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Camp Nou, Cesc Fabregas, who was groomed at the Barcelona club, tries to pull off a back heel near his own box and Andres Iniesta pounces on it and slips the ball through to Lionel Messi. As is his way, Messi decides to chip the ball up and over the keeper and then volley the ball home. Really, just an incredible finish.
This is what Rio Ferdinand had to say about the goal by Messi on his Twitter account:
Full highlights are in the video below, but the Messi goal just stands out above all the rest. Actually, in some ways it doesn’t stand out, as Messi has made a habit of making the amazing look so simple and easy. Take a look.
Does Arsenal go through if Robert van Persie isn’t red carded? Of course it was a terrible decision by the referee but still think the better team won and went through. Just look at how many chances Barcelona had throughout the game. Messi’s goal was incredible – chips the ball over the keeper then volleys home. Biggest miss of the game: Nicklas Bendtner when he was clean through and had a poor first touch. Mascherano also made a great slidding tackle to push the ball away after Bendtner’s poor first touch.
It must be terribly frustrating to play against Barcelona. Whether you’re down a man or not, they always have the ball. So, it’s hard to attack or do anything really but absorb their pressure and then counter.
Amazingly, Arsenal did this and still had some chances to score and win the game – see Bendtner’s miss.
So, as it is frustrating to play against Barcelona it can be agonizing at times to watch them play. Simply because you know they are the better team and should and deserve to go through, but if they don’t score then they are out.
For me, admittedly a Barcelona fan, it was almost tortuous at times as the minutes ticked down, because there was the chance that Arsenal would nick a goal and go through. When Dani Alves tired to lay the ball across to Messi instead of shooting himself, it was one of those moments where you thought it was going to catch up with Barcelona – all those missed chances. It nearly did, see Bentner miss. Such is soccer though. And why it’s so fun to watch.
Last year they dominated Inter Milan in the Champions League but failed to score another goal and were out. This year, though it looked in doubt on a few occassions, they went through. It was never in doubt in terms of who deserved to go through, as Barcelona racked up more and more possession time and more and more chances on goal.
As Brooks Peck, of DirtyTackle said on Twitter:
Stats: Barcelona v Arsenal stats: Shots 20-0; Possession 76%-24%.
Barcelona Adulation from the Pros on Twitter
After the game there were a lot of tweets about just how good Barcelona is and, specifically, how good Lionel Messi is, by some current and former greats in the game. Take a look.
@rioferdy5 Rio Ferdinand
@OguchiOnyewu5 Oguchi Onyewu
@stuholden Stuart Holden
@RIVALDOOFICIAL RIVALDO FERREIRA
@CharlieDavies9 Charlie Davies
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