Arsenal were in the tie against Barcelona with 20 minutes of the first leg remaining, but shot themselves in the foot and conceded to Lionel Messi.
After a sensible opening half which saw the Gunners tuck in and keep their shape in a disciplined manner, Arsène Wenger’s men were on top at the hour mark. Chances were starting to fall our way, and Barcelona looked a little uncomfortable under pressure.
Unfortunately, like we do so often, we got carried away and left ourselves exposed, despite the manager specifically warning the players not to repeat mistakes made in the past.
Amazingly, Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano claims the Spanish side knew that Arsenal would manage to leave themselves exposed yet again.
“We knew that Arsenal couldn’t maintain the intensity of the first few minutes,” the Argentine said after the game, before delivering the really hard truth. “We knew that sooner or later we would find them disorganised at the back.
“And in the end that’s how it was. We seized the moment and we’ve taken a great victory that allows us to face the future with greater optimism.”
Not that they would cause disorganisation, but they would find us disorganised, just as they did. It’s very easy for Mascherano to say this in hindsight, especially Arsenal were organised for 70 minutes, but it’s horrible to hear that’s how we’re perceived in Europe.
Hopefully the return leg is different but given Barcelona’s home record it’s hard to see us finding a way to progress. So, I guess we’d better learn our lesson for next year’s knockout stage.