2-0 at home to Barcelona, and I can’t get over the fact it could have been much different.
This feels way too familiar!
Even though from the draw we knew this one would be tough and almost impossible, after the display tonight, especially until first goal, you can’t not think “what if”. God knows we had too many “what ifs” over the seasons. Yes, Barcelona is probably the best team on the planet, but we came prepared and it looked like Arsene had something planned, much like against City earlier in the season.
But, with the help of the ref in 1st half (feeling like we are repeating ourselves but it’s true), and the clinical counter-attack in 2nd, as well as sub of the century in the form of Mathieu Flamini, Barcelona got a seemingly easy 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium, something they haven’t done before.
Petr Cech – 7
Did we broke Čech? I won’t admit it. He came into this match without a single goal conceded from Messi in his pretty long career, and he ended up getting two tonight. He was his standard self for the most of the match, saving us in few occasions, and he couldn’t do much about the goals.
Héctor Bellerín – 7
I thought Hector looked pretty good, much better than we saw in last few matches. Neymar was kept quiet for the most of the match, and we can’t forget that amazing tackle in second half. Cheers, Barca, for this one. He didn’t do much up front though, but not many others did either.
Per Mertesacker – 6.5
Ah, if I had a penny for every tweet about how slow Per is! (I could probably buy a better DM than Flamini, mind) He was really good tonight, didn’t do much wrong, kept the ball well when needed, had some decent headers and clearances. He *did* pass to Flamini who then tackled Messi for penalty though.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Again, decent performance, nothing special. He did his job for most of the match, but should have done better during their counter for first goal.
Nacho Monreal – 7
I swear, every match I am tempted to give this man MOTM. Yes, he got an early yellow (ref, huh?), but he was maganificent once again after that. He had to be careful and he did just that, but also managed to handle it all very well.
Francis Coquelin – 6
I have to say I didn’t notice much from him. He did his job, had a few attempted long passes which mostly didn’t end up well, and looked a bit tired in second half.
Aaron Ramsey – 7.5
I admire Ramsey’s will to get things done. He was everywhere, involved in every attack, running counters (that run in first half, wow) but managed to handle the defence as well when needed. He once again had a chance or two to score which he didn’t and I’m sure it’s frustrating him more than us. Ter Stegen was simply on the right place at the right time.
Mesut Özil – 6.5
No, I won’t say Mesut went missing in a big match. He just didn’t have an assist or create 10 chances, that’s all. He had some typical Özil passes but neither him or his teammates up front were that much up for it. Who knows, if we got more than one corner kick…
Alexis Sánchez – 6.5
Did we broke Alexis? I mean, he surely isn’t the same since he got back. He looked good at the beginning and I felt confident, “This is it, he’ll score”. But, it’s like he remembered it’s 2016 and he needs to get back to being average. He didn’t do anything special, as it’s expected from a player like him.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
Ox played only one half (and few minutes in second, but that was forgettable) and he managed to frustrate us all as if it was two halves and extra time. He looks so good at times, and then below average just a second after. He missed a sitter in first half, I can’t forget that. Who knows how the match would look if he was smarter about it! The counter where he got injured should have been done better as well.
Olivier Giroud – 6.5
Giroud looked very alone up front and didn’t do much when he managed to get to the ball. I missed the passion he had during Leicester match, but I also feel he shouldn’t have been subbed off.
Theo Wlacott – 6
Did he touch the ball? He finally got a decent amount of time, almost a whole half, but didn’t do anything with it. Maybe he needs to start instead of Giroud and then we’ll see what he can do.
Danny Welbeck – 6
Welbeck came on late but he wasn’t anonymous. He didn’t get a proper chance but he was there and looked dangerous. Hoping he’ll get a start sometime soon.
Matheiu Flamini – 1
Yep. 47 seconds from coming on to giving away a penalty. It’s not a zero only cause Per passed him that awkward ball. I don’t want to see him in our team.
The greatest 3 tweet story in the history of twitter pic.twitter.com/JmzRdtw3lo
— New York City FC fan (@Kingkeir) February 23, 2016