Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Barcelona tops 10-men Arsenal

Well, all i can say is this: Most teams can barely contain Barcelona with eleven men. With ten, it's basically football suicide. That said, Arsenal strategy out of the gate was a little odd. You'd think that their goal would have been to get a quick away goal THEN sit back and play defense for the rest of the game, but this was definitely not the case.  For almost the entire first half, Barcelona seemed to be in complete control, with Arsenal rarely connecting on a pass on the rare occasion they had the ball.  Still, Arsenal's defense had been doing a remarkably good job of limiting any real scoring chances by the Camp Nou side.  It was an eventual brain cramp by Fabregas at the tail end of the first half that put Barca ahead, with Messi finishing beautifully.
The second half could not have started any better for Arsenal.  On basically their first scoring chance of the entire game, Busquets headed into his own net on a corner, and suddenly Arsenal was back into the lead on aggregate.  But then the unthinkable: Robin Van Persie is caught offside on a through-ball and kicks the ball wide.  Van Persie, who had already received a yellow in the first half, is sanctioned again for kicking the ball after the whistle, and subsequently booted from the game.  Considering that there was 98,000 fans screaming all at once, you could understand Van Persie frustration, that there was a good chance he couldn't hear the whistle.  A pretty harsh decision by the ref, considering the importance of the game.  Yes, the referee was simply following the rulebook to a tee, but you'd think there would be a certain amount leniency in such a situation. But there was none, and the game took an understandably sharp turn in Barcelona's favor. Within 10 minutes Barcelona had already scored twice, and the game was quickly out of Arsenal's reach.  You could say that Barcelona looked like they were going to win anyway, but the fact of the matter is that Arsenal had a huge advantage with the own goal by Busquets, and the game changed completely with a very questionable decision by the referee.  For sports fans, its always a disappointment for a game to be decided by the officials, as was the case here.  As for me, obvious disappointment as my favorite player and team are now out of the competition...

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