By Rob Deyzel
What a pulsating game! See I told you this game would result in an Arsenal win and I have to admit at half time with Barca showing brilliant poise and dominating football that an Arsenal win seemed a mile away.
The game started with a brilliant frantic pace with both sides pushing forward but without the key final pass to test either goal keeper. Barca seemed to break the Arsenal off side trap with ease at every attempt but unable to finish. Messi was put through with every Arsenal fan fearing the worse only to see the Argy pull the shot wide of the goal. Van Persie then had a great chance which was saved by Valdes in the Barca goal. The gunners looked competent and astute with their passing game only to be undone by a Messi through ball which Villa finished with precision. 0-1 to Barca and Arsenal now reeling. The gunners seemed to want to implode and kept giving away ball after ball with Barca keen to get their second goal of the game and effectively kill of Arsenals hope of progressing to the next round. However Arsenal held on and went in to the dressing room at half time 0-1 down having been utterly dominated by the Spanish champions.
Arsenal game out for the second half with renewed vigour. Barca continued to play their sweet passing football, but Arsenal now did not seem overawed and played sweet passing football of their own. It was a jousting match of gargantuan proportions. Both teams were hoping to score and no one could have bet against either side scoring. However as much as Arsenal played good football, Barca looked as capable of scoring on the break. It seemed as though Barca were going to leave the Emirates with a 0-1 lead. However the whole shape of the game was going to change. Wenger decided to change things with the excellent Walcott coming off with the Russian Arshavin taking his place. The Russian gave Arsenal a new dimension. On 78 minutes a ball was played over the top and van Persie fired in from an impossibly tight angle to send the Emirates into raptures. It was though to get even better for Wengers side when after breaking down a dangerous Barca attack Arsenal broke with utter world class, with Nasri breaking down the right and rolling the ball across the box leaving Arshavin to side foot the ball into the net putting Arsenal 2-1 up! The crowd went crazy! Barca looked for an equalizer and were only denied by fine defending by the Arsenal back four and fine goal keeping by Szczesny. The final whistle blew with Arsenal having the bonus of taking a lead to the Nou Camp.
Wengers boys came of age today! What a comeback from Arsenal. It would have been easy to have become despondent having been outplayed for match of the game, however they showed true resilience. Well done Arsenal! A draw at the Nou Camp will do nicely.