Barcelona cruised to a decisive 2-0 away win against Arsenal on Tuesday night first leg of European competition in such confidence boosting mood to wrap up this play-off battle eventually. the match widely emphasized on the both side’s strategic components to define re-activity vision to each other attacking style and promised lots of intriguing moments to be emerged in the early spells. Barca comfortably possession domination provided them a sharp distinction in quality against the host side. Arsen Wenger men formed a deep line of press in their defense to track Barcelona’s delightful passing build-up very sensitively the entire night. the purest remarks of Luis Enrique’s attacking play always force a compromising effort from opponents in being limited on their offensive play in order to keep up with Catalan’s tremendous pressure and Arsenal briefly experienced the same case on the night, at the meantime behind that strategy they would have provided some good counter-attacking game-plan with slim hope of punishing Barcelona defense . with Ozil play-making role in central position to lead their passing movements, Alexis Sanchez vitally became the driving engine in the heart of midfield with his energetic backtrack run to press Barcelona, while imposing such high tempo pace in going forward to interchange with Ozil to some possible extent for opening up Oliver Giroud up front. it nearly proved to be a more experimental attempt rather than successful outcome eventually against the Spanish Champions. with Barca controlling the possession to its maximum range, simply up to 78 percent, their passing build-up entirely occupied spaces to generate movements high up the pitch as Arsenal preferred to double their press with each extra winger dropping back more willingly to slow down Barcelona’s pace. on the other end however; the host has sparked a delightful chance in the 22 minutes; Ozil brought in a ball down on the left after being played out of back and turning it to Alexis Sanchez as Chilean combined superbly with Giroud press-breaking back-heel pass for an eye-catching play, he in returned opened up Ozil centrally, before the German player picking up Hector Bellerin’s quick overlap on the right and his cut back set Ozil with a blocked low-range shot, just for Chamberlain hooked with the rebound in a great 6th yard, but his desperate shot saved by Stegen and simply denied the home side a much needed lead under pressure. Barca went forward, Busquets dinking a long ball over defense and Dani Alves bracing at the far post to set up Suarez with a header, but his attempt was narrowly went wide. once Arsenal got caught in midfield, Neymar interchanged with Messi fluidly to wave off two defenders as Argentine defense-splitting pass was timed with Suarez wide run, but Uruguayan returned cut-back was cleared away by Per Mertesacker before the interval.
Visitor’s hunger allowed them to have much of the possession, instead it was the host side to grow in more free flowing open passes to involve their pace and came with a chance in the 60th minutes. Ozil neat exchange allowed Nacho Monreal to turn in a fine cross as Ramsey powerful header when out muscling his marker inside the box, but it once again saved by Ter Stegen at the lower near post. Arsenal eager anticipation in attack, suddenly inflicted a lack of efficiency to their defensive pressing that followed with build-up to Visitor’s first goal. Pique header outside of his box supported by Iniesta’s tiny flick into path of Neymar in the midfield, the Brazilian dazzling touch and footwork ignited a brilliant transition to link with Suarez on the flank before Uruguayan instinctive break-through pass cutting inside the exposed defense for Neymar flying run in return to open wide range of space for Messi’s to burst forward and being set up with Brazilian wide play before pausing to beat Peter Czech and smashing his shot into the net to lead Barcelona in the 70th minutes. the goal would be described highly as a masterful artwork of creativity and pure instinctive vision to gain a momentum with ultimately incredible style of transition tactic. a clearance ball out of Barca’s back neatly turned into a reactive play, being dictated enjoyably by Neymar footwork, forming a crafty combination with Suarez lethal touch to penetrate behind Arsenal back line, which was finished excellently by Argentinian after monitoring a clever open run from halfway line. a marvelous end-product movement is the description of this goal, which vanished Arsenal’s hopes and it made them look so defeated to stop Barca’s dancing play in the remaining of the match.
Messi outraced Ramsey to burst forward centrally and setting Neymar with a chance to shot, but his tricky touch shortly denied and fallen into Messi path as he nipped it to Suarez at his wide, the striker’s attempt unluckily hit the post and was cleared. the introduction of Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott intended to inspire the attack with more pace and flair and signaled an equalizer therefore. Sanchez sent in a cross at the far post for Welbeck as he flicking a cool header to set Ramsey with just a nipping touch, but his stretched attempt didn’t reach the ball just shortly before visitor doubling their lead to almost certainly whip out Londoners any hope of return. Mertesacker sluggish clearance inside the box left Mathieu Flamini unnoticed when his attempted tackle instead brought in down Messi inside the box for a penalty decision. Messi converted from the spot and sealed Catalans a wonderful away win.
verdict: Arsenal has shown more tactical stability to press Barcelona with their compact defensive approach for more than an hour to signal a possible direction to go forward when it was held on goalless. but they were cracked to keep their resiliency, when struggling to continue pressing a deep ball out of Barcelona’s defense which resulted in a wonderful build-up to visitor’s opener on the other end, a classic transition play in heated moments of Gunner’s promising movements. it entirely broken them psychologically and they conceded a second shortly soon after. despite being totally outplayed by Barca’s possession game, they managed to exploit visitor’s back line with some fluid passing play, Chamberlain surely missed their best chance when failing to convert his shot in front of the goal in the first half. that goal could have intensely locked Barcelona comfortable play in the midfield, while would have offered Gunners a momentum to be more concentrate at their own defense, but it didn’t happen and the eventually became exposed in maintaining resiliency against amazing MSN at the end. now with so much pressure they will go to Camp Neu to turn the tie around, but their history witnessed a nearly impossible mission as they never have done it in the past. the arrival of Welbeck provided them with much needed dynamic to create and to their end-product, which seemed was ineffective with Giroud as a lone striker earlier. so English striker would have switched the top gear for the host and he should have started on the night instead of Giroud, he might be the front man in the second leg, but it is briefly too late now. against the best team in the world playing with deep defensive pressing and physical challenge to keep up with most gifted players often limiting teams like Arsenal to play enough possession in attack to highest extent that requires an extra vital pace and finishing efficiency as their only way if they aim to win games like this., Arsen Wenger men lacked a sharp strategy to their execution play and by not taking those chances they were punished later on. Ramsey attempts in few occasion and Sanchez dangerous close-range shots counted for nothing at the end, mainly waving off their exit from the competition in hands of their superior opponent and Messi once again.
verdict: Barca all around possession from the very beginning was the main pattern of this game as it was expected, they still faced an impressive defensive performance from their host side throughout, while Spaniards vulnerability to high speed play sensed the fear of conceding goal in midway through the hour mark in few occasions before Messi’s opener. accordingly they indicated more deft to their defensive character to track and locking Arsenal pace eventually, when midfield inevitably were dropped deeper and their back line indeed had right responses to the pressure. the build-up to Messi’ first goal technically inspired from an effective defensive play and involvement of Iniesta’s timely touch to ignite the transition, so the goal fairly accounted for defensive perspective. their attack finally fired flash of creativity as the magical trio of MSN produced extraordinary class and style to seal this one for Luis Enrique with passage to the next round is almost guaranteed at their sight now. they will go through anyway,,, defending their title? a dream final in Milan? seriously,,, could anyone picture the final without them at all? Barca will navigate their glorious journey to yet another glory.