1. 2010: 2-2 at the Emirates, 1-4 at the Nou Camp (agg: 3-6). 2011: 2-1 at the Emirates, 1-3 at the Nou Camp (agg: 3-4). By assuming a non-existent theory of linear extrapolation in football, if Arsenal and Barca meets again next year, the result will be 2-0 at the Emirates and 1-2 at the Nou Camp (agg: 3-2). Woohoo!
(So, Cesc to Barca and Hazard to Arsenal next season?)
2. Another miracle: Arsenal managed to score a goal without mustering even a single shot attempt for the whole game! Arsenal, of all teams, somehow didn’t shoot at all.
(To put it into context, Arsenal never, ever takes a long shot. So the stat means that Arsenal didn’t manage to get inside Barca’s box, which is also an impressive feat by itself.)
3. Anyway, it only shows what kind of team Barca is. Total domination. The best team in the world. A historic team, indeed.
(Hence, I agree that Barca would still win anyway even if RVP was not sent off, although we need to take note that Arsenal’s gameplan is to attack after 70 minutes of play, as they have noticed that Barca’s level of fitness drops off afterwards, as is evident in the first leg. RVP’s red card kills any hope of working out the plan.)
4. Nevertheless, one wonders what would happen if Arsenal takes group stage games more seriously. After winning their first three matches, they went through the motion, lost their subsequent two matches, and ended up finishing second in their group. Not that they will necessarily get a much easier draw for the knock-out round, but I believe they can win against Roma as Shakhtar Donetsk, the eventual group winner, did.
5. Next: Man Utd for FA Cup quarter final — and, finally, some rest! Here’s hoping SAF will field his best line-up although they need to play next midweek in the Champions League. Arsenal is counting down the number of trophies left this season: four, three, now two, and it could become one this Saturday.
6. You see, following Arsenal is like reading the Old Testament. They have a lot of potentials, but these promises are unfulfilled promises. Well, it shows that I am not a Marcionite!