Thursday, April 1, 2010

When the UEFA Champions League quarter final draw was made, the stand out match between Barcelona and Arsenal was enough to whet the appetite of football fans the world over and last night's first leg tie certainly lived up to the expectations - for once!

How Barcelona finished the 90 minutes still level with their London opponents is mystifying.

Barca were simply breathtaking. Their first half performance was as dominant as any that I think I have ever seen in the latter stages of the competition. The 71% first half possession stats backing that up. The first fifteen minutes in particular were outstanding to watch. It was a footballing masterclass from the best Club side in the world and Arsenal have Manuel Almunia and some not top class finishing from the Spanish giants to thank for still being in the tie at all.

When Barca went 2-0 up it looked like it could go on to be 4 or 5, but somehow, and I'm sure they don't know how themselves, they allowed the Gunners back in to the tie. Super sub Theo Walcott was outstanding for the Gunners when he came on. If he plays like that in the second leg, he may find himself in Spain for next season!

Even at the 82 minutes mark, Barca had 65% possession for the whole match and finished it with 62%. For any away side, in any match at that level, it's an amazing performance.

Arsenal certainly don't deserve to be in the tie as far as I'm concerned, but I have to congratulate them none the less. The second leg is going to be an absolute cracker. Can hardly wait the eight days and for a Champions League match, that's really saying something for me!

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