Well I have just landed from Cloud 9 that hovered over Arsenal last night vs Barcelona.
I know it is only ‘half time’ but let us enjoy our first ever victory over the acclaimed ‘best team on the planet’.
In the first half Barca seemed to have picked up where they left off at the Emirates and Camp Nou last season.
We played a high line to try and squeeze them, but they are masters of playing off others shoulders. They delivered a couple of warning signs (including a very uncharacteristic miss by Messi) before they actually scored. It was like knife through butter again as Villa took his chance well.
Unlike at Newcastle, half time came at a good time for us as we came out more determined to get something out of the game. Barca played into our hands by taking the gas off the pedal (which is very Arsenal like!) so players like Kos and Johan coped with them well. Then Guardiola played our trump card by taking Villa off. This allowed us to go forward with more freedom and the fresh legs of Arshavin and Bendtner made the difference.
RVP’s goal took everyone by surprise. I don’t think he meant it but we don’t care!!!
I am so happy for Arshavin. He and I go back a bit when I watched him for Zenit carve all those in front of him as they went on to lift the UEFA cup. Every other week I was calling my dad and brother saying how great Zenit were especially the baby faced Arshavin. I then dreamt Wenger would sign him but without much hope. Imagine my surprise and delight when we did sign him.
For 2 years he has been ‘my boy’ receiving more flak than praise from my family recently. When he scored against Barca I was rather smug. If you pay a little bit of dosh you get quality. That goal was worth the £15m we paid for him!!
Special mention though must go to Wilshire. Boy am I impressed! Every week he just gets better and better but against Barca he was immense. Mature, confident and skillful beyond his 19 years. He was up against Iniesta, Xavi et al, he might as well have been up against Leyton Orient’s midfield for the way he controlled and passed the ball about and clearly didn’t get intimidated. In the summer I am more worried that Barca will come in for him rather than for Cesc!
Kos (Dave) also has a great game. So nice to see a defender who knows when to put his foot in and know when not to go to ground.
Before the game I heard it billed as Barca Light Vs Barcelona – well, I like to think we saw some full fat Arsenal!!
So, will we progress? Not if you believe the press and bookies. I thought we would get a positive result but it may prove not to be good enough.
For now, I don’t care. We have Orient to come and then Stoke. Progression in the FA Cup and 3 more points should be expected before we all go to Wembley.
Every game now is like a cup final.