When two of the best footballing sides in the World meet then it can either be a cancel out stalemate or a game to remember, and on this occasion for the majority of the 59,927 spectators it was the latter, as Arsenal recorded their first ever win over Barcelona.
Thankfully Arsenal facing a lavishly gifted Barcalona team decided to avoid the temptation to make the game physical and instead played their trademark passing game (probably aware of the result when Holland adopted such tactics against Spain in the World Cup Final) and the result was an open and highly entertaining game. The gamble looked to have back fired on the Gunners mud way through the first half when Villa opened the scoring, and even the most biased of Arsenal fan would have to agree that the Catalonian side were by far the better team going into the break.
Arsenal showed a bit more in the second half and Van Persie gave Barcelona a warning shot when he tested their goalie with a nice drive from the edge of the area. However Barcelona were still the better team and Messi should have extended Barcelona’s lead in the 67th minute but untypically he shot into the side netting when he would normally have scored.
This proved to be an expensive miss as in the 78th Minute Van Persie finally got Arsenal on the score sheet thanks to a bit of slightly sloppy goalkeeping by Valdes who stood statuesque as Van Persie’s shot beat him at his near post. To be fair he was expecting the cross, and the shot was struck perfectly, however it has to go down as a lucky break and the Gunners fully capitalised on this when Arshavin grabbed the winner 5 minutes latter following the nights best move as Arsenal broke out of defense with some panic free passing cumulating in Samir Nasri crossing for Arshavin to sweetly curl the ball home.
Barcelona then stepped up the pressure and created and had the chance to equalise, however Arsenal stood firm to take a famous victory and a narrow 2-1 lead to the Nou Camp in the second leg.
- Gunners rally to stun Barca (skysports.com)