Thursday, February 17, 2011

Arsenal 2 The Best Team in the World 1 - Arsenal Beat Barcelona

For weeks all Arsenal fans heard were the doubters, haters, naysayers and every other negative force out there writing off their team's chances of progressing in the Champions League knockout stages.  As always seems to be the case, Arsenal were drawn against the team that no one else wanted to play in the round of 16...the World Cup Champions (minus 1 or 2 players) Barcelona.  Meanwhile, ManUre and Chelski get the easier draws with Marseille and Copenhagen respectively.

Twitter was aflutter with nervous gooners leading up to game time and as the start drew closer the atmosphere inside The Emirates was AMAZING.  (Video courtesy of @Keiththegooner)  You could feel the confidence of the players right from the start and that familiar air of uncertainty was gone.  There was a different feeling this time.   It's crazy but just watching the game as a viewer, you could feel that this year was different.  Yes Barcelona are a great team, but, they could be beaten by this Arsenal squad.

Arshavin gets his mojo back
Despite conceding an easy goal in the first half, the players did not lose their composure.  Instead they seemed to dig in more.  Koscielny was a beast on defense and Jack Wilshere became the face of Fabio Capello's England by owning the midfield against the likes of Xavi and Iniesta.

Van Persie's tight angle goal in the 78th minute was  a thing of beauty and substitute Andre Arshavin's game winner 5 minutes later not only gave Arsenal the win, but gave Arshavin the dose of confidence that he's been in need of over the last few months.  A rejuvenated Arshavin can only mean good things for the stretch run.  It may sound crazy, but confidence is a piece of the puzzle that Arsenal has been missing.  Not only was this a victory over the best team in the was a team boost of confidence that can never be taken away.  With Arsenal still alive in four competitions that confidence could be vital over the last few months of the season.

Whatever happens the rest of the way, on Wednesday, February 16th 2011 Arsenal came back to beat Barcelona 2-1 and that is a FACT.  Congrats Arsenal.


Meanwhile in the EPL, Arsenal came back from the debacle at Newcastle and easily contained Wolves at The Emirates 2-0.  The scoreline actually flatters Wolves as goalie Wayne Hennessey was outstanding and the only thing that kept the scoreline respectable.  Robin Van Persie showed his class with both goals and the Gunners kept pace with ManUre who beat Manc Citeh and pretty much erased them from the conversation.  Rooney scored a great bicycle kick goal and acted like Jesus in his celebration, but ManUre continue to ride their luck and definitely can be caught by Arsenal.  The remaining fixtures favor Arsenal and the belief amongst the team and the fans is growing.

Most enjoyable non Arsenal moment of the week:

Gattuso goes nuts against Tottenham

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