Barcelona won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium to put themselves in the driving seat in their round of 16 Champions League clash. Lionel Messi scored both goals after Arsenal missed several chances to give themselves the lead.
The Gunners had the first chance of the game in the first 10 minutes as Mesut Ozil found space down the left, but his cutback was just behind Aaron Ramsey who could only manage a weak shot. Arsenal had their best opportunity to score when Hector Bellerin’s shot was deflected into the path of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but he miss-hit the ball from six yards out and his shot was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Barcelona had quick chances either side of half-time. Suarez met a Dani Alves cross five yards but his header went just past the far post. After the break, Neymar went one-on-one with Petr Cech but the goalkeeper came out quickly and blocked his shot with his legs.
Barcelona broke the deadlock in the 71st minute as Arsenal were caught out on the counter-attack. Neymar, Suarez and Messi combined brilliantly, Suarez held the ball up before Neymar squared for Messi who waited for Cech to go down before firing the ball over him and into the net.
Suarez missed the chance to put Barca two up as his shot hit the post, however Messi put the game to bed as he converted a penalty after Mathieu Flamini brought down the Argentine in the box just minutes after coming on. Here we will rate the performances of the Arsenal players.
Petr Cech – 7.5/10
The keeper couldn’t do much about either goals, he may have gone down too early for the first goal but it was the genius of Messi that made him do so. He also made a brilliant late save from Neymar that would have put the tie out of Arsenal’s reach.
Hector Bellerin – 6.5/10
Bellerin did his best to try and contain Neymar but the Brazilian was sometimes too good. He made some decent runs with his lightening quick pace but he had to be careful because of how fast Barca could counter-attack.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5/10
The defender was caught out on Barcelona’s counter attack but other than that he had quite a good game keeping Messi relatively quiet despite scoring two goals.
Per Mertesacker – 5/10
The German made some important blocks when the game was 0-0 but like Koscielny, he was caught out on the counter-attack and his failure to clear the ball properly cost his side badly in the end.
Nacho Monreal – 7/10
Monreal kept Messi quiet down that side of the pitch despite getting a yellow card five minutes into the game. He offered Sanchez overlaps several times and his crosses caused problems in the Barcelona box.
Francis Coquelin 6.5/10
Coquelin was caught out by Barca on the counter attack but he made some good tackles and helped protect the defence.
Aaron Ramsey – 6.5/10
Ramsey missed two good chances for Arsenal but his overall game was good.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin – 5.5/10
The midfielder missed Arsenal’s best chance of the game and the game could have been so different had he converted the chance. He went off injured in the second half after clashing with Javier Mascherano.
Mesut Ozil – 6.5/10
Ozil made some decent runs and created some good chances for Ramsey and Giroud. He didn’t have as big of an impact he would have liked.
Alexis Sanchez – 6.5/10
Playing against his former team, Sanchez was fantastic at times with brilliant runs and he didn’t make it easy for Dani Alves. However most of his runs didn’t create many chances.
Olivier Giroud – 6.5/10
The striker missed a good chance with a header which was well saved by Ter Stegen. He didn’t have too many chances and was brought off for Welbeck in the second half.
Danny Welbeck – 6.5/10
Welbeck didn’t have much of an impact on the game when he came on.
Theo Walcott – 4/10
Didn’t create a lot of chances despite being on the field for almost the entire second half. Very Poor performance.
Mathieu Flamini – 3/10
Flamini vs Barca? That doesn’t sound right in first place. The midfielder gave away a penalty only minutes after coming on and he didn’t have any other impact on the game.