Thursday, May 01, 2008
Arsenal and Barcelona play the beautiful game…… and then get knocked out
By 1970’s Gooner
It was strange watching the Manchester United Champions League Semi Finals against Barcelona. It was like any of Arsenal’s games against the big three in England this season.
Barcelona played beautiful football, passing the ball around using technique and ability and had 61% of possession at the Nou camp and 62% of possession at Old Trafford!
In a similar way Arsenal enjoyed the majority of possession during periods of the Quarter Final games against Liverpool and I would go as far as to say that overall they outplayed them. They also did the same in their recent encounters with Manchester United and Chelsea.
Yet both Barcelona and Arsenal end up with nothing.
The major reason for this is that they both lacked power and strength which would have complimented so well their pretty and technical football.
Barcelona had Messi, Deco, Eto and Iniesta in their line up against Manchester United. Arsenal had Fabregas, Hleb, Van Persie, Adebayor and Walcott. All beautiful players but not really powerful enough.
Compare this to Chelsea’s Drogba, Ballack, Lampard, Essien and Terry. And to Manchester United’s Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Tevez, Anderson and Rooney.
There’s no comparison.
You need both ingredients to succeed in today’s football. If one of the two is more prominent then the imbalance hampers the team’s performance and inevitably results in failure.
Just as Barcelona and Arsenal did not have enough steel in their sides and were in the end overtaken by the more balanced sides they faced.
For they played the beautiful football, weaved their pretty patterns but in the end succumbed to the forcefulness of their opponents.
Chelsea and Manchester United have more or less managed to find this balance (Man U a little bit more than Chelsea) and as such have made the transition from the old typical British sides who had a lot of steel and pathos in their play but not enough skill.
Arsenal (and Barcelona in their own way) need to find theirs still; but in the opposite way.