Lionel Messi effectively cursed Arsenal to a sixth unbroken exit during a last-16 theatre of a Champions League with dual wilful goals during Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal battled gallantly to give themselves a possibility going into a second leg during a Nou Camp in 3 weeks’ time – though suffered during a hands of Barcelona’s luminary contingent Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
After Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud had come tighten to giving Arsenal a lead, Messi scored his initial idea opposite screw Petr Cech during a seventh try when he crowned a peppery a renew involving Suarez and Neymar to brush home a finish after 71 minutes.
And serve repairs was inflicted 7 mins from time when Arsenal surrogate Mathieu Flamini floored Messi with a untimely plea and he got adult to send Cech a wrong approach from a spot. It was his eighth idea opposite Arsenal in a Champions League.
Suarez strike a post and Cech saved from Neymar as Barcelona took control – though this tie already looks good out of Arsenal’s reach.
Follow greeting to a diversion here.
All over for Arsenal
Arsenal went out to Barcelona in 2010 and 2011 and that was after a pull and a win during Emirates Stadium – so their chances can be all though combined off after this defeat.
The Gunners had their chances though they came to nothing, with Oxlade-Chamberlain a law-breaker when he authorised Barcelona screw Marc-Andre ter Stegen to save from a outrageous event before Giroud saw a second-half header good saved.
Such is a ruthlessness of this Barcelona side that even half-chances (or less) have to be supposed and, if they are not, there is roughly an karma about a outcome.
Wenger can make a common confident noises about a second leg in a Nou Camp though it would be a biggest outcome of his power if he managed to enthuse a turnaround from this position.
It is, perhaps, on nights like these that those calls for Wenger to pointer a world-class striker lift larger inflection since even a smallest opportunities have to count and Arsenal were incompetent to do so.
The large fear before a diversion was that Arsenal would be incompetent to keep Barca’s large 3 still for 90 mins no matter how tough they attempted – and so it proved.
Strange as it might seem, this was not Messi, Neymar and Suarez during their unequivocally best though they still expel a outrageous shade over Arsenal and combined havoc.
Suarez had dual missed opportunities during a finish of a initial half, Cech finished dual pretentious saves from Neymar and Messi contributed to a dual wilful goals. This on a night when even a 3 themselves will acknowledge they have played most better.
All 3 lift a hold of talent while charity resisting qualities. Neymar’s change of gait was startling, Suarez is like a shark as he creates his approach around defences swelling disharmony while Messi stays peerless.
Any group anticipating to take a Champions League climax from Barcelona will have to work out how to stop a good Barcelona threesome – easier pronounced than done.
Arsenal merit credit
Arsenal and manager Wenger will be barren after this outcome effectively consigns them to nonetheless another final 16 exit – though they merit a magnitude of credit for their display.
In a initial half they were hugely trained to keep Barcelona during bay, indeed in a initial 30 mins a holders usually had dual touches in Arsenal’s chastisement area compared to 11 from Wenger’s team.
Goalkeeper Cech was measureless while Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey were also excellent.
Ultimately, however, Arsenal were not good adequate – no contrition in that – though all that is left is for Barcelona to finish a formalities in Catalonia in 3 weeks.
Man of a match: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on BT Sport: “Barcelona are a good team. We put a lot of appetite in a diversion and technically we were unequivocally average.
“The bewail we had was once we looked like we dominated a game, we give a idea away. Similar to Monaco final season, naive, and that is frustrating. When we looked like we could win a game, we usually gave it away.
“Realistically it is very, unequivocally difficult, if not impossible. We have to go there and fight. We had a chances, we didn’t score.”
Barcelona trainer Luis Enrique: “I am happy with everything. There was zero that we didn’t like. Nothing.
“The outcome is unequivocally good, though a tie is not over. We will have to go out to win.”
‘Arsenal lacked peculiarity in final third’
Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas on BBC Radio 5 live: “I felt a Arsenal players gave a good comment of themselves in tools of a diversion though this Barcelona side have got too most class.
“Arsenal will be meditative what could have been. They didn’t gain on a opportunities they had. They didn’t seem to have adequate when Barcelona ramped it up.
“I was unequivocally happy with Arsenal’s strategy for once though we don’t consider they had a peculiarity in a final third.”
The stats we need to know
- Lionel Messi finished a run of 10 hours and 11 mins but a idea opposite Petr Cech (seventh diversion opposite him).
- Messi now has 8 Champions League goals contra Arsenal – usually opposite and AC Milan (eight) has he scored as often.
- There were usually 47 seconds between Mathieu Flamini entrance on to a representation and him giving divided a penalty.
- Barcelona are dominant in 33 rival games – their best ever run in all competitions. The record for a Spanish group is for Real Madrid with 34 games in a quarrel but improved behind in 1987-88.
- Arsenal unsuccessful to measure for a initial time in 14 Champions League matches.
Arsenal will have to lift themselves fast after this improved as they get behind to their Premier League pretension follow with a diversion during Manchester United on Sunday, 28 Feb (14:05 GMT). Spanish joining leaders Barcelona horde Sevilla in La Liga on a same day.