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FC Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal FC, 2016 Champions League: Match Review

Recap of the action from Barcelona's win over Arsenal in the Champions League

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Once again Barcelona got the best of Arsenal, eliminating the English club from the Champions League with an aggregate score of 5-1, reaching the quarter-final of the UCL for a record 9th consecutive season. Each member of Barcelona’s deadly MSN trio scored, with Neymar finding the back of the net in the first half, while Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored after Mohamed Elneny made things interesting early in the second half.

Barcelona Arsenal
Possession 63% 37%
Total Shots 17
Shots on Target 8
Corners 7
Fouls 8
Offsides 2
Yellow Cards 1 4
Red Cards 0 0

Luis Enrique, unlike Arsene Wenger, didn't have many selection headaches. The only regular Lucho was missing was Gerard Pique who was suspended due to the accumulation of yellow cards. His replacement was Jeremy Mathieu, while the rest of the eleven was exactly as expected.

Arsenal started the game brightly, living up to Wenger's words that they will attack from the get-go. The visitors started to press Barcelona players very high up the pitch, even in Marc-Andre ter Stegen's area if need be. That caused problems to Barcelona, even ter Stegen misplaced a short pass at one time, something we've rarely witnessed in his Barça career. All in all, Arsenal did a very good job at causing turnovers. Barcelona enjoyed more ball possession, but it was Arsenal who had the early (half-)chances, all coming on quick counter attacks after turnovers. The first real threat for ter Stegen came in the 10th minute when Mesut Özil fired a bullet just wide of the far post. Five minutes later Elneny also took a long shot but he too missed the target.

But as soon as Barcelona cut down on the amount of turnovers, chances started coming for the Catalans. The hosts threatened for the first time in the 17th minute, when Neymar brilliantly found the rushing Lionel Messi with a stunning long ball. Messi responded with an equally stunning piece of ball control, but one-on-one with goalkeeper David Ospina, Messi couldn't finish off the great opportunity, having his shot pushed out of play for a corner kick. From it Barcelona would threaten again, with Messi sending a perfect ball for Mathieu. Mathieu had time and space to control the ball and take the shot, but the defender, not accustomed to such space on a corner, rushed his header and missed the target.

The very next minute Barcelona stopped wasting chances and took the lead in the game. Laurent Koscielny was under pressure in Arsenal's third from Messi and Suarez and the Frenchman turned the ball over to Sergio Busquets. Busquets quickly sent the ball forward to Suarez who proceeded to send a perfect pass through the outmanned Arsenal defense right to Neymar. Neymar, who seems to have found his scoring touch once again, made no mistake in front of Ospina, slotting the ball inside the near post.

Despite scoring the goal Barcelona couldn't continue to sustain their pressure, again allowing numerous turnovers to stop potent attacks. But during the middle stages of the half Arsenal also couldn't take advantage of the turnovers and threaten ter Stegen. However, the hosts would start to push forward again in the final minutes of the half, but not before Barcelona would threaten themselves in the 30th minute. The Catalans launched a quick attack, with Mathieu springing Alba down the left side. The left-back found Neymar in the middle, but the Brazilian's ensuing shot was too weak to beat the Colombian in Arsenal's goal.

That, however, would be Barcelona's last good look on goal in the first half, while Arsenal would create a couple. First, the visitors wanted a penalty kick, but referee Sergei Karasev emphatically waved to play on. Then, in the 38th minute, Barcelona's defenders were left scrambling after Özil dribbled past Javier Mascherano on the left side. The German passed the ball to the danger area where it after a few ricochets landed at the feet of Elneny who powered it on target, but it was cleared away before it could reach ter Stegen by a diving Mathieu block. Arsenal would threaten again the very next minute, with former La Masia defender Héctor Bellerín sending a perfect cross from the right, straight onto the head of former Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez, but Alexis' header missed the far post.

Both sides went on to lose the ball a couple more times in midfield before Wenger made a first-half substitution, replacing a French midfielder, Mathieu Flamini, with a French midfielder, Francis Coquelin. Shortly thereafter the referee whistled for halftime.

Barcelona started the second half enjoying the majority of possession, but it was again Arsenal who would get the first shot off, with Alex Iwobi taking aim from the left but having his shot blocked by Dani Alves. In the 51st minute, Barcelona, who were living on the edge on numerous occasions, finally allowed a goal. From the right side Alexis found the wide open Elneny on the edge of the area, and the young Egyptian tied the game up with a perfectly placed top corner shot out of the reach of ter Stegen and past the blocking Busquets.

Barcelona responded as well as can be expected after allowing a goal, quickly returning to the attack and creating a great scoring chance just five minutes after conceding. Messi played a one-two with Neymar, with the latter returning the pass with a back-heel, and fired a strong shot to the far post, but Ospina was there again to deny the Argentine a goal.

While Barcelona looked good creating chances against a stingy Arsenal back-line, it was the Barcelona defense that made every Arsenal attack a scoring chance. Mathieu especially had numerous problems in the second half, gifting a couple good looks on goal to Arsenal, including a great chance to Danny Welbeck who was denied by a diving Mascherano.

With the game tied at one and Barcelona winning the first leg by two goals, Arsenal needed to score two in the last half-hour, which with Barcelona's defense was not out of the question. But Suarez gave Barcelona a three goal aggregate lead in the 65th minute with a stunning inch-perfect volley goal into Ospina's top left corner.

However, Arsenal weren't going to give up just yet, quickly trying to tie the game up again, but Welbeck was denied by the crossbar in the 66th minute. Six minutes later, Wenger also refreshed his forward line, bringing in Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott at the expense of Iwobi and Welbeck. At the same time Barcelona made their first change, with Sergi Roberto replacing Andres Iniesta. Four minutes later, Arda Turan replaced Ivan Rakitić.

In the 80th minute, Arsenal looked to close the gap after Arda brought down Nacho Monreal in a good spot for an Alexis free kick. Indeed it was Alexis who took the shot and it was a brilliant shot, but ter Stegen was able to palm the ball away. The rebound fell to Giroud who wasted no time in getting the shot on target, but the young German was quick to get back on his feet and make the save. Arsenal would have a third chance on that same sequence, but that one was headed clear by Mascherano. The visitors would have another chance to score in the 87th, but again ter Stegen reacted perfectly, leaving the line to cut down on Walcott's angle and make the save easier.

Any unlikely doubts about who will progress from the tie were crushed the next minute when a deep Arsenal turnover resulted in a goal. Neymar looked to find the wide open Suarez for what would've been a one-on-one but his pass was blocked. The loose ball however, fell to Messi who in trademark fashion chipped the ball over Ospina to end the night in magnificent fashion.

Barcelona's quarter-final opponent will be known on Friday, 18 March, when a draw will determine which one of Real Madrid, Wolfsburg, Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid or Bayern Munich Barcelona will face. The quarter-final matches will be played on 5/6 April and 12/13 April.

Roll Call

Roll Call Info
Total comments 560
Total commenters 49
Commenter list AllAboutStyle, Anders Thomassen, AngusLB, Anirudh_Kul, AraibKarim, Artemis11, AzBlaug, BarcaGH, BayernMunchen, Delano Heerkens, Edinn, ElasticFan, FCB4Ever, FCBMSN, Isuzu, KiwiBarca, LotusV3, Naman_Mehra, NamesTroyResideInTheDMV, PG9, Petter Premberg, Ragnar_Lothbrok, Saur Bino, ShantanuC, Som-i-Serem, Steven Cordero, Swn.Culé, TheGodfather21, TheKrauzerII, Tokjee, VarmaFCB, Yuro_Doosh, anuj, craig00000, dewoul, el_uruguayo, fib1985, footballfordoze, getreus, godnkls, irapotato, knorkinator, messism, mickael2, mightyobie, no.imagination90, saltylures, syredeathtrooper, uday kakoti
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Yuro_Doosh 59
2 godnkls 53
3 Artemis11 44
4 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV 38
5 FCB4Ever 35
6 Delano Heerkens 27
7 no.imagination90 21
8 AraibKarim 21
9 dewoul 20
10 syredeathtrooper 20
11 mightyobie 19
12 BarcaGH 18
13 footballfordoze 17
14 AzBlaug 16
15 Som-i-Serem 14
16 Anirudh_Kul 14
17 TheGodfather21 12
18 FCBMSN 12
19 Swn.Culé 12
20 VarmaFCB 9
21 Steven Cordero 8
22 ShantanuC 8
23 KiwiBarca 7
24 TheKrauzerII 5
25 LotusV3 5
26 Naman_Mehra 5
27 Ragnar_Lothbrok 4
28 Saur Bino 4
29 Petter Premberg 3
30 Anders Thomassen 3
31 Edinn 2
32 irapotato 2
33 getreus 2
34 BayernMunchen 2
35 messism 2
36 ElasticFan 2
37 AllAboutStyle 2
38 craig00000 2
39 el_uruguayo 1
40 Isuzu 1
41 PG9 1
42 saltylures 1
43 uday kakoti 1
44 anuj 1
45 mickael2 1
46 AngusLB 1
47 knorkinator 1
48 Tokjee 1
49 fib1985 1
# Recs Commenter Comment Link
3 syredeathtrooper Has anyone noticed
2 BayernMunchen Good luck guys!
2 Yuro_Doosh I think he gave a fan a high 5 or something
1 Swn.Culé That goal was straight out of FIFA
1 Yuro_Doosh They're in 2nd with their foot on the clutch
1 footballfordoze its UCL
1 AraibKarim Coman coming in as a sub for Bayern who is on loan from Juve lol
1 godnkls We have a tough fixture against villareal
1 Yuro_Doosh No, it really isn't.
1 Delano Heerkens Ya'll calm the hell down
1 syredeathtrooper Another phenomenal match from Iniesta
1 syredeathtrooper Mathieu spilling water on his first half impression with this performance
1 el_uruguayo Would you like some cheese...
1 Saur Bino Can say the other way around,
1 Som-i-Serem Juve also have their share of injuries.
1 AraibKarim and wen was the last time they didnt had a good day against a top top side?
1 AraibKarim convincing? we were battering them.
1 Swn.Culé They might but we'll also Crack through theirs
1 syredeathtrooper That's why I want them knocked out.
1 godnkls Nice strike
1 godnkls They defend set pieces worse than we defended with Tata
1 Yuro_Doosh lol, Chelsea
1 Som-i-Serem This.
1 Delano Heerkens Finally...someone else said it *applause*
1 godnkls Juve 2-0
1 godnkls Juve made a comeback from 2-0
1 Naman_Mehra Allianz arena is in silence
1 Delano Heerkens LMAOOOOOOOO
1 FCB4Ever omfg that touch
1 FCB4Ever no
1 mightyobie On fox sports there's a hilarious interviewer interviewing people in front of the stadium
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV Thank you
1 messism Lets do this
1 Steven Cordero Bayern's gone.
1 footballfordoze EPL teams don't dive though
1 Artemis11 "mostly average players"
1 FCBMSN pffft...trying to undermine Mathieu block, mate! That was world class defense than a problem of finishing!
1 VarmaFCB How come Mou has never won it with a great squad like Chelsea or Madrid?
1 Anders Thomassen Pretty surprising that Wenger has chosen to go with a youngster instead of Campbell
1 FCBMSN It will be amazing if Bayern now scores 2 after conceding 2 goals before HT...just like on the 1st leg; Bayern, the away team scored 2 before half and Juve scored 2 after half
1 TheGodfather21 Mathieu bails us out
1 VarmaFCB Lol and the BT Sport commentator trying to avoid the word "dive"
1 Tokjee This is classic dive
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV Jeremy is having himself a game
1 syredeathtrooper That was bound to happen

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