clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal, 2016 Champions League: 3 Things We Learned

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Barcelona are safely through to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals after a decent performance and a 3-1 win against Arsenal at Camp Nou on a rainy Wednesday night in Catalonia. Here's a few takeaways from another win:

1. Arsenal deserves plenty of credit

Let me just start with this right off the bat: I did not expect Arsenal to play as well as they did over two legs. Arsene Wenger had a sound game plan to deal with the high-scoring Blaugrana, and their Camp Nou performance was enough to see them qualifying against any other opponent in Europe. They were good on defense -- do not let the three goals fool you into thinking they were bad at the back -- and even better on offense, forcing Ter Stegen into some amazing saves and creating dangerous chances. Mohamed Elneny scored a beautiful goal, and he was one of the Gunners' best performers overall. Mesut Özil had a good night, so did Alexis Sánchez and most of the other players.

Wenger came short again, but somehow this is not his fault. He and his men put up a valiant fight. They just faced the best team in the world, and there's just nothing you can do.

2. Barça's midfield can outshine the 'MSN'

That sounds crazy since Messi, Suárez and Neymar all scored, but that does not prove that the three carried the rest of the team to a win. It was the other way around. The trio was a little uninterested on defense last night, which was not the case at the Emirates. The midfielders had to work twice as hard, and boy did they do just that. Sergio Busquets was once again absurd, Andrés Iniesta ran like he was 20 years old instead of 31, and Ivan Rakitic was once again the unsung hero for his ability to cover his own space and still help out Dani Alves when Messi did not get back on defense.

And still the 'MSN' will get the glory for scoring the goals. They deserve it, but let's look at the men behind them, too. They are immense.

3. Javier Mascherano is ridiculous

He was simply perfect, always aware and anticipating the plays and making some amazing tackles. His last-second challenge against Danny Welbeck in the second half after a mistake from Mathieu was for me the highlight of the night. He proved that he doesn't need Piqué alongside him to be incredible. Sure, having the best defender on the planet right beside you makes you better, but Masche is great in his own right. He doesn't need a goal. He scores one every game he plays by how well he does his job. We love you, Jefecito.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes