Wilshire & Koscielny = Flawless (w/ Player Ratings)

Arsenal (2) – (1) Barcelona
van Persie (78′), Arshavin (83′)
The Emirates Stadium, London

Before the game, I said that my head said 3-1 Barcelona but my heart said 2-1 Arsenal.

They say you should always follow your heart!

But what a game! There’s always the threat that a game doesn’t live up to the hype but the game tonight was fantastic entertainment.

As usual, Barcelona were mesmeric at times but Arsenal were always a threat. And Arsene Wenger’s substitutions actually made a difference. A great night all round!

Of course, there is still a long way to go in this tie but a 2-1 is an excellent result against a side like Barcelona who many consider untouchable. Before the game people questioned Arsenal’s chances, with some people saying that if the “great” Jose Mourinho lost 5-0 to Barcelona then Arsenal would get absolutely tanked.

I couldn’t tell you how many times people have Tweeted and texted saying Arsenal were going to get battered tonight. But as usual, I kept the faith and I always believe Arsenal are capable of beating anyone on their day.

But Arsenal proved tonight they had learnt their lessons from last season.

Barcelona were undoubtedly stronger than last year, swapping Ibrahimovic for David Villa and it was the Spaniard who opened the scoring after 26 minutes. Arsenal had spurned a chance moments earlier when Fabregas wasted a golden opportunity and Arsenal were made to pay seconds later. Valdes went to ground when Fabregas crossed for van Persie so I didn’t understand why he didn’t just shoot. The ball from Walcott was slightly wide but he could have still pulled the trigger.

Arsenal started the game well but once Villa opened the scoring it looked like Barcelona would get the second and third goals. Their tails were up and they played some breathtaking football, and Arsenal were on the ropes. But the lads defended well and Szczesny in goal looked solid and assured.

In the second half, Arsenal looked to be more positive and Barcelona dropped off as time ticked on. Arsene brought on Bendtner and Arshavin for Walcott and Song and it made all the difference. van Persie scored a stunning goal (does he score anything else) after being played in by Gael Clichy of all people, with his weaker right foot! van Persie looked up and lashed in a brilliant goal in at the near post. Then it was game on.

Now it was Barcelona that looked edgy and a wonderful counter attack launched by Fabregas gave Nasri time and space to pick out Arshavin who continued his unfathomable enigma and coolly slotted the ball home.

Arsenal had somehow comeback against the mighty Barcelona!

Once van Persie equalised I was in dream land but with the Arshavin goal I was delirious. Arsenal showed great commitment, desire and determination and overcame the odds to beat simply the best team in the world.

And that should not be underestimated.

Player Ratings:

Wojciech Szczesny: 9/10
Excellent game from the young lad. Solid, confident and did extremely well on the Messi chance early on in the game. Most people will say Messi missed but Szczesny stood tall and made himself big. Did well when called upon and for me, the best goalkeeper Arsenal have in their ranks. Arsene should back this horse for the next 10 years.

Emmanuel Eboue: 8/10
Did well for most of the game and kept David Villa quiet for most of the game, although he only needs one chance. Supported the attacks well and was solid at the back. An excellent performance from Eboue tonight.

Johan Djourou: 8/10
Did well alongside Koscielny and despite being up against the likes of Messi, Villa, Pedro and Xavi (who were mesmeric at times) did well to keep the Barcelona attack relatively quiet. Certainly the best partner for Koscielny and clearly there is a good understanding between the two central defenders.

Laurent Koscielny: 10/10
Along with Wilshire, a Man of the Match candidate. His best game in an Arsenal shirt by far. He was immense. Always in the right place at the right time, made some vital tackles and interceptions and was overall, fantastic. I would say his performance was flawless.

Gael Clichy: 8/10
Had to defend the left hand side single-handedly at times but did well. Dani Alves was always a threat and he was dealt with well. Made some vital last-ditch tackles and was solid overall. Beautiful through ball for van Persie’s equalising goal.

Alexandre Song: 8/10
Certainly got into Barcelona and was unlucky to get booked after only 6 minutes. Was walking a tight-rope since then though and made a lot of tackles which resulted in fouls. However, he made some excellent interceptions and kept the midfield together.

Jack Wilshire: 10/10
It’s easy to get carried away but Wilshire was ridiculously good, and along with Koscielny was Man of the Match. Composed, direct and effective, Wilshire was stunningly good. He never lost the ball, held onto possession well and was mesmerising in the middle of the park. The way he moved away from Xavi, Iniesta and the rest of the Barcelona midfield with ease, his touch was outstanding. Breathtaking performance.

Cesc Fabregas (Captain): 6/10
Very disappointing for me, and looked out of sorts all game. Lost the ball far too often and didn’t look up for taking on his Barcelona mates. Disappointed at key moments and was clearly intimidated.

Samir Nasri: 7/10
First game back from his hamstring injury and it looked like his first game back. Not as influential as in previous games this season and it would be naive to expect that. Looked bright at times though and laid off a lovely pass for Arshavin to slot home the winner.

Theo Walcott: 7/10
Threatened early on but didn’t get enough of the ball throughout the game. Didn’t vary his game enough and his runs, in the end, became too predictable. Arsene might use him in the second leg as an impact substitute.

Robin van Persie: 7/10
What can you say about van Persie? He infuriates for long periods and pulls out a stunning goal like that. Nothing was working for him for most of the game but when it mattered he did the business. Vital goal at a vital time, and made all the difference to the result. Took the goal extremely well and that’s what he’s in the team for, for those impact moments.

Andrei Arshavin (replaced Song 68′): 7/10
Came on for the last 20 minutes or so and as usual things weren’t really happening for him. So as you would expect, he ended up popping up with the winner! Almost pressed the self destruct button with a crazy back header to Szczesny in the final moments but fortunately it didn’t change the result.

Nicklas Bendtner (replaced Walcott 77′): 6/10
Not really enough time to make a difference but must have done something right as his introduction to the game saw Arsenal score twice in quick succession! Gave the Barcelona defence something else to think about.


42 thoughts on “Wilshire & Koscielny = Flawless (w/ Player Ratings)

  1. Song an 8? Are you sure? I am usually 1 of his biggest defenders but tonight he was out of his depth. He couldnt keep up with the touch, speed and technique of all of the other midfielders on the pitch. He also couldnt get near Barca players without fouling them.

    He needs to be told to just sit in front of the defence in the Nou Camp, and not move from there, to stop Messi threading them balls through.

    Cesc for work rate, his chip to RVP and his pass to Nasri for the winner, I would give a 7 although he wasnt at his best.


  3. Come on Eboue 8…… He was caught out of position more times than wanye rooneys prozzie. He constantly ran into dead ends and gave the ball away. Thank god sagna is back for next leg. He was at most a 6 tonight based more on the result than anything.

    Same with Clichy he was prettly poor with his deliveries (RVP ball aside) and was constantly ball watching being dragged all over the shop for the whole match.

    Agree with Kos and Jackie though…Flawless

  4. Great comeback from Arsenal, not many would have saw that coming at half time!

    It was interesting to see how subdued Messi was in the second half though, as were most of the Barcelona team. Barcelona have apparently never won an away Champions League tie under Pep Guardiola.

    There’s a lot of conspiracy theories knocking around…

  5. I think you got it spot on this evening apart from Song who although I’m one of his biggest fans for me he had his worst game of the season. Still its all about opinions.

  6. I hope the fact that Cesc might join Barca soon is not affecting his will to beat them as we’ll need all our players at their best and wanting with a passion to “kill” Barca at the Camp Nou if we are to have any chance to getting through. If he is too afraid to “offend” his future team mates then he should not play. I hope he realises that it is also wrong to offend his current team by not willing to stick in the killer dagger to kill off Barca when the chance comes next game.

  7. i think its a bit harsh to say that about Fabregas he didnt have a good game. But when Arsenal won a foul outside the Barca area he waved the crowd on!

  8. I think ur being harsh about cescs attitude…I thought he tried his hardest all game but as lot didn’t come off, probably because he was the main focus of barcas midfield which left more space for the likes of soldiers (if he is this good now I can’t even imagine a few years down the line) plus fab created two of our limited opportunities(one of which ended in a goal) so stop looking for what isn’t there. Eboue had a decent game, not exceptional, but ffs stop dragging our players down u little shits, amazing result and all u can do is criticise our own players…I hate arsenalfans sometimes

  9. It appears that I am the only person on the planet who thought Koscielny wasn’t faultless. He had a great game, but if you watch it again, he made a few errors in the first half (early on) that almost resulted in a goal. He gave the Barca forward line too much space to run into and mistimed a couple of challenges.

    With that out of the way, I still he think he was one of the best players on view, but behind Wilshere as MOM.

    In response to some of the Cesc comments, I agree he didn’t play up to his normal standards, but you must also remember the contributiion he makes off the ball as a leader for the team. He was also marked tightly as our danger man.

  10. Kos was excelent n i saw it comin long b4. I stand 2 defend song. He was tryin 2 avoid a 2nd bookin 2 avoid Diaby’s incident durin newcastle game. Fab waz nerves n Nasri waz waitin 4 da right time 2 avoid a set bak 2 his injury. Walcott waz a silhoute n waz pinnd down, he shud b a 65th min sub 4 arsenal.

  11. For me jack was by far and away the best player on the pitch.

    As for people who are putting any of the players down in anyway at all shame on you. Football is a team game and we played well as a team tonight. Stop putting any of the lads down in any way. I know its only the first league and we’ll more than likely get beaten by them at the camp nou but we’ve just beaten barcelona 2 1 after being 1 0 down at half time.

    God speed xxx.

  12. Ratings are not right.
    You cannot rate Eboue and Clichy 8/10…They we not at their best.
    I accept Eboue has been out for a while but Clichy kept Villa onside for Barca’s first.
    Cesc was man marked and closed down every time he had the ball. His vision created the clear chances. Van Persie should have finished them.
    6/10 is very harsh…7 at least.
    In the first 20 minutes it was RVP was the only player that held the ball up in our attacking third. Well taken goal…8/10.

    Wilshere and Kosie were both immense, however Jack played well for 90 minutes….and derserved MOTM.

    Szczesny was huge tonight…clearly Arsenal’s number 1 keeper

  13. You moron, Cesc was man-marking Iniesta the whole game. Cesc still managed to play three or four killer passes. Iniesta ran his legs off but did nothing. Pay attention next time.

  14. Fabregas could have had a much better game, but analysing the second half arsenal were a different team. Song and Fabregas were brilliant as opposed to the first, and the defenders got in there high up the pitch instead of timidly staying back. Wilshere…well he’s in a class of his own. AMAZING! Love him. what an absolute boss. Koscielney was perfect as well. Couldn’t ask fro more from the players. Nasri looked a little scared to get injured, but again second half… top draw

  15. Living in Spain and lost the sky pictures due to heavy rain. I ended up watching Spanish tv and do you know the commentators didn’t rattle on half as much about how great Barcelona are than those two wallies on ITV!!! They are meant to be behind British teams and yet it was 90 minutes of Barca arse licking from the pair of them. ITV THIS IS A DISGRACE!!!

  16. After this most intensed and exciting game,I was able to sleep soundly,seeing at last some monkeys are actually being thrown off our backs.I feel the team did very well,a very solid performance,and when you see players like Jack gliding through the barca midfield like he did,your guess is as good as mine when you realise his prospect in the near future.Good thing is that the second leg will witness Arsenal fielding a much stronger team,with The Verminator possibly involved.Promises to be an encounter to remember.Go GUNNERS

  17. how can ppl poitn fingers at cesc and say that his desire to join them might be hindering his performance??? did u see in the 2nd half even when we were down 1-0 he was encouraging the crowd to get behind the team…

    he loves the team and i dont see him going next summer….

  18. You lot are bang out of order.
    The Mighty Arse won the game because they played as a TEAM. They worked, they believed, they kept on going against a team that would have ripped any other club side apart. For that alone they deserves 10/10 across the board.
    On top of that I give Arsene 11/10, because he made the plan he made the players execute it, he made the right changes at the right time and gave the team the opportunity to get this result.
    Yes you can pick holes in individuals and we were lucky that Messi didnt put at least 2 in the net, but thats football. Such a night NEEDS 10/10 ratings and not scirntific analysis.

  19. I look at these statements and cant believe what I read sometimes – Arsenal have just beaten the best club side in the world. And you lot nit pick about stupid ratings!! Clichy was isolated so many times, ok he played them onside for the goal, but he made amends by setting up our equaliser, and he was more than a match for Alves. He defended brilliantly and Eboue attacked very well and was always available, he did not put a foot wrong in defence, was always ahead of his centre backs and did not look out of his depth at all. The whole back 5 were immense Kos was amazing – he dealt with Messi time and time again and not many players can say that! Djorou was immense too no nonsene defending and brought the ball out of the back four time again with confidence, Wilshere all I can say is – brilliant! Best player on the pitch he glided past Barca midfield 3 time again, and I never heard Xavi’s name mentioned all night !! Wilshere at 19 what will he be like once he fully progesses? frightening – England future superstar and glad he is Arsenals!! Nasei and Fab was paid extra attention to every time they had the ball there were 3 or 4 players around them, but there work rate was excellent and on another day Fab could have set up 2 goals, and Nasri did really well for Arshevins goal. I am Songs biggest fan and it was a shame that he got booked so early as that played on his mind for the rest of the game, but he did his job well, excellent close control and distribution had to be taken off as we need him in the next leg. Walcott and Van Persie were again isolated, the only thing I wondered about was why they did not try to get Walcott isolated against Maxwell more, he had the beating of him all night, but he defends well and helped Eboue out time again. Van Persie I think did very well against the Barca back line worked them across the pitch and always seemed our most dangerous player – and on another day could have scored 3 or 4!! But you dont beat a team like Barca unless players 1-11 play at the top of the game – so stop nit picking people The TEAM was excellent and deserved the result – instead of picking players out lets enjoy the result because trust me no other team in England could have toook the game to Barca like we did – they would have parked the bus and hoped for a break away goal or set piece goal, but give Wenger HUGE credit i was annoyed with him for not bringing in players in January – but he had the guts to send his team out to attack Barca – and it paid off from the starting 11 to the subs to Wenger to Pat Rice – they all got it right last night – so let us enjoy the moment – please !!

  20. I was at the clock end last night and couldn’t believe the negative bollocks being spouted by some so called fans around me. Calling Walcott rubbish and Eboue a “lazy c**t”.

    Some people are never happy and as far as I’m concerned they can all f**k off!

    What a night last night! A heroic performance by the lads to beat the best team of all time. My 12 year old son and I will remember it as long as we live – it’s something he will tell his granchildren about.

  21. 8 for Eboue ( who did absolutely f*ck all apart from run in to Barca players and give the ball away) and 6 for Cesc (who ran his heart out and provided a sublime ball for the winning move)………………………Clearly you watched the game on TV…………………………..apart from your incorrect player ratings, a decent report.

  22. Ebue shouldnt get 8. He should be either 6 or 7. He caused the first goal. He on Villa. He should be watchful when playing off. He doesnt pusue rather raise up his hands for offside.

    Fab should be up for 7

  23. 10 for kos and jac in total all the play kudos to you i still have the belief that arsenal have something to prove after the first half it was trailing encourter 4 for to eboue am all scared whenever he touches the ball

  24. Will you all stop fighting the boys BEAT BARCA no matter how many points you amatuer plaudits give them or don’t give them…. it was a TEAM EFFORT and they are still in 4 competitions AND GUNNING FOR GLORY!!!

  25. Can’t believe all the criticism for Clichy, if it wasn’t for his pass then Arsenal wouldn’t have equalised and gone on to score the winner! I think he was brilliant last night and to keep someone like Dani Alves reletively quiet is some achievement. I thought Alves was Barcelona’s best player last night.

    Same old Arsenal fans having a go at Eboue, change the record. He didn’t put a foot wrong and he’s still being criticised. As someone pointed out he’s been out of the team for a long time and to put in a performance like that was very impressive. Considering Mourinho’s negative Real Madrid side got tonked 5-0 I think everyone needs to give the Arsenal defence a break!

    And Sue, who has actually spelt Wilshire’s name wrong?

  26. WILSHERE not Wilshire.
    walcott was our most dangerous player so 7/10 is stupid
    fabregas may not have had his best game but still did very well along with wilshere.
    considering nasri was rushed back he did vey well and hs pass for the second goal was sublime.

  27. Koscielny was immense, but got caught napping on the 1st Messi attempt in the first half. So he wasn’t quite flawless. Agree that Wilshere was MOTM.

  28. Eboue an 8? You must be one of the pillocks with that ridiculous ‘Eboue Is My Home Boy’ flag or maybe one those he attempts to bribe at the end of every match by giving some of his kit away. He can’t defend and it all comes to a halt when he attacks as he panics anywhere near the opposition penalty area. Eboue’s nickname should be ‘The Milkman’ because he milks it at every opportunity; no other sub comes on the pitch when he’s taken no part in the game apart from him. He is an athlete no more and no less. Oh, he’s great in the dressing room, but he’s simply not good enough as a footballer.

  29. U were being very generous with some ratings but then gave Cesc a 6?! he made the most passes in the Arsenal team, including some killer passes, encouraged his team mates and encouraged the fans/ Easily deserves an 8. True captain last night. The 2nd goal came because of his amazing through ball to nasri. Im offended on his behalf!!

  30. i agree with the ratings. at least for once agree that ur team played well. classic defending classic play classic goals – now dats wat wearing the arsenal jersey is all about.

  31. Well, this post was about player ratings so natural to be discussing that, no?
    Well done to ALL of them, a night to remember!
    Fabregas didn’t have his best game, but he worked damn hard and don’t think people should question his attitude towards his Barcelona mates. He gave a little push in the back of Pique after the ball was out of play so he wasn’t worried about offending anyone. This also the player who played on against them last season with a broken leg don’t forget. He wanted to beat them as much as anyone. Tells you something that even on one of his off days he still completed more passes than any other Arsenal player.

    If we are going to discuss player ratings then I don’t get the people saying Eboue was outstanding. Playing against probably the hardest team around to win the ball back from you can’t afford to give the ball away sloppily against them. For some reason most times he was closely marked by two players he thought he was Thierry Henry or something and could take them on on his own. Thought Song was a certainty for a red card and you could argue that he was a bit stupid to make that foul so early, or you could say he stopped that attack and took one for the team. Thought he was far to reckless at times once on the yellow and could easily have left us down to ten men.

    Anyway, that’s picking holes, so proud of how they all played and let’s hope they can finish the job. And nice to piss on the Spuds parade after their win the night before.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.