Barca 4 – 1 Arsenal: The stats that show how the game was won

There will be a lot of talk about injuries and a lot more talk about Lionel Messi, but the following stats speak volumes:

Passes completed
Barcelona: 508 (84%)
Arsenal: 238 (69%)

Ball possession
Barcelona: 61%
Arsenal: 39%

Total Distance Covered
Barcelona: 116.20km
Arsenal: 112.63km

To be clear: Barca dominated possession, making a disproportionately high number of passes – they moved the ball at a dizzying speed.

And yet, in spite of all their possession, they covered more distance than us – they worked harder, which demonstrates their quite remarkable work ethic and determination to win the ball back.

We were the victims of a magnificent individual performance – but one facilitated by a truly fantastic team.

More later.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.


  1. Nick   •  


  2. GilbertoSilver   •     Author

    O, if you prefer, I just made them up. You choose.

  3. ian   •  

    i cant help but felt dissapointed… there’s no big issue losing to the best team in the world, but the most dissapointing thing is that we lacked the desire & believe to fight. the mental strength arsene highlighted was not there…

    we missed too many injured players who could have made the difference, especially song defensively

    anyway, arsene needs to spend, we have the quality but we need quantity ASAP… injuries had cost us again and again and arsene must act…

    keep the faith

  4. Teo   •  

    I think Arsene needs to sign one or two tactics coach to do some homework on opposing team and educate our players on their their strength and weakness. Because obviously he does not work on other teams. It is fine against inferior teams but against a superior team like Barca. Playing the usual Arsenal way is suicidal especially with players like Messi, Rooney around.

    I guess you can win most games playing Arsenal way but against really quality teams. We will lose. That is the difference between winning trophy and not winning one.

  5. Ferrard   •  

    Now that the gunners have been eliminated there are no ifs and buts. The gunners aint good enough at the highest level.Even with a full strength side Barca will prove too strong for Arsenal.
    I doubt Messi will be given so much room and time against Inter.When a player is given time and space he will be able to shine.
    Some of the dangerous strikers eg Hen/Rooney /Ronaldo have been nullified.Arsenal shd have taken aleaf from some of the ultra defensive teams in the epl and neutralise messi.
    I don’t believe he is from a different planet.I believe Mourino will have a plan to neutralise him. Mu managed to keep him quiet the last time they met in the cl.
    We will have to wait and see. My money is on Mourino to keep him quiet.

  6. munawwar   •  

    we dont need to get in too many people. just work more harder against such a team.

    the commentators were actually right this time. they said we should learn on how to tackle and try getting the ball back… cause we dont know how to do that. cause most games we have that stat.! we have all the possession . most passes. etc etc. we dominate most of the games we normally play. so when we didnt have the ball it was a different story. we didnt know what to do.

    so its a good lesson to learn on how to press. and work hard. and learn some tricks in moaning if someone touches us and how to roll around pretending!

  7. jokily   •  

    With such insight, I can only assume you guys are Premier League managers. I do hope so, and not being wasted by driving cabs, pulling pints, pushing pens, stacking shelves or asking if customers ‘would like fries with that’ for a living.

    I do hope Wenger is reading your advice. It will clearly help him put right what he’s doing wrong.

    And I hope he’s grateful!

  8. Peter Oloo   •  

    I say ol those injuries can’t b a coincidence. Someone is not doin their job & so should lose it to someone who works. Top class doctors cant b having ol those crocked stars who neva seem to get well.
    Messi? We should sign up Ronaldinho to counter him.

  9. Danish gooner   •  

    Yes Barca has a lot of posession. This was not the deciding factor, How many times have Arsenal had posission and lost ?

    The keys as I see it are:

    At the Emirates we came on the pitch sleeping as if we were to ease into 70% posession as usual – not the case.

    Same happened in the second half – only this time it caused two goals due to sloppy defending more than Barca’s speed

    Yesterday, the difference was Messi and Messi alone. When he took his breaks we were as good, and – by the way – with a depleted C-string while Barca played at least a B-string

    And – not to forget – had Bendtner not been ruled off side – incorrectly – at 0-1 then it may have been 0-2 and pressure mounting on Barca.

    Yes they are good – but they have Messi and I am certain that Inter will win the semi final because Morinho knows how to contain him.

  10. peoplez hernandez   •  

    Like Mourinho did last season you mean? =)
    Inter will be hard, but mostly because of Mourinho’s denfensive tactics.

  11. Glenn   •  

    i honestly cannot stand looking at, or even thinking about, Bendtner. Every year i give him the benefit of the doubt and still, no improvement. young yes, positionally good yes, arsenal calibre no. he is AWFUL. exactly the same about Almunia too. we have lost so many amazing players and not replaced them. its time to pull out the Visa Electron, Arsene, and keep up with play.

  12. Prashant   •  

    Ummm.. Glenn .. I think Super Nik is doing his job quite ably. I remember him getting on the scoresheet quite regularly since he is back from injury. So not sure what you are on about.

  13. A tremendous result   •  

    Fantastic result from Barcelona last night, what a wonderful sight to see your delapidated team humiliated by a far superior footballing setup. It was a pleasure to see Wengers drawn out expressionless face when he realised that for another season there would be no silverware being brought back to the home of the Arse. What was even better for true football supporters up and down the country was the freak show in the stands in their red and white with their heads down the reality dawning on them that they are not as good as they think they are. Better luck next season losers and needless to say we had the last laugh.

  14. deekomoose   •  

    The only thing Wenger needs to dip in his pocket for are decent physios and doctors, there must be a weak link in that department somewhere since we’re always suffering from SO many injuries constantly.

    I’m seeing different statistics everywhere and yes key players were missing from Arsenal but also Barce were missing some of their key players, but it was Barce’s all along, I knew that when I saw Silvestre in the line up.

    Had Arsenal learnt this thing called ‘communication’ prior to the game then I think with the players out there, we could’ve had a really good chance, they were just individuals fighting a team as supposed to a team fighting a team.

    Theo said it best “There is no point dwelling on it, it is all in the past, we have got to move on” – a week for R&R and give the rest of the season a bloody good rip up!

    END – it’s only football, blah blah blah, innit

  15. Moscos Omollo - Nairobi Kenya   •  

    Let’s face it – this happens to Arsenal every season – They have a thin squad and invariably there are injuries in this physical sport – so every year, the first team players take the team to the peak and then towards the end of the season the 3rd team players bring them back to mother earth (as most of the 1st team players are sitting on the pot – injured)!

    When will Arsene Wenger learn …When? I hope that this summer with our new CEO in place we buy good players to sustain us till May 2011.

  16. 4-6   •  

    Wenger selects 10 midfielders.

    So too Barca. It was Messi playing in midfield who set up his own goal.

    We scored. 0-1. Great. I would have dropped both Walcott and Bendtner into the midfield. With Walcott in the middle. They would stick to Busquets and Xavi. When Arsenal get the ball then Walcott can fly and Bendtner can chime in. At the end we looked like Bolton playing Arsenal. When the score was 0-1 we would have had a packed midfield stifling them as they did to us.

    Oh, we thought let’s play fair. You can have the ball for a while then we can have the ball for a while. No. It was not like that. Barca said you simply cannot have our ball. Why do Barca run like a pack of dogs to get the ball? Why don’t we? Surely the you chase as much as possible to get the ball so the other team has no time on the ball which gives your team more time on the ball. Quite simple. They hunted us down ruthlessly we were just in training mode except for Clichy. So it is not so much the way they play with the ball but the way in which they take the ball off their opposition. Manure play like this as well. Like Diaby Arsenal are too intoxicated with their own brilliance to bother running. Your stats bear this out.

    So rather than playing lobs into Nik we put the ball into space for Theo then as I said Bendtner can chime in. This would have created havoc. Proof. At 0-1 had Diaby, does he smoke pot, played Walcott then it would possibly have been 0-2. But no, he has another toke, and plays the ball behind Bendtner. Yes. Spoilt on Pires, Bergkamp, PV4 and TH14. But I will take Vela, Wilkshire, Ramsey, Watt, Sunu over Rosicky, Eduardo, Denilson.

  17. Pingback: End of week thoughts: Messi, Chamakh, RVP, & meeting Theo at Gunnerblog

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