Arsenal’s Champions League dream is well and truely over after they crashed out the competition suffering a 3-1 defeat against Barcelona at the Nou Camp this evening.
Despite a stern defensive display from Arsenal the hosts atypically controlled proceedings throughout the tie and eventually took the lead on half-time when Lionel Messi latched onto a Cesc Fabregas error and provided a neat finish flicking the ball over Arsenal Keeper Fabianski and volleying home from close-range.
Arsenal struggled to get into their stride going into the second-half but were back in front when Sergio Busquets headed Samir Nasri’s corner into his own net.
The Gunners’ equaliser reinvigorated Arsene Wenger’s side and it seemed as though Barcelona were peetering out of the tie. Arsenal’s back-line remained strong and Samir Nasri continued to provide a usefull attacking outlet for his side.
Then came the moment of controversey that completely changed the game. Arsenal went down to ten men when Robin van Persie received a second yellow card for what seemingly was the offence of not realising he was in an offside position.
When Robin van Persie was fed through into the Barcelona box the Dutch striker wasn’t aware the linesman’s flag had been raised and skewed his resultant shot wide. However, Van Persie was given his marching orders by the referee for kicking the ball away.
Arsenal’s chances of keeping a foot-hold in the tie were minute after having to see out the game with ten men and Barcelona’s pressure finally told when Xavi put the hosts back in the lead in the 69th minute after an impressive Barcelona passing move. Lionel Messi rounded off the victory two minutes later when he calmy converted a spot-kick following Laurent Koscielny’s mis-timed challenge in the Arsenal box.