Arsenal fans might not have recovered from last night yet. It was the 90 minutes that they’ve been waiting for since Arsene Wenger decided playing “proper football” was the best policy and victories don’t come any sweeter than against the world purveyors of playing the beautiful game the right way.
Coming from behind to record a victory against the club recognised as the best club side in the world might only look like a game. The visitors’ second notable loss of the season wasn’t a fluke and showed that far from having just a rare off day, it revealed a worrying lack of versatility.
We are, of course, talking about a side who have the three finalists from the Ballon d’Or in their starting line-up, the player identified as the best player in the world, and most of the side who won the World Cup with Spain last summer. Against European sides, especially English ones, is where they’re going to struggle though.
Getting rid of Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic in August was supposed to be the final act that finished off the project to transform Barcelona into the best club side in Europe – an accolade that eluded them last term. All it has done though has made the side technically excellent but without the kind of adaptability to come from behind.
When a good team go a goal up on you and put 10 men behind the ball it’s neigh on impossible to break them down by simply passing it to death as was seen last night at the Emirates.
This might all mean nothing by the time the second leg has played out in the Nou Camp and the currently seething Barca give the Gunners a right old pasting but right now it’s Arsenal’s time. Thanks to Andrey Arshavin scoring we got to see that cheeking little face he makes when scoring. That’s reason enough in itself to smile at an Arsenal win.