2011 UEFA Champions League: Five Lessons We Learned from Arsenal vs. Barcelona

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2011 UEFA Champions League: Five Lessons We Learned from Arsenal vs. Barcelona
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Twenty four hours on, the dust is just about settling from the explosive encounter between Arsenal and FC Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League tie at the Emirates last night.

The old adage about a “game of two halves” was clearly in play last night, with Barca providing an education in possession play throughout the first half and entering the break a goal to the good thanks to David Villa’s clinical finish in the 26th minute.

The second half, particularly the last twenty minutes, was a different game entirely, with Arsenal gradually gaining a grip on the game and producing some devastating counter attacking play to score twice in the closing stages. First, Robin Van Persie smashed in at the near post in the 78th minute, then Andrey Arshavin side footed home five minutes later.

Much has been said since the final whistle, particularly in praise of Arsenal, and deservedly so given the quality and fight they produce to the get the better of Europe’s best side. Rather than pore over and debate the game incident by incident, this piece aims to look at some of the major lessons we can take from last night’s game, several of which may play a part in deciding the second leg in three week’s time.

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