2010/11 Champions League Round of 16, 1st Leg, Emirates Stadium
Having been knocked out of the competition by Barcelona the previous year, Arsenal came into this match looking for some revenge. Barcelona on the other hand were playing some of the best football in the world, with Pep Guardiola’s “Tiki-Taka” philosophy in full flow.
As the game started it was Arsenal who created an early chance for their Dutch star van Persie, but his effort was blocked and then began a Barcelona onslaught. with Messi missing a couple of great chances. But the pressure paid off for the Catalans as Lionel Messi put David Villa in the clear and the Spanish striker cleanly and calmly slotted home. Szczesny managed to save from a Pedro shot and van Persie missed again on the other end as both sides looked for goals. Lionel Messi thought he had given the Barca another 2-0 advantage at the Emirates, but the referee blew for offside. As the teams headed into the tunnel, Arsenal were probably feeling the more fortunate team despite being behind.
The second half began with more Barcelona domination, but they failed to capitalise on their chances as Arsenal slowly began to come back into the game. Jack Wilshere, nineteen years of age at the time, played one of his best games for Arsenal as the young Englishman looked calm and composed against what was probably the best midfield in Europe. He along with Fabregas helped create the little chances that Arsenal could muster. And with twelve minutes remaining on the clock, Arsenal’s efforts to get back in the game paid off as Clichy chipped the ball into Robin van Persie’s path and the Dutchman fired into Valdes’ near post. The goal changed the momentum of the match and Arsenal suddenly believed they could win. Five minutes later, Wilshere and Fabregas exchanged quick passes deep in Arsenal’s half before the latter sent Samir Nasri free down the right flank. The Frenchman carried the ball into the box, before squaring it beautifully for the onrushing Andrei Arshavin who coolly slotted the ball past Valdes from a first time shot. It was a breathtaking move to earn Arsenal an excellent result.