Football has never been fair and never will be. Football is never won by the team that creates the most chances, and it is never won based on statistics. If that were so, then Arsenal would have trouncedChelsea last season and beat them twice this season.
No one claims that a team should have won simply because they deserved to and that same logic applies to the Arsenal vs Barcelona tie. Sadly few people realize this fundamental truth in football.
Football fans don’t watch the sport to get justice. They don’t watch the sport because they want the deserving team to win. They watch it because it is highly unpredictable, it can be decided with a single shot, and that could have happened had Nicklas Bendtner finished his shot properly.
At the end of the 90 minutes only one thing matters, the final score. No one bothers about the possession, the shots each team got off, no one cares how many passes Xavi and company completed.
Following Arsenal’s elimination from the UEFA Champions League, many have criticized Arsene Wenger and his team, and some fans have even boldly stated that it is time for Wenger to be ousted.
Had Bendtner finished off his shot, or had the referee used common sense and not followed the rigid and inflexible rules, then these same fans would be proclaiming Wenger to be a visionary and a genius which he is and remains irrespective of this result.
Much of the press have criticized Wenger for “betraying his style.”
These “geniuses” feel that Wenger should have stuck to his style, and in the process, lost in similar fashion to last year.
Last year, when Arsenal struggled to beat the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, these same people called for Wenger to change his approach, but when he does it, they say he has betrayed his style.
Arsene Wenger never betrayed his style; all he did was go for the win, and it almost worked. When teams like Manchester United adapt a different strategy on the big occasions, it is applauded and all the critics have to realize that Arsenal too can adopt any strategy to suit the occasion.
Many have criticized Wenger and his side for not getting a single shot on target and have stated that since they failed to get any shots on target, combined with prolonged spells of possession for the opposition, they deserved to lose
At the end of the day, all these statistics count for nothing. After 53 minutes, the game was tied at 1-1 and Arsenal were ahead on aggregate. At this point, despite the statistics being in favor of Barcelona, they were behind.
Only this counts. Despite playing worse than Barcelona, Arsenal were ahead and that is how football works.
On the night, and currently, Barcelona are a better side than Arsenal. They dominated, overran and tormented the Arsenal defense. Yet the most important stat read: Arsenal 3-2 Barcelona.
This is something that always happens with Arsenal. They normally dominate possession, create plenty of chances, and despite all this they find themselves trailing or level with their opponents.
But when this happens, then everyone starts to criticize the Gunners and go on a tirade on their profligacy in front of goal and state they don’t have a killer instinct.
But then in the 56th minute, the referee, Busacca, sent off Robin van Persie. Until this point Barcelona did not have anything to show for all their domination. Following Van Persie’s dismissal, Barcelona went onto score two more goals and advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Of course Barcelona were the clear favorites to win, especially with the numerical advantage. Even Arsenal have thrashed top teams like Manchester City with the numerical advantage. Until the numerical advantage kicked in, Arsenal were ahead on aggregate.
Now I’m not saying Barcelona were lucky to go through, or that Arsenal should have gone through, but the statement that Barcelona deserved to go through because of their statistical domination is completely absurd.
Had Bendtner scored in the 87th minute, then Barcelona would have been eliminated, and rightfully so. They were profligate in front of goal and failed to convert their statistical domination into real substance until the sending off.
No team can claim they deserve to win because they dominated possession.
None of us know how the result would have panned out had the referee been watching the same incident we all did, but the fact is that until the 56th minute, Barcelona had nothing to show for the statistical domination.
Amidst all this criticism, people have failed to applaud the performance by Arsenal’s defenders who put in a great display that exemplified tenacity, perseverance and fighting spirit.
Now I’m not trying to state Arsenal should be immune from criticism, but the level of criticism they have received in some blogs and in the press is totally uncalled for.
Arsenal were getting the job done, the only thing that counts until the referee made a mockery of himself, and they don’t deserve the scathing criticism being hurled at them