Barcelona. Again. Yay. Also, the NOPAs.

December 17, 2010 22 Comments by Sian

We’ve been here before. This time though, it’s personal. Had a really strong feeling we were going to draw Real Madrid and am a bit gutted we didn’t but never mind, we can just get them when we beat Barca and they overcome Lyon can’t we!

OK I’ll stop with the confidence. Clearly our tie is going to be the most difficult of the round, and is a direct result of us dropping serious points against Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage. What is making me laugh, however, is the reaction to it: “Arsenal only have themselves to blame… they blew it in the group stage… it’s all their own doing.”

Yes. Yes it is.

But this is the UEFA Champions League, people. You ain’t getting Barnsley no matter how hard you wish it. There are people arguing that we haven’t a chance against them, and reminding other people of how we’ve slipped up against easy sides this season. Then, bafflingly, in the same breath they’re saying “If we’d have finished top, we’d have got an easy side!”

We lost to Braga. We lost to Shakhtar Donetsk. We lost to Newcastle. We lost to West Bromwich Albion. Your theory, which you back up with the fact we lost to these easy sides, is that if we played an easy side, we’d win.

See? That’s just numpty logic.

If we had played an easy side and lost, we’d not only have lost, but we’d have played nothing-special sides throughout the tournament. If we’d have won, the competition would have only got tougher. I understand people being scared of Barcelona – they’re bloody good. But on our day, so are we.

Given that this season we’ve been more inconsistent than I can remember recently, February/March will provide us with worrying months. We have 10 weeks until then, however, during which time it is believed (kind of like a folk tale, really) that Thomas Vermaelen will be back. Thomas Vermaelen, the razor-cheeked, laser-eyed heart of our defence. If he isn’t… well, shite. But if he is, I’ll be a lot more confident about our chances.

All the hullaballoo about Barcelona being fabulous stemmed from them beating Real Madrid last month, right? Yes, it was an emphatic win. But it was against a brand new, very young side. It’s not like they murdered a team who’d been together for donkey’s years. There’s no doubt Barcelona are brilliant. But they’re not THAT good. Everyone has a bit of crappery about them some days. Recently promoted Hercules (who’ve been missing from la Liga for something like 13 years), beat them. So let us arrive at the Camp Nou with the spirit of Hercules. Both the one in the story about the strong man and the one that’s the little team from Alicante.

There is also the fact we’re undeniable underdogs. And that’s a great thing. You often feel with Arsenal we get complacent or lose our nerve. What is there to fear against Barcelona? That we’ll lose. Well, we’ve lost to vastly shitter sides this season.

We also have a bit of history with them. While Real Madrid would have been an entirely unknown quantity, we’ve played this lot before. We held them to a draw at our gaff. Messi was a bit useless. We then showed up round theirs with half a team, cobbled together like the little old shoe-maker used to cobble. And Messi was brilliant, the git.

We have 10 weeks to improve, they have 10 weeks to fall to bits. Stranger things have happened. Yeah, maybe we’ll lose. But I won’t be dwelling on those stupid points we lost in the group stage. That’s the past. Did you hear about the girl who dwelled on the past for too long?

She died.

So while this blog may be a little here, there and everywhere, my general message is “Oh bollocks, we’ve got Barcelona. But we might win! As long as we try our little socks off and don’t pillock it up in a really annoying easy way, I’ll be OK with it.”

And while I don’t want to get your hopes up, just take a second to imagine what it’d be like if we won. Good, innit?

Finally, the NOPAs were held this week and guess what? I WON. Well, this blog won. Still not entirely sure how and if anyone is interested, I’ll do a proper blog about it. Thanks to everyone at the do who made sure it was such a great night, everyone there was brilliant (and also a bit drunk, but that usually makes people brillianter in my eyes). Thanks also to Natasha for being the best company ever, to Kay for making me believe I can do whatever I want (yes, even win an award for my football blog even though I’m a girl!) and to my family for giving me Arsenal genes.

And thanks to Arsenal for being infuriating, pathetic, wonderful, perfect and always entertaining.

Thanks for reading ;)

22 Comments

  1. Scott
    2440 days ago

    I actually think Barca may be peaking a tad early, although still fancy them to knock Arsenal. But as a Rangers fan it will be nice to see some great attacking football.

    Congrats on the NOPA award.

    Reply

  2. Nnamdi
    2440 days ago

    I am not an arsenal fan but hope you win also you are brilliant blogger and you deserve that award

    Reply

  3. Natasha Henry
    2440 days ago

    It was my pleasure babe and you deserved to win. I just pray it is not the only trophy I see a Gooner collect this season.

    I’m also praying for the return of the blue-eyed Belgian God, as is every single Arsenal fan I know – though maybe not for the same reasons as us!

    Ps. I was not drunk, I was merely merry ;-) x

    Reply

  4. sherazi
    2440 days ago

    good read…

    Reply

  5. silentstan
    2440 days ago

    we have previous with real madrid. we beat them

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2440 days ago

      @silentstan I know. And then the 0-0 draw at ours was the best I’ve seen in my life. But that was an entirely different team back then, and so was ours.

      Reply

  6. sianyr
    2440 days ago

    @Scott @Nnamdi Thank you!

    Reply

  7. abbas
    2440 days ago

    congratulations even late is better than not at all..

    after reading ur again excellent blog,i felt that mr.wenger should say exactlly the same to the players.yes that good was the blog:).it is always a pleasure reading it.

    the good thing is that it is hard to imagine our team get worse in terms of injuries and confidence and barca too can’t get better ,right?just step by step ,3 points tommorrow and things would really look brighter again….

    Reply

  8. dan
    2440 days ago

    barca were not even that good last season,it’s that we were that bad.

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2440 days ago

      @dan True, but the result at the Camp Nou was flattering. 3-1 yeah, 4-1… no, they were not that good. We were injury-ravaged as well. I know it’s not much of an excuse but it’s true.

      Reply

  9. Danish Gooner
    2440 days ago

    We should look to the FCK-Barca game and see how you stiffle Barca but numpty is probably gonna do his usual tactical suicide.

    Reply

  10. Chris M
    2440 days ago

    I officially love you ;) I hope we beat them, for all the Cesc drama and all the trouble they put us through this summer. Congrats on the win also! Dont know if i will have time to visit this blog or any other since i am visiting family for the holidays so if i dont, merry christmas and have a happy new year!

    Reply

  11. TrueGooner
    2440 days ago

    Congrats u deserve it.
    On to the draw. I think we are going to get knock out, not because Barca is better, then us, but because of the way we have been winning and losing. This include players body language on the pitch and lack of motivation, heart, desire and spine to win. Barca is going to be pressing us everyone of them, and you know what happens when a team do that to Arsenal.
    This is the scenario we are face with:
    Arsenal getting knock out and Spurs advancing cause I am sure they will beat Milan. Just the thought of this make me sick. It’s not easy being a gooner but I am punch drunk in love keep holding on through the hurricane hopping for the sunshine to appear and never leave.

    Reply

  12. Rebecca Jill
    2440 days ago

    Congrats on the award again. I wrote that in the comments on the previous post.
    You express the same sentiment about Arsenal drawing Barcelona that I have, yet you word it more brilliantly than I would. We should get some result after all the drama they put Arsenal through last summer, so I like what Chris M has to say about all the Cesc stuff above.
    Now on to beat Stoke tomorrow. Go Gunners!

    Reply

  13. Dobbi
    2440 days ago

    Best draw we could’ve hope for! We win and we get all the plaudits and confidence and even if we get knocked out in the next round we still beat the mighty, best team ever in the galaxy to have existed, Barcelona. Lose and then we can concentrate on the league which could yield an additional 5-6 points over and above what we would have gotten with the fixture congestion and additional injuries. And best of all, we get to test ourselves against the best in the world and that’s what the Champions League is all about, not hoping to meet Copenhagen or any such third rated side. What would be the point in that? Gunners for eva!

    Reply

  14. irishgray
    2440 days ago

    long time reader but first time poster!! have to say great read as usual and congrats on the award (you got my vote :) ) I feel the very same as you do in that I would rather have drawn Barca than anyone else, if only for the chance to show them and the world what a fully(fingers xed) fit Arsenal squad are capable of!!!

    If I am not mistaken we had no Cesc, RVP,Arshavin got injured, as did Gallas, TV was out, and Eastmond played in midfield. Not exactly our first team is it?

    Screw the doomers and naysayers, even Barca did not want t have drawn us!! That to me says it all!!

    Well done on the award again, Le Groan could do with reading your blog for a while to see how a proper fan does it :)

    Reply

  15. WingedBlackGooner
    2440 days ago

    You have the perfect attitude towards the draw. our performance depends on our PL games(esp the one with chelsea), FA cup and carling cup results. if we are confident enough in 10 weeks, get cesc riled up enough to play tough with his homeboys, have an in form RVP, a fully fit vermaelen, a stable gibbs, a switched on arshavin, an improved chamakh, tie song up with a leash that extends till the halfline and let nasri do his thang, we will beat Barca and win the quadruple!!!

    Reply

  16. akag9
    2440 days ago

    Congratulations In your NOPA win! Better late, then…

    Reply

  17. Alan
    2440 days ago

    Well said. Now I can’t wait for the Barca games. 10 weeks is a really long time in football. Would have liked Real M as I haven’t been to the Bernabeu, but didn’t fancy going anywhere else.

    Reply

  18. El Greco
    2439 days ago

    Siany, first congratulations on winning the NOPA – I’m sure it will be the first of many awards coming your way. Carry on the good work!
    As for the draw against Barca and beating them, anthing can happen in footy though, based on both teams recent form, I hope the ‘anything can happen in footy’ rules both legs…..

    Reply

  19. Daniel
    2437 days ago

    Well done on the victory again! :)

    Also, we will beat Barcelona. I know this.

    Reply

  20. irishgray
    2432 days ago

    Just wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Sian!!!! :)

    Reply

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